A ProGrace Response to Planned Parenthood Videos

Image: CNN
Image: CNN

I had many emotions watching the recently released videos of Planned Parenthood doctors talking about compensation for fetal body parts. Sad, disturbed, confused, heartbroken. The feeling that these are conversations that shouldn’t even be taking place. This can’t be God’s heart – for either women or children. There has to be a better way than abortion.

What I mostly hear in the response of Christians to these videos is anger and a desire to hold Planned Parenthood accountable. I understand some of the anger – I was also angry at what I saw and had an overwhelming desire to do something to change this.

But this is where I start to differ with a lot of the comments I’ve been reading and hearing. I question whether trying to defund Planned Parenthood is where we should be putting all our energy.

Is Planned Parenthood at the root of most abortions? Is the fact that abortion is legal and available the reason why women have abortions?

I don’t think so. Here are two root causes that make me more angry and disturbed than the Planned Parenthood videos:

  1. So many women who come to Caris tell us, “I don’t want to have an abortion; I’ve always been against it. It’s just that I see no other way out.” The story in our culture is so negative and we haven’t painted a positive picture for women of what life can look like after an unplanned pregnancy. So many women continue to think that their only options are abortion or overwhelming struggle as a mom. I am filled with anger at the injustices toward women and children that are caused by this pervasive story – and I want to change that.
  1. When we have surveyed local Chicago churches, 68% of women who faced an unplanned pregnancy while part of a Christian church said they didn’t feel safe enough to tell their church community about their pregnancy. The enemy has so blinded Christians with self-righteousness and anger over abortion that we haven’t made it a priority to care for women facing unplanned pregnancy. By doing that, we have been part of perpetuating the negative cultural story, rather than challenging it. I am grieved that we haven’t followed God’s command to care for the widows and orphans of our day – and I want to see that changed.

Planned Parenthood wouldn’t have access to any fetal parts to donate (or sell, depending on how you view this) if so many women didn’t feel like abortion was their only option. In fact, if Planned Parenthood were defunded and went away tomorrow, would women still have abortions?

The root of the problem is not Planned Parenthood. It’s the crushing story that there is no hope after an unplanned pregnancy.

So whose responsibility is it to tell a different story to women? According to Jesus, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16) We have a responsibility to shine a light in our culture, representing God’s goodness, grace and Kingdom to everyone around us.

We don’t seem to understand the power God has given us to make change in this world. Maybe this is why Paul prayed, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know…his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at this right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1: 18-20). If we truly believed that the same power that raised Christ from the dead was working in and through us, would we wring our hands over how many women are having abortions? Or would we cry out to God to use us to help them see another way?

I’m done wringing my hands. I’m asking God to use me to help tell a different story in our community. A story where women find acceptance, grace and ongoing support through local churches. I’m channeling all my energy and yes, even my anger, into seeing Christians adopt a new ProGrace approach to unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

Of course we need to be angry when laws are broken and human rights are violated. By all means, Planned Parenthood needs to abide by the law as they run their organization.

At the same time, here is my request: let’s direct our anger to the true enemy behind all this. Let’s be angry that there is an enemy whispering to women that all they face is stigma and scarcity if they continue an unplanned pregnancy. Let’s be angry that, until now, the Church has had no visible response that challenges this perception.

Will you stay angry long after the Planned Parenthood story has faded from the news? Will you join with us to bring a ProGrace response that addresses the systemic issues behind abortion so that God can shift this entire issue?

by Angie Weszely, CEO & Co-Founder of ProGrace