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The Church’s Greatest War Against Abortion

Jennifer Maggio

The Life of a Single Mom
Published: May 25, 2022
The Church’s Greatest War Against Abortion

If the overwhelming majority of Christians (statistically) believe abortion is wrong, how could more than half of the women receiving them identify as Christians? There must be more to the story.

It was 2:00 in the morning, and I was exhausted, but I couldn’t go to sleep. All I could do was stare into the eyes of a bouncing, nine-pound baby boy I had just labored for twenty-one hours to deliver. I lay in that hospital bed staring at that sweet boy, as tears flowed down my very scared 18-year-old face. I was this little boy’s mom. I was a single mom. How did I wind up here?

This was not how my story was supposed to go. Just a few months earlier I walked across the stage at high school graduation as valedictorian with scholarships to go to colleges across the U.S. And yet, here I was alone in a hospital room, faced with what seemed like an impossible task of parenting this child. I was certain I could not do it. That hospital room moment was twenty-six years ago, and that bouncing baby boy is now happily married, college-educated, and gainfully employed, also expecting his own son in just a few weeks. Somehow, we did make it. I did do it. What seemed like an unthinkable task to a young, unwed, teen mother was possible with a God who makes all things possible. I can’t imagine my life without my son. What joy I would’ve missed out on! I certainly could not have done it without an army of prayer warriors, friends, family, and church family.

According to the Center for Disease Control’s website, in 2019, 629,898 legal abortions were reported. And you may think that’s the church’s greatest war against abortion – the hundreds of thousands of unborn children who lose their lives – and in part, you would be right. However, the next likely question becomes: what do we do about it? As the church, how do we engage in the war against abortion effectively? As with all major issues facing the church, the answer is complex. Allow me to share some additional data to consider:

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 54% of women who have abortions identify themselves as Christians. According to research conducted in 2015 by Care Net, one of the largest pro-life networks in the U.S., 4 in 10 women having abortions were regularly attending church at the time of their abortion. The question becomes, “why”? If the overwhelming majority of Christians (statistically) believe abortion is wrong, how could more than half of the women receiving them identify as Christians? There must be more to the story.

Why would Christian women choose abortion versus the alternative of giving life? Are they afraid? Overwhelmed? Financially strapped? Under-educated? Under-resourced? The answer is likely “yes” to some or all the above, but there is a bigger issue. While data varies from source to source, at minimum 75% of all abortions conducted in the U.S. in 2019 were to single women. (Some sources suggested as high as 94.6%). The church’s greatest war against abortion is addressing the single mother-led family. 

Now, to be clear, single motherhood is not the only thing that needs to be addressed, as mentioned, but it is certainly one aspect, and perhaps, the biggest. Advocacy, legislation, adoption services, education, economic growth, abstinence, and financial literacy, among others, are certainly all components of an effective pro-life movement. However, they aren’t the only thing. To ignore the fatherless epidemic in our country would be an egregious error. Consider this. In 1951, approximately 22% of the U.S. population lived in a single-parent home. By 2018, that number had risen to 35%. By 2018, nearly 65% of babies are born outside marriage (Pew Research Center) with approximately 23-million single-parent homes currently in the U.S. (Annie E. Case Foundation, Kids Count Data, 2018). 

A church’s ministry plan to fight the abortion epidemic needs to include many components. Here are a few suggestions: 

Marriage Empowerment

Couples need to know the “how” behind marriage. They need to understand the power of marriage, the great blessing of it, and the effective tools to navigate challenges within it. With cohabitation rates continuing to rise, we must be vocal about the beauty and splendor of God’s plan for the family, including empowering and strengthening marriages, before single parenthood even enters the picture.

Father Empowerment

Sadly, fatherlessness is rampant in our communities, and many fathers, today, lacked a strong father in their own home while growing up. Dads must be empowered to know that they can parent well, and God has given them all they need to do so. Give them the education, tools, edification, resources, and strategies they need to be godly heads of the household. Empower them. Talk about the tough issues. Too many in our society stand ready to criticize and emasculate men versus giving them the tools needed to step into their godly roles. 

