One topic I have been wanting to read more about lately is the topic of abortion. I have been interested especially in finding good information regarding how to help end abortion and save the lives being lost in the practice. Interestingly, I was
accidentally providentially sent a copy of Abolishing Abortion: How You Can Play a Part in Ending the Greatest Evil of Our Day by Rev. Frank Pavone (published by Thomas Nelson) from Book Look Bloggers.
While many books on abortion focus mainly on the scriptural reasons we should end abortion or on providing moral and ethical arguments against it, Pavone’s book, while including those topics, focuses more on the political aspect of what needs to be done.
The book starts by explaining how we must take the abortion discussion into the public square. In doing so, Pavone tackles the question of separation of Church and state, arguing that in reality both Church and state have a common goal: the protection of the right to live for all humans, with no exceptions. He goes on to argue that it is “Time for Repentance,” meaning that those of us who believe that all human life should be protected need to repent for not doing whatever we can to help bring an end to abortion. As Pavone continues through the book, he offers insight into how churches can stand up for the rights of the unborn politically in light of the threats of losing tax-exempt status. I found this chapter especially enlightening, as I hear much about the tax-exempt status of churches without necessarily understanding how this started and what all is involved. Suffice it to say that churches really are not in nearly as much danger of losing that status as they have been led to believe. In reality, the laws regarding that issue seem to be so vague that to enforce them would be nearly impossible, unless I am misunderstanding Pavone. Chapters 7 and 8 seemed to be the hardest to get through for me, as Pavone focuses specifically on Roman Catholic issues regarding the topic (he writes the whole book from a Catholic perspective).
I really found the most interesting parts of the book starting in chapter 9, “Collision Course.” In asking the question “What is the difference between killing a child just before birth or right afterward?” Pavone makes this statement:
“There is no way out of this question for the abortion industry or for any of us. Kermit Gosnell and other late-term abortionists put the ideological approval of the practice of abortion on a collision course with the normal, human antipathy toward gruesome violence. To break the impasse over abortion, we must compel the collision with all its pain, with all its attendant friction, collateral damage, and anxiety. In fact, we need to increase the speed and force of that collision. Although collision is inevitable, our human nature does everything it can to postpone the moment of impact, and more damage is done in the meantime.” (p. 157-158)
On one hand, we all know that murdering humans is wrong. On the other hand, abortionists and pro-choice advocates are forced to try to deny that innate understanding in some way to continue to support their stance. Our job, according to Pavone, is to continue to increase the pressure to acknowledge the gruesome fact that abortion is taking human life. Whether it is through pictures, through reason and logic, or any other means (still in a loving way), we must take a stand and continue to increase the tension in this area until the question of what abortion is doing can no longer be avoided, dodged, or reasoned away.
Pavone explains in the next chapter that we are really advocating for the care of both mother and child in fighting against abortion. He explains:
“We need to convince the unconvinced that to be pro-life is to be pro-woman. The difference between ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ is not that pro-lifers love the baby and pro-choicers love the woman. The difference is that the pro-choice message says you can separate the two, and the pro-life message says you cannot. Our opponents criticize us as ‘fetus-lovers’ who are insensitive to women and indifferent to children. But one cannot, and pro-lifers do not, love the child without loving the mother. Abortion defenders claim they are loving women, even as they admit they are killing their children. But one cannot love the woman without loving the child. Nor can one harm the child without harming the mother.” (p. 183-184)
It is not either/or but both/and. Protect and look out for women and children.
Chapter 11, the last chapter, is really one of the most important. Its title is “A Foundation of Love,” and that truly must be the true foundation of the pro-life movement. Pavone states, “Love is the foundation and inescapable condition of everything the pro-life movement does, whether that activity is perceived as ‘loving’ or ‘harsh.'” (p. 195) Pavone continues on to explain:
“Abortion is the exact opposite of love. Love says, ‘I sacrifice myself for the good of the other person.’ Abortion says, ‘I sacrifice the other person for the good of myself.’ And isn’t it amazing that the very same words used by the culture of death to justify abortion are the words used by our Lord to proclaim life and salvation and love: ‘This is My body!’
‘This is my body,’ some say. ‘I will do what I want, even if it means destroying the child.’ ‘This is My body,’ Jesus said, ‘given for you.’ (See Luke 22.)” (p. 197)
The above struck me as being very hard-hitting and very true. Abortion truly is the opposite of love, but I would add so is ignoring it and staying silent out of fear. If we love everyone, including the unborn, the time to stay silent is long past.
Pavone is very clear throughout that we are not to attack, demean, or look down upon those who have had abortions. We are to love them, to assure them of forgiveness in Christ, and to reach out to them to help them as much as possible. This book is in no way a cold-hearted, holier-than-thou attack on anyone. It is birthed out of a love for humanity, even at the earliest stages of life.
Overall, Abolishing Abortion was a great read. I couldn’t really associate much with the parts dealing with Catholicism and the pro-life position, but the majority of the book at the beginning and end were well worth the time invested. It truly helped open my eyes to how vocal I need to be out of love for women and children. I would encourage everyone to read this book and let it embolden them to take a stand for those who truly cannot take a stand for themselves. Love demands it.
Note: I received this book free from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.