A new piece at the ERLC on abortion and charity, claiming the church cannot be “anti-abortion” without being “anti-poverty.”
Ron Sider made similar (but more overtly socialist and marxist) arguments back in the 70s (who, by the way, is still trotted out by the ERLC), and David Chilton, in “Productive Christians In An Age Of Guilt-Manipulators,” answered them ably. The book should be required reading still today.
Further, there are mountains of sociological data since the 60s and 70s showing that most people are not on welfare because they are poor, but are poor because they are on welfare. Go to any native American reservation and look at what welfare does. Go to inner city ghettos where everything is paid for and the people have nothing, where housing is free but it is no longer housing, where childcare is taken care of but the children are not. Similarly, most women (and men who force them) aren’t having abortions because they can’t afford kids; rather, they can’t afford kids because they’re having abortions – that is, they (and the men forcing them) are living their lives in such a way knowing they do not have to provide for children. Why would a man marry a woman today when all the law and culture are set against him, when he can become an instant slave to her and the kids at the drop of a gavel? Why would a woman have a child today when equality is within her grasp? It is observable fact that 1960s-70s liberal legislation has removed the motivations for marriage, for men to work hard and provide for their wives and kids, for women to have children, and has given incentives for responsibility-free sexual engagements. It is no coincidence that since then, abortions, out of wedlock births, single parent households, and fatherlessness have all skyrocketed while marriage rates have declined, average age of marriages have risen, and number of child births fallen.
If the problem were purely economical, then consider this: Free markets have lowered world poverty to below 10% for the first time in human history. Never before have people all over the globe had higher standards of living, and this is due to capital investment and free markets, not social hand outs nor even Christian charity (good as it is). This should mean there are fewer abortions today than in all the previous history of the world. Yet, there are more today than ever before. Poverty is not the cause. If what this author says is true, then the state need only up its welfare dole and abortions would begin to evaporate. Indeed, if the author is correct, it would be criminal to hand these millions of women just enough money so that they can survive but only singly; so that they can exist but only if they murder their children. What sort of sick program is this welfare?
This sounds much like other (liberal, marxist, liberationist) theories which say that the only or main reason why the kids are not smart, or are on drugs or into crime, is because our schools don’t have enough money. The reason Social Program X failed is due to lack of funds. Public Ed. is now giving every kid a laptop, no – an iPad. It used to be PowerPoint. I’m sure before that it was paper and pencil. The cause of the failures of social programs is always something external to them. It is never the plans themselves. Women are having abortions due to nothing inherent in social welfare or benevolent liberal legislation that applaud and incentivize abortion, singlehood, fatherlessness, irresponsible lifestyles, inextraneous work ethics, aimless college paths and career choices, or – best of all – consequent-free life decisions.
But is it true that parents kill their kids when they can no longer afford to feed them, or do Americans instead not live their lives in such a way as to be able to feed them because they know they won’t be around because they can kill them? Is education a failure because we haven’t thrown enough money at it or is throwing money at it a failure? Are marriages dwindling because the men are gone from society or are all the men gone because marriage is gone from society? Incentives and hindrances are a ubiquitous phenomenon. Socialized benevolent laws have given incentive to people to live such lives that they need not prepare and plan and work and do all those things that are beneficial for prosperity, rearing children, and yes “human flourishing”. The church should help, but it should do so with full awareness and recognition of social, psychological, and ideological causal factors.