Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children

Lectionary: 317

Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies
that people utter will be forgiven them.
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit
will never have forgiveness,
but is guilty of an everlasting sin.

Today we remember the 1973 decision of the United States Supreme Court to fatally divide a nation over the issue of abortion, without reference to the intense discussions that were being carried out in fifty state legislatures. Their abrupt attempt to end discussion has only made the debate more divisive. The damage of their decision to the Republic rivals that of the 21st Amendment, prohibiting alcohol.

Abortion is certainly not an unforgivable sin. Sin, by definition, is forgivable. But many commit a very serious sin when they refuse to allow room for the Holy Spirit in their lives.

I heard a woman on the radio discuss her reasons to abort. Amniocentesis had revealed the possibility of a child with disabilities. She was sure she could not love such a child. Her husband said he would welcome the baby but agreed she could not. He saw his wife as spiritually handicapped, congenitally unwilling to make the sacrifices that parents routinely make.

It's hard to imagine such a marriage surviving. If they have a child she will eventually realize this human being, the fruit of her womb, is not her dream child. She will be disappointed  like every parent who ever brought "forth a child in pain." At some point she will discover that her husband is also disabled in some way and that she is incapable of loving him. She will remain the princess bride who never grew up.

Abortion is a sin against the grace which God offers to us as families, churches, neighborhoods, school districts and the nation. Legalized abortion cements our unwillingness to be stretched by opportunities.

Can anyone be surprised about the consequences of abortion: the epidemics of suicide and drug abuse? Children who might have been aborted, who discover their parents and grandparents discussed abortion before they were born, who might even be told in a moment of intense emotion, "I should have aborted you! Your grandmother begged me to!" -- such children are at risk from the day of their birth.

Abortion supposes that we can love when, where and how we choose to love. It supposes we can refuse to love and suffer no consequences. Abortion does not recognize that no one can love another human being without the extraordinary power of grace. Every human relationship is doomed to fail without divine intervention. Saint Augustine recognized that fallacy in Pelagianism, the heresy that we could save ourselves by self-discipline.

But we must not sin against the Holy Spirit. If we cannot imagine the United States or any other nation repenting of its sins against life, we must yet believe the Spirit of God will lead us through.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.