Abortion and the black woman

January 20, 2014

Tamara* grew up in a loving home with two parents. People who knew her would have said she was an overachiever, one of those “Most Likely to Succeed” types. She was one of the many African Americans in her school to receive scholarships to attend college. Then she met a man—an older man who stole her heart and her virginity.

Pregnant at 18, she made the choice to have an abortion. Unfortunately, Tamara remained in sin, and by the time she was in her mid-20s, had four more abortions. Now 30 years old with two kids, Tamara lives with an ache in her heart at the unnecessary loss of the other children by her choice to abort them.

“Having children made me realize the ultimate value of life beyond my selfish motivations of what I felt life was about,” Tamara told me. “After having my first child I realized or began to feel the other children I once had the opportunity to have were still my children. I have dealt with a greater sense of regret and conviction after having children. I have realized the gift it is to be chosen by God to nurture and raise the seeds he plants, his children, whether they were conceived by sin and lust or by love.”

She made the decisions to abort to “save a relationship [with her boyfriend] for four of them and the fifth due to finances and fear.” Tamara now believes that abortion is wrong. She shared through tears:

“It is a weird thing, abortion. It is wrong in the sense that someone would even have the idea to create such a procedure to begin with. It is wrong to think that someone wouldn't take responsibility for their actions. It is wrong that young men don't understand the effect it has on the young woman or girl who lies in the cold, cold, cold room with a group of other woman to ultimately remove a child as if it is a parasite. It's heavy.”

Tamara is now on a journey to understand God's forgiveness of sins through Christ's sacrificial death on the Cross.

“I repeatedly decided to have abortions because I wasn't serving the good will of my Lord, I was blindly living in the world and serving people and relationships, dreams that weren't ever fully met anyway due to conviction and self doubt. I still have a looming feeling of guilt from time to time and am still on a journey to understand God's love for me so that I understand Christ's sacrifice for these sins I have committed.”

Abortion Epidemic

Tamara is not alone. Thousands of women each week choose to take the life of their unborn child. Abortion is an epidemic among African American females. According to statistics publicized by Care Net, the mother organization of more than 1,100 pregnancy centers, non-Hispanic black women account for 30 percent of all abortions in the United States, even though African Americans compose only a little more than 12 percent of the population. Overall, 43 percent of pregnancies among black women end in abortion.

The Rev. Dean Nelson has spent the last 20 years serving in black communities and historically black colleges and universities. He has spent the past two years working as the vice president of underserved outreach for Care Net. He offers some explanation and insight into the abortion rate among African American women in this brief interview.  

So what can be done?

We can have policies at the state and federal level that can affirm the nuclear family. This is being done in Virginia through their state social services and organizations like the Fatherhood Initiative. I believe it is important that the church and family assume its proper role in affirming sexual fidelity in early years. Studies show that when those in the black community understand the role of pregnancy centers and the history of Planned Parenthood they overwhelmingly support pregnancy centers as a positive resource in their communities.

If a church is predominantly white or in a suburban area but has a desire to assist, how would you direct them?

They should encourage and help suburban pregnancy centers to build relationships with respected urban churches that share the value of life to establish new pregnancy centers in communities where abortion rates are higher. The key is collaborative effort. The respected urban churches have the community relationship, the suburban centers have the training and expertise, and suburban churches have the values, commitment, and resources to assist.

I have spoken to a woman who said she was “forced” to have abortions by her boyfriend, who didn't want to support her. How do we reach the men? The burden and consequence of abortion seems to fall on the woman.

This is not uncommon; however, there seems to be a growing number of men who want to keep the children they conceive, but they often feel they have little say because the mother as the carrier of the child will make the final decision. That being said, some Care Net centers in conjunction with the National Fatherhood Initiative have launched “Fatherhood Programs” in urban areas such as Dallas and Atlanta.

* * * * *

Care Net's mission is that lives would be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ, and every woman would choose life for herself and her unborn child. Last year, Care Net's affiliated pregnancy centers served more than 400,000 women, offering them free or low-cost medical services such as ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, STD tests, and counseling services. For more information about Care Net and its urban initiatives visit http://careneturban.org/.

No Sin Too Great

If you are among the thousands of women who have chosen to abort your child, I want to share God's grace with you. John Piper has helpfully and powerfully addressed the topic of race and abortion. Hear this word for you:

And lest anyone think that you are simply too sinful—that there have been too many sins for too long—listen to the way the great sinner, the apostle Paul, speaks to you—directly to you. This is 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” In other words, if God can save me, the foremost (he was a murdering Christian-hater), then he can save anyone who comes to him. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).

There is forgiveness in Christ. If you are convicted of your sin, confess it and ask God to forgive you. Then walk in that forgiveness in the light (Ephesians 5:8-11) and speak with a pastor or Christian counselor to assist you further.

* * * * *

*Tamara is not the interviewee's real name. Her first and last name has been concealed to protect the identity of her children and the men involved in the circumstances above.

This article originally published here.

Trillia Newbell

Trillia Newbell is the author of several books including A Great Cloud of Witnesses, Sacred Endurance, If God Is For Us, Fear and Faith,and the children’s books, Creative God, Colorful Us and  God’s Very Good Idea. When she isn’t writing, she’s encouraging and supporting other writers as an Acquisitions Editor at Moody … Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24