Men: here’s how you can talk helpfully about abortion (and help practically)

Dr Lizzie Ling | July 9th 2020

The following Q&As are extracts from Talking Points: Abortion. In this short book, Lizzie Ling and Vaughan Roberts survey the Christian worldview and help us to think biblically, speak wisely and act compassionately as we engage with the people, the questions and the heartache surrounding abortion, in a society with very different values.

“I am a man who is frustrated that, so often, abortion is seen as a woman’s issue. How can my voice be heard?”

In public debate, abortion is seen as a women’s issue, closely linked to women’s rights. It’s understandable why this is the case. Women carry the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy in a way that men never will. By and large they, not men, also carry the responsibility for childcare. So it is perhaps understandable that women have sometimes denied men a voice. Nevertheless, it is important that the voices of men who speak and live by God’s loving truth are heard in a range of areas:

  • In respecting and honouring women and their bodies. Ever since the fall the tendency has been for women to be subjugated by men. We see it still today in the selective abortion of female babies, in human trafficking, in the #MeToo scandals and the like. This is not right. Christian men should be powerful and vociferous advocates for the honouring, respect and protection of women.
  • In the area of sex, marriage and family life. So that pregnancies, if unplanned, occur in the context of loving commitment and support.
  • In accepting the consequences of unplanned pregnancy that they have been responsible for and supporting the woman in this situation. 

It would be remiss not to acknowledge the pain caused to men by abortion, either when they have had to stand by as a child of theirs has been aborted or as a result of the guilt they have felt having coerced someone into having an abortion. Much of what has been said in in my book Talking Points: Abortion about guilt and forgiveness applies to men as well as women.

Talking Points: Abortion

Talking Points: Abortion

£3.99 £3.39

Helps Christians to think biblically, speak wisely and act compassionately on the complex issue of abortion.

“What can we be doing as a church on this issue?”

We need to remember that, fundamentally, the gospel message about Jesus is the solution that we need—both as individuals and as a wider society. It is a vital message of forgiveness and hope, and it’s crucial that our churches continue to preach it and teach it clearly. As people hear the gospel and respond to it, healing happens and change takes place.

However, in view of the enormous pain and injustice of abortion, there are some specific things we should do:

  • Make ourselves aware of what is going on, both in our churches and in the wider world. Church leaders have a particular responsibility in this area.
  • Equip ourselves to talk wisely and compassionately.
  • Create a church culture where people feel they can speak to others about issues they’re struggling with, including unwanted pregnancy or past abortion. The public sharing of relevant testimonies is a powerful way of doing this.
  • Know where help can be found. Sometimes this will be within your church; sometimes this will involve pointing people to outside groups and organisations.
  • Support others as they campaign for legislative change.
  • Consider other practical responses and pray about what this might involve.

In practice, small things can help: displaying appropriate leaflets (for example, about Christian counselling organisations); stocking suitable books on your bookstall; advertising events run by pro-life groups and encouraging people to support them.

Pastors and local church leaders, however, are in a powerful position and their voices need to be heard on this issue. There are many ways they might do this: from the sensitive referencing of abortion in a sermon to a specific teaching session designed to inform and educate church members. These initiatives will help to dispel any stigma and break the silence, motivating Christians to engage with others on this issue wisely and compassionately.

Dr Lizzie Ling

Lizzie Ling was a GP for many years, and worked in Southern Africa for over 10 years supporting local churches as they cared for those affected by HIV/AIDS. She is now the Associate Minister for Women at St Ebbes Church in Oxford, UK. She loves new challenges, cooking and entertaining, and the company of good friends.

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