Abortion Billboards Are a Travesty Built on Tragedy
To sell abortion as part of ‘God’s plan’ is to lie about the beautiful truth of God’s plan for humanity
There is a new twist in the marketing of abortion. “God’s plan includes abortion” declares a new billboard campaign along Interstate 55 running through the Midwest. The activist group “Shout Your Abortion” is sponsoring these billboards that claim God’s stamp of approval.
The co-opting of religion to justify abortion is popping up elsewhere too, including in Ohio, where there is a referendum on the ballot this November known as Issue 1, which would enshrine abortion into the state constitution and prohibit any protections for the unborn. Ads running across Ohio are promoting abortion as a tenet of faith. One from the group behind Issue 1 begins with a montage of video clips that include a man kneeling in a Catholic church with his hands folded in prayer.
“When we face personal medical decisions,” the female narrator says, “we depend on our doctors, our faith, our family …” The shot of the prayerful man in a pew flashes on the words “our faith.” And because political ads are never known for their subtlety, an image of the Divine Mercy of Christ is in the background.
This bold attempt to enlist religion in defense of abortion is a far cry from previous, more humble, abortion slogans. Once upon a time, the pro-choice mantra was that abortion should be “safe, legal and rare.” Regrettable perhaps, but having the choice was said to be necessary. This more nuanced refrain gave way over time to the notion of abortion as a positive good, an exercise in freedom, even an act of empowerment. But now the abortion lobby is peddling the nonsensical notion that abortion — not just abortion rights, mind you, but abortion itself — is actually part of God’s plan.
To sell abortion as part of “God’s plan” is a travesty built on the tragedy of abortion. And it’s a lie, draped over the beautiful truth of God’s plan for humanity.
Abortion represents everything that is the opposite of God. Abortion is an act of despair. And abortion is not fair to anyone. It is not a just solution for the woman in crisis, or for her child. To the contrary, God’s brand is hope and love. God creates human beings out of immense and personal love. Every person, no matter how small, is a unique and unrepeatable masterpiece of God’s creative genius.
But of course, our lives are not always easy. We live in a terribly fallen and broken world. Sometimes the challenges of life, and the challenges of carrying a life, are overwhelmingly daunting. In our suffering, God offers hope. And the Church exists to be the hands and feet of God on earth, and to provide that hope in concrete ways. Not to judge, but to offer love and accompaniment.
The Church accompanies women through the beauty, love and mercy of the Gospel of Life. It is a gospel that comes to life not just in the Church’s opposition to abortion, but in myriad other ways — in supporting mothers and children through pregnancy resource centers, pre- and post-natal care, in providing housing, clothing, job training, babysitting and education for mothers (Walking with Moms in Need) — on a daily, year-in-year-out basis.
It also comes to life in post-abortion healing and counseling for women who suffer after abortion. A news report on the billboard campaign includes a quotation from a woman who said it caused her to break down in tears, recalling the abortion she had as a college student over 40 years ago. Nobody weeps decades later over the loss of an appendix, but it is tragically common for women to carry a heaviness of heart and feelings of loss even decades after an abortion. Catholic ministries like Project Rachel and the Sisters of Life offer counseling, healing and reconciliation after abortion.
This new abortion marketing campaign is presumptuous at best. Consider the actual words God gave us in Scripture: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). And the Psalmist, who says to God: “You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139, 13-124).