Roe v. Wade? Or love?
Roe v. Wade is the name of a Supreme Court case decided back in 1973. A case that has divided much of the nation since that day. In my social circle in my tiny berg in Northern Michigan the 1973 decision did not have much impact at the time. Over the years, the gravity of taking the life of an unborn human being by the choice of the mother seemed very wrong to me. I began to be more involved in the prevention of teen pregnancy by being on the board of a group that went into high schools and churches with the message of abstinence. My wife and I supported the group with our finances and our time.
If prevention of pregnancy did not work, we donated to groups like pregnancy resource centers in the hopes of preventing the abortion; instead giving the gift of aftercare to those who decided to keep the baby. We voted pro-life for governor and president which was the initial determinative factor in our vote. All other factors were considered secondary to that pivotal one.
On May 2, I, along with the rest of the nation, heard the news, “the leak,” that Roe was going to be overturned in June. It was a melancholy moment for me which continues to this day. I was pleased on one hand and sad on the other. My joy came from the belief that some babies would live that may have died a year ago. My sadness came from the knowledge that the legalization of abortion which had divided our nation for almost 50 years will continue to divide us for the next 50 years.
The SCOTUS decision of 2022 did not change a single heart. Those who were staunchly pro-life before the June decision are still staunchly pro-life. Those who were adamant about a woman’s right to choose are still adamant. The fact that each of the fifty states is now going to be charged with the decision does not change a single heart. In fact, it intensifies the debate. Those who had the freedom to abort their baby from 1973 to 2022 will now have to fight for that right by getting out the vote, by traveling to another state for an abortion, or by moving to a state in the union that is sensitive to their position. And those in the pro-life camp will continue their campaign to elect politicians to protect the life of the unborn.
But not a single heart has been changed.
I can only speak to my side, the pro-life side. And to us I use the words of a friend who was much more involved in the Right to Life movement than I have ever been, “It is not time to spike the football and say, “We won!””
The battle for votes will still go on. The political action committees on both sides will still beg for money and for bodies to hand out literature and picket a facility of the opposition. Politicians will still cater to whichever side will garner them the most votes. Women and girls will still get pregnant with a baby that they do not want. And some will still look for a way to abort that baby whether it is legal or illegal. The fight will still go on with only the campaign slogans changing. And my heart says that we have “won” nothing.
But we said, those of us on the pro-life side, that we were most concerned about life. The life of the baby and the life of the mother. And in order to save those lives, we hoped to win the heart. Hoping that the heart of that young girl would decide to wait until marriage to have sex. Hoping that the heart of that one who was faced with an unwanted pregnancy would come to love that baby in her womb too much to abort it.
And it continues to be about changing hearts. I will never change anyone’s heart with my yard sign or my political campaign poster no matter how slick its slogan. My only chance to change someone’s heart is by the old-fashioned method of love. Jesus told us that “all men will know you are My disciples by your love one for another.” The New Testament teaches us that the summation of the Old Testament law and prophets is to love the Lord first and secondly to love our neighbor as ourselves.
It is difficult to make that case for love by bombing an abortion clinic. It is difficult to make a case for love by voting, or donating, or by involvement on a political action committee. It is even difficult to make a case for loving my neighbor who is considering abortion by telling them how much I love them. Love is a verb; it is my heart and feet and hands taking action to impact your heart that shows my love.
In my estimation there is as much, or even more place for the Crisis Pregnancy Center or Pregnancy Resource Center today as there was prior to the SCOTUS decision in June. We should not be about spiking the football but about loving the one who has found herself with an unwanted pregnancy. Not to change which party she votes for, but to change her heart. Not to win the battle over abortion, but to win her heart—whether she continues with the abortion or not.
A friend, knowing that it is likely that Michigan will be one of the states that will quickly approve abortion on demand said that he and his wife will probably leave the state if that happens. But what about the women who will need to know that someone loves them and will walk with them in one of the most problematic decisions of their life? And will walk with them after the birth or the abortion? We still love them, even if they choose the way most abhorrent to us—don’t we?
The fight, codified as law in 1973, continues to go on. Nothing has changed, we have only swapped ends of the playing field as a football team would do at halftime. And for those of us who believe in being pro-life, the call to change hearts continues to go on. If our call these last fifty years has been centered on the wrongness of Roe, maybe the first heart that needs to be changed is ours, is mine. I am called to love regardless of which side of the political divide I am on at the time. It is not about the decision of a group of judges, it is about life and the heart—whether that heart agrees with me or not.
The verse we use to show God’s immense love for us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” is not just about Him and His action; it is to be the example for my life and my actions. He sent His Son, not to change minds, but to win hearts. And during Roe, and after Roe, the call to us has not changed. As children of God, we are called to win hearts to Him by patterning our love after His. God sent His Son to die for the entire world, but hearts are changed one at a time.
If the other “side” only knows one thing about us, let them know that we love them.