Life Centers Blog
This is a continuation of a series of articles. All previous articles can be found on our website in the blog section.
Again, our intent is not to condemn or wound those who have been part of an abortion (please see our post-abortive recovery program, SOAR). We want to spur thought and conversation that empowers you to interact with those around you in a thoughtful way.
Rights vs. What is Right
Whenever someone mentions the word “ethics,” there is usually not an enthusiastic response, perhaps there is even a yawn, but understanding ethics is vital to all of us. Ethics are the moral principles that govern our behavior. The reason we are talking about ethics before laws and trends regarding abortion, is that the clarification of ethics helps us rightly understand these laws and trends. Laws flow from our ethics, but often it can get reversed in the rhetoric surrounding abortion. When those who are pro-choice talk about their rights, they may imply both a legal standing and moral one, but can their moral standing hold up? Let’s look at some common arguments for abortion and see if there are weaknesses.
Law vs. Ethics
First, we must acknowledge that current law in the United States gives someone the legal right to proceed with an abortion. What we need to understand is that a legal justification (a legal right) does not equal a moral rightness. Certainly, everyone in the US can think of past laws that were immoral. Laws that discriminated against minorities and women, stripping away their humanity were immoral even when they were legal. It should also be pointed out that the law itself is inconsistent. If a pregnant woman is killed, the suspect can be charged with a double homicide. So, we know that legality is not the ultimate test for morality.
Personhood is an idea used only when we want to deny someone their humanity. The pro-choice argument of when someone is or is not a person is used to differentiate a child in the womb from one outside the womb. We covered these differences in the previous article, but there should also be something said about the general idea of personhood. Whenever personhood has been tied to anything more restrictive than a human being, it has always had a sinister purpose. To call someone less than a person is to deny them rights that should be afforded everyone. Sadly, it is not a new tactic even if the language has changed. In the US, it was used against Native Americans and African-Americans for many atrocities. History is full of many more examples. We must understand that the only purpose for denying someone personhood is to assert control over them that is not for their benefit.
My Body, My Choice
The argument that, “No one should have a right to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body” is a common refrain for pro-choice advocates. One big problem is that it is not an absolute. In the law for example, there are statutes regarding prostitution, drug use, and the selling of one’s own organs. Those are all legal statutes that do not show an absolute autonomy for one’s body. In fact, it is hard to think of many crimes in which someone does not use their body in some way. So, claiming autonomy because it involves your body does not hold up (try not having your body show up for jury duty and using body autonomy as a legal argument). Granted, while people do have the moral standing to choose medical care for themselves, we would not allow them to choose harm or kill someone else. A conjoined twin sharing vital organs cannot choose to end both of their lives. The root of the ‘my body, my choice’ is again to deny or diminish the humanity of the baby in utero and thus give the mother the ability to end its life.
There is an argument that it is “inhumane to give birth to an unwanted child.” There are two major problems with this reasoning: the premise isn’t true and the argument isn’t valid. First, any child born in the US today is wanted by someone. It is estimated that there are about 2 million couples in the US waiting to adopt. Even children with special needs have multiple families willing to adopt. Much of the “unwanted” rhetoric comes from the number of older children in the foster care system, which is a separate moral issue. Any baby born in the US is certainly not without a home that desires them. Secondly, the whole issue of “wanted” or “unwanted” should have no standing in the right to life of a human being. Just because one does not want someone, does not give them a right to end their life, and it is never more humane to kill someone because they might possibly suffer in the future.
The next article will move on from ethics to what is happening in our society today. There are new movements, technologies, and laws that most people who are pro-life don’t even know about.
What did we miss? If you think we missed something or made a misstep, please send us an email.
As we continue our series on abortion, we do want to remind our readers of the purpose of this series. Life Centers is not an “advocacy group,” we are a ministry whose mission is to save babies and transform the lives of their mothers and fathers. While we are trying to spur a discussion that we believe needs to happen, we do not intend to condemn or further wound those who have been a part of an abortion. One of our ministry focuses is helping individuals heal after being involved in an abortion. We do this through our post-abortive recovery ministry (SOAR).
Frequency plays a part in discussions about specific ethical issues. If something does not happen often, the urgency of examining the ethics of the uncommon situation is diminished. Perhaps to avoid looking at abortion through an ethical lens, people say that it is “rare.” However, when you look at the number of abortions worldwide, it is anything but rare. According to the most reliable source of abortion statistics, The Guttmacher Institute, abortions have increased to an astounding 56 million per year worldwide. We repeat – 56 million induced abortions every year. To help put that number into perspective, the World Health Organization says that the total number of people that die annually (of all causes) is 56.9 million. Humanity has chosen to intentionally end life in the womb at the same rate as all forms of disease, sickness, accidents, homicides, and wars – combined. Even if the Guttmacher institute is not perfect, the number one killer of humans is abortion. It is not rare, it is becoming more frequent.
