Last week, on National Sanctity of Human Life Day, NY passed a law to expand abortion rights (you can read more about that here). Following this news, my friend Melissa offered several practical ways to respond:
1. Pray (for mothers, doctors, boyfriends, spouses, teachers, grandparents, parents, legislators, and employers to do more to make bringing a child into the world not an option but a moral obligation). Ask other people in your church or community to do this with you.
2. Sign up as a foster family. An amazing resource on this is Foster the Family. Fostering requires so much in your life and family and shouldn’t be considered lightly or quickly, but many of us (especially pro-life Christians) may be called to it and need to get off the fence and into the fray.
3. Sign up as a foster-reprieve (or respite) family. This usually requires you to be vetted in the same way as a foster home, but it’s primarily to relieve other foster families for short periods as they do the prolonged labor. If you are passionate about good foster homes but have time/seasonal limitations, this is a great second step.
4. Pray and begin to save for adoption.
5. Give towards someone else’s adoption.
6. Make meals or run errands for fostering/adoptive parents in your community. Show them you value what they are doing by regularly blessing them with your ability and resources.
7. Be ready to come alongside the woman/young woman in your community who experiences an unplanned pregnancy as an ally for her health and as a champion for her baby. Statistically, you will experience this several times in both immediate and relatively close circles. Don’t pick a side or shame a situation. Prepare even now to be someone who will support the difficult and ongoing needs of new/young mothers.
8. Teach your daughters to love their bodies and all that God designed them to do. Teach them to value their image and worth as a person, and treat other women and children with the same nurturing care you embody for them. Teach your sons to value their own bodies and how God designed them. Teach them to respect and protect all people, especially women and children, as fellow image bearers.
9. Whenever you can, spend money on products that support domestic and international mothers and children. There are lots of things we buy every day where the money could be funneled toward communities that benefit from the added resource to improve quality of life. Don’t be legalistic, but perhaps be more intentional.
10. Donate to a pregnancy resource center.
11. Stop commenting mean and hurtful things to people on social media over this issue. Passion for moral justice is not a hall-pass to say whatever you are feeling. The Bible DEMANDS we speak truth in love, knowing that every word spoken, thought, and typed will be recorded (in a place that will last much longer than FB) and referenced. If you can’t engage with those you disagree with in a way that embodies love and humility, log off for awhile. Here are some suggestions for how to engage well.
12. If someone shares with you that they have had an abortion, be proactive to care for them. Invite them over for dinner, pray for them, offer to babysit their other kids if they’d like to seek counseling. This is not a time to pull back but to press in and demonstrate the extravagant grace of Jesus.
13. Share the gospel. Explicitly. This could have been first but let’s be honest–it’s great at the end of a to-do list because it reminds us that we ALL are incapable of acting or accomplishing any good without it. You need to remember the hope of the gospel. Others need to experience it. Don’t hide in your circle of comfortability or passively share quotes on media platforms. Look for lost or lonely people in your life and speak to them personally, directly. Tell them you see them because Jesus does.
There is more. But this is a good place to start.
Melissa Parris is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom. She has 4 children: 3 held, and 1 heaven-held.