By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
After all, I was 15 years old and was more concerned about sports, getting my driver’s license and then a job to buy my first car. Girls were not even high on my list in those early teen years.
Now, at the age of 64, I have a totally different perspective of what that ruling did more than 50 years ago. Fox News reported recently that since Roe v. Wade was passed, an estimated more than 63 million abortions have taken place in the United States, with more than one million abortions each year between 1975 and 2012, according to the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s oldest pro-life organization.
Over the years, countless people, a lot smarter than me, have debated when does life begin? For me, there is no debate. I believe that life begins at conception because that’s what God’s Word says. See Psalms 139: 13 and 16, Jeremiah 1:5, Isaiah 44:24 and Galatians 1:15 among others.
As I have reflected on what has transpired over the past five decades, I tried to pinpoint when abortion first became a “reality” for me. I have shared this before so it is no secret. I was born to an unwed mother who was 23 years old and became pregnant while thousands of miles from her home. She could have had an abortion and no one would have known. We never talked about it but I know that abortion was never an option for her. She had Christian parents who walked beside her during this time in her life, and I am a better man today because I not only had her influence, but the influence of her parents, Mom and Pop, in my life.
After I married my wife Joyce and we began our family, experiencing the miracle of birth, I knew without a doubt that life begins at conception. From the moment our children were conceived, they were human beings.
Those experiences in my life, along with God’s Holy Word, have caused me to be a strong pro-life advocate. Advocacy, however, comes with responsibility. It’s easy to say that you’re pro-life and begin casting stones at young women who choose abortion. The reality is that until you are in that position, you can’t understand the fear, pain and doubts those women (and the fathers) have.
It’s easy to say they should have the baby when you have a loving family around you and a roof over your head. If you are alone and on your own, I imagine the decision to have a child is frightening.
This is where Christians have to step up more than ever before now that Roe v. Wade leaves abortion laws up to the states. Tennessee is a pro-life state and those expectant mothers who will no longer have abortions available near them will need our support and encouragement more than ever before.
Make sure you understand that abortions are not illegal in the United States. Women who want an abortion can still get one. It’s just harder to do and they will have to travel to states where abortions are legal.
The battle is not over. Christians need to lead the way in helping men and women understand that life is a gift from God and should never be taken for granted. Just talk to the countless couples in our country who cannot conceive a child for one reason or another but desperately want to be parents and to have children to love.
How can we help? Support your local crisis pregnancy center. Become foster parents. Become involved in after school care programs so parents can work and support their children while knowing they are loved and cared for after school. In our state, we can support the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes. They provide homes to children as well as help those who seek to become foster parents.
Though I did not fully understand the ramifications of Roe v. Wade in 1973, I consider myself blessed to see this terrible court decision reversed in my lifetime. May we all see the day when abortion is “a blip on the radar” instead of a reality that denies life for the unborn. B&R