Sometimes, I’d like to pretend that our girls aren’t growing up. I’d like to sidestep conversations or be less than forthcoming because the world is a hard place to live in, and their innocence is disappearing faster than I would like. But if I want them to be young women who can thrive in their culture and honor Christ as they step into adulthood, I have to speak to tough things in a way that doesn’t ignore or explain away difficult issues.
So it was with the talk that Ana and I had on abortion the other day.
It began with a question about politics and what each of the candidates believe, about how we’ll vote in the year ahead, and what it will all amount to after the ballots are cast. We’re not apologetic about the fact that we don’t like politics and that we don’t put any faith at all in either political party in this country or in the men and women they offer to us as leaders. Come, Lord Jesus. That’s our political stance, y’all. Our only real point of concern in any argument is the sanctity of human life, in the womb and out of the womb, and neither side has done a great job of valuing both.
But this was something Ana had heard about. “They don’t think a baby is a baby until it’s born,” she told me, simplifying the issue down so much that it isn’t fair to either side.
I want her to be someone who really thinks through everything — theology, ideology, cultural issues, — and not just a good Christian girl who parrots back a party line.
So I told her what abortion is. I told her that abortion is a procedure where a doctor induces a miscarriage in a woman, making it impossible for the baby she’s carrying (which is very small) to live in the womb, much less outside of it. It’s ending life.
But I didn’t leave it there. I told her that many people are pro-choice not because they want to kill babies (I seriously doubt that this is the heart’s desire of most pro-choice folks) but because they don’t want the government to dictate what can and cannot be done to a woman’s body. I don’t particularly want the government telling me what to do with my body, either, so I get that. I honestly understand the reasoning in that. A woman should be free to make choices for her own health, right? A woman should have rights over her own body, right? It’s her life, right?
I asked Ana these questions, knowing that she’s a logical thinker, knowing that she gets (from her parents) how little faith we need to have in our government as believers, and knowing that she would see the reasoning in this from a cultural standpoint.
“People who vote for abortions to be legal don’t hate babies,” I said to her. “I think they just value a woman’s absolute right to her own life, however she wants to live it.”
“But, Mommy,” Ana said, “a baby should have a right to its own life, too.”
Logic. She thought it through logically.
“Is it even a baby, though, that early on in its mommy?,” I asked.
“It’s a baby when God gives it life,” she said. (And, yes, we’ve had the sex talk, so she knows just exactly how babies are made. But even then, she knows that God alone grants life and that it’s not some game of biological chance, no matter what we try to reduce it to.) She went on to tell me, from Scripture, about how God knits us together in the womb, how the unborn were counted as people in Jewish law, and how John leapt in his mother’s womb in the presence of his cousin, Jesus, who was also just a “clump of cells” in his mother’s womb.
“You’re right,” I said. “And God values those mommies who don’t want to be mommies just as much as He values those unborn babies. We can’t ever forget that, no matter what our politicians are saying.”
She nodded at this… and I think she really, honestly understood.
I’d like to pretend that our girls aren’t growing up, but they are. And I’m so thankful that God is leading them to think Scripturally and not culturally, even as they’re becoming whole thinkers who can look at all sides of an argument and not just give an answer they’re expected to give. I’m thankful that He’s giving them discernment and that He brings their minds back to His Word when they’re confronted with difficult things.
I’m praying that He will do likewise in me, so that I can see things from a Biblical point of view instead of letting culture — the liberal side or the conservative side either one — try to define truth for me.