timejan142013The cover story for this week’s Time Magazine, by Kate Pickering, begins this way: “Abortion-rights activists won an an epic victory in Roe v. Wade. They’ve been losing ever since.”

Aside from the fact that the whole premise of the article, that the abortion-rights cause is losing, is very questionable (as others have written), there were a few passages that I thought illustrated some important things for us to think through. For instance, this paragraph:

Young abortion-rights activists have a strategy to modernize the cause, which includes expanding it. They often don’t even mention the term pro-choice, which they say is limiting and outdated. Instead these young leaders have embraced a cause known as reproductive justice – a broader, more diffuse agenda that addresses abortion access but also contraception, child care, gay rights, health insurance and economic opportunity. “It’s a more holistic frame,” says Matson. “And you see younger people connecting with that.”

Here I just think we should note the use of this term–reproductive justice. The word “justice”  is very popular among young adults in the church today, and like all words that get used as banners to rally around, we need to always ask people to explain the content of the words they’re using to motivate us. As you can see here, the word could be used to promote things that Christians would consider very unjust, and thus, not wish to support. (As an aside, we should always ask things like–“Justice for whom?” For the baby in the belly? What is justice for that person?”)

This next paragraph is what triggered me to call attention to all this:

When her name is called, a surgical-abortion patient descends a set of stairs and steps into a room where a technician performs an ultrasound. Afterward she enters an exam room and is met by the physician on duty. On this Wednesday it’s Dr. Kathryn Eggleston, who informs the woman that she’s reviewed her chart and asks, “Are you confident in your decision to have an abortion today?” If the woman says yes, the abortion begins; the whirring of the vacuum aspirator used to extract the fetus can be heard in the hallway. Within 15 minutes, Eggleston emerges from the room and enters another where the removed contents are examined and photographed for the medical record. In the recovery room where patients rest in overstuffed leather recliners, Kromenaker chats with a 20-something woman who declined Eggleston’s offer to go on birth control. “Do you have a boyfriend?” Kromenaker asks. No. Kromenaker runs through a few ancillary health benefits of birth control anyway, hands the woman some condoms and pats her shoulder.

Did you catch this language? “Vacuum aspirator used to extract the fetus…” And the most chilling phrase in the whole article: “…the removed contents are examined.” If you stop and think through what is being described, you have to keep your mind from reeling. What did it take for Kate Pickering to pick those words for what she’s describing? What happens in someone’s soul that they can think thoughts like this? The unfortunate fact is (and this is where it’s relevant for us), we read words like this all the time. They’re the common way of talking about these things, in everything from medical journals to classrooms to mass media. The challenge for us is to not grow so calloused that we start to adopt this way of thinking or speaking. We should think something more like: What does God call that room, and what’s being examined in it? How does he feel about it?

This next paragraph is a window into the soul of modern young adult America, so it’s key for us to check ourselves against:

A 24-year-old patient who drove 80 miles (130 km) alone to reach the clinic says she and her boyfriend decided together not to continue her pregnancy, which was six weeks along. “Neither of us is anywhere near baby time right now. We argue over who will take the dog out some days, so I don’t thing the diaper changing would go much better.”

We need the word of God and the presence of His spirit in our lives to make sure this kind of thinking isn’t shaping ours. See what kind of disastrous effects can follow from minds not shaped by God’s thoughts? What seems like just lazy immaturity can actually end up deadly.

Finally, this paragraph highlights the contradiction at the root of so much of this: a culture obsessed with what it calls science, willing to oppress and ignore the science and evidence behind research into the personhood and humanity of babies in the womb:

The antiabortion cause has been aided by scientific advances that have complicated American attitudes about abortion. Prenatal ultrasound, which has allowed the general public to see fetuses inside the womb and understand that they have a human shape beginning around eight weeks into pregnancy, became widespread in the 1980s, and some babies born as early as 24 weeks can now survive.

As we always want to stress, there is mercy for anyone who has gone through abortion–whether as a mother or a father. God is in the business of restoring all of our lives from the sin we have committed. He loves you and there is forgiveness and healing in Christ. But in terms of thinking through the issue, articles like this help us see the lines that are being drawn–as long as we’re willing to let God use our minds to think and feel in accordance with what He thinks and feels.