Olivia Pope’s teachable moment
ABC’s Scandal portrayed an abortion in network prime-time last week, and the reaction was swift and predictable. Progressives and abortion rights advocates praised the episode, hailing a frank portrayal of an empowered woman aborting because she simply didn’t want a child. Conservatives called it propaganda for Planned Parenthood. And Christians uniformly expressed disgust over setting the scene to Silent Night.
But stop for a minute and ponder this with me: Is God present during an abortion?
This question matters personally to all the women who lay their lives down on an abortion table only to rise forever changed. It mattered to me as I navigated the fallout of that choice. Not that I was especially religious or even spiritually-minded back then. The timing was terrible and abortion was my solution. I didn’t think about what my heart knew to be true–that even though I have never felt so alone as I did walking into that space that day, I wasn’t alone. There was another patient there who wouldn’t survive the day.
The reality is that there are always at least two lives involved in every abortion.
And when all was said and done, I failed to protect the weaker life while God looked on.
Yes, I believe and know God was there–in the still small voice (which I ignored) prompting me to call it all off. God was there witnessing my bitter heart on seeing my fiance who’d insisted abortion was our only choice. When I held my own hand for self-comfort later that day, God was there prompting me to a posture of prayer.
But although I would have told you I was a Christian in those days, singing Silent Night in church on Christmas was as close as I ever got to God. The same holds true for many who are making the choice each day–abortion often happens in a spiritual vaccuum. Even 40% of women who abort are churchgoers, according to LifeWay research, which indicates fear of gossip and lack of grace as the barriers to reaching out for help at church. And once the abortion is over, we may wonder how we will ever face God in the future, much less disclose the truth at church.
The answer I’ve found is to embrace the reality that God was there, not to condemn us as we fear, but to save us after all (John 3:17). And moment by moment God has been working to redeem every aspect of that day for our good. His Word says in Genesis 50:20 even when we inflict harm intentionally, God intends it for good. In my case, reconciling the abortion experience has made my faith real and authentic, even drawing me into ministering God’s love to those hurt by abortion and building the case for life.
My prayer is that Scandal‘s decision to bring God into the abortion suite will actually have an impact for the spiritual good of those who are broken by this tragedy. Whether or not we acknowledge it, abortion is always a spiritual issue, because it is always a matter of life and death. Our hearts know it, the Bible, medical science, and philosophy confirm it, even if our culture disagrees. But it’s not the unforgivable sin. God has seen to that in Jesus Christ.
Yet, Olivia’s choice will stay with her, if the show is honest. I hope this is her turning point. God’s goodness and restoration are all-powerful to redeem.
PLEASE NOTE: Cradle My Heart, Finding God’s Love After Abortion provides affirmation and hope after abortion from the Scriptures. Here are more resources for help and healing. If you are pregnant and need free, confidential help call 1-800-712-HELP. If you’ve had an abortion and need immediate help call 1-866-482-LIFE.
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