There has been a lot of talk about Planned Parenthood in the media the last few weeks. Much of this talk has centered around the group doing certain things in abortions to allow them to sell body parts, the GOP’s intent to defund the organization, and the President’s claims to veto any bill that would do just that. At the end of this past week, it appears that not enough votes were given to formally defund the group. But regardless of what our government does with our tax dollars, as Christians, we must ask ourselves whether we should support or condemn the work they are doing.
First, it is worth noting that the leaked videos were obtained by deception. This calls into question their validity. I do not believe the end justifies the means. This means that it was morally wrong to go about obtaining the information on the videos in an unethical manner. This however, does not discount the information in the videos. There is no way that the videos can be construed to show the group in a positive light.
Second, many who support Planned Parenthood focus on all the other things that Planned Parenthood does. They provide breast exams, they test for STD’s, they offer prenatal services for women who want to keep their babies, etc. These are all good things. Supporters then emphasize that abortions make up only 3% of all the forms of care they provide. While this is true, they don’t emphasize that the 3% equals over 300,000 abortions per year. They also neglect to share that Planned Parenthood accounts for 30% of all abortions performed in America each year.
So what do we do? On one hand, the organization aids women (and men) in a number of important healthcare concerns that are indeed very good. On the other, they assist in something that Christians have condemned officially since the first century AD. In fact, in the Didache, a book about the moral character of Christians, penned between 60 and 90 AD, it states, “thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide (2.4).”
The big deal with abortions and Christianity is the belief that life is a gift from God. Christians believe, and the Bible teaches, that God knits people together in the womb. It teaches that God breathes life into each individual person. It teaches that God knows us in our development before the birth event. Christians oppose abortion because we see it as murder. It is the murder of a life that has no voice of its own. It is the murder of the innocent, and it is legalized as a way for people to avoid consequences of certain actions.
Now here let me pause and say a few things about actions. I know some will say, “but what if a person is pregnant because she was raped,” or “what if a person has an ectopic pregnancy?” I am not saying that abortions are never necessary, but rarely are they the only option and a necessary procedure to save a person’s life. The ectopic pregnancy is the exception. For a woman who is raped, that is a tragic event. The life in her is still no less valuable. I would recommend that a person in this circumstance look into adoption if she is unable to cope with the idea of raising the child herself. But why let one bad event result in the prevention of another person’s opportunity to live? One more thing worth noting is that we are all born into sin. Birth defects, mental issues, identity issues, and other such things that make us less than perfect when we are born are a result of sin. But for whatever reason, God allows different people to be born with certain ailments. Some that will last for a person’s entire life. Regardless of any ailments a person is born with, and regardless of the circumstances surrounding a person’s birth (unwed parents, one night stands, etc.), each person is intrinsically valuable in the sight of God. All people bear God’s image and we have no right to prevent them from having a chance at life.
Back to the issue at hand. I believe that all humans have a right to live outside of the womb. Those who are killed in the womb through elective medical procedures are in-fact murdered. This is antithetical to all that God has in mind for life. It goes against his first command to humans to be fruitful and multiply. The support of abortion has no part in Christianity.
All of the services offered by Planned Parenthood that are good and that Christians can get on board with are also provided by alternative healthcare groups that do not practice abortions. At the same time, many groups besides Planned Parenthood provide abortions. So to say that we do not support a hospital that specializes in cardiovascular surgery because it also provides abortions, seems a bit out of place. What makes Planned Parenthood different from most hospitals is that they only provide care as it concerns prenatal care. They test for STD’s and Cancer, but they do not provide treatments for most of these, only diagnosis. There are some STD’s they can help people with, but not all. A hospital is an all-inclusive place for medical treatment.
But what about all the jobs that would be lost if Planned Parenthood lost its funding? Anytime people are put out of work it is tragic. But I do not suggest closing the doors on Planned Parenthood. Instead, I suggest that we as Christians become more vocal about our belief in the sanctity of life. We take a moral stand against the murder of the innocent. We push for places like Planned Parenthood to be banned from practicing elective abortions (even in early terms). And when we find ourselves in need of prenatal care, we find alternative places to go that do not provide abortions.
I do not suggest that we go around bombing Planned Parenthood clinics. I do not suggest that we insult all people employed by Planned Parenthood, and we do not assume that everyone who visits a Planned Parenthood clinic has murder in her heart. Instead, we pray for the leaders of Planned Parenthood. We pray that God will change their minds about what they are doing and providing. We pray for the employees that they will not turn to suicide, depression, or other inadequate fixes for any emotions that may be overwhelming them in light of recent media coverage. We pray that God would draw to himself all those who are involved in Planned Parenthood. And as Christians, we pray for young mothers (especially those who are without support) that they would be willing to give their little one’s a chance in this world (either as their own or as one adopted by another family).
What is your attitude towards Planned Parenthood? How does it need to change? And what are you going to do to make that happen?
As something else to think about, here is an article on why the group cannot donate some tissues of aborted babies. This story was shared with me by a dear friend and colleague, Dr. Philip Mitchell: http://thefederalist.com/2015/07/29/why-planned-parenthood-cant-donate-tissue-from-harvested-babies/#.Vb6e9pQH6sA.twitter