Creating a Culture of Life
General Superintendent Doug Clay urges the Church to readiness at the possibility of Roe v. Wade being overturned.On May 3, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft court opinion that would overturn one of the most controversial legal decisions in the history of the United States, Roe v. Wade.
Although an official ruling was not expected to be released until the summer, this unprecedented leak, a 98-page opinion authored by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, has sparked an almost instantaneous nationwide debate on the issue of abortion.
Roe v. Wade was a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court that stripped away the right to life from America’s most vulnerable population: the unborn. In 1973, a 7-2 Supreme Court vote declared war on America’s children and all of a sudden the most helpless among us were no longer guaranteed protection by the government.
After the Roe v. Wade decision, it took only a few years for abortions to skyrocket to 358 abortions per 1,000 births. In 1981, 1.3 million legal abortions were reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Still, over 40 years later, the CDC continues to report annual numbers of over 600,000, with only 1.5% of those abortions reportedly performed because of incest or rape. This makes legal abortion in the United States the largest and longest ongoing massacre in the history of the United States.
On May 2, America was given a glimpse into a very possible future where our unborn would, once again, have a chance at protection by government. Although such a decision by the Supreme Court would not ban abortion completely, it would allow individual states to determine the legality of abortion within its own jurisdiction. A recent study by the Guttmacher Institute indicates that more than 20 states have laws that could restrict or ban abortions very soon after the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, causing a nationwide shift in the pro-life pendulum.
But what does this mean for the Church? If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the Church must be ready and willing to take on the issues beyond the preservation of life and give attention to issues affecting the mother and her child’s trajectory of life after birth. As this historic event unfolds over the next few months, the Church has an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate compassion rather than merely being an echo of political rhetoric.
The Church must also realize that the term pro-life will no longer only mean anti-abortion. The two expressions will be ripped apart at the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Women will need the Church more than ever to support them as they walk through unplanned pregnancies and, subsequently, unplanned parenthood.
Being pro-life will take on a multifaceted meaning. I pray that the Church’s passion and enthusiasm will not die on this issue, but will continue to provide, a biblical holistic approach to the pro-life agenda. When a woman is no longer able to easily access an abortion, the Church can offer the support needed to ensure that the life it so radically cared about inside the womb is cherished and supported outside the womb as well. The Church has an opportunity to meet the needs of women facing unplanned pregnancies, of single mothers, and of foster and adoptive parents who will step in if a woman finds herself unable to care for her child.
A 2018 study conducted by the CDC indicated that when asked their reasons for choosing an abortion, 48% of females indicated it was because they did not feel they could be a single mom and 73% indicated they could not afford to raise the child. These are areas of support that women will need most after an overturn of Roe. The Church should continue to partner with community agencies to be the hands and feet of Jesus to an influx of women who will be searching for an alternative answer to abortion.
Within the past year, the Assemblies of God established the AG Foster Care Network to bring together many existing AG ministries to foster families. The inaugural AG Foster Care Conference will take place in Dallas in early October.
COMPACT Family Services provides resources, services, and training to both individuals and churches on the issues of foster care, adoption, single-parenting, women facing unplanned pregnancies, and other issues related to the restoration of the family.
The AG ministry Backyard Orphans has a dozen team members involved in training church leaders about caring for children who need healing homes.
I challenge you to take the news of the leaked Supreme Court decision as a matter of prayer and a matter of action. Pray that this will become a reality. Pray for our Supreme Court justices and for state government leaders throughout our nation. Act by being the hands and feet of Christ in creating a culture of life at all ages in your community.