A letter to the Church on unplanned pregnancy

In past articles for Live Action News, I typically address abortion proponents and pro-choice rhetoric. After all, in a movement that conducts birth control trials on thirteen-year-olds and routinely covers up medical malpractice, there’s a lot to discuss.

But today, I’m changing directions. This article forces the condemning spotlight away from the abortion industry for a moment, allowing the harsh beams to fall on our own movement. It’s time to place ourselves under scrutiny. Are our actions consistent with the pro-life values we so righteously profess?

Judging by some personal experiences and several other stories I have heard related to unplanned pregnancy in the Church, I fear we are tragically failing to uphold the same pro-life values in the Church we so fervently profess in the culture.

This message is for the Church.

I am thankful to say the churches I regularly come into contact with take a firm pro-life stance in the abortion debate. However, the convictions we affirm are confirmed or undermined by the behaviors we exercise, and this truth reveals a painful flaw in the pro-life beliefs of some Christians in the Church. We proudly assert our support of life in respect to the abortion issue, yet those pro-life convictions are not consistently displayed in our attitude towards unexpected pregnancies.

Surprisingly, I’m not referring to the teenage girl out-of-wedlock unexpected pregnancy. No, this type of unexpected pregnancy tends to be identified as a potential abortion situation, and church members quickly rally around the woman voicing encouraging Christian pro-life rhetoric and affirming their support for the pregnancy. (This is wonderful and I am truly grateful to see the pro-life message embodied in action.)

Rather, I’m talking about a slightly different type of unplanned pregnancy. The young married couple, still in college, who became pregnant sooner than intended. The financially struggling married couple who find themselves pregnant again and raising a family of young children slightly closer in age than planned. It is situations like these that seem to cause a glitch in our pro-life thinking.

To be fair, I have been grateful to witness an outpouring of love, excitement, and encouragement in the event of these unplanned pregnancies from many congregation members. Yet I have also witnessed a disheartening amount of negative responses from other church members. The derogatory comments I have heard have filled me with shock, anger, and sorrow for these dear parents who are trying to celebrate their unplanned pregnancy as a precious gift from a sovereign God. This couple is well aware of the challenges that accompany raising several young children and the financial difficulties they will face, yet they are courageously embracing God’s plan for their family and rejoicing over the gift of another child. As they fight the doubts and worries of a parent that inevitably plague their own minds, one would certainly hope that this couple is surrounded by fellow Christians who lovingly affirm their support of this pregnancy and encourage them of the goodness of God’s perfect plan. Allow me to share with you some of the responses they received from the body of Christ:

“What were you thinking?”

“God’s good plan in this must be so hard for you to understand.”

“Are you worried about the finances?”

“How irresponsible to have so many children!”

“You know how that happens, right?”

“Wow! And I thought you two had your hands full already!”

“Surely this wasn’t planned – right?”

I hope your heart breaks over these harsh comments as much as mine does. These remarks sound more like the words of an abortion counselor than the words of pro-life Christians. Focusing on pregnancy as unplanned, expensive, and difficult, these comments eerily resemble euphemized pro-choice rhetoric, portraying unplanned pregnancy as a needless burden that would best not exist. Yet these words came from the mouths of God’s people, the very people who claim children are a blessing from the Lord.

The Pharisees were men of grand convictions. They believed in all the great laws of God, laws that protected the innocent and provided for the outcast. Yet they are best known as men who preached great truths but failed to live out Biblical principles in the most basic ways. God forbid that we become pro-life Pharisees, proudly affirming our pro-life beliefs but failing to live out our convictions by joyfully embracing all pregnancies.

May we as Christ’s church demonstrate our pro-life beliefs by celebrating each life – planned or unplanned – as a gift from the Lord, the God who sovereignly governs our families, our finances, and the conception of each child.

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