Pop culture and abortion
As humans living in a fallen world, we all make mistakes. Celebrities are not immune to this. Assuming that many are not Christians, it would seem unwise to expect Christ-like behavior without the redeeming work of the Spirit in their hearts. They will sin because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So what do we do when a star shares that they’ve had an abortion?
Track star Faith Rein and Udonis Haslem, captain of the Miami Heat, recently revealed they had an abortion while dating during college. The couple, who are now married, decided that bringing a child into the world would not be conducive for their goals and financial status at the time. “I am not a huge fan of abortion, but we both had sports careers, plus we could not financially handle a baby,” Haslem said in a recent interview. Haslem also had a son while in high school and felt he would be unable to financially support another child.
According to National Review, the couple has been criticized for making their personal matter public. Many might say the choice to have an abortion is a private matter, but once it is revealed to the public it’s no longer private – it is public.
Abortion is never a private matter and it shouldn’t be. It is a matter of life and death. Protecting the life of any human being is a public matter. We can’t ignore these public statements and confessions – because they affect us all.
What seemed unique about this case is neither Haslem nor Rein denied a life existed. They admitted that the decision was painful, yet they decided to abort the child because he or she would be an inconvenience. When anyone admits that there is life in the womb but still choose abortion, we should pay attention because these details give us a glimpse into the conscience of the decision maker. The question wasn’t whether or not their son or daughter was indeed a person like many abortion arguments revolve around, but rather could the child fit into their lifestyle..
There is no need to heap more guilt on this couple – I imagine they have struggled with this ill-advised decision and will forever be changed as a result. But we need to remember that our fight for life isn’t only a fight for the revelation of God’s creation of humanity. We should not assume that everyone who aborts a life is unaware that life begins before conception (Jer 1: 5-10, Ps 139: 13-16). We should not assume that everyone who chooses to abort is unaware that once the sperm and egg meet and fertilization takes place, the baby is not a mass of cells but rather a child. Many who choose abortion know they are extracting another human from the womb.
The choice to have an abortion is a matter of the heart. It can often be attributed to our desire for control, comfort and ease. Abortion is also marked by selfishness. The gospel must penetrate hearts and root out our selfishness in order to win the war against abortion. It’s a spiritual battle. For couples like Haslem and Rein, the fight begins before “I am pregnant” is even whispered. It begins with our desire for sexual intimacy before marriage. We need grace to enable us to constrain our desires for God’s perfect timing and to view others above ourselves. The call to love others above ourselves is a call to death to self (Phil 2:3). This includes loving the unborn child. We cannot accomplish heart change through persuasion. “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy,” (Rom 9:16). We must pray to our loving Father to have mercy.