Abortion and Advent: A modern, effective, and faithful ethical approach to abortion

The following is a conclusion of research paper that focused on the church’s ethical approaches to abortion.  If you wish to read the full paper, please view it here.


Abortion must now be understood only as a tool that women use to protect themselves from various kinds of harm that can be inflicted on them by individuals and society.

Old ethical approaches based in a moralizing, misguided consequentialist view that “abortion is murder” and is only needed because women are selfish and sexually immoral, must be completely retired. The pro-choice arguments that rely on emphasizing a woman’s right to dictate her own morality must also be retired.

The modern, effective, and faithful ethical approach to abortion must understand abortion only as means for women to protect themselves. People of faith should certainly be concerned that all women have access to safe and legal abortions, but because abortions are a tool for women to protect themselves from harm and women being harmed to any degree is unjust, the focus for people of faith should really be on ending and transforming the systems, patterns, and practices that harm women, whether they be in society, in family, or in the faith community.

Christianity’s historical push against abortion, in particular, has damaged the church’s ability to provide a message of hope and good news to women. The irony of a religious tradition started by an unmarried pregnant woman having little concern for the well-being of pregnant women is stark. Instead of aborting her baby, maybe Mary was forced to create the story of the divine conception of Jesus in order to protect herself from the dangers of being an unmarried pregnant woman in a deeply patriarchal society.

Lament for Aleppo

Lament for Aleppo
A prayer by Nathan Michael Black

“Omran, angels are here!” Prints available at http://www.judithmehr.com

Bombs fall.
Gas suffocates.
Bullets pierce.
Babies cry.
Mothers run.
Brothers and sisters hide.
Fathers fight.
Until no one remains.
Words fail me.
My heart fails me.
Why do my eyes and ears not fail me?
What great sin have I committed that has to be atoned for by seeing and hearing such horror?
How can these atrocities be happening now?
In my lifetime, in my world?

Forgive me, oh God, for even my lament is more about my own pain than the pain of those living and dying in such horrors.
But, how far is suffering from us really?
How do we live comfortable lives while others fear genocide?
Why won’t the hand of God be moved to save the innocent people of Aleppo?
How can God be God in this world?
Where does our help come from?

Hear our litany of repentance and have mercy on us:
We have denied Jesus in our attempt to deny our own suffering and the suffering in the world.
We have forgotten that our hands are the hands of God in this world.
We have substituted the presence of God for delusions of relief and comfort.
We don’t even recognize ourselves as followers of Jesus and instead have become followers of religion, of power, and of money.
We have become deaf and blind to suffering, even our own. For how could we not be suffering in the midst of this world’s pain?
We have abandoned the calls to love God with all that we are and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
Our apathy, our love of comfort, our selfishness have all contributed to the the conditions the world is now in.

Forgive us our sins, oh God, and keep our feet from stumbling on this path.
Restore us to the greatest Love and teach us how to live it completely and courageously.
Cleanse and renew our hearts so our motives are pure.
Heal our blind eyes and open our deaf ears, so we can see and hear clearly.
Touch our clenched and withered hands so that we may be able to use them again to be God’s hands in the world.
Clear our minds, heal our fear, and give us courage so that we may know your voice and that we may act when you lead us to act.
Hear the cries of humanity in Aleppo and around the world. Protect those in danger. Comfort those who are hurting. Heal the fear, hatred, and greed that lead to these atrocities.
This is our prayer, this is our promise.

In your many names and in the name of the one who taught us to Love even at the cost of our lives, the name of Jesus, we pray.