The fight for life must be won in the hearts and minds and not in politics alone. Rightly, we see abortion as murder and an affront against our Creator, but we must also see our apathy against the injustices toward life beyond the womb as the great co-conspirator against our fight for life.
The COVID-19 pandemic allows us to see the most extreme impact among the most disenfranchised among us. While people of every socio-economic class and ethnicity have been affected greatly by the economic fallout triggered by COVID-19, perhaps no other sector of the population has been as greatly harmed as single parents and minimum wage workers.
As a result of this disproportionate impact, many vulnerable children, both born and unborn, have become increasingly vulnerable. Globally, cases of abuse and neglect have risen as parents enter despair and hopelessness without a job or the prospect of future income. Women who are single, pregnant, and vulnerable have lost their jobs or have been plunged into uncertainty about how they can manage to care for a child in these unprecedented times. Their instability is leading them to consider abortion, adoption, or to surrender their children to the State at birth. For these women, families, and children, there is no debate about which is worse, infection from COVID-19 or the economic fallout as a result.
As elective surgeries were postponed throughout the spring to save bed space for COVID-19 patients, authorities in many states elected to limit or halt abortion procedures within their states. Correspondingly, this fall and winter there will be thousands of babies born that would have otherwise been aborted.
Church, what actions have we taken or will we take in the face of overwhelming numbers of vulnerable women, families, and children? Our answer identifies if we are really pro-life or if we are just pro-birth. Will men step up and join their wives to care for the single mom in their sphere of influence to show her and her children a positive male role model? Will we be willing to sacrifice our time to mentor, care for, and love a woman or family in crisis who has lost children to State custody?
Are we willing, no matter our stage of life, to use our home to foster children while they are displaced from their homes? Will we adopt children from the foster care system or from women who need to place their babies for adoption during these uncertain times? Are we open to adopt these children no matter their past trauma, their special need, or their age?
You see, being pro-life is not simply about eliminating abortion or placing more conservative judges on the bench. Being pro-life means that we show active empathy and compassion to those who are struggling around us even if it means risking our comfort and entering into a world that is foreign to us.
Let us be people who heed the call of Proverbs 31:8-9, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
At best, not to stand up and not to speak out means that we do not know the Gospel. At worst, it means we are ashamed of the Gospel.
We must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. We must value all life, because ultimately, we are a life that Christ valued all the way to the Cross. We cannot let our disappointment over recent Supreme Court decisions lead us to being disengaged; instead let us act on the opportunities around us to demonstrate our pro-life convictions in tangible ways to single moms, vulnerable families, and women in the midst of an unexpected pregnancy.
Herbie Newell (MBA, Samford University) is the President and Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services and its ministry arms including (un)adopted, Crossings, Families Count and Lifeline Village. Under Newell’s leadership, Lifeline has significantly increased its international and statewide outreach, attained membership with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and achieved international accreditation under The Hague Treaty, begun an extensive foster care ministry, and started its (un)adopted strategic orphan care ministries in more than 10 countries. Herbie speaks nationally at conferences and events, and regularly preaches throughout the world on gospel-driven justice. He and his wife, Ashley, live in Birmingham, Alabama and are parents to a son, Caleb, and daughters Adelynn and Emily. His first book Image Bearers: Shifting from Pro-Birth to Pro-Life, released on January 21, 2020.