Has Pro-Life Become Un-cool?

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

My guest post over at On Faith has generated quite a response over the past few days, and I’ve really enjoyed interacting with new readers about what it means for our generation to call a truce on the culture wars. 

Of course, some folks have been critical—both fairly and unfairly. But one blog post in particular caught my attention because, as much as I disagree with the writer about some of the other issues he addresses, I think he makes a fair point about abortion.

Responding to my assertion that twenty-something evangelicals are more interested in championing adoption and taking in single moms than protesting at abortion clinics, pastor and blogger Daniel Darlingwrote: 

"What often frustrates me about my generation is that we’ve decided certain causes are chic and others are signs of narrowmindness. To speak out on behalf of the millions of innocent babies who are sent to their death—that’s labeled extremism. But to speak out on behalf of victims of sex trafficking—that’s noble." (Read the whole post here.)

It is true that over the past two or three years, my position on abortion has become more nuanced. Growing up, I was under the impression that if we elected a Republican president, Roe vs. Wade would be overturned and there would never be another abortion in the United States ever again.  Obviously, this was a naïve perspective in that it overestimated the power of the presidency and underestimated the root causes of abortion, which would certainly contribute to continued abortions even after the practice was technically made illegal. 

So despite the fact that I believe human life is inherently valuable even in its earliest form, I only feel a little guilty voting for pro-choice candidates because I’m often convinced they will do more to address the root causes of abortion--poverty, health care, education, etc.  And as I explained in the post, I think it’s important for the church to embody an alternative in this debate by caring for those who are caught in seemingly impossible circumstances. 

Only now and then do I contemplate just how problematic it is on an ideological level that abortion is a part of our culture. I’ve written blog posts about fair trade, protecting the environment, supporting gay rights, and honoring freedom of religion for Muslims, but I can’t remember the last time I wrote a post about why I think even unborn human beings have a right to live. In fact, today I had planned to write a post speaking out against tentative plans in the Tennessee legislature to adopt immigration policies similar to those that caused such controversy in Arizona, basing my argument on the inherent worth of our Hispanic neighbors. 

I’ve worked so hard to separate myself from the Religious Right and the culture wars, perhaps I just don’t want to be seen taking on their favorite issue

So maybe Daniel Darling is right. Maybe young evangelicals like me avoid talking about abortion because it’s just not as cool as talking about sex trafficking and immigration. 

And maybe that’s a problem.

What do you think? How has your view of abortion changed over the years? And how can we hold to our convictions on this matter without getting caught up in the culture wars? Is that possible?

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