Proposition 3: A Sad Day to be a Michigander

The recent news after the mid-term elections is not all that good.  In fact, I am feeling sadder than sad.  Only the biblical concept of lament comes even close to what I feel: This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” – Jeremiah 31:15

I am a bit angry. Maybe more than a bit. But I am also hopeful. Sad, mad, and hopeful. All at the same time. If I wrote all that I would like to write here, trying to express my sad, mad, hopeful heart, this would be a very long blog indeed!  So, I will try to stay somewhat brief. What you will read here in this blog is a short framing of why I am sad, mad, and hopeful, as I will try to express why this is a personal issue for me. And finally, I do want to leave those of you who read this, with a sense of hope, even while you rightly, too, may feel sad and mad over these recent days. First, the framing . . .

The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion at the federal level, voided a 1931 Michigan law that made performing an abortion a felony in most cases. But the law lay dormant for about 50 years, and when Roe was recently overturned, the state had an opportunity to reinstate the 1931 law.  As many of you now know, on Nov.8, 2002, Michigan voters did just that – reinstated the 1931 law. From everything I have read, this will effectively place Michigan at the top tier of states with very liberal abortion laws. Now, of course, for some people this “liberality” of abortion access is a good thing. Our governor elect, Gretchen Whitmer said, upon passing of this proposition, and I quote, Damn it feels good to be a Michigander”, and “We are feeling damned good about where we are headed.” – Gretchen Whitmer

 Well, I think I can say with a fair amount of certainty, that the pre-born babies in Michigan, and those who voted against proposition 3 are not feeling “damned” good about any of this. Perhaps, just damned. 

Some other headlines: “Michigan votes to protect constitutional right to reproductive freedom” I can’t stand that phrase: “Reproductive Freedom”. That, of course is code for “right to kill” a pre-born baby. I believe that once a woman becomes pregnant, the “freedom” to terminate her pregnancy has been taken away, even if, God-forbid, she has become pregnant against her will, or, to save her life. I suppose such a stance makes me a “monster” in the eyes of some, but the percentage of women who abort their babies because of rape/incest/to save her life is almost statistically non-existent. Our church here at CrossWay, have supported for years, the work of our local Pregnancy Resource Center, who proved care and encouragement for women in unplanned pregnancies. It is a straw man argument to suggest if one has a view of not supporting abortion, even in the cases of rape/incest/health of the mother, that one is not consistently “pro-life”, that we only care for the pre-born baby and not the life of the mother-to-be.   If we think we have the wisdom to know what babies should/should not be born because of these terrible circumstances surrounding the baby’s conception, we are kidding ourselves. It’s just a smokescreen to more liberality of terminating the life of the baby. Abortion as birth-control. Abortion as guaranteeing a “quality” of life for both the mom and Dad. And “Dads” – be a man. You are not a ”man” just because you impregnated your girlfriend or wife. A man will do what he must do to protect his wife and child. Allowing for the killing of the baby (“it’s her problem, not mine”) is not something you must participate in. It’s boyish. Childish. Act like a man.  If you made a girl pregnant, and you are not “ready” to be a dad, walk with your lady through her pregnancy and encourage at the very least adoption. And, unless and until you are ready to act like a man, stop having sex and keep your pants on. 

Another soundbite from our governor: “Access to reproductive care saves lives. I’ll keep fighting like hell” . . . “You’re saving lives. Thank you.” . . . Every person is respected and protected under the law, a place where women make their own decisions”. Unless, of course you are a preborn female baby. The decision whether you live or die is taken away from you.   The irony of these words from our governor is striking.  Then there is the slogan I saw from many proponents of proposition 3: “My body my choice”.  I ask, wouldn’t our preborn babies say the same thing? Oh, I forget: They don’t count. Only the life of the mother counts. I could go on, but I will stop at that. The lies and hypocrisy only discourage me. 

And yes, so much of this feels personal.  My son Jared, who was born with Down Syndrome, is one reason why. (You can see Jared and me in the headline picture of this blog!)  The estimates vary, but from 60-90% of babies diagnosed in the United States with Down Syndrome are aborted. Quality of life is the reason for the abortion. Our sanctity of life ethic, both for the mother and pre-born, has sadly been replaced with this “quality” of life ethic.  Again, we do not have the wisdom to decide what constitutes a “quality” of life.   In Denmark, for example, the Danish Cytogenetic Central Register, shows an average of 98% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth are aborted each year.  A few years back, we had an exchange student from Denmark. She was very curious about Jared and grew quickly to love him like a brother. She told me you don’t see many Down Syndrome people in Denmark. You don’t have to wonder why. They were all killed. Well, at least 98% of them were.  She came to see that in so many ways, on a human level, Jared as the “glue” that holds our family together. Jared knows how to love probably better than anyone else in our family!  If by just this one metric alone (the ability to show unconditional love) is the criteria whether or not someone has a “quality” of life, then maybe the population of “healthy/normal” people vs. that of Down Syndrome and other people with disabilities would be inverse.

Finally, I realize that for my “reproductive rights” friends, perhaps very little I say here will sound reasonable, kind, or compassionate. I have known people who have struggled with this decision of whether or not to abort a child. It is gut-wrenching. I know from my years as a Pastor, that guilt, anger, and despair often follow, for years, those who have made a decision to abort. I will just say that please believe, the “bogey-man” of the “evangelical Christian” who does not support women’s rights, etc., is also that strawman that I mentioned earlier in this blog. I suppose there may be some people out there who care more about being “right” than being compassionate to those with unplanned pregnancies, but I have not yet met such a person. And, the most compassionate thing, I believe, a person can do to help those with unplanned pregnancies, is to encourage the carrying of this child to full-term. To not abort. Yes, it will be difficult, but a short-term solution to not abort does not solve the “problem” of an unplanned pregnancy. In the long run, carrying your child to full term and delivery is surely the most compassionate thing to do, certainly for the baby, but also for our dear Moms. 

So, friends, keep praying. Keep working for the sanctity of all life. If you know of a young lady who is struggling with the decision to abort or not abort, love her. Have her over for dinner. Be her friend. Volunteer at and financially support your local Pregnancy Resource Center. And don’t give up hope or become chronically angry and bitter. We don’t want to become like that/whom we might aim legitimate criticism toward. We do not want to support any unfair caricatures the “other side” might have toward Christians who believe the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. We must be known for being “Good News” people, even when the news doesn’t seem all that good.