The overturn of Roe v. Wade means abortions are no longer a constitutional right in the United States and will now be regulated by each individual state. As Christians rejoice for the children’s lives being saved, it's important to break down the "us vs. them" mentality. We must treat those who will hurt and suffer because of this legislation with love, compassion, mercy, and respect.
In simplified terms, Roe v. Wade was a 1973 court case for which the U.S. Supreme Court's final decision was to legalize abortion in the United States. It granted women the sole authority to choose between keeping a pregnancy or terminating it. Depending on how long a woman was pregnant, states could restrict abortions depending on fetal development or viability (if the baby could survive outside the womb), but abortion was both legal and had to be readily accessible, especially within the first trimester of pregnancy.
On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade. This means that the decision made in 1973 was reversed. Now, women no longer have a constitutional right to an abortion. In the United States, abortion laws and regulations have reverted to the responsibility of each individual state. Each state must now decide their stance on the question: "Do we maintain a woman’s right to an abortion under any circumstance, or do we make abortion illegal for the sake of the unborn?" Some states have already voted to make abortions illegal, and others maintain current abortion availability.
The next couple months are expected to be chaotic as states choose their stances, followed by a few years of uncertainty as they develop, remove, or enforce abortion laws.
No matter your stance on Roe v. Wade, it’s important to recognize that this issue is complex. There are no easy answers when a woman is faced with this decision—no matter what the reason. There are no true "winners" and "losers," because no matter the outcome, someone is going to be hurt. There are no "good guys" and "bad guys," because every situation is more nuanced than we can even imagine.
For every baby being saved from death by abortion, there’s a mother who will have to experience that pregnancy and all the fear, risk, and physical and financial cost that brings. With pregnancy (even one that is planned), there is a lot of uncertainty about the future. With this legislation in place, there’s a real probability that the most vulnerable populations will be severely affected.
It’s alright to rejoice for children being saved, and it’s important to fight for what we believe in. But Christians must ALSO acknowledge that those who oppose making abortion illegal are humans too—worthy of love, compassion, mercy, and respect (Ephesians 4:32). All humans have worth, emotions, and valid fears. All humans are equally loved by God (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; Romans 5:8).
When we discuss this situation with classmates and friends, we should keep the discussion respectful and listen to other points of view. Because of the sensitivity of the issue, even innocent posts on social media can be taken negatively, so for safety and respect, please review your words before hitting the send or post button. If you find yourself in a difficult situation, take a step back to pray for wisdom (James 1:5), and don’t be afraid to ask an adult for help if you don’t know what to do. (If you or someone you love is experiencing an unwanted pregnancy, please take a look at this: How should a Christian teen handle unwanted pregnancy?)
How can you be an activist in this area? Is it wrong to NOT be an activist? Well, chances are, if you're here on 412teens, you’re a minor still living with parents or a guardian. School, learning who you are, and developing your relationship with Christ is already more than a full-time job. Based solely on your age and circumstances, there are limited ways you can get involved. Prayerfully acknowledging that you’re not in a good position to do anything right this minute doesn’t make you a bad Christian.
As you grow, opportunities will come along naturally. You may eventually have friends or acquaintances who will need help or guidance about pregnancies or relationships. There’s nothing in the world more valuable than a shoulder to cry on or a couple hours of free babysitting. Try to be there for them if you can. When you’re old enough to vote, research laws and candidates who support your values.
After prayer and discussion with a safe adult, you can find ways get involved. Research local pregnancy resources and charities. There may be a pregnancy center run by a Christian organization in your city. Work volunteer hours or shop for material donations for those charitable organizations as a fun activity to do with friends. Some churches may have food drives you could get involved with. Write your congressman about supporting different bills and laws. There are lots of helpful ways to support vulnerable populations where you live.
The subject of abortion can be scary, and it’s only natural to be a little stressed about what to think or what to do. Relying on God when times are chaotic is both the hardest and most important thing you can do right now. God’s still good. He’s still in control (Isaiah 43:18-19), and He still loves you deeply (Psalm 36:5-7). When times are tough, don’t be afraid to give your anxiety over to Him.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 4:6-7
Sarah Burkey is a graduate of Frontier School of the Bible with a BA in Youth Ministry. Along the way, she discovered her second passion: geriatric health. Sarah is a physical therapist assistant in a local nursing home. In her free time, she struggles to finish writing her novel, enjoys baking and reading, and watches a little too much anime.