Abstinence

In a culture where anything goes and even food is now “sexy”, abstinence seems to be a dying principle only reserved for the most conservative of Christians. How dare we change God’s word to fit our narrative or cultural norm! May we be a generation of leaders who will rise up and share the stories of heartache, shame, brokenness, and regret for those of us who chose a different path. May we be open, honest, and candid. And may we also offer hope to those who think there’s no turning back now because they’ve already ventured into an immoral sexual relationship. The church needs to be talking about sex. God created it. Sex isn’t the problem – the distortion of it is. (Suggested read: Mo Isom’s book, Sex, Jesus, and Conversations the Church Forgot.) 

Adoption

I’m reminded of Ephesians 1:5-6 in the NLT which says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.  So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.”  What a beautiful depiction of Christ’s love for us and his paid price to welcome us into his family. How beautiful when the church mobilizes to put orphans into families, to place the lonely and forgotten into forever homes. Sadly, many families don’t move forward with adoption because there aren’t enough resources educating them on the steps, as well as funding available to assist in the process. 

And the final component of the church’s war against abortion must be in ministering to the single mother-led family. The numbers are overwhelming. We could spend the length of our time together just reviewing the statistics on how many single mothers exist today and how many more are expected in the decade to come. Approximately 25-million children are being raised by single parents in the U.S. today, and those children are 32 times more likely to be incarcerated, 5 times more likely to commit suicide, and 10 times more likely to drop out of high school. Poverty, abuse, incarceration, opioids. This certainly paints a grim picture of the future of a single mother. The statistics go on and on. But those numbers represent people loved by God - women and children loved and valued by a Savior who died for them, too. The single-parent family represents a mission field ripe for ministry and the love of Christ.

Make no mistake. Abstinence and marriage empowerment should be part of the pro-life movement – a big part. I’ve often been quoted as saying I would love to work myself right out of a job. I’d love for The Life of a Single Mom Ministries to no longer have a need for its existence, because marriages last forever, opioid crises stop destroying families, and there are no children born outside of marriage. But until that time, we must be on the front lines ministering to the broken, hurting, fatherless, and forgotten, and that ministry includes teaching single mothers who have opted to raise their children how to actually raise them up well in the way they should go. I can’t help but think of all the love and joy and laughter I would have missed had I not chosen to raise my first-born son. 

Single mothers’ ministries inside the church show expectant mothers that help is not simply a one-time class but a decades-long journey of doing life alongside her, mentoring and discipling her, loving her children, and fellowshipping with her in a meaningful way. Healthy single moms’ ministries offer life skills, Bible study & application, relationship-building, mentoring, and honest discussion about real issues. Healthy ministries address the tough topics, offer accountability, and meet needs. There is joy and laughter within those fellowships - tears and healing.

Finally, I’d like to share one single moms’ story who blessed us by writing our ministry a thank you card. Let this be an illustration of one of the thousands of women touched annually by churches active in the fight of seeing no single mother or child walking alone:

“I came to my single moms’ group broken, feeling like I had no heart or soul. I had known God as a little girl, but I just knew he had left me. I had been raising a special needs child for many years alone, and the last place I felt welcomed was a church. I had been asked many times by a friend to attend a local single moms’ group, so I finally decided to go. During this time, my friend did not know that I had secretly been planning my own funeral. I had created a funeral binder with instructions, including what outfit I would wear and who I would give my things to. I had even already given my car away. My single moms’ group saved me. It was the first time I walked into a church and felt completely loved. I don’t know what happened that first night, but I had hope for the first time. Before I knew it, I was coming to the group all the time. I even started serving on a food team, volunteering to serve other single moms. And now, it’s been several years later, and what I realize is that God had never left me. He was with me the whole time just holding my hand and waiting on me to surrender my life to him. Thank you for what you do for single moms. It makes a difference.”  ~ K.C. 

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Sofiia Petrova

Jennifer Maggio is a mom to three, wife to Jeff, and founder of the national nonprofit, The Life of a Single Mom Ministries. She is author to four books, including The Church and the Single Mom. She was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in America by Dr. John Maxwell in 2017 and 2015 and has appeared in hundreds of media venues, including The New York Times, Family Talk Radio with Dr. James Dobson, Joni and Friends, and many others. 

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