An Orthodox Christian’s Reflections on Abortion

This is a pro-life article by a pro-life author. This article will not, however, lay out arguments against abortion. I rather want to use the topic of abortion to muse on what I believe to be an even larger issue.

What worries me most about abortion is not the 60-million-plus terminated pregnancies in the United States since Roe v Wade. It isn’t the systematic dismembering of babies’ organs during the surgical procedure or the disproportionate fraction of terminated pregnancies among American minority groups.

What worries me the most about abortion is the millions of cases in which a woman had a choice between the quality of her life and the existence of another human’s life, and she chose hers.

There are undoubtedly a multitude of abortion incidents in which the mother had no means of supporting the child-to-be. Further, there are other unfavorable pregnancies such as those resulting from horrific instances of rape and incest. This article will not discuss abortion in these cases. The case that will be analyzed is that of a woman who has the financial capacity to raise a healthy child but chooses to terminate her pregnancy regardless.

The entire abortion debate hinges on one’s definition of life. If life begins at conception, abortion is always wrong. If a fetus’s human life begins at six weeks, abortion is permissible until then, and impermissible after. This debate, however, does not compose all abortion discussion. The pro-choice slogan of, “Let me do what I want with my own body,” is fair and just under the assumption that the fetus’s life has not yet begun. The pro-life “stop killing babies” position is likewise valid assuming the fetus has begun its human life. It appears to me that the two sides more often rally under these slogans instead of justifying their respective presuppositions.

The conversation on abortion seems to focus not on its validity, but its implications. Having a baby, especially out of wedlock, has pertinent social, emotional, and fiscal implications on women that men will simply never experience to the same degree if at all. These implications are the center of the pro-choice concern. The monetary and temporal cost of raising a child and the social and emotional baggage that comes with it are just that: baggage. No amount of “baggage” can justify ending another human’s life. At the end of the day, women choosing abortion in these situations choose their comfort over a human being’s existence.

This is not an indictment on women. I do not doubt that just as many men, if not more, would go the abortion route if put in the same situation somehow. Children change entire lifestyles. No parent is the same after his or her firstborn. A change of this magnitude requires immense courage, diligence, and preparation. It’s a lot to ask of a woman, especially if the pregnancy was unexpected.

Abortion is simply a symptom of a larger human issue. Far too often we choose pleasure and comfort over moral rectitude. We procrastinate to enjoy comfort in the short term instead of studying for growth in the long term. We excessively indulge in the pleasure of sugar, caffeine, drugs and alcohol despite their adverse effects on our bodies, and in the case of the latter two, our families. We argue and bicker amongst each other to gain the satisfaction of being right, often resulting in nothing but greater separation and distress.

This is why I am an Orthodox Christian. These carnal desires within us, for comfort over correctness, are passions. As human beings we evidence the damage of passions over and over, right from the beginning with Adam and Eve choosing the fast track to godhood instead of listening to their creator’s command. In the paraklesis service we sing verses like, “Assaults of the passions have shaken me” and “I am unable to bear the demon’s darts.” We recognize our inner brokenness, our inert succumbing to the comfort of our passions, and ask God to deliver us from them, to help us transform them into goodness.

Banning abortion will prevent the death of innocent children, but it will accomplish nothing in the way of dealing with passions. For deliverance from these we must turn not to law, but to God.


One response to “An Orthodox Christian’s Reflections on Abortion”

  1. Bruce E. Wren Avatar
    Bruce E. Wren

    Very thoughtful and well written, and from a fresh point of view: Orthodox Christian. Thanks for the article, Lewis.

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