My Journey to Pro-Life
In the mid-1960’s, a church friend asked me if I’d heard of the book The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. I had not read it, but knew it was significant in the growing women’s movement. I got a copy and read it with interest even though it was considered suspect reading for a Christian woman. I agreed with much of the content, especially when the author addressed traditional roles within the home, respect and value accorded the woman’s income in the purchase of a home and other big investments.
I was drawn to aspects of the secular women’s movement, but also repulsed by promotions of the “liberated woman” contrary to the image of a follower of Jesus Christ. I found a home with activity in a new organization, Christians for Biblical Equality, discovering an appropriate position for myself in my home, my profession and (somewhat) in our church.
Abortion was not a point of discussion in my life until I joined a weekly gathering of young married women from my church. During conversations about our marriages, hopes for children, etc. our hostess told us she had contracted measles in early pregnancy. Her doctor informed her of serious negative implications for her baby and suggested she terminate the pregnancy, which she and her husband chose to do. I had no idea this procedure was an option, and was troubled by it. I wanted to talk about it, but the subject was closed and not brought up again. Was it wrong? Was that fetus a viable human being if it was terribly flawed and would suffer physically or emotionally outside the womb, or would be a debilitating burden to the family? Was what my friend and her husband did appropriate in God’s eyes?
That event came to my mind with the 1973 United States Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in every state at any point in a pregnancy. I was uncomfortable with the decision, but implicitly trusted the decisions made in my nation’s capital, which I believed used Christian statutes as a basic standard for legislative and judicial decisions. Abortions would only be allowed in extreme cases, few in number.
My brother’s wife, Debbie Thorpe, challenged my conclusion. She was deeply concerned about the road the US was taking and convinced of the God-given value of EVERY infant. She educated herself on Roe v. Wade, the process that brought it to the Court, and its national implementation. She aligned herself with New Life Family Services, demonstrated at a prominent abortion clinic in St. Paul and marched at the March for Life to the Minnesota State Capitol every January. In the mid-70’s her family moved to Hope Church where Debbie found kindred spirits regarding abortion. They began an education program on the issue, convinced that the Church had been hoodwinked into believing this was a political issue, so the Church should not be involved. She and her family took in dozens of foster babies and helped administer a program to help single moms in many ways.
I came to Hope Church in 1990 and was impressed with the efforts already established at Hope to speak for those who had no voice in this life and death struggle. I read books, went to seminars, and spent time with the moms and babies we have sought to serve in single moms ministry. I am pro-life and so grateful for this church that continues to support what began here over thirty years ago.
Marilyn Carlson, Hope Church member