The above link is to an article about Ted Cruz and a conversation with Christian pastors about organizing to de-fund Planned Parenthood in the wake of recently released videos of upper level leadership discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue. Reading this article led to a couple of serious reflections on my part.
1. I can not believe that there is an organization of Christian pastors dedicated to improving political involvement by ministers. This American Renewal Project runs against the idea of separation of church and state. As a Baptist minister serving in Indiana, this very concept seems foreign to the role of the church and its leadership.
2. A bigger issue for me is the realization that around 3% of the budget for Planned Parenthood covered their expenditures in 2009 (http://www.factcheck.org/2011/04/planned-parenthood/) while a much larger percentage went towards other women's health services which included contraception, testing and treatment for STDs, and cancer screening.
I am Pro-life. In every sense of that word, I am for the living. I do not believe in abortion as it ends the possibility of human life. (It is important for me to note now that I am still undecided on the moment I believe life begins- finding little common ground with life begins at conception or with the notion that life begins when a fetus can sustain itself independently of the mother). However, I am also a Baptist who believes in the concept of soul liberty and the freedom of choice. I do not think that it is my right to impose my viewpoint on anyone other than my own self. I also believe I have NO right to tell a woman what she may or may not do with her body. While one interest in this conversation shouts about the choice of the unborn, the other side lifts up the choice of the impending mother. While difficult to navigate I am one of those who thinks that the rights of both muddy this issue and that each case should be evaluated with the interest of both mother and the unborn child.
This movement to de-fund Planned Parenthood appears to be an attack upon the concept of abortion itself. Since politicians have failed to make abortion illegal in our nation, the next step seems to be to pull any financial support that might make this possible (was this not a similar tactic as those who opposed the so called Obamacare?). Is it not interesting that this same value for life does not apply to the loose laws for gun ownership in this nation- especially when recognizing the percentage of these handguns involvement in the taking of human life. If preserving life were really that important would we not be having a different discussion about gun ownership? Taking funds away from Planned Parenthood will severely hamper the greater mission of the organization that directly invests in improving women's health and PREVENTING unwanted pregnancy.
It is why I find myself in a very tense position- being a Baptist minister who supports the concept of life, but also the work of any organization that works to preserve and aid life. I believe it is possible to be Christian, Baptist, and support continued financial support of my tax dollars for Planned Parenthood.