St. Louis 221
These are the distances from our town in western Kentucky and the closest major metropolitan areas. Our setting here would make it sound like we’re very isolated from the issues “out there” but in reality we cannot escape the impact of culture. We may think ourselves safe inside a bubble of Mayberry values and small town charm, but we cannot escape the red tinge on our hands.
The tinge is from the annual death of over a million of our neighbors, nephews, cousins, sons and daughters at the hands of a culture of death. We can pretend it “doesn’t happen here” but that tactic will work as well as it does for the ostrich. We may not have a Planned Parenthood clinic in our town and our pregnancy center has never been picketed, but we can’t assume abortion is an urban problem that doesn’t affect a rural area.
Instead of sidewalk counseling and parking lot intervention, the rural pro-life community should see itself as a supporter, encourager, prayer partner, passionate advocate, and educator for when this becomes a rural reality. Unplanned pregnancies don’t just happen in big cities to teenage minority girls. They happen to soccer moms, career women, college students, and people of every religion. Pregnancy isn’t based on race or social class, it happens to women regardless of their past, education, upbringing, relationship with their dad, etc.
The point is more than political. It goes much deeper. It goes to the very fabric of who we are fundamentally. If we believe that human life is valuable and inherently due dignity, then we have to ask ourselves a serious question: can we sit back idly while a million of our most helpless become the victims of the clinical instrument and the red medical bags?
I’m writing this on my phone while holding my son for a nap. Perhaps he’s made me more passionate about this, I won’t deny that. He probably has. So when I think about the issue of life, I see my Samuel. I think back on the ultrasounds, hearing his heart beat the first time, holding his hand the first time, and the first time I kissed his soft head.
For a million babies like him every year, the only kiss they feel on their forehead comes from a suction machine, the only grip on their hand from forceps, the only time their heartbeat is heard is to know when it stops, and the only time they’re scooped is to be scraped out of the womb. Their contact with human hands comes when they’re placed in the waste bag.
No one to call momma or daddy, no coos to make or cries to be answered. No comfort from being held when they’re scared.
It’s not political, it’s far greater and more valuable than that. It tells the young scared woman that there’s hope, the career woman that she can leave a legacy far beyond whatever she’d thought. It gives hope to the barren couple desperate to be parents through adoption. It points to a purpose greater than us when those eyes look up with an empty bottle. It tells a fallen and depraved world that life, not death, is the answer. It really isn’t an it, it’s a he or she.
And finally and most importantly it points us to a Savior who was born to an unwed teenage mom from a poor community and says “in Him we live and move and have our being.”
Rural churches, support the pregnancy centers in your area, but find a center in a nearby city and partner with them. Pastors teach your people the God who creates and values life. Parents model this to your children and teach them how each were fearfully and wonderfully made. Create a culture that celebrates life, speaks for those without a voice, and loves the abortion recipient as much as the child she carried. She may be your neighbor, wherever she lives she is.