Unplanned the movie and abortion

(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #1

Recently I was talking with a coworker about the new movie called Unplanned and how Twitter had suspended its account along with most people following the movie’s account when my coworker (who believes in God) said that he felt that abortion is a necessary evil because of overpopulation and environmental issues. He does acknowledge that abortion is killing preborn babies. I was wondering, how does one respond to this objection? I didn’t have much time to respond but I told him I didn’t believe in overpopulation (globally, at least) in the sense that there is enough land on earth for 7 and a half billion people to live on plus we technically have enough food for everyone to be properly fed. Yet this doesn’t happen.

First, what are people’s thoughts on the Unplanned movie (I haven’t seen it because it’s not available in Canada) and its characterization of how abortion works, and secondly, how would you respond to the justification of abortion my coworker gave, especially since he believes in God?

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(Carson Weitnauer) #2

Hi Isaiah,

Thank you for bringing this question to RZIM Connect! It is very interesting to think about.

One challenge on a sensitive issue like this is to keep things calm. It is so easy to make provocative, inflammatory statements. In general, I do not find this to be an effective tactic when someone talks to me, so I try to avoid these when talking with others.

Another thing to keep in mind is how widespread abortion is in Western society. For instance, “In 2016, approximately 20.3% of all Canadian pregnancies (excluding spontaneous miscarriages) ended in abortion.”

So this is a very personal issue as well.

And back to the first point, it is personal in the sense that we are, according to the pro-life view, talking about murder. So, again, how do we discuss this in a helpful way?

Because this is a co-worker, perhaps there are some challenging questions that could be asked in a respectful way, that would build trust and not harm your relationship?

For instance:

  • If overpopulation is a concern, should we reduce our spending on health care? If a greater percentage of sick children, adults, and elderly died sooner, do you think this would simultaneously reduce the global population and save money?

  • If overpopulation is a concern, should we reduce our suicide prevention efforts?

  • If overpopulation is a concern, are you personally committed to not having children?

  • If overpopulation is a concern, should we institute capital punishment for more crimes?

Again, I recognize that these questions could be perceived as offensive. I think I would test each one out and see how my friend responded before trying another one. But, the point of them is to challenge the ethical tension between solving the problem of over-population and not doing harm - and, in fact, our obligation in some cases to do good.

In general, I would suggest that a more general, abstract problem (“overpopulation”) should not overrule my immediate, personal commitment to protect the innocent life of a baby.

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(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #3

Thank you @CarsonWeitnauer for the great response!

Your response is well thought out. I agree with everything you said. The interesting thing about your third question is that my coworker has 4-5 children of his own, and many are still pretty young.

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(Anitta Trotter) #4

Hi Isaiah

First - the world is not overpopulated. Here’s an eye-opening link for you: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/think-the-world-is-overcrowded-these-10-maps-show-why-you-re-wrong/
This concept might have been begun in the sixties for the purpose of making way for abortion, euthanasia and for okaying war. Look into this and you will see that there is plenty of land for way more people than presently exist. Land is not particularly well managed, with farmland being plowed over for housing or for cash crops like hybrid fuels. Another topic.

Second - look at 4D ultrasounds of babies in the womb kicking, stretching, etc. Focus on the Family is doing an event in New York City soon. They say: A baby is not alive because it is born. It is born, because it is alive.

Third - why stop at pre-born? Why not let us kill our sassy teenagers?

Fourth - is money is a concern? One new immigrant family with six children told a worker at a pregnancy help centre they could not afford another baby. The worker responded that it would be fiscally more prudent to kill the 14 year old, who will cost a lot more than a baby in the immediate future. (Both parents saw how silly this was and their church, when told of their plight, pitched in and set them up with furnishings, clothing, and food, in order to help them get started in their new life in the US.)

Fifth - we used to say that if it is okay to kill a baby still in the safety of the womb, how big a step is it for society to accept the elderly being killed when they are sick or frail? Everyone in the medical field knows that the last two or so years of life are the time of the greatest medical resources need.
Oh wait – euthanasia is now legal! At least in Canada.

