If life was simple, then I’d be an absolute pacifist and ardently anti-abortion. But life isn’t simple.
I mention pacifism in a post about abortion because of parallel responses I’ve had to these issues. I believe the NT teaches that violence is evil but find myself understanding, even admiring, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s decision to participate in a plot to assassinate Hitler. In a world that isn’t simple, which is the more faithful response: non-violence which would allow Hitler’s violent madness to torture more people, or committing a violent act to stop Hitler? People of faith chose both options. I’m not in a position to judge any of them, including Bonhoeffer who chose something that I oppose.
Similarly, I once knew a couple, pregnant with their third child, who discovered that their new baby had an awful deformity which would prevent the child from having a decent quality of life for however long it might live. In addition, caring for such a child would take huge emotional and financial resources away from their other 2 small children. So, which is the more faithful response: choosing to have the baby and giving it whatever life is possible, or choosing abortion so as to prevent a baby’s suffering and give the resources for life to their other 2 children? I moved away before they had to decide and never knew what choice they made. But I was clear that I could not pass judgment on them no matter what choice they made.
The stereotype of the woman who callously gets rid of an “inconvenient” pregnancy is just that — a stereotype. It has little to do with the harsh reality which mothers (and fathers) sometimes find themselves facing.
Sometimes our choices in life are gut-wrenching. Sometimes our choices aren’t between right and wrong options but between incredibly painful ones. I am clear that in such moments we must make our choices in the presence of God and surrounded by people who love us, support us, pray with us, cry with us. NO ONE should be able to tell us which choice we can or cannot make in such a moment. NO ONE is in a position to pass judgment on us when we face gut-wrenching choices. So, I support the decision in Roe v. Wade, but I do so with sadness, knowing that if life weren’t so difficult at times, then the justices’ decision wouldn’t have been necessary.