Not the Same
One of the most common reasons given for justifying abortion, is that “what” is being killed is not a person. This reasoning can be dangerous because there are many instances in history where stripping away humanity is used to justify acts that should not be accepted. Rather than dismiss it, let’s examine this argument closer to see if it has merit.
How Embryos are Different S.L.E.D.
We must start on the common ground that a two-year-old child is not someone who should be killed because they are not a person. That should be easy to agree upon. So, are the differences between a two-year-old and an embryo enough to change that? Many people would say, “Yes.” Scott Klusendorf, a bioethicist, uses the acronym S.L.E.D. to represent the four categories of difference: Size, Level of Development, Environment, and Degree of Dependency.
We once were all very small embryos. It is often said, “Something that small can’t be a human.” We would never argue that a 5ft tall, 110lb person is a lesser person and therefore has less of a right to live than a 7ft tall, 300lb person. So clearly, size should not be the determining factor.
Level of Development
Embryos are less developed than 20-year-olds, but so are two-year-olds. We would not kill a two-year-old just because they have not developed the same way an older person has. So clearly, level of development should not be the determining factor.
Should embryos not be considered human because of their location – the womb? The difference between many babies aborted and those protected under law, is a journey of 8 inches down the birth canal. When you walk out of your house, does that change your humanity? Is someone in Africa less of a person than someone in Europe (a different location)? The answer of course is, “No.” So clearly, environment should not be the determining factor.
Degree of Dependency
“A fetus can’t survive on its own.” If you left a two-year-old alone for 3 days, would he or she survive? Most modern adults could not survive a week in the wilderness without modern technology. Does that mean that the two-year-old who is dependent upon adults to feed and care for them, or the adult who can’t survive in the wilderness are not human and don’t have a right to life? No. So clearly, degree of dependency should not be the determining factor.
Think about all of the reasons you have heard that a fetus is not a person, a human, or deserving of life. They all fit into these categories.
To be continued…
There are other pro-abortion arguments and ethical considerations that we will address in two weeks in part two of “The Ethics of Abortion.” We are not using the Bible when presenting this philosophical discussion of abortion because we want you to engage with those around you, including those who reject Scripture but will listen to reason. One does not have to be a Christian to be pro-life. We need non-Christians, as well as Christians, to stem the tide of 56 million abortions every year.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have questions/comments, please email them to Brian Current.
What is Abortion?
To begin any discussion, there must be a common understanding of what is being discussed. The purpose of this article in the series (Series Introduction Here) is to help create that understanding and possibly help educate the reader. This article is not intended to wound anyone, but the subject matter is very heavy.
A Working Definition
If you were to look up a definition of abortion, you may come across the phrase “loss of a pregnancy …” without reference to the reasons why that pregnancy was lost. That is because natural rejections or miscarriages are sometimes referred to as “spontaneous abortions.” For the purpose of our articles and all of the information we will present, we will not be referring to these, but rather exclusively to “induced abortions.” An induced abortion is an intentional act aimed at the destruction of a human life at any point between fertilization and birth. So when we say “abortion,” this is what we are referring to.
Limiting the Focus for Now
There are two other things to consider before you read, “What is an abortion?” that we will not discuss in this article: abortifacients and therapeutic abortions. Among the induced abortions, there is a difference between therapeutic abortions (ectopic pregnancies, maternal cancer, maternal heart disease, other health of the mother issues) and “convenience” abortions (eugenic and “family planning”). Abortifacients, a drug that causes an abortion, commonly called “the Morning After Pill” or the Plan-B pill, can “work” after conception and before implantation – which would fit our working definition of abortion. We will talk about these issues in our next article, “The Ethics of Abortion.” For now, we’ll discuss different procedures for an abortion, which are commonly agreed upon.
There are two major types of induced abortion used in the US today: surgical and medication induced.
There are many types of induced surgical abortions, but the majority of them performed in the first trimester involve strong suction. If a surgical abortion is done during the second trimester, additional steps may be necessary to section the baby before removing via suction. In third trimester abortions, similar steps are taken, but the baby is removed by instruments or by hand. Surgical abortions are done at abortion facilities and in some hospitals. Much of the political debate has been around the standard of care that a facility must meet in order to perform these procedures.