Lastly - in this scenario, how long will it be before “inconvenient” people are silenced?

Life is life, given by God, not to be taken by man. Children are a blessing. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

How safe does your co-worker feel?

Praying you find a way to show them that neither overpopulation in a given area or environmental issues (which I don’t understand at all) can hold a candle to life. Perhaps ask how they feel about killing feral cats?

Sorry to be so wordy. Big issue. Looking forward to seeing the movie.

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(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #5

I appreciate your wonderful response @Anitta

I agree with all your points. You had some really good ideas that I’ll definitely bring up.

On the teenager over preborn baby issue, I believe he would say that the unborn doesn’t feel pain unlike the teenager. Also, what I think he means by environmental issues is that humans contribute to global warming (emitting gases into the atmosphere, stuff like that).

I’m not sure what his view is on euthanasia (but I’m sure it’s more liberal) but I like @CarsonWeitnauer ‘s example (how terrible the thought actually is) on suicide. If euthanasia is deemed okay, what stops us from accepting suicide? Isn’t it technically the same thing?

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(Brittany Bowman) #6

@O_wretched_man It’s so encouraging to hear of how the movie Unplanned has brought up this conversation with your coworker. I’ve seen the movie and think it did what it needed to. However, now it’s our responsibility to finish the message in a way the movie couldn’t. It may be valuable to use this conversation as a larger “check-up” to understand more of how your coworker views humanity’s relationship with God. I wonder where open-ended questions might lead?

  • What gives human life value, and what does it mean to even be human? An embryo can’t do work to earn their value, and their value exists whether or not the parents want the child. As our society struggles with self-esteem issues in many areas, this concept of unconditional value is pretty profound. We’re made in the image of God.

  • What is God’s response to sin in our lives? Many women seek abortion because they are afraid of judgment from family and friends. However, God created the opportunity for forgiveness through His death on the cross, and His love is unconditional. We can choose whether or not to accept that gift. I certainly see how the shame of unplanned pregnancy could be stifling for a woman who has never heard this concept of unconditional love.

  • What is the impact on our larger faith concept of an “The ends justify the means” approach to overpopulation? When I doubted Christianity as actually true, I would often “hedge my bets” by looking to the Biblical concept I wanted to see (love, people joining church, charity, etc.) and then figuring out a way to achieve it with my own efforts. A probing topic could be to explore how confident your coworker is in their Christian faith. It may not be an issue of abortion at all, but rather an even deeper underlying doubt on something else entirely.

These are quite simple concepts, and I’m sure you have already pondered these. However, I just wanted to give encouragement that digging deeper with your friend may accomplish even more than just winning your friend’s position on abortion.

And, in the RZIM approach of answering the questioner, not just the question, I do think it’s important to consider how sometimes humans can build a rational argument for a much deeper concern. Treading lightly on personal topics is always valuable. We never know another’s experiences, and we must show love and support to those who are hurting.

Looking forward to hearing more of how your conversation with your coworker goes!

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(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #7

Those are great questions, @Brittany_Bowman1

My coworker is great to have conversations with. I enjoy talking to him. He is very open about his personal life. He had a troubled upbringing (a father who rejected him early in life) and took it out as the violent kid at school. He was expelled from two different schools and only graduated taking adult classes. I once asked him (since he is still quite young, late twenties) what made him change his lifestyle, and he answered, “When my first child was born.” He got his life together and now goes to church. He believes in God, but I’m not sure if he’d call himself a Christian yet. He does have some liberal views (like on abortion), but he is mostly conservative on topics like homosexuality and others.

Deep questions like the ones you brought up would be very easy to bring up and have a conversation with him.

