The Abortion Industry and the Gospel of Life
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For believers, abortion is not just another bad thing. Rather, it is the greatest tragedy of all time. Each year, 56 million children are intentionally aborted globally—153,000 per day, 106 babies every minute.1 Roughly 90% of the world’s abortions take place outside the US,2 64% in the Frontier People Group countries from the Middle East through East Asia,3 with India alone responsible for one-fourth of the world’s abortions.4 We are often unaware of this steady, quiet genocide5 that happens behind closed doors, and the world does not realize it has been robbed of unique human individuals.6
If missionaries do not seek to stem this evil tide, who will? Babies are increasingly seen as unwanted life, threatening prosperity, and abortion has become viewed as a necessary evil to solve the problem. Ironically, this narrative has come from the “Christian” West, which champions sexual promiscuity and self-centered materialism. Currently almost half of all pregnancies in the US are unplanned,7 revealing the total failure of organizations like Planned Parenthood to promote responsible behavior and choices.
By legalizing the killing of preborn babies in 1973, the United States made itself the standard bearer in women’s “reproductive rights” internationally. Western “Christian” nations now dole out aid based on a country’s willingness to agree with the agenda they set, promoting abortion as women’s healthcare. Since the 1980s, global abortions have skyrocketed, peaking in the 1990s and have since decreased slightly in developed nations but remain constant or increasing in developing countries.8 Russia and Romania have the highest rate of abortion, with more than half of the babies conceived killed before birth.9
Abortion And Global Christian Response
Christians are the only hope of changing the anti-family, anti-child narrative spreading globally. Few evangelicals support abortion, but the devastating evil of abortion remains marginalized in the majority of Christian churches. Only 2% of US churches have their own pro-life ministry of any kind, and less than half of denominational pastors have talked about the issue of abortion in their church.10
Help for mothers in unreached people groups without churches is practically non-existent. Of all the prolife dollars raised within the US, 90% are spent on US ministries,11 funding an estimated 6000 full-time personnel who staff Christian pregnancy care and pro-life activism/education ministries.12 One map of faith-based pregnancy help centers around the world reveals many regions completely devoid of any pro-life work.13
The Abortion Industry
Organizations such as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Population Council use compassionate medical rhetoric to make their role in the murders of millions of babies seem virtuous. Abortion groups receive billions in donations and federal grants to champion “women’s health” and put tens of millions into fundraising, keeping their message trendy and appealing.14 Planned Parenthood alone received about half a billion tax-payer dollars from US government funding in 2015.15 But contraceptives are widely neglected or misused.16 For each adoption referral, US abortion clinics perform 117 abortions!17 They cover up the ugly effects of abortion on the mother: emotional trauma, mental health problems18and long-term physical health risks.19 A 2013 Gates Foundation study revealed that nearly 15% of all maternal deaths resulted from abortions.20
The industry argues the cost of the abortion (emotional, physical, monetary) is much lower than the cost of delivering the child and raising her, getting the baby adopted or having social services raise her. Every abortion is income for the industry and the later it is in gestation, the more profitable it is (the average cost of abortion in the US is $350 and late-term abortion is upwards of $3,000), so abortion providers are incentivized to encourage women to have more abortions rather than none.21
The industry additionally profits off the sale of infant body parts to meet the market demand for fetal organs and tissue used for research,22 a demand created and sustained by abortion.23
Opposing The Industry by Living The Gospel
If a woman seeks help for a crisis pregnancy in most parts of the world, she will find the same response wherever she turns: get an abortion. We know God has the best answer to her struggle, but how will this woman hear that message? She will only hear it from a follower of Jesus who displays God’s pro-life ethos in every area of life. In 2011, a newlywed missionary couple embodied this ethos beautifully while working for a hospital in India.24 During one of their shifts, a baby with severe genetic deformities was born and was rejected by his mother. The couple promptly adopted the infant to the shock and bewilderment of their Indian neighbors and coworkers. The precious boy lived just four years, but his short life brought joy to many and international attention to a family living out the gospel’s message of life.
It is the Church’s job to care for the vulnerable and to give compassionate help to their families. But in Frontier People Groups, where the Church is not yet, then who else is there to shoulder this burden but the missionaries, first witnesses of the gospel to a people?
It is no small thing for missionaries to position themselves to be an answer for women facing unplanned pregnancy. Knowing the industry data on the prevalence and frequency of abortions, prayerfully, we will be prepared to face the horror of abortion with compassionate love wherever we are called.
May we not forget, Christ puts Himself in the place of the most vulnerable when He said, “…whatever you do unto the least of these, you do unto me.”