Medication induced abortions are done with a medication called RU-486 (mifepristone). Mifepristone works by prohibiting the synthesis and functionality of progesterone, a hormone that is necessary to sustain early pregnancy. When the role of progesterone is compromised, the uterus contracts, the endometrium becomes hostile to the implanted embryo, and the cervix softens to allow expulsion. Most commonly this is followed up with a dose of misoprostol that is used to induce or expel the baby. Currently, there is political discussion in the US around reducing the restrictions and expanding the availability of medication induced abortions.
Much more detail could be given on the abortion procedures, but we are limiting ourselves for these articles. Descriptions that are more detailed can be found here: https://abort73.com/abortion/abortion_techniques/.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Our hearts break every time we think about the loss of life because of abortion, and all that we ask is that you do not turn away. We will continue the series of articles in two weeks. “The Ethics of Abortion” will be released on October 24th. If you have any questions or comments, please email me.
– Brian Current, Life Centers’ Director of Community Partnerships
In June we talked about a series of articles we were working on aimed at educating our supporters about abortion and the changing landscape. https://mailchi.mp/lifecenters.com/newcommunication (Please consider reading if you have not already). Since that introduction, we have had many more discussions internally, with many of you, and with a number of outside sources. We encourage further discussion (that is part of the reason for this series) and want to begin doing so on a broader scope by starting the series now. This is the introduction to those articles.
Again, we are not trying to create political debate but rather provide information that will help you become a compassionate ambassador for life in your sphere of influence. We will never use upsetting images or politically charged rhetoric, but at times you might be upset by what you read. We encourage you to not turn or shy away. We need you to lean into it and understand it so that you might be used to save a life.
Schedule of articles:
In two weeks we will begin by talking about “What is Abortion?”. This article will help us define induced abortion and understand the types of procedures. Two weeks after that, we will discuss the “The Ethics of Abortion”. This will be a non-religious examination of the ethical issues of induced abortion. Following that, we will look at “Abortion in Indiana and Life Centers”. In this article, we will look at local abortion statistics and laws and how Life Centers locally seeks to help women choose something other than abortion. After covering the local aspect, we will look at “Abortion in the US”. We will study current laws, legislation, and movements and how we got here. Finally, we will end with the article “Loving Engagement with Those Considering Abortion” focusing on how to apply what we have learned and lovingly reach out in our spheres of influence.
We hope that you find these articles helpful and thought provoking and look forward to hearing from you. If you have specific questions or topics you think should be covered email Brian.
When a woman walks through our doors, we don’t know what to expect. Is she here for a pregnancy test? Is she afraid or hopeful? Does she simply need a little help with baby supplies like diapers or clothing?
We’re happy when a woman walks through our doors regardless of the reason, but one of our favorite encounters is when a former client walks in with a young child to thank us for supporting her and to show us her baby.
That’s why Malsawm came back to our center.
She first came to us in 2017 as a single woman who just found out she was pregnant. At that time, she did not know what to do. Her boyfriend lived in Maryland and wanted her to have an abortion. As a believer, she knew abortion was wrong. She even told us that one thing she knew for sure was that she would have her baby. The client advocate prayed over her and provided her with the resources she needed.
About a year and half later, Malsawm returned! She recently came in to our south center to introduce us to her sweet, 13 month old boy named Joseph. Malsawm also shared that she remembers distinctly the powerful prayer the client advocate prayed for her. She said it met every need and that her life has been helped and improved since she came to us. She is now married to Joseph’s father. Malsawm felt strongly that the Lord wanted her to come back to Life Centers to share her story, to show us her son, and to also give back. She made a financial donation to the ministry that day.
We see this over and over again. Sometimes our clients just need encouragement, resources and prayer so they can do what they know in their hearts is the right thing to do.
If you would like to give to help moms and their babies here in Indianapolis, like Malsawm and Joseph, click here.
One would hope that our leaders would want to protect newborn babies who survive an attempted abortion. It seems like common sense to protect the most innocent being in the world- a newborn baby. Everyone should want doctors to do everything in their worldly power to treat them and keep them alive. Sadly, this isn’t the case.
The Senate blocked a bill on Monday that would have threatened prison time for doctors who do not try to save babies born alive during failed abortions. At seven votes short from passing, the bill failed with a final vote of 53-44. This tragic news coming just after New York passed a bill that would allow an abortion of a baby up to nine months gestation.
