Pro-Life: Beyond Abortion
When I first saw him, he looked small
and forlorn as he stood in the doorway
of the orphanage office. His shaved head
and mismatched clothing betrayed his
orphaned status. He gripped the fingers
of his caregiver and glanced tentatively
at the others in the room. I was struck
by his serious expression, especially for
He would not meet my gaze, but his
standoffish demeanor only made me
want to hold him even more and never
let go. I knew at first sight my life was
sealed to his.
That little boy would become our
son, though our road to adoption was
anything but normal. Together we
walked through an erratic legal process
that included a traumatic year of
living in a foreign country, a journey of
total dependence on God.
Our process of adoption came down
to one thing. An exchange. I had to
exchange my comfort for this boy’s life.
Trading Comfort for Life
Comfort is not an easy thing to part
with. For a Midwestern wife and mom,
comfort meant security. It meant familiarity.
It meant home and all the family,
love, and support that come with it.
As any adoptive (fostering or special
needs) parent will tell you, the loss of
comfort is often part of the process.
Living for a year in a Russian sector of
Ukraine was a mind-boggling sacrifice
I was unprepared for. Yet I knew we were giving him the
family he so desperately needed. I chose to trade my comfort
for his life. Some decisions, while difficult, are really not
hard at all.
Comfort, and our addiction to it, is stagnating. Comfort
causes our faith to shrivel and any Christian maturity we
possess to deteriorate. Comfort keeps us earth-bound rather
The right-to-life movement has become comfortable with
a message centered on anti-abortion. But is there more to our
position than what we are against?
If, like myself, we are pro-life and Christian, shouldn’t we
display God’s love to the world by showing what we are for—caring for the fatherless (adoption and orphan care) and the
vulnerable (orphan prevention and care of the birth mother
and her family)—just as much, if not more, than what we’re
The Dignity of Human Life
When I first saw our son in the orphanage, the profound
words of Genesis 1:27 took on flesh. It reminded me that
every human life, regardless of their stage of development
or societal acceptance, is precious to God and should be to
his followers as well. In the first chapter of his Word, God
explains why each life is so dignified: “So God created man
in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male
and female he created them.” As humans, we bear the image
of our tender, loving God.
Right from the start, we learn that the “image of our Creator”
imparts dignity to every human life, regardless of
developmental stage and physical or mental needs. To set
an example, God recognizes and values dignity in each
one of us, regardless of our depravity after our first parents
fell. Therefore, an attack on any person is an attack on God
Throughout the Bible, God has encouraged his children
to care especially for those unable to care for themselves.
God mandated that his children refrain from taking advantage
of the fatherless (Exodus 22:22–24; Deuteronomy 24:17;
Malachi 3:5), urged them to ensure that orphans receive fair
treatment (Psalm 82:3; Isaiah 1:17), and cursed those who
prevented justice due them (Deuteronomy 27:19). God is
even described as the Father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5).
Knowing all of this begs the question: Why don’t we hear
more about adoption, orphan care, orphan prevention, and
care for the birth mother from the right-to-life movement?
Looking Back to Move Forward
In Scripture, we read how Jesus went out of his way to lift
the vulnerable. He conversed with the Samaritan woman
who had known many husbands (John 4:18). He healed the
demon-possessed man who lived in a cemetery and was
feared by his entire community (Mark 5:2). He welcomed
children when others thought he shouldn’t be “bothered”
(Mark 10:13–16). And in the end, he set aside his comfort to
offer his own life to rescue those who couldn’t help themselves
Jesus called his followers to see everyone the way he saw
them—as God’s image bearers for whom he chose to humble
himself and become human to rescue. We were orphaned
without God. Jesus’ sacrifice made it possible for us to join
God’s family, no longer orphans but sons and daughters.
Given this priority, it comes as no surprise that James
says, “Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in
outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to
visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their
distress, and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world” (James 1:27 (AMP)).
