Friday, November 23, 2012

Rethinking Post-Abortion Testimonies [SK]

From an earlier discussion today:

I think pro-lifers need to modify their emphasis on post-abortion testimonies. First, "I regret my abortion" is the easiest pro-life pitch to refute. That is, all the other side has to do is put up a woman who says, "I don't regret mine."

Second, a heavy emphasis on post-abortion testimonies often works against the Christian tradition. Christianity entails confessing your sins, then forgetting them in light of the grace given us. Was it not St. Paul who admonished us to "forget those things that are past" and "press-on" to know Christ? What's wrong with telling a post-abortion woman (or man) who trusts Christ,  "you've confessed your sin and God has forgiven you--not in part, but in whole. Your abortion no longer defines you. Your adoption into the family of God does. You are free to move on."

Third, there's a plausible danger that subjective testimonies will dictate pro-life policy. For example, I've seen some (by no means, all) post-abortion pro-lifers object to graphic depictions of abortion on grounds that the images are mean-spirited. Never mind that pictures work; all that matters is that we not make people feel bad. As Gregg Cunningham points out, our movement is toast "when we care more about the feelings of the born than we do the lives of the unborn."

Finally, how do the husbands feel? In most cases, post-abortion testimonies involve a previous relationship, not a current spouse. If the wife's ministry centers on retelling what she did with her ex, how does that help the current marriage relationship move forward and flourish?

The Christian gospel is the fantastic news that God the Father declares guilty sinners righteous in virtue of another--the sinless Lamb of God. Isn't it time we focused more on that blessed declaration and less on our own canceled sins?

For more, see here.

2 comments:

  1. I've never perceived these post-abortion testimonies as sources of policy. In my view, the function they perform is to cast doubt on the goodness of abortion. Their role then is cultural, not political.

    When you put forward a product, and lots of people say it's shoddy, the general public will think negatively of that product. It only takes a substantial minority to cast aspersions on it. If million people buy a car, and ten per cent of them are so thoroughly dissatisfied with it that they need to warn others about it, many others may be fine with it, but many will think twice before purchasing it. That's the function of post-abortion testimonies.

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  2. I typically agree with you but on this subject I do not. As a post-abortive women, I share my testimony in an effort to educate AND to rescue. I stayed in a silent prison for 17 years until a brave woman stood in church and shared her story about abortion, followed by her story of redemption. Had she not done that, I may never have heard that there was any hope for someone like me.

    God used it to rescue me from the pit. Now He uses me to rescue others AND to save babies from being aborted.

    I do agree that some post-abortive testimonies can be less than helpful. I also know that many post-abortive women did not get good counsel prior to sharing their story publicly.

    I don't use graphic pictures of abortion, because in my ministry to a hurting world it is not needed. I do agree there is a place where they should be used and commend you in how you educate others on this issue.

    Sharing my post-abortive story is not about reliving it, over and over again. It is about allowing God to use it to rescue someone who is where I once was. I pray long and hard before I share it and ask God to direct me in how much and what details to share. It is never a story about me. It is always a story about Him.

    I have watched God use it in a counseling to speak to a woman's heart who was considering abortion. I have watched Him use it to speak to a pro-life man who was mean spirited to women who had abortions but now is rethinking his position. And I could go on and on.

    I never share it to say I'm still stuck in some unforgiven place. I can't because that is not true. I think a post-abortive testimony that is done well, with God's motivation and calling, is very powerful indeed.

    Saying it should not be shared, must logically mean that no testimony about a past sin that we are forgiven for should be shared (like pornography, drug addiction, etc.). Yet, I somehow don't think that would be good for our community and for a lost and dieing world.

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