What it Means to Be Pro-Life: A Response to New York and Other Legislation
Written by: Jeremiah Storkson
There are times where things in the world carry an impact that gives some extreme joy and others absolute horror and heartbreak. Recently, a legislative decision in the state of New York has caused a similar reaction. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that allows abortions after 24 weeks if the mother’s health is at risk or there is no fetal viability. This makes way for the allowance of late-term abortions if the life of the mother is at risk. It also expands the amount of health care workers who can perform abortions, beyond just physicians. The law also removes abortion from the criminal code in New York. It is considered by both sides to be a major bill in the history of the abortion issue. I have provided a link that explains the bill further at the end of this article. OKWU is also very active in the pro-life fight, promoting the dignity of life with a Save the Storks mobile ultrasound unit. The 2017 news release about this endeavor says, “The van will be used to aid OKWU School of Nursing, along with partners like the Cottage of Bartlesville and other regional pregnancy resource centers. OKWU is currently the only university in the country to own and operate a Save the Storks unit which reaches out to at-risk mothers and saves unborn lives.”
This issue is extremely complex and very emotional. If you are a follower of Jesus, you will find numerous areas of Scripture and Scriptural truths that are against abortion. One of the Scriptural refutations that we find is in Genesis 1:26-27.
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness. … So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (NIV).
We also find another truth about God’s care in our creation in Psalm 139:13.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (NIV).
I could give you countless examples from Scripture that affirm the idea that God values every single one of us, from the WOMB to the TOMB. In the eyes of God, the oppression, mistreatment, or killing of any life is heartbreaking. This heartbreak absolutely happens when the life of an unborn child is taken away. It is an abrupt ending to an object of the extreme love and vast creativity of God.
We must care about the unborn as followers of Christ. It is no longer scientifically disputed that the fetus in the womb is in fact a human being. This confirmation carries giant implications for human rights. Life becomes extremely dangerous when we begin deciding who can live and who can die. It is a slippery slope to slide down.
In our passion about unborn children, we cannot miss the fact that a decision whether to have an abortion usually includes a mom and dad, or a single parent, facing some sort of crisis. We need to see that the parents need care in this process as well as their children. That leads into the main point of this article. I want to give two important ways that Christians can be actively pro-life. The first is about speaking up against legislation, and the second way is focused on living a life that is pro-life.
The first area of this that I want to talk about is on the legislative side of the abortion issue. I got the awesome opportunity to connect with Kate Baldwin, sister of junior English major and writer on The Eagle, Emma Baldwin. Kate, who is extremely passionate about protecting the rights of the unborn, is a registered nurse in a pediatric unit. Recently, she has been active in opposing NM HB-51, a bill that recently passed the House in New Mexico and is like the recent New York bill. Kate has even testified in court against this legislation.
In her letter to a representative, she gave her perspective as a nurse. She talks about the impact laws like this can have on the teenagers she treats: “As a nurse of children, I know that teenagers are ill-equipped to make medical decisions on their own. Under normal circumstances, pain, anxiety, and exhaustion can cloud any patient’s decision making. Add in the hormones and stress of an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, and a teen mother would be in no position to make a life-changing decision.” She continues, “If House Bill 51 passed, teenagers (minors) would no longer need parental consent before receiving an abortion. … [I believe] they should not be given the highly emotional and important task of choosing an abortion without the support and guidance of their parents or guardians.”
This is so important. We need to consider the rights of the teenagers that may be coerced into decisions that they will regret greatly, or even be impacted health-wise. Kate makes the point that abortion puts them in jeopardy. She also discussed the impact that laws like this have on doctors and nurses such as herself. By standing for the unborn, she is also standing up for her own right to follow the convictions God has given her. She says, “House Bill 51 would jeopardize the morals of all doctors and nurses in our state, [since it] takes away the right to conscience, by taking away the ability to refuse to participate in this procedure. I refuse to ever be put in this position. All lives are sacred. We are created inimitably in the image of God. I will never take part in an abortion procedure because I know that all lives are created equal and no baby deserves to die in the womb.”
We as Christians should be resisting these bills. Are you contacting your representative about issues such as abortion? We should care about these things! That is the first area of opposing abortion that I believe is important. We need Christ-like activism when it comes to this issue. To clarify, I do not mean picketing and being hateful, I mean fighting for the rights of the unborn in ways that reflect Jesus: standing up boldly, not in bitterness or hate.
The second important area of the anti-abortion efforts is on the ground-floor. Some people are called to the courts and the legislative processes, but I believe that many others are called to be in the trenches. One of those people is actually my mom, Michele Storkson. She has been ministering to abortion-minded women for as long as I can remember. She does not picket or protest at abortion clinics; instead, she connects with women and couples who are dealing with decisions whether to terminate their pregnancies, and she shows them an ultrasound and shares the gospel with them.
The results are incredible, as the clinic she is at, Crossroads Clinic in Oklahoma City, reaches many abortion-minded women. She says, “There are so many stories. … Many [of the women we serve] are going to college and think they will lose their scholarships if they have an abortion (which isn’t true). Many who come in are scared. Many have parents or family members that they feel (or have been told they will) will disown them if they have a baby. Many are churchgoers who haven’t shared their secret with anyone from church for fear they will be judged and rejected.”
But when my mom and her clinic minister to these women, many of them choose life. My mom says, “Those are the happiest moments! We are able to share the hope and healing available through Jesus.”
So why should Christians care about this issue? My mom asserts, “Each and every life has intrinsic value. God sees children as children; whether unborn, newborn, toddler, or youth. Unlike the rest of creation, God made human life in His own image, to reflect His own glory.” There’s a battle going on, and we need people to fight in the trenches. My mom says to volunteer, because “[t]hese clinics need help because unfortunately the helpers are few. Abortion effects everyone involved; the mother of the baby, father of the baby, siblings, future siblings, etc. Afterwards, many live in guilt and shame. [Pregnancy centers] offer help and hope.”
I pray that you engage in some way with the efforts against the tragedy and infanticide that is abortion. I truly believe that in our lifetime, it can end. Both ways, standing for life in the courts and serving in the community, matter, but I also want to challenge the idea of being “pro-life.” Why do we say “pro-life” rather than just “anti-abortion”? Being pro-life is important because we as Christians need to value every life in every stage, from the WOMB to the TOMB.
Does your life reflect a pro-life way of living?
Sometimes being pro-life means mentoring a teen who desperately needs someone to connect with them. Sometimes it looks like doing youth ministry, providing relief for poverty, standing against racism, caring for the immigrant or refugee, or helping the homeless. Whatever it looks like, it means getting messy in the lives of those who don’t have it all figured out. It means loving people like Christ loves us.
What are you doing to live a life that is truly pro-life? Who are you building relationships with? Yes, be active against these awful laws and serve in crisis pregnancy centers, but also be the Capital “C” church in the way you carry out the second greatest commandment, which is to simply love your neighbor. That commandment sums up the job of a Christian in every issue. That is the job of the Church. Let’s live pro-life lives.