The Abortion Fight:
A Few War-Weary Ruminations

by Jeff Ostrander
Friends for Life

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There are times in the life of every good soldier when immediate surrender is more attractive than eventual victory. Naturally, I take the liberty of including myself within the ranks of such good soldiers, and I point to my own war-weariness as an important credential. After four years of fighting for truth at a crisis pregnancy center, I am convinced that good soldiers are not born to fight. I have found another, stranger equation to be true: The better the soldier, the greater his yearning for peace.

But I fight. As a director, I am paid to fight. I train other people to fight. My life and the lives of my friends who serve at the crisis pregnancy center are overshadowed by a deadly contest that just happened to occur during our lifetimes. None of us like it, but we stick with it, and some of my best fighters go home weeping.

We are not aggressive people. We are not wild-eyed lunatics. We are normal men and women who believe in telling the Truth. But some call us fools, fanatics, and brutes for daring to know what the wise men of this world consider unknowable; for daring to speak certainly of the beginning of human life (a "mystery" of which only the law is ignorant); for daring to speak of what is right or wrong for other people, regardless of their feelings or culture or circumstances.

We are (and here, at least, there is agreement) a "peculiar" people. It is our privilege to tell supernatural truths and our responsibility to do so in a manner that is not obnoxious. Some people hate the Truth. In such cases we must not betray the Truth by cowardice. More often, however, the Truth is betrayed by moralists who are themselves immoral. When failure-prone men and women fight for the Truth they must do so with humility.

With this in mind we fight, as we say, "telling the truth in love", though the world cares little for that sort of love which makes people responsible for bad choices. Most think it better to let technology solve the problems created by misbehavior than to ask people to behave. Our refusal to invent easy answers is considered a lack of compassion by those who are always ready to "patch things up".

Well, all right. They do have a sort of psychological gravity on their side. (Escape sells better than responsibility.) Let's invent a Time Machine that would make pregnant women unpregnant, just like nothing happened? We could call it, say, "abortion".

But we find that abortion is not such a good Time Machine. It's never "like nothing ever happened". The woman, who already had financial problems, pays somebody a lot of money to use the machine. She often suffers in mind and body for the rest of her life. The baby who was unfortunate enough to be conceived gets killed.

Some people insist that no one should be deterred by such trivialities. They call us cruel and insist that we must want children to have children and want women to be slaves, and like to see people suffer! I hear them say these things and Ijust want to go away, to quit, to let somebody else worry about it.

But I don't, and neither do my friends. We stick with it. We know that the Truth has a power of its own, so we keep telling the Truth. Still, it hurts to be insulted -- especially for doing what is right, for daring to tell women hard truths instead of the easy lies offered by our opponents.

The job is hard enough without the abuse: it is emotionally, materially and financially expensive. We do more than simply tell the Truth; we pay the price for helping women choose Truth. We offer ourselves for counsel, friendship and even for housing. We offer food, clothing and furnishings -- all without cost.

Just next door, headquarters for both an abortion clinic and an abortion lobbyist, the story is different. There is no talk of the Truth about morality or the development of the unborn child or the serious injuries associated with abortion. They offer no food or clothing or shelter. They offer that technological wonder which has rendered self-control obsolete: the glorious Time Machine.

Whatever else a woman suffers as a result of the abortion, she is unpregnant, as promised, and the doctor is about $300 ahead for his ten minutes' work. It is not only easy to sell the illusion that abortion is a good solution, it is downright lucrative.

The ease of destruction as a solution to human problems is attractive to not only the secular society, but also to great numbers of religious folks who find it easier to mourn than to resist, to grumble about evil than to defend its victims.

Thus, our numbers are small, even within churches who claim to love the Truth. Perhaps they do love Truth when it may be comfortably joined with peace, but when, as in present days, they must enter a war zone to embrace the Truth, well, they would rather not. They would rather sing anthems to peace when there is no peace. They would rather have pleasant illusions than an honest life. The defection of this large fraction of the church from the rigors of discipleship is a source of dismay to those who would be faithful.

We Christians who choose to resist did not arrive at this conclusion from a love of adventure, but in submission to duty. Like those who choose not to resist, we prefer peace and quiet and comfort. Yet there is one thing more precious than peace and that is Truth. Without Truth there can be no lasting peace, and so it falls to us to do that which we hate so the world may see that which we love.

This distaste for combat which paralyzes many of us does not pose a problem for our opponents. The most enthusiastic warriors are those who take war personally, who relish the destruction of their enemy as much as the realization of their own ideals. Those whose hearts abound with clenched fists and angry slogans find much to agree with in the rhetoric or abortion rights.

The fight for abortion rights is a fight for self against inconvenient others, an assertion that human problems should be resolved by power and not by submission to Truth. The destruction of inconvenient human life is not merely an unfortunate aside, but the central ideal of one of the combatants. Opposed to this is the central ideal of the other: the sanctity of all human life, including the lives of our opponents.

Thus, it is the meek who are called to be bold, to repel without hostility the onslaught of the hostile. This is a job which demands both the love and the courage of Jesus Christ -- a job for which we are correct to feel ill-prepared, but it must be done.

Let there be no misunderstanding. The fight for life and Truth is not for professional warriors, but for those common folks who love peace. We simply want to get back to the business of living decent lives, knowing that the weak and defenseless among us are cared for and respected. We do not enjoy resistance, but we will endure it in the interest of Truth.

We just believe that children should be born ... all children. Is that so radical?

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Posted 1 Nov 2001.

Copyright 2001 by Jeff Ostrander.
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