When I accepted my position with Anglicans For Life, someone joked that the goal of my job, ending abortion, would lead to me being unemployed. I remember replying how happy I would be to lose my job if it meant babies would be protected from abortion!
Well, as we contemplate the Roe v. Wade decision being overturned, I find myself asking; have we achieved our goal and should Anglicans For Life (AFL) close our doors and lay off the staff?
Specifically, I have asked the Anglicans For Life’s Board of Directors to prayerfully prepare to discuss how the possibility of Roe being overturned will impact our mission and vision for the ministry at our upcoming Board Meeting.
For many pro-life organizations, the fight against abortion has been centered on the U.S. Supreme Court, but Anglicans For Life has emphasized ending abortion by making it unthinkable and unnecessary, so that regardless of the status of the law, people would reject abortion because it is inhumane and hurts women. Also, because we are a para- church ministry, we emphasize a biblical and pastoral approach to upholding the Sanctity of Life, at all stages of life.
Based on informal conversations I have had with friends of AFL about the future of the ministry, most agree that there is still a lot of work to do to protect unborn babies, as access to abortion will be decided by each state. Some states will have to establish laws for or against abortion, while others have bans or laws that will be triggered when/if Roe is overturned.
We have published a helpful overview authored by the Susan B. Anthony List that explains the status of each state’s laws as to whether abortion will be banned, permitted, or limited to some degree. This information will help you begin thinking about how you and your church family can respond once the Supreme Court publicizes the Dobbs decision.
For people living in states where abortion will remain legal, work to elect politicians that believe in the right to life for everyone – including the unborn. These states will need to become a priority along with getting pro-life legislation passed.
For folks in states that flip periodically from one party majority to the other, the challenge will be to get pro-life politicians elected regardless of party affiliation so laws can be passed to protect the unborn and their mothers.
For those in states that will ban abortion, the emphasis needs to be on outreach to women who are vulnerable to abortion (we don’t want them traveling to abortion- friendly states). They need to know there are a myriad of resources and support services they can access, so they can have the financial and emotional strength to embrace motherhood.
As the Church, it is in helping mothers choose life and then supporting them in that decision that we have the greatest opportunity to express the love of Christ in very practical ways. Imagine if every church in America provided outreach and support for those dealing with an unplanned pregnancy. In 2017, there were approximately 920,000 abortions, which means to prevent babies from being aborted, God’s people must be prepared to help 920,000 women choose life!
On page 12 of this newsletter, we have provided a list of websites that offer a variety of services, referrals, and information pregnant women need, so you can begin familiarizing yourself with resources specific to your community. The list also includes abortion after-care programs. Many people who have experienced abortion may finally seek help to address the grief and shame they have unconsciously buried while abortion was legal.
I do believe once Roe is overturned, fewer women, even in states with liberal abortion laws, will seek abortion because it is, in essence been made illegal. That fact will impact some women’s choices just as making it legal justified some women choosing abortion – even though they felt in their heart it was wrong.
My sense is that the future of Anglicans For Life as a Life-Affirming ministry serving the Anglican Communion in a post-Roe world will require some changes. However, we will continue to work to equip and educate churches so they are prepared to offer spiritual, emotional, physical, and tangible support for women facing unplanned pregnancies. Discipleship, mentoring, and loving fellowship offered to single moms will allow God’s people to reflect God’s love for them. That’s a goal I hope I can keep working towards!