The whole abortion debate is one of those topics where it seems like the two sides are always talking past each other. There is no real dialogue because neither seems to understand or acknowledge the other one’s position. You can hear it in their nicknames: pro-choice and pro-life; they aren’t even discussing the same things.
As a Christian, I am in the pro-life camp, but I think we are often too hard on the other side. Honestly, I understand where they are coming from. Having had four kids, I can say that the whole process of pregnancy and birth is a pretty invasive one. It shouldn’t be the sort of decision someone else makes for you. If I didn’t believe in a higher power to whom I as well as my babies belong, if I hadn’t had any reason to say that the life growing inside was an eternal soul, I don’t know why I would have shown it deference, placing its needs before my own. In a world without God, that just doesn’t make sense. As Christians, we are called in many ways to die to ourselves and to place others’ interests before our own. We emulate Jesus when we do so. We can do so because He considered our lives more important than His own. But without that basis, what reason is there?
Nonetheless, I think the whole pro-choice position actually owes a lot to Christianity. Because they are right to a large extent. A woman does has rights over her own body, at least relative to other people. It is a pretty unique thing historically speaking for us to say that a woman (or anyone for that matter) can say what happens to her body. Unfortunately, it seems still to be a unique thing in the world today. There are many places where the abuse of women is still widely accepted. And it wasn’t so long ago that a woman was considered the property of whatever men were in her life, whether her father, husband or employer. And no one said too much when those men did what they wanted to her.
So when an advocate of abortion says that a woman should have control of her own body, they are absolutely correct. That is not a right I want to see us lose. But the problem is that they stop there. From a Christian perspective, I say, “Yes, I have the right to control my own body but when it comes to pregnancy, I submit; I give up that right for the sake of another life which hasnt even seen the light of day yet.”