Creating a Culture that Values Life
By Edna King
When the legislature in New York erupted into spontaneous creepy cheers after loosening restrictions on late-term abortions, they shocked the rest of us into paying attention to the grisly truths about abortion. Many of us would like to take some kind of action to help the unborn and their mothers, but it’s hard to know what to do. We’re not activists, but we want to do something. How can we best support the pro-life cause in our everyday life?
Pro-life means a lot more than being against abortion- it encompasses seeing others as created in the image of God so every life is valuable. We see others with a heart of love. Part of that love is recognizing our responsibility to protect and value unborn babies and wanting to help and not condemn their mothers. The March for Life is one day of the year, but our personal march for life can be everyday choices, prayers, and actions that change our lives and the lives around us.
Wondering what that might look like? Here is a list of resources I’ve complied to help us find everyday ways to help these innocent babies:
Pray for the unborn, that they may see life in this world. Pray for the mamas, that they may have hope and strength to choose life for their children. Keeping in mind that many women choose abortion to please others, pray for the people around these women that they may see possibilities instead of burdens. Here are Orthodox prayers for the sanctity of life. Print them out and add them to your daily prayers this Lent. Participate in a 40 days for Life - a new campaign is starting March 6th, just before Lent. 40 days for Life is about prayer and fasting for the unborn. It also includes opportunities to peacefully and lovingly silently pray with others outside abortion clinics. I have done this, just with friends, many years ago. It is a little scary, but it’s also a bit like walking right into the arena because abortion clinics are places full of despair and pain. These are places that need prayer. Here is a moving (and not scary) Orthodox description of what prayerfully mourning for babies who have been aborted and for others is.
Abortion harms women too. Be watchful of your heart and conversations, especially on the topic of abortion. Statistically, many Christian women have had an abortion. It’s likely that women close to you have had an abortion but keep this a profound secret. We must balance grace with truth. Give hope to those who are hurting from the pain of abortion while telling the truth about it to protect others from falling into the same pit.
After an abortion, many women have emotional wounds that fester but have few resources to get help. This describes in a compassionate way the psychological pain felt by women who’ve had an abortion. Be sensitive to the silent heartbreak of those around you, but also be informed that there is help. Rachel’s Vineyard is a unique resource to help heal the wounds of a woman who has had an abortion. Don’t try to guess who’s had an abortion; just always be compassionate when it’s tempting to be condemning.
Be the voice of hope--even on social media. Hold up the beauty of love and truth. Pro-life is the strong, beautiful, hopeful choice-- spread that message.
Get informed. Find out about the facts such as what a viable fetus is, what the stats are about abortion, and more. Then find out about resources in your community that can help women and babies in need. Check out the Susan B Anthony List, National Right to Life , Priests for Life, Human Coalition and Heartbeat International for more information. There are also Orthodox resources such as Orthodox Christians for Life. What has our church always taught about abortion? From the first century Christians have valued life in the womb. Medical advances only strengthen that pro-life position.
Volunteer or Donate. Zoe for Life is our Orthodox pregnancy resource center, but in your local community there is almost certainly a pregnancy resource center which helps women and babies in need. These centers often offer free pregnancy tests, advice on alternatives to abortion, a referral to a physician who has a sliding scale, baby clothes, parenting classes and more. Volunteering can be a simple as sorting baby clothes.
Vote. What are the laws in your state about late-term abortion? Find out here. If your governor says something horrifying about late-term abortion- call their office and let them know what the truth is. Right now several states (Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and Illinois) are considering lifting bans on late-term abortion- like New York already has. If you live in one of those states, take action now. Know the laws in your state and make it clear that you support life. Here is a way for you to contact your representatives and here is advice on how to make that contact effective. Encourage other people you know to write, e-mail, or call to let our elected officials know we are holding them accountable for their votes.
March for life. Go to the next March for Life and bring friends. Many people would like to go but are uncomfortable about marching in the street. Protesting sounds like a chaotic, angry thing, but that is not the feeling at a March for Life. The March for Life is a beautiful, prayerful experience and family friendly. It would be a great place to bring your teen group! March for Life events are not just in Washington. There may be one near where you live. Plan now for next year.
Right now we have an opportunity, while people are shocked and talking about abortion, to foster a culture of life. Talk about life, not just abortion. On May 4, 2019, Focus on the Family is renting a jumbo Tron in Times Square to show live 4-D ultrasounds to the people of NY so they can have a clear image of what a baby in the womb looks like. They are showing something beautiful to wake up people to the horror of the new late-term abortion laws.
In our own small ways, we can do the same thing. Creating a culture that values life can begin with prayer, followed by small everyday attitudes and actions. These are things each of us can do.
Do you have any other suggestions or resources? Please leave them in the comments below!