I have long steered clear of the hot-button issue of abortion, but an upcoming attraction is forcing my hand.

The movie Unplanned which treats the issue of abortion from a pro-life perspective is coming to the Great Plains Theatre. The movie review site Rotten Tomatoes says it’s “a dramatic approach to a hot-button topic whose agenda is immediately clear, Unplanned will only reinforce the feelings of viewers on either side of the issue.” [1]

I haven’t discussed this issue from the pulpit, only in private conversations. In a nutshell, I agree with the position of the United Methodist Church, and I want abortion to be as rare as possible, but I believe that making it illegal will not accomplish that goal and will instead put the health and safety of a great many women in jeopardy. (The rise of the mob occurred during prohibition.) There are times when threats to the health (including the mental health) of a woman make abortion the least bad option. In the words of The Book of Discipline:

“Our belief in the sanctity of unborn human life makes us reluctant to approve abortion. But we are equally bound to respect the sacredness of the life and well-being of the mother and the unborn child.

We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers.” [2]

I believe there are things we could do to make abortion a rare occurrence (like comprehensive sex education, the use of contraception, and a stronger social safety net—under our current system, an abortion costs a lot less than a birth). But our society has largely rejected practical measures and instead opted for a divisive cultural battle. The women I know are better equipped to navigate the ethics of their pregnancies than the collective legislative bodies found in Topeka, Kansas and Washington, DC.

My plan at present is to address this issue at the place where I feel that it can best be discussed, direct dialogue between two individuals or conversations among small groups. Both Jenny and I would like to hear what you think.

[1] https://www.rottentomatoes.com
[2] http://www.umc.org