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(Claire N Streb) #8

@O_wretched_man Great question and great answers given here. I would like to add that Abby Johnson, who is the subject of the movie, is married to a Christian who did not like her working at Planned Parenthood. She is a loving person and thought she was helping people. It wasn’t until she had to assist with “a procedure” that she actually saw with her own eyes what was happening. Many people cannot understand things until they experience it for themselves. Here is a video with Abby and Glenn Beck. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MxgS95iN90

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(Laurie King) #9

Hello everyone! I just saw “Unplanned” 2 days ago, and can’t get it off my mind. Which I think it the response God would want us to have. It was very difficult to watch, and while I wanted to turn away in several spots, I believe it is necessary to care enough to know what is really happening in an abortion. My husband and I just returned from a vacation to Charleston, SC, where we walked through so much history and learned a great deal about slavery. We found ourselves aghast that so many people, many, many Christians could embrace at worst, and turn a blind eye at best to such dehumanization. The abortion issue feels the same way to me, especially after seeing the movie. I’ve been one of those people who has done nothing other than vote pro-life, but otherwise, in all honesty, talk very little about it and certainly don’t try to convince anyone else that its wrong. This movie is powerful as shown by the opposition toward it. It will change you, especially if you truly believe that every person is made in the image of God. Just like Abby Johnson could imagine her work was helping and compassionate until she was confronted with the truth of “the procedure” we can be lulled into a sense of political correctness and ignore the issue.

I have had a few conversations over the past year about abortion with people who are very much on the side of women’s rights. Since taking my first RZIM class, and learning the power of asking questions to expose fallacies and question assumptions, I have tried to put this into practice. I like to talk, debate even, and can find myself getting pretty amped up and emotional when controversy arises. I have found asking questions is an antidote to that emotion and takes away the adversarial nature of the discussion at least to some degree. When talking with a young lady whom I mentor, the topic of abortion came up. She said she wasn’t sure how she felt about it, but thought it was the woman’s right to choose. I just said, “hmmm, I guess we have to ask under what circumstances is it okay to take an innocent life?” I didn’t say anymore and she started thinking out loud, finally coming to the conclusion that abortion couldn’t be okay. I am working very hard, against my natural inclinations, to be a good listener and ask questions to open others up to their own assumptions. I think it is a powerful tool, something we can get better at by exercising the skill and I credit RZIM for teaching me this!

Love thinking through all these big issues with you all!

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(Lynne) #10

I too saw the movie Unplanned. Another friend and her daughter saw it in Charlotte, NC later than I did and they did not see the most pivotal scene in the movie; the scene where the woman sees what the fetus does during an abortion. It was shown in a very nongraphic way yet very to the point. I hope they did not delete that scene from the movie due to pressure as that scene is the heart of the movie which changes the woman’s heart forever.
You can not talk to anyone about the movie or abortion until you have seen the movie. Has anyone else seen it and was that pivotal scene deleted? I pray not. I understand after seeing the movie over 100 Planned Parenthood workers have quit working for Planned Parenthood. That was 2 weeks ago. .
I pray it changes the hearts of women seeking abortion.
Please pray for my state, NC, where Governor Roy Cooper has vetoed the bill that would stop live birth abortions: those abortions that resulted in a live birth so the BABY is allowed to be left alone to die.
Thank you

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(Michelle M. Halcomb) #11

Hi Isaiah,

I did see Unplanned and it’s very well done. I love Carson’s response and his thought provoking yet caring questions. I would try taking a genuine interest in your co -worker’s worldview and who his sources of information are. As an aside, I’m from the cold US state of Minnesota, and I can state unequivocally that Minnesota is NOT overpopulated!!! Ha, ha.

Does your co-worker believe what Psalm 139 says about when life begins? When does he think life begins or ends? Does he believe in the Bible as truth or does he regard other sources as more truthful than the Bible. You might be surprised at his answers.

Other questions: In light of his belief in overpopulation, would he be in favor of euthanasia as a means to eliminate older people who are not contributing to society, but are just using up resources? What if he was one of many Senior Citizens on whom this would be forced? Of course, it’s not yet a law, but it is permissible (not forced) in Oregon, and the idea is spreading. When the US govt runs out of money to pay for old people, then this could be a likely scenario. Would he be OK with that?

Again, I think you have to go back to the foundation of his thoughts and views.

