There are pitfalls with much of the Democratic Party’s platform, just like there are with the Republican Party’s platform. There are some Christians who lean to the right say they cannot support any Democratic candidate. They may say something along the lines of “No, I can’t vote for them, they support abortion.” 2016 until now have been eye-opening to the psychology of Americans on the right and left of the political spectrum. 2020 has been keeping everyones eye’s wide open. Why do so many Christians support President Trump when so many of his policies and actions in office do not support Christian beliefs? Why has the Church (meaning mostly the evangelical community but also the Catholic community) decided that abortion will be the only thing they care about on the ballot? Now, I’m not going to come out and say that Christians cannot be Republicans or anything like that because this is America and you’re entitled to your political belief.
Check out this article for the full rundown of Catholic debate on single-issue voting: https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/bishops-debate-over-preeminence-abortion-goes-public?fbclid=IwAR07OaWUl8ONEeTNypaKBWpkPJyfx3w5Q1-6Ow9ymaEXRcd3QpBieotiFKI
Check out this link for the full explanation of the Council of Bishops on “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” and I suggest you read this even if you aren’t Catholic: https://www.usccb.org/offices/justice-peace-human-development/forming-consciences-faithful-citizenship
In the article I linked above, the author, Christopher White, talks about how the Council of Bishops got into a big debate about the phrase “preeminent priority” in their issue of “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.” White writes, quoting Bishop John Stowe of Kentucky that: “Bishop McElroy makes a very good case that intrinsic means that the act by itself can’t be justified in any context. It doesn’t mean it has more urgency or more priority or more importance than some of the other issues,” said Stowe, noting that many acts are defined by the church as intrinsically evil.” There are many intrinsically evil things that the Church stands against. Let’s look at some of them:
In 1993, Saint Pope John Paul II came out with this encyclical called “Veritatis Splendor.” In this article, he talks about a lot of Catholic teachings and one of them is the idea of things that the Church finds “intrinsically evil.” Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“The Second Vatican Council itself, in discussing the respect due to the human person, gives a number of examples of such acts: ‘Whatever is hostile to life itself, such as any kind of homicide, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and voluntary suicide; whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture and attempts to coerce the spirit; whatever is offensive to human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution and trafficking in women and children; degrading conditions of work which treat labourers as mere instruments of profit, and not as free responsible persons: all these and the like are a disgrace, and so long as they infect human civilization they contaminate those who inflict them more than those who suffer injustice, and they are a negation of the honour due to the Creator.'”
Read the full article here: http://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_06081993_veritatis-splendor.html
Now, where does it say that above all these, abortion is the only thing a Christian (Catholic) should care about? Where in the Bible does it say that all Christians are called to only care about abortion? Abortions still happened during Bible times. “Exodus 21:22–24 describes two men fighting and accidentally hitting a pregnant woman’s stomach causing a premature birth that does not result in further injury as a non-capital offense and a ‘non-serious injury,’ unless it results in the crime of murder. Commentators such as Bruce Waltke have presented this as evidence that ‘God does not regard the fetus as a soul‘. Everett Koop disagreed with this interpretation.Numbers 5:11-31 describes the test of the unfaithful wife. If a man is suspicious of his wife’s fidelity, he would take her to the high priest. The priest would make a substance for the woman to drink made from water and ‘dust from the tabernacle floor’. If she had been unfaithful ‘her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse.’ If she was innocent the drink had no effect.”
Read the full article here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_abortion
So abortions were around during Bible times, why didn’t Jesus say anything about it? Well, maybe he did. Let’s go to Mark 5:25-34:
25 There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. 26 She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. 28 [a]She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” 29 Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 30 Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” 31 But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’” 32 And he looked around to see who had done it. 33 The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. 34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
What if this woman was bleeding because of a botched abortion? Now, I’m not saying she did, but what if she did. I brought this story into this conversation because I think it goes to show that no matter what was wrong with this woman, Jesus saw her suffering and healed her without question. Jesus had great compassion for this woman. Let’s try to keep that compassion going as we continue talking about abortion.
No one really wants to get an abortion. Abortion is not some kind of bucket-list experience for people to go through. The choice to get an abortion is not made lightly. Not everyone wants to be pregnant. If the only counter to this argument is “If you don’t want to be pregnant, don’t have sex,” that is ascribing a moral code to someone who doesn’t align with it and your dissent is misconstrued. People who get abortions are suffering emotionally, mentally, physically, and possibly even financially. What is the normal Christian response to someone suffering?
We pray for those who are suffering. We work to make sure the things that are making them suffer are solved. We make sure the person suffering feels loved and seen by the Church; we bring people in the Church. If a person comes forward and says that they have been unfaithful in their marriage, what are we called to do? Well I’ll tell you what Jesus does in John 8:10-11:
“Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ 11 She replied, ‘No one, sir.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.’]”
We are not to condemn–exact a judgment–on others. We approach people in love. We do not tell people they’re going to hell because of “x.” I know of only one God who can make that call.
Voting for a candidate just because they don’t support abortion is wrong, and conversely, voting for a candidate just because they do support abortion is wrong. There are many things that Saint Pope John Paul II listed in his encyclical and yes abortion is one of them, but that does not mean it is the only one. Christians are called to care for more than just the unborn. There are people being starved, trafficked, and enslaved right now and we should care about them too. What is the Church doing to help stop poverty, homelessness, abuse of workers, etc?
I do not support making all abortions illegal. Banning abortions will not stop abortions just like banning all guns will not stop people from getting guns. If I had consensual sex and got pregnant, I personally would choose to not have an abortion and I would opt for giving my child up for adoption, depending on the circumstance. However, I believe that any person who is carrying a child and does not want to be pregnant, should not have to remain so because of a religious belief which they may not even hold themselves. If Hindu’s in America can exist with the Beef Industry and the desecration of cows who are considered very holy in their religion, American Christians can let abortion exist too. I do agree that abortion access should be regulated and there should be limits on the timeline in which a person can obtain an abortion.
I do not think abortion should be illegal but in response to that, let’s make abortion the last option and help people who are pregnant get the support they need: free access to healthcare (physical and mental) for pregnant people, paid maternity and paternity leave for at least 12 months, and public daycare just to name a few. Now we are fighting poverty, hunger, as well as abortion. People often get abortions because they could not handle having a child, but if we care so much about these unborn kids, why are we not doing more to help pregnant people? Also, the foster system needs some MAJOR work.
Let me be clear: I don’t want there to be any more abortions ever. I think abortion is a tragedy and I want every person who chooses to become pregnant to enjoy that experience of holding life within them. However, restricting what a person can and cannot do with their own body not only affects them but also their financial stability and their mental stability which will have long-lasting effects. Forcing a person to carry a child, especially without any kind of support because kids are EXPENSIVE AND MENTALLY TAXING is wrong and we can do more for pregnant people.
What I was hoping to accomplish in this piece is the same goal I have for my blog: to tug at your perspective. I want you to have finished reading this article and you’re now walking away with something new to consider. It doesn’t matter to me if your views are changed, I only wish to challenge them here.
(Also, if you’re reading this and wondering why I keep using the term “pregnant people” it’s because pregnancy usually involves two people and not all people who are pregnant identify as a woman. If you have an issue with me saying that, that’s fine, but that’s a subject for another time.)