Tag Archives: Crisis Pregnancy Center

Are crisis pregnancy centers equipped to discuss the issue of abortion rationally?

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this study
I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this message

Consider this article from Stand to Reason, written by Greg Koukl. The title of the article is “The Vanishing Pro-Life Apologist”. Koukl argues that crisis pregnancy centers are less interested in making the case for the right to life of the unborn child, and more interested in giving women who have already chosen life what they need, in terms of material support.

Koukl writes:

The last few years have witnessed a stunning development in the pro-life movement. More and more crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) refuse to discuss abortion. A new wave of pro-life leaders insist that victory will not be gained in the court of public opinion if the debate centers principally on the morality of abortion.

Paul Swope calls it “a failure to communicate” when right-to-lifers focus primarily on the unborn instead of on the felt needs of women. “The pro-life movement must show that abortion is actually not in a woman’s own self-interest,” he says, “and that the choice of life offers hope and a positive, expanded sense of self.” Reframing the debate in these terms will enable the movement to “regain the moral high ground in the mind of the American public.”

[…]Pro-life feminist Frederica Matthews-Green agrees. “Pro-lifers will not be able to break through this deadlock by stressing the humanity of the unborn….That is a question nobody is asking. But there is a question they are asking. It is, ‘How could we live without it?’ The problem is not moral, but practical.”

Swope and Matthews-Green are not suggesting we frame the debate in terms of the felt needs of women in the narrow context of crisis counseling. It’s certainly appropriate to inform a woman of the physical and psychological consequences of choosing abortion. Rather, they insist the pro-life movement in general must speak less of the unborn and more of the woman in order to break the alleged deadlock.

While it’s true that appealing to self-interest might dissuade some abortion-minded women from killing their babies, it’s hard to image how this could be an effective general strategy. Here’s why: It’s almost always in a woman’s short-term self-interest to abort. This is precisely why the pro-abortion side has been effective. A focus on felt needs favors death, not life.

How can we “regain the moral high ground in the mind of the public,” to use Swope’s words, if we retreat from the moral debate? The whole point of an ethical argument is to give reasons why a woman ought not pursue selfish interests. Felt needs are the problem, not the solution.

This approach completely sabotages the pro-life position. Crisis pregnancy centers do not exist to handle pregnancy. Hospitals and clinics do that. CPCs handle crisis pregnancies, those that are vulnerable to termination by abortion. In a sense, CPCs don’t exist for the woman, but for the child whose life is in danger. The idea is to dissuade women from having abortions precisely because abortion is a moral tragedy. If not, then why oppose it?

What kind of morality does this tactic leave us with? Such a posture implicitly promotes the vice of selfishness instead of the virtue of sacrificial motherhood. Ideas have consequences, and this one may have, as Frank Beckwith observes, “the unfortunate consequence of increasing the number of people who think that unless their needs are pacified they are perfectly justified in performing homicide on the most vulnerable of our population.”

I actually want to go even further than that.

I think that if CPCs refuse to speak up against abortion on on moral grounds, they are doing nothing at all to stem the flow of abortions. Today, men and women are increasingly choosing to have sex when they are not in any kind of committed relationship where a child would be welcome. There are two things we can do to stop this.

First, we can tell them about what abortion really is, and how it is morally wrong to take the life of another person without adequate moral justification. (And selfishness is not moral justification). Second, we can tell them to be more careful about who they choose for relationships, about what the goal of the relationship is (not fun, but marriage), and about making decisions that mature them as a couple so that they are ready to provide for a child. Sex should not be seen as something recreational, and sex partners should not be chosen because of the fun you can have in the moment.

Now if CPCs do not want to tell people that abortion is wrong, and that relationships should be focused on commitment and providing for children, then we will never see fewer abortions. Our job is not to let people in this society think that unless someone else pays the bills, then abortion is OK. Abortion is only OK if the life of the mother is at risk – a very rare scenario. Our job is to educate men and women so that they understand how to have relationships that do not put them in a position where they have to take the life of an unborn child in order to make the lives of the grown-ups more satisfying.

We need to make the the safety of unborn children an issue that people consider when they choose who to have a relationship with, and when to have sex. In particular, women should choose men who value marriage before sex, and who make decisions to ready themselves for the man’s role in marriage. And men should choose women who value chastity and providing above men who offer fun and thrills.

We don’t have enough money to bail everyone out. We have to teach grown-ups moral boundaries, and give them a vision for relationships that is focused on commitment, and therefore safe for unborn children.

Conclusion

So here are my two points about CPCs and pro-life apologetics:

  • crisis pregnancy centers should be committed to defending the right to life of the unborn child in conversations with grown-ups, so that grown-ups police themselves in their relationship and sexual decision-making.
  • crisis pregnancy centers should be working with organizations that use pro-life arguments and evidence to persuade people to value the unborn before the life decision has been made.

And for everyone else, make sure that you’re equipped to explain to others why you think that unborn children deserve full legal protection.

Here’s a good video from Scott Klusendorf to help you do that:

This is an important moral issue, and we can’t be persuasive unless we are equipped with logical arguments and evidence.

Do pro-lifers have to adopt unwanted children in order to have standing to oppose abortion?

This was sent to me by my friend Robb. The caller asks Greg whether he has ever taken in any foster children, since he is pro-life. She apparently thinks that Greg cannot be pro-life unless Greg is willing to adopt every crisis pregnancy child who is allowed to be born.

