In America, abortion is legal at varying stages of pregnancy. In some states, abortion is incredibly accessible. In others, not so much. And all across the country, women have many different reasons for choosing to abort the unborn.
It was unplanned. It's with the wrong guy. There isn't enough money. Finishing school will be impossible. My parents will "kill" me. Pregnancy is harmful to my body. I'm too young. I'm too old. He'll leave me. The church will disown me.
So abortion looks good, even easy, in the face of these reasons.
A women comes up with the means to cover the cost and obtain the services. In a matter of days, a pregnant women is no longer pregnant. A mom is no longer a mom to a living child.
This is America. And it happens every day.
In other countries, things look different. Take the African country of Ghana. Located in Western Africa, the country is a peaceful democracy with many traditional values.
Abortion is not available on request.
But that does not mean that all of the above excuses don't exists.
In Ghana, if a women becomes pregnant and is unmarried, it is highly frowned upon. Families will turn away their children. The church will shut it's doors to such a sin. Men will walk away, leaving women to face their sin alone. And in an economy that the average median monthly income is roughly equivalent to $450, an unmarried woman with a child is destined to live a life of poverty.
With abortions inaccessible, women will go to extreme measures to end a pregnancy. Drinking bleach, swallowing glass, anything that will end the shame and hopelessness an unplanned pregnancy will bring.
Not only do the lives of babies end, but so do the lives of many mothers.
Some will say, "Abortion must be legalized, so lives are saved and women are empowered!" But my point is not to create an abortion discussion. I fully believe that abortion is an unnecessary evil in many broken cultures around the world.
So what is my point then?
The common denominator in both our American society and in the Ghanaian culture is one very simple word:
Shame renders women and men bound in shackles, forced to walk out atrocities in the eyes of God and a moral society to do things to cover their shame. Shame makes women and men feel unworthy of even the smallest bit of kindness and love. Shame incurs actions that heaps more shame upon shame of already broken people.
So if abortion on demand isn't the solution, what is? More contraceptive? More health services?
No. The answer is simply more family.
YES. More family.
Family that doesn't leave healthy relationships, boundaries, sexual health, and consequences to schools and churches, but instead holds open dialogue beginning at a young age. Family that demonstrates proper give and take relationships, dignity, love and respect. Family that has room for grace because every one fails some time in life, even if it's an unplanned pregnancy; that rallies around someone who's fallen into sin, building them back up, empowering them, and helping them remain accountable.
We need church families who aren't afraid to welcome the sinner into their churches. After all, churches are a place not only for the saved, but also the broken, hopeless, and poor of spirit. We need church families who will celebrate the blessings even if they were a product of sin. We need church families who pour out grace and less condemnation.
More family is what we need. More relationships that build up and pour out grace empowering people to make healthy choices. More friendships that include accountability and transparency in a world of temptation and little consistent morals. More people wiling to serve their neighbor instead of ignore and belittle.
So I challenge you today to go out and be family to someone who needs, well, someone. Go out and acknowledge the dignity and value of a stranger. Go be a neighbor to your neighbors.
The power to change the world lies within the effort you're willing to put in to love others just a little more.