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would have required that “any health care practitioner present” at the time of a birth “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
So many people are deeply saddened and angry, and rightfully so, but “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:20
We must use our God-given urge to act, instead. Fortunately, many people do want to protect helpless infants, and God is using this evil as a force for good, particularly when it comes to pregnancy resource centers. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Since abortion is in the spotlight in politics right now, many are being motivated to look to their own communities for opportunities to fight this battle. A light is being shone on Life Centers as many are learning about our ministry for the first time while seeking out active ways to defend life.
We have seen an increased interest in volunteering at our centers, and we’ve received more phone calls inquiring the best way to help. More and more people are being led to Life Centers to take a stand against the evil of abortion, and lives will be changed because of it. We pray that those who do want to act will do so as we all try to counter the culture and stand up for life together.
How can you be an advocate for the unborn?
Provide baby/maternity items: https://lifecenters.com/give/items/
Attend our annual fundraising banquet: https://lifecenters.com/get-involved/events/celebration-of-life-banquet/
Spread the word: Share this blog post, or Life Centers’ website with your friends and family!
The news out of New York about the expansion of allowing abortion up to nine months gestation and contemplation of infanticide (killing born babies) by Virginia elected officials has saddened us at Life Centers. We have received many calls and inquiries. Many have asked, “What do we do?”
The expansion of killing of innocent life and the celebration of that killing should move you emotionally, but an emotional response is not enough. We are not to simply sit on the sidelines. We need to use the God-given urge to act. There are three areas of action to choose from: political, activism, and service.
Roe v. Wade was implemented 46 years ago and has not been overturned. The law in New York was passed with a President in office that ran on a pro-life platform, and a conservative, pro-life majority in the U.S. Senate. While we must not abandon the political fray, history should inform us to not put all of our hope in a political solution to a heart problem.
Online engagement, marches, and rallies, while encouraging to those who agree with their positions, these things do not change hearts or minds. Christians need to be aware that for every six babies born in the U.S., one is aborted, but accurately describing the scope of the problem is not a solution in and of itself. What is worse, is that these efforts of activism often alienate those whose opinion is most important: abortion-minded young women.
This is the path that Life Centers chooses. We serve women facing pregnancy-related decisions with love and compassion. At our centers, we provide free services like pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, maternity and baby supplies, agency and ministry referrals, and peer counseling. We do these things so that these young women can find hope and choose life for their babies. Abortion is an option chosen out of a sense of hopelessness, not out of a political ideal. Last year, we were fortunate to be a part of 1,533 babies being born to our clients.
What can you do?
Pray. We need your prayers as our staff and volunteers carry heavy burdens.
Volunteer. Our budget would not be enough to run all seven of our centers without enough volunteers.
Give. We operate solely on the financial contributions of individuals, churches, and like minded organizations without government funds.
Helpful Links To Get Involved:
While one of our staff members, Teresa, was out to dinner the other night, she asked her waitress about her tattoo. The waitress opened the floodgates and began to tell Teresa a personal story about an unplanned pregnancy she had when she was 16 years old.
Teresa asked the waitress, Katie, if she had ever thought about volunteering at Life Centers since her story is so similar to many of the young girls who walk into our centers daily. Then, Katie realized Teresa worked for the same group of pregnancy resource centers that had helped her years ago during her unplanned pregnancy! Katie was floored. She started to cry, and hugged Teresa.
Katie then told Teresa more about her story and mentioned she had actually spoke at one of our Walk + Run for Life events years ago about her experience with our ministry. Katie went on about how helpful we were to her and how she loves what we do.
Here it is 16 years later, and Katie is still in awe of how greatly some strangers helped her and loved on her when she was in a scary, anxious place in her life.
Katie and the baby’s father have now been married for 15 years!
It is a chance encounter for a current staff member to meet someone who was a client at one of our centers years ago, and then to speak with them about their experience- even more of a rare chance encounter. Or was it?
Earlier that day during a staff meeting, Teresa prayed that God would allow us to see more of the fruits of our labor and His labor. She praised Him for allowing us to be a part of these LIFE decisions and prayed that He would bless us by letting us witness moms that have chosen life for their babies.
Teresa’s “chance encounter” was an answer to the prayer she had prayed that very same day. Teresa witnessed firsthand a mom who chose life for her baby after she visited one of our centers 16 years ago.
Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58
When something unexpected happens, it can be difficult to see the good in the situation. It is human nature to want to try to control every aspect of our lives, but God often has a different plan for us than we have for ourselves. At these times, we strive to remember that God’s timing is never wrong and to accept the unexpected.