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(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #12

Thank you for the advice @Duffer

You say Minnesota is cold and not over populated, but try the chilly prairies of Manitoba Canada where I live! Flat and empty (not much scenery) is the standard view along our highways. Anyway, He has some weird takes on church and the bible. He believes that the church has no right to tell people to change their lifestyle. When we were on the topic of sin, he said he believed that if someone was in sin, it’s that person’s directive alone to chose to change. He believes the church shouldn’t intervene on that person’s life or approach them in any way. That person has to deal with their sin through their own awareness of it and learn to correct it. He also believes that reading the whole bible shouldn’t be a priority for Christians. Of course he buts the New Testament in high regard, but doesn’t think the Old Testament is very important for the average Christian to read. I disagreed with both takes, but we couldn’t go deeper into conversation because, after all, we were at work. But I really do enjoy talking to him. He’s very easy to talk to and approach these kinds of issues with.

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(Tim Ramey) #13

@O_wretched_man @Duffer

Isaiah and Michelle, I have followed this thread with interest but with “the duffer” posted, I had to say “hi” and I can’t wait to see the movie. Isaiah, Michelle is right about the population and the temperature!

But onto the real subject, what bothers me is that we are to care for the earth and have done a lousy job, However, there is more concern about baby whales than baby children and it breaks my heart. I have heard more moving testimonies from ones that had been intended to be aborted,

I live in northern Minnesota and there are many eagles. To watch them soar is magnificent. But if I were to take an eagle’s egg and dash it to the ground, I would be fined and quickly become the enemy of a lot of people. The egg isn’t an eagle - it’s an egg. Right? No one would agree. Why doesn’t that logic work when an aborted baby is said not to be a baby because it wasn’t born yet.

We roll our eyes as to how the sinful Israelites could be trapped into the sin of following Molech and sacrificing children. We are doing the same thing and will be accountable for the slaughter of these babies too. They have no advocate but us.

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(Michelle M. Halcomb) #14

Hi Isaiah,

Yah, Manitoba’s pretty cold and flat, don’t cha know? Sorry about your Jets hockey team. :frowning:

So it sounds like your co-worker doesn’t believe the Bible is God’s word to him. Matthew 18:15-17 prescribes clear steps to take if someone is in sin, and it’s not by oneself. If you read that with him, what is his opinion? The bible clearly teaches we cannot deal with sin on our own - we need others to help including the Lord.

I would love to know his opinion on how one gets to heaven. Is it by good works or by God’s grace? I would also like to know his picture of who God is. Is He personal or not? Does He care about us or not? In what ways does He care? Would his pastor agree with his stand on these things? These answers might reveal a bit more about him.

Would he say he is experiencing joy and peace in his relationship with Christ? Does he struggle in this relationship, or in life?

For you, Isaiah, what is your objective? If you want to move him closer to Christ, genuinely caring about him and his family will help with that. I love to pray, so I would like to know how to pray for what concerns him.

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(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #15

@Duffer
Sorry about your Minnesota Wild hockey team, as well. :disappointed:

The teachings by Jesus in Matthew are exactly what came into mind when he brought up the topic. Unfortunately it’s hard to have a fluid conversation because we still have our respective jobs to. It has never occurred to me to ask those interesting questions you suggested, and I think I will. I would also be very interested in his responses.

I’m actually not so sure what he would say about his relationship to Christ would be. To be honest, his version of Christianity is one that does not affect our daily lives and impact every decision we make. It’s more like a personal convenience. Kind of like the “keep what I like and leave what I don’t” type of faith. That’s how I understand his position, but I’ll have to ask more questions to get a clearer picture.

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(Michelle M. Halcomb) #16

Hi Isaiah,

Just wanted to send you a pat on the back and some encouragement.

You are God’s man to your co-worker for this time and in this place. You are salt and light to him. God has chosen you to help him draw closer to his Loving, Heavenly Father.

It’s so great that you want to engage him and talk about deeper things. Thank you for your courage to probe a little and to just care about him.

Don’t grow weary in well doing, Brother! Have a great weekend!

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(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #17

Thank you for the encouragement @Duffer

I hope I will be able to talk to him soon on these issues.

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