He carefully reveals that, to God, religion is purely
expressed in two ways: lifting up the vulnerable and keeping
ourselves free of worldly corruption and desires. More
than writing this truth, James lived it.
Early Christians were known for helping orphans. Roman
citizens ridiculed them for rescuing children rejected by
their families and left to die of exposure. They raised the
orphans as extended family and not slaves, contrary to the
dictates of the surrounding culture (Sandra Silver, Footprints
in Parchment, pp. 74–75). They recognized the dignity of each
Perhaps we can learn how to better care for orphans today
by considering the examples left to us by the early church.
We see faith displayed in its simplest terms by brothers and
sisters, many of whom walked with Jesus Christ himself:
simply caring for those who need help. We demonstrate
something exquisite and profound in our loving care for others—a Christ-inspired beauty. But how do we duplicate this
beauty in today’s world?
Seeing the Need Today
The world presents us with ample
opportunity to care for others, especially
when we take a hard look at
cases of discrimination. Discrimination
abounds wherever people consider
any other lives less valuable than
their own. It is especially true where
embryos and infants are concerned.
We tend to think of the unborn and
very young as less than fully human
simply because of the developmental
stage they are in. The same can be
said for children, and even more for
children who have been orphaned. In
many cultures of the world, orphans
are regarded as less because of their
burden to society.
For every life we save from abortion or from infanticide,
we are responsible for the life we rescue.
More than ever, the world is a dangerous
place for unparented children.
I previously served as a volunteer and
staff for Food for Orphans. Traveling
with that organization broke my
heart even more for the orphaned and
enabled me to fully understand why
God mandated his people to care for
them. Orphans are so vulnerable to
the world around them. Now serving
as the executive director of Nourished
Hearts, a nonprofit ministering to
orphaned and vulnerable children, I’ve
observed the horrific living conditions
of children both inside the orphanages
and on the streets. Unparented children
are rarely reported missing and
have become the feeder group to those
looking to profit from exploiting them.
While the first goal is to save children
from abortion or infanticide (such
as being exposed to natural predators
and weather or being placed in trash
containers), we are responsible for
the lives we rescue. To fully carry out
our responsibility, we must become
invested in family care for every child.
Abandoning children to life without
proper family care is, in many ways,
condemning them to die a different
kind of death.
Yet with 400,000 children in US foster
care and an estimated 140 million
orphans worldwide, the need seems
overwhelming. How could we ever
change laws or cultures? How could
we hope to save every unwanted child
The Good News
The wonderful news is that God has an answer to much
of our world’s unparented and orphaned children crisis: his
people. In nearly every US town I’ve visited, regardless of its
size, one constant exists: a church. The church also spreads
beyond our community to the rest of the world, planting
churches everywhere the gospel goes. We can be Christ’s
hands and feet in the present world, showing his love to
those who are vulnerable and discriminated against.
Expanding our right-to-life focus to include orphan care
only makes sense. A broader emphasis in the church on
“adoption not abortion” is needed now more than ever.
It’s easy and comfortable just to vote a “pro-life” ticket or
join a one-time demonstration against an abortion clinic.
But devoting our lives sacrificially to others first requires
a miraculous change of our hearts through Christ’s saving
grace and then the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit.
Not everyone in the church can adopt a child—and God
doesn’t call everyone to adoption. But we can all devote our
minds and lives to fulfilling God’s vision for his people. How
do we gain this vision, and then how do we implement it?
To gain God’s vision, we begin with realigning our vision
of adoption and orphan care to his. Do we truly see adoption
and orphan care as being mandated by God for his followers,
or do we simply accept all forms of orphan care to be merely
a governmental concern and responsibility? We must start
with this personal struggle to fully engage in what God
expects. God’s ways are often contrary to the culture around
us. Only with his help can we truly begin to see the vulnerable
and our obligation to them.
True religion changes us, James emphasized, and touches
those around us. The gospel brings eternal life, and that
affects how we live now.