This was the case for Lydia.* Lydia came to one of our centers with her aunt and her boyfriend. Her aunt told a peer counselor that she was afraid her niece was considering abortion. After Lydia started talking with the peer counselor, she confirmed that she did want to abort because she had just moved here from Puerto Rice to finish school. She mentioned if she did abort, it would be with the pill. Lydia was starting classes this fall and didn’t want a baby to interrupt or prevent her from going to school. After all, Lydia had moved to the United States to fulfill her dreams.
It was hard for Lydia to see past the situation she was currently in. In her mind, having a baby and attending school at the same time wasn’t possible.
During the counseling session, the peer counselor reviewed materials with Lydia on all of her options. When the counselor asked Lydia if she thought her boyfriend would want to abort the baby, Lydia said he would not agree. Lydia started to cry, telling the peer counselor that she was a believer in Jesus Christ and she knew it would be wrong to abort her baby. They went over a resource list so Lydia could see that there were people who were willing to help her and her baby if she decided to carry her child.
When the session was coming to an end, the peer counselor asked Lydia if abortion was still an option, and Lydia said no. She requested her boyfriend come back to the counseling room so she could tell him that she was pregnant. He was so excited and was very pleased to hear that abortion was not an option for Lydia anymore.
Lydia is still going to attend classes this fall.
Even during the unexpected, God can make a way. It can be so hard for us to see that sometimes, and that is why it is so important to surround ourselves with and talk to other Christians who can help us see the path God is creating for us.
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
*Name has been changed
“We get this amazing opportunity to have extended relationships with clients and pour into them over and over and over again because of physical items we can offer.” – Associate Center Director
Some of the women who come to our centers aren’t pregnant. They’re not even worried they might be pregnant. These women come to our centers for support services.
We are able to help many more men and women and share the gospel with them all because we can offer them diapers or clothing for their babies. Support services is a huge piece of our ministry. It includes providing material resources to men and women who need help with supplies for their children. We can offer diapers, wipes, bottles, clothing, and even some furniture.
It may seem like we are just giving away baby stuff, but in reality we are doing so much more. We are showing God’s love. We are sharing the gospel with each person who seeks support services, and by doing so we are changing people’s lives.
Kiera has been coming to us for support service items since 2014. Every time she has visited, the counselor who assisted her, has kept detailed notes of Kiera’s spiritual journey. Because of the support services we offer, Kiera continues to come back to receive not only the items she needs, but spiritual guidance and prayer, as well.
Here is a timeline of Kiera’s spiritual journey that we helped guide her through over the years as she came to our center:
- 2014- “Kiera doesn’t think she has given her life to Christ yet, but she is on her way.”
- March 2015- “She came for more items. Kiera says she now prays and reads the Bible.”
- June 2015- “We had a long discussion about God, His redemption and restoration, and healing.”
- September 2015- “Kiera isn’t attending one specific church. She was given a church referral list.”
- 2016- “Our discussion was about God’s plans and purposes for Kiera’s life and receiving his grace.”
- 2017- “Kiera expressed a desire to grow in her faith and desires to continue down a path of faith and better choices.”
- February 2018- “Kiera said that she was against trying church because of “being judged.” I shared the gospel with her again, and reminded her of God’s great love for her. She was open to considering Christ.”
- May 2018- “Kiera is still not in church because of judgment and had many questions about the need to be rededicated. The conversation revolved around assurance of salvation and she was given a “How To Find God” Bible.”
- August 2018- “Kiera was seen and has been attending a church. She understands the gospel partially but not grace. Kiera prayed her own prayer of salvation and was given a “12 weeks with God” Bible study.”
On our exit surveys, these are all of Kiera’s responses to the question: “What was most helpful about your visit today?”
Not being judged, someone who can listen to you.
That we talk about having a closer walk with God.
Before I left the lady that prayed with me help me feel at peace and human.
Notice how not ONE of her responses about what was the most helpful about her visit to our center included receiving material support items? Which she did receive, every single time. It wasn’t the clothing, the diapers, or the wipes we gave her that kept her coming back. Kiera longed to know God. It’s evident in her spiritual journey over the course of the 4 years she came to us, and each time she got closer to knowing God and understanding his grace- eventually joining a church!
Kiera’s journey is an amazing reminder of how we are able to transform lives because of something as simple as diapers and clothing. These material items are a gateway to a relationship with Jesus Christ and changing lives for the better.
Note: Client’s name has been changed for privacy reasons.