Thursday, August 31, 2006

Respect for Human Life

In response to my recent Pro-Compassion post, Tom in Ontario offered a section from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada's statement, "Stewards of Creation: Respect for Human Life". I liked it enough that I wanted to repost it. A lot of thought goes into these statements, and then they seem to get filed away and hardly thought about.

Our society does not provide adequate child care resources for the "working poor." Men are not always held responsible for the children they father. Until these systemic problems are dealt with, people will continue to decide that abortion is the least difficult of disturbing options. The economic system will need to be changed so as to encourage and support the choice not to abort.

How is abortion connected with violence in society? with our role in the world-wide arms race? with war around the world and spending priorities of governments? Our society doesn't consistently view life as a gift to be valued and a sacred trust in the true and complete sense.

If, as a society, we truly value life, then simply passing legislation which deals only with abortion per se will not solve our problem or express our value for human life. We must also address those social and economic structures which not make abortion a tragic necessity for some people. Such structures need to be changed. These changes would include (a) restructuring the social welfare system so that single mothers and their children are not trapped in poverty but have adequate economic and emotional support, (b) creating a system of public day care so that all children and parents have access to quality care at reasonable cost, (c) restructuring the child welfare system to provide stable and healthy nurture for all children, (d) creating systems which hold men as accountable as women for all children conceived, and (e) developing systems which provide appropriate medical, financial, and emotional care for all pregnant women. Simply ignoring or criminalizing abortion does not address the real issues. Rather, as Christians we ought to favour legislation which embodies value for human lives. We would especially favour legislation which might result in decreased violence against women and children.

Because we deeply respect human life, and as abortion involves ending a life process, abortion is a serious matter which reflects the complex nature of the human condition. While abortion may be deemed justifiable under exceptional conditions, we are called to explore redemptive alternatives that would eliminate the felt need for abortion.

As people of faith we must commit ourselves to pray for wisdom, guidance, understanding, and love for all who struggle with the reality of abortion; praise God by celebrating and demonstrating respect for human life in our worship, education, service, and outreach; proclaim in word and deed God's compassion for all.

Also relevant, it seems to me, is the famous saying:
Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.


David said...

I agree with everything that is said in this statement; I only wish that it went even further. Abortion is the tragic response to so many factors, not just irresponsible fathers and socio-economics.

In the last few months I have looked at several arguments for and against abortion. There was one article in particular, posted by someone who professes to be Christian that really fueled my fire. I posted on it here.

Thanks for coining the phrase “Pro Compassion”. Concerning abortion, I think that is what we are called to be.

Andy said...

Wow, that article you linked to is awful (the other guy's, not yours). I do think that any Christian position on abortion has to start with the recognition of the wrongness of abortion. We just can't pretend we're done then.