God’s Word tells us that he himself modeled adoption
when he made it possible for Gentiles to join his family
through adoption, by way of the sacrifice of his son, Jesus
(Ephesians 1:5). The comfort-crushing question each of us
needs to ask ourselves is “Lord, what can I do?”
Once we have a right vision of God, we need to recognize
his mission for us. We need to ask what we can do to care
for children whose birth parents choose adoption. If we
can’t adopt, how should we come alongside other families
who can? How can we help our brothers and sisters in Christ
around the world care for their orphaned and vulnerable
Beyond adoption, we need to consider orphan prevention
and caring for the birth mother or birth family. This begins
with families in crisis in our church but also in our community.
Many families need help to care for and keep their
families together. Through programs such as Safe Families
for Children, foster care initiatives, and birth mother assistance,
we can encourage family preservation (orphan prevention).
Our right-to-life centers need the eternal life perspective
Imagine the impact a volunteer or small group of volunteers
can have on a woman or family by simply caring for them
during pregnancy and after. Meeting the emotional, spiritual,
and physical needs of the birth mother or family is yet
another way to show the world the dignity that God ascribes
to human beings and puts into practice through his church.
Of course, we are made in God’s
image. But is that all there is to it—bearing
his image as we live here on earth?
God’s image is eternal. This extends
our definition of pro-life, urging us
to introduce everyone to our Creator,
who gives physical life and has made
a way to receive eternal life. Jesus
reminds us in John 17:3, “This is eternal
life, that they know you, the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom you
have sent.” How then have we been
truly pro-life if we haven’t presented
eternal salvation through Christ?
More than just being connected to
local right-to-life centers, we must
make every effort to invite the parent
or parents of the unborn to a relationship
with God through faith in the
sacrificial work and resurrection of his
Son, Jesus Christ, who is “the Life.”
By adding adoption and orphan
prevention to our pro-life mission, we
accomplish two things: a better reflection
of what God holds dear (caring for
the fatherless) and presenting God’s
spiritual message to a desperate world
(spiritual adoption not eternal death).
We stand at a critical juncture in the
pro-life movement. It’s time to consider
the image we want to show going forward.
How do we best show the world
what Christ’s love empowers us to
stand for—life? Can we go beyond the
anti-abortion message we’ve become
so comfortable with? Do we want to
proclaim to the world what we are for,
or simply what we are against?
The Fight for Life at Every Stage
The value of life is under attack, not just in the womb but at every stage of life.
It’s an ongoing global disaster that demands action.
The same pro-life concerns that drive Christians to battle abortion are pushing
them into many other areas with Genesis’ life-affirming message. Every person,
at any stage of life, is of infinite value because we are made in God’s image. If we
get involved, we can make a difference.
of abortions is
estimated at over
1 million per year in
the US and 56 million
worldwide. Over 60
the US, have virtually
remain active to
change the laws.
help families stay
together or offer
rather than abortion.
Destruction of Embryos
During the process
of in vitro fertilization,
many embryos are
created but not used
for the procedure.
1 million embryos
are currently frozen
in storage in the US
by private companies
with no oversight,
and many are lost or
have begun embryo
to help couples adopt
these embryos and
bring them to full
While it is illegal
in most countries,
the murder of infants
is rampant in regions
that suffer extreme
the number of
children per family,
or follow tribal
traditions of killing
to be cursed.
efforts to bring
and education to
It is estimated
that more than
40 million people
live in some form
of modern slavery,
are at the forefront
Eight states in the
US permit “medical
aid in dying” in
cases of terminal
illness. At least eight
allow physicians to
help people die in
some form. Several
groups are lobbying
to change the laws
to protect life, and
church ministries are
growing to help stem
the suicide epidemic
among all ages.
author of I Call You Mine and Until We All Come Home.
An adoptive parent and passionate orphan care advocate,
she currently serves as the executive director of Nourished
Hearts, an international orphan care nonprofit. Kim lives in
Michigan with her husband and children.
https://answersingenesis.org/sanctity-of-life/pro-life-beyond-abortion/ This article originally appeared on answersingenesis.org