Monday, January 31, 2011

Whole Life Instead of Pro-Life?

On this final day of "Right to Life" month, this is a wonderful article that fuses the pro-life and adoption issues.

January 28, 2011
by Marc Andreas

More than 50 million abortions have occurred in the US since Roe vs. Wade was decided, 38 years ago, on January 22, 1973. Recent data show that while abortion rates in the US had declined in previous years, they leveled off in 2008 and remain at a horrific level of over 1 million annually. According to international estimates, as many as 50 million babies are aborted worldwide each year.

While the highly charged legalized abortion debate rages on, more and more Christians are taking compassionate action, following what Pastor Rick Warren has called being “Whole Life rather than Pro-Life.” This means caring for the entire life of a child from conception to the end of life rather than focusing only on the lives of unborn children. In a broken world that includes millions of unplanned pregnancies among single women each year, Christian families are called to care for these women and their unborn children.

Across the US, there are more than 2,500 pregnancy resource centers and adoption agencies that offer compassionate, confidential, free counseling and assistance for those facing unplanned pregnancies. These centers and agencies utilize tens of thousands of volunteers each year who counsel women and men struggling with what to do in one of life’s most challenging circumstances. These volunteers include doctors, lawyers, accountants, businessmen, pastor’s wives, and many more who offer their professional services and personal support. There are local boards in every community that need leaders, volunteers and donations to support this Whole Life care for women and children in need.

The Center for Public Justice Guideline on Human Life reflects this thinking when it states, “Opposing abortion and trying to outlaw it are not sufficient ways to achieve the goal of protecting the unborn and supporting life. Protecting life and the life-generating process from before pregnancy (healthy marriage) through birth and human maturation must be the underlying aim of public policies.”

Another important part of being Whole Life is caring for the more than 163 million orphans around the world. God designed children to be raised in loving families. While international adoption can be a wonderful solution for some children, like the two beautiful Haitian daughters in my own family, there are now a growing number of churches and Christian families in countries like China, Ethiopia, Romania and Haiti who are taking in orphans from within their own countries. Churches in the US can now partner with churches in the developing world to provide resources to enable children to be raised by Christian families in their own countries.

In the US, there are still over 114,000 children in the foster care system waiting to be adopted. In most states, these children can be adopted at no financial cost. These waiting children are in all 50 states with dozens or more of them likely in your local county. Recently, author and pastor David Platt, along with his church in Birmingham, Alabama, approached their local county Department of Human Services staff and found 140 children in foster care waiting to be adopted. Their large church was able to raise up 150 families along with the support of their church body to give each and every child a family! Rather than letting children in their own backyard grow up without a permanent mom and dad, this church lived out their Whole Life faith and will impact their community for generations to come.

While it is important to be politically active in the abortion debate, I encourage you to contact your local pregnancy resource center or adoption agency to see how you can be a part of being Whole Life instead of only Pro-Life.

—Marc Andreas is Vice-President of Marketing and Communications at Bethany Christian Services.

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