I was not even remotely surprised by the SCOTUS decision to strike down the Texas abortion law.
Disheartened by the newsfeed showing group after group of women cheering and raising the pro-choice banner high while claiming “victory for women’s ‘health?’” Tremendously so.
But surprised? Not at all.
Here in America, there are approximately 1.21 million pregnancies terminated each year. Half are by women under the age of twenty-five.
Here are some quick statistics worth knowing, regardless of whether or not you are pro-life:
- 50% of women obtaining abortions in the U.S. are younger than twenty-five years old
- Women aged twenty to twenty-four obtain thirty-three percent of all abortions
- Teenagers obtain seventeen percent
- Girls under fifteen account for 1.2%.[i]
Did you know that the rational, logical, decision-making portion of the brain is not fully developed until at least twenty-five?
That means 605,000 abortions a year are performed on a demographic that is, for all intents and purposes, unable to make sound decisions based on forethought when faced with a “crisis” situation.
So what am I, a mother to a tween-age daughter and son, to do?
I’m going to remember these four things:
Legislated morality is not a win.
Anyone who grew up with a fire-and-brimstone pulpit screamer will attest that fear will only carry you so far. If we are to walk in grace-fueled obedience, then we need to know and love the God of the Bible. Behavior change starts with heart transformation.
We are not going to end abortion by making it illegal. If the abortion law had passed, women determined to end their pregnancies would simply drive somewhere else. But if they knew Jesus, perhaps they would choose a better way.
The same is true for our children. In our post-modern, almost-post-Christendom, selfie-taking, self-centered society, for our children to have a shot at the counter-cultural life, they need to know and love the God of the Bible.
Start getting really real.
Millennials can smell fluff from a mile away. How much more so the younger generations? Since “because I said so” doesn’t work, it’s pointless to tell them “no” without telling them “why,” and if we’re not honest, they’re not listening. So what does this look like?
First, we need to be talking about sex earlier and more often than you think. Both of my children knew the basics by ages seven and eight. Does that seem young? It is, but the average age that kids find pornographic material online is ten. We want such information to come from us, not the internet or their friends or the media. And this will not scar your children.
Giving a child facts about reproduction, including details about intercourse, does not rob him of innocence. Innocence is a function of attitude, not information. A school-age child who understands the specifics of sex, while seeing it as an act that, in the proper context, both expresses love and begins new life, retains his innocence. But a child who knows very little about sex can already have a corrupt mind-set if he has been exposed to it in a degrading, mocking or abusive context.[ii]
Second, when you talk to your kids about sex, be honest. Sex isn’t dirty or yucky or for two people who love each other very, very much. It’s a beautiful gift to mankind from our Creator so that we might, as the Imago Dei, share with our Creator in pro-creating and know true intimacy and unity with our spouse. It is a gift to be enjoyed, as often as possible, within the boundaries of marriage.
Don’t say, “You can’t enjoy sex outside of marriage.” All of Hollywood and many of their peers are calling your bluff. Do say, “You will never enjoy sex as fully, as beautifully, and as joyfully as you will if you do it God’s way, with your spouse only.”
Educate them early.
One of the mysteries surrounding the abortion debate is that science is on the side of pro-life. Countless educational videos online show how babies grow in the womb from fertilization to birth. The Bible tells us that life starts at conception (Psalm 139), and to state otherwise is to consciously ignore both scripture and scientific evidence.
Teach your child about the miracle of life. Watch a video together and gaze in wonder as God knits a baby, slowly and methodically, in its mother’s womb. When you talk about abortion, explain that only God can ordain life; the decision to start it and cease it is His alone.
When I started talking to my kids about sex, I simultaneously taught them that mommy and daddy are the safest places on earth to bring their questions. Nothing is off limits. All answers are honest. Mike and I withhold the right to say, “I’ll tell you when it’s appropriate,” but it’s a right we’ve yet to use.
Cultivate an ethos of grace.
Moms and dads, I don’t need to tell you that this ain’t the world we grew up in. Social psychologist Sara Murnen has spent the last twenty-five years studying what she calls the “hypersexualization” of society and finds that “the average number of sexualizing characteristics almost tripled over three decades”[iii]in magazines, including Seventeen.
Sex is hitting our children in the face at every turn. As parents, we have to be the safety zone. In our house, we have a no-condemnation-no-matter-what policy. The kids have our word that they can confess anything to us, no matter how bad it is, and we will not get angry. We will not yell. Where they are necessary, there will be consequences, but we let the consequences do the punishing.
Back to the SCOTUS ruling.
As women around our nation cheered and high-fived each other, I thought of a girlfriend of mine. She is in her mid-forties, and do you know what haunts her to this day? Do you know what keeps her up at night, what nags at her when she kisses her children as she tucks them into bed?
The abortion she had when she was twenty-two.
A decision she made before she was even capable of making a logical choice.
A choice that has been forgiven, as she herself will tell you, but one that tortures her, nonetheless.
My heart breaks for the millions of babies who never had a chance, but if I am going to be transparent with you, my heart breaks more for the millions of women who will fight for the rest of their lives to accept the grace and forgiveness that is fully theirs in Christ.
Let’s teach our daughters and sons to choose differently.