This is the greatest amount of ass-kicking that has ever been accomplished in 10 minutes. I have never heard Greg Koukl lose his temper, but he is clearly a little annoyed with the caller.

Do pro-lifers care about people who are already born?

From Ruth Blog – a post to answer the objection that pro-lifers don’t care about babies after they are born.

Here’s the challenge:

One of the most frequently repeated truisms of the abortion debate is that pro-lifers really don’t care about life. As much as they talk about protecting the unborn, we are told, pro-lifers do nothing to support mothers and infants who are already in the world. Liberal writers such as Matthew Yglesias are given to observing that pro-lifers believe that “life begins at conception and ends at birth.” At Commonweal, David Gibson, a journalist who frequently covers the abortion debate, asks how much pro-lifers do for mothers: “I just want to know what realistic steps they are proposing or backing. I’m not sure I’d expect to hear anything from pro-life groups now since there’s really been nothing for years.”

And an excerpt from the response:

In the United States there are some 2,300 affiliates of the three largest pregnancy resource center umbrella groups, Heartbeat International, CareNet, and the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA). Over 1.9 million American women take advantage of these services each year. Many stay at one of the 350 residential facilities for women and children operated by pro-life groups. In New York City alone, there are twenty-two centers serving 12,000 women a year. These centers provide services including pre-natal care, STI testing, STI treatment, ultrasound, childbirth classes, labor coaching, midwife services, lactation consultation, nutrition consulting, social work, abstinence education, parenting classes, material assistance, and post-abortion counseling.

[…]The Catholic Church–perhaps the single most influential pro-life institution in the United States–makes the largest financial, institutional and personnel commitments to charitable causes of any private source in the United States. These include AIDS ministry, health care, education, housing services, and care for the elderly, disabled, and immigrants. In 2004 alone, 562 Catholic hospitals treated over 85 million patients; Catholic elementary and high schools educated over 2 million students; Catholic colleges educated nearly 800,000 students; Catholic Charities served over eight-and-a-half million different individuals. In 2007, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development awarded nine million dollars in grants to reduce poverty. And in 2009, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network spent nearly five million dollars in services for impoverished immigrants.

The Catholic Church is far from the only pro-life religious group that assists the needy. At the Manhattan Bible Church, a pro-life church in New York since 1973, Pastor Bill Devlin and his congregation run a soup kitchen that has served over a million people and a K-8 school that has educated 90,000 needy students. Pastor Devlin and other church families have adopted scores of babies, and taken in scores of pregnant women, including some who were both drug-addicted and HIV positive. The church runs a one-hundred-and-fifty bed residential drug rehabilitation center and a prison ministry at Rikers Island. All told, the church runs some forty ministries, and all without a government dime.

[….]If pro-life Americans provide so many (often free) services to the poor and vulnerable–work easily discovered by any researcher or journalist with an Internet connection–why are they sometimes accused of caring only for life inside the womb? Quite possibly, it is the conviction of abortion advocates that “caring for the born” translates first and always into advocacy for government programs and funds. In other words, abortion advocates appear to conflate charitable works and civil society with government action. The pro-life movement does not. Rather, it takes up the work of assisting women and children and families, one fundraiser and hotline and billboard at a time.

People think that abortion providers do a lot for women’s health, but Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide mammograms.

You may be interested in this post by Neil Simpson, who volunteers at a crisis pregnancy center.

Excerpt:

The “Pro-lifers don’t care about kids after they are born” line is one of my favorite arguments to rebut.  I teach people how to do it in pro-life training sessions in a two-step approach.  The tone of the conversation is important.  These arguments are powerful and quite effective if they are laid out in a calm, reasoned approach.  You probably won’t convert the rabid pro-choicers, but most of the middle-grounders will get the point.

First, show that pointing out a moral wrong does not obligate you to take responsibility for the situation.

If your neighbor is beating his wife, you call the police.  The police don’t say, “Hey, buddy, unless you are willing to marry her yourself then we aren’t going to stop him from beating her.”  You can use child or animal abuse as examples as well.  Most people get the point pretty quickly.

Or ask the pro-choicer what they would do if the government decided to reduce the number of homeless people by killing them.  Could he protest that without having to house and feed them all himself?

[…]Second, explain that while we aren’t morally obligated to help after the babies are born to be able to speak out against abortion, Christians do many things with their time and money anyway – orphanages, Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), food pantries, etc.

When I’m teaching CPC volunteers I remind them of all that they and the center do: Pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, food, clothes, diapers, life skill training, parenting training, post-abortion counseling and more – all for free!  And, of course, we share the Gospel with the clients if they are interested (Saving lives now and for eternity!).

The workers are mostly volunteers and the leaders make below-market wages because they believe in the cause.  Most centers receive no government funding, so all the money comes from donations.  There are far more Crisis Pregnancy Centers than there are abortion clinics.

On a completely different topic, I posted an article by Helen Alvare a while back. She is one of the authors of this article. There was a pretty good dispute with a single mother who disagreed her comments to that article.

Related posts

Greg Koukl takes on pro-abortion caller to his radio show

This was sent to me by my friend Robb. The caller asks Greg whether he has ever taken in any foster children, since he is pro-life. She apparently thinks that Greg cannot be pro-life unless Greg is willing to adopt every crisis pregnancy child who is allowed to be born.

This is the greatest amount of ass-kicking that has ever been accomplished in 10 minutes. I have never heard Greg Koukl lose his temper, but he is clearly a little annoyed with the caller.