Since the release of the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, it seems that everything is buzzing with non-stop discussions of what will happen next in our nation. People have taken to the streets in protest. The justices of the Supreme Court have been threatened. Experts in every field seemed to have an opinion. Corporations, doctors, lawyers, and political analysts have given their thoughts on what this ruling will mean for women, healthcare, and future elections.
What I’ve concluded from all of their speeches is that most of these people didn’t read the decision. The ruling doesn’t outlaw abortion in the United States. It simply states there is no constitutional guarantee of access to abortions. Without a federal mandate, the decision will revert to the states for legislative action. Instead of one debate over abortion, we now have fifty debates. Each state legislature will make its own decisions on how and when abortions are available to its citizens.
Congress could pass legislation that would answer the question once and for all for our nation, but no one believes either side has ample votes to pass that kind of law.
So, what does this mean? What does it mean for me as a pastor? For my church?
Don’t misunderstand. My church and I are pro-life. We were grateful that Roe was overturned. Yet, for our day-to-day ministry and work, this doesn’t change anything we do. We were a committed pro-life church before and we are a committed pro-life church afterward.
We believe every life carries the image of God within it. We believe every person manifests the glory of God in a unique and wonderful way. We believe every life is sacred.
What has happened in the overturning of Roe is that the pro-choice world has called our bluff. We have often been criticized for caring for children until they were born. Once they were born, we are no longer concerned about how they do. We, politically anyway, don’t support the welfare programs designed to help mothers and children. While this response may be overstated, this ruling gives the church an opportunity to do what the church has always done best: care for widows and orphans.
If the church is indeed pro-life, it must mean more than simply being anti-abortion. The church that is pro-life will now have to be engaged in every moment of that child’s life, the family’s life, and their community’s life to make sure the message of life’s sacred value is both heard and backed up with concrete action. A pro-life church will need to do more than protest abortion. If the church is pro-life, the church will need to be at the center of foster care and adoption. The church must not only call out families to engage in the foster care and adoption processes of their states, but they must also come around every family with support and encouragement. We will lobby to make adoption more family-friendly and less expensive. Currently, adoption is so expensive and legally complex that many families give up in the process.
Every child in the adoption process has dealt with some level of trauma. These families need prayer, financial support, and friends willing take a few hours a week to help with the kids. These families will need counseling and financial support. Older children who are aging out of the process (Can you imagine being 18 with no home or family and only a small state stipend to get you through?) will need a family to walk them into young adulthood and give them a place to eat Thanksgiving dinner.
We don’t need to march in the streets. We don’t need to carry signs. We need to volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers. We need to open our homes to young mothers and their babies. We need to train hundreds – more likely, thousands of volunteers to serve as emergency placement homes, foster homes, and adoptive homes. I understand adoption isn’t for everyone, but everyone can be involved in some way.
When I was growing up, there was an old saying: “Put up or shut up.” The saying challenged the person making a statement to put their money, time, and effort into doing whatever needed to be done to prove the statement true.
The evangelical church has proclaimed to be pro-life. Let’s see if we truly are. The whole world is watching. More than that, so is God Himself.