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Ethics & Religion
Column #2060
Feb. 3, 2021
A Case for Pro-Life
By Mike McManus

When the first "March for Life" rally was held,in 1974, abortion was considered a Catholic issue. A poll taken by the Baptist Sunday School Board found that 70% of Southern Baptist pastors supported abortion to protect the mental or physical health of the mother and 71% in cases of rape.

Fortunately, some evangelicals understood the necessity of protecting life in the womb. When the Supreme Court decided to legalize abortion in 1973, Harold O.J. Brown, then editor of the magazine, Christianity Today, became convinced that "abortion amounted to taking a sacrosanct human life."

One of the men who joined him in creating the Christian Action Council, the first major U.S. evangelical pro-life organization was Dr. C. Everett Koop, a pioneer in pediatric surgery. He wrote a book in 1975, The Right To Live; the Right to Die: Famous Pediatric Surgeon Speaks Out on Abortion and Mercy Killing. Koop quoted Brown in his Memoirs "to awaken the evangelical community to a vital moral issue they were choosing to ignore."

His Memoirs sold a remarkable 200,000 copies. Koop's pro-life activism caught the attention of newly elected president Ronald Reagan, who appointed him U.S. Surgeon General in 1981. When Reagan wrote a book as President, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation - the only book to be published by a U.S. President while in office - he included an essay by Koop, The Slide to Auschwitz.

While a debt is owed to these pioneers, the basic question remains: what is wrong with abortion? Let's put the issue in a very practical way.

Assume that you and your spouse have daughter in her 20s or 30s who is romantically involved with a man. She tells you that she is pregnant. What do you do? Do you encourage her to marry the man and promise a lovely wedding? The child would be born within six or seven months of the wedding, which might be embarrassing.

Or do you suggest that she get an abortion? That would kill a future grandchild.

Alternatively, you could suggest that she have the child and give it up for adoption.

Of these three options, the worst choice is abortion - which extinguishes a precious life.

The number of abortions is declining - but is still huge. In 1990 there were 1,429,000 abortions. That number fell to 623,000 in 2016.

The choice between marriage and adoption depends on the quality of the couple's relationship. Do you and your spouse respect the young man? Is the couple in love?

If so, marriage should be encouraged. I believe the couple with a pregnant daughter ought to encourage her to marry her partner, if he is committed to her and appears to be able to support her. Your embarrassment of having a grandchild relatively soon after the wedding is not important.

With a drop of more than 50% in abortions, one would expect more marriages. However, the marriage rate has also plummeted. In 1960, two-thirds of Americans were married - but only 52% in 2019.

What's alarming is the number of births to unwed mothers. There were 399,000 births to unmarried women in 1970 - but 1,503,000 births in 2018 - nearly quadrupling.

However, there were only 18,300 infant adoptions (and 66,000 from foster care). Furthermore, foreign adoptions have fallen from 23,000 in 2004 to only 2,971 in 2019.

Millions of couples are unable to have a child of their own. They would love to adopt a child. The adoption option is a wonderful alternative to abortion. If the pregnant daughter does not believe she should marry her partner, parents should encourage her to have the child and allow it to be adopted by a childless couple.

That is a difficult decision. Once a woman gives birth to a child, her natural inclination is typically to keep the baby. However, unfortunately, children raised by single mothers do not fare well. They tend to do poorly in school and are less likely to marry than a child of intact parents.

By relinquishing to child to adoption, the young woman also has a much better chance to find a man she really wants to marry.

What matters is the health of your daughter's relationship with the father of the child and the life of your future grandchild.

Abortion is the wrong alternative for everyone.

Marriage is the best answer. And adoption is the best alternative.


Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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