At this moment a high level conference is in progress in Nairobi, Kenya. This Summit is co-convened by the governments of Kenya and Denmark and the United Nations Family Planning Association (UNFPA). Its promotional materials say that its participants come from all walks of life who are “interested in the pursuit of sexual and reproductive health and rights.” One pf the goals of the Summit is to achieve “zero unmet need for family planning information and services” around the world
Tomorrow, November 14th, Summit participants will be asked to sign a document already prepared by the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations. This document will require nations to provide access to abortion in cases of rape, incest, health of the mother, and when the pregnancy “is not viable.” It also urges nations not to create new “barriers” to access to abortion, including “barriers created by health care workers who object to being forced to perform abortions contrary to their moral convictions or their religious beliefs.
Why does this matter, and what does it have to do with teens?
The term abortion, as used today in the media and commonly in conversation, means little more than “a solution to a problem” — the problem of an unwanted pregnancy. The baby, a human being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), is rarely mentioned or even considered.
So a young teen boy can say lightly to his friend, “If she gets pregnant she can always get an abortion; you can afford it.” I overheard this conversation in the parking lot of a church where i had just spoken to a group of 12- to-14 year olds. These two boys had undoubtedly been taught in their school sex education program that they should use condoms when having sex but that if a pregnancy happened an abortion would solve the problem.
So, too, a 12-year-0ld girl at a weekend retreat on sex and relationships at another church needs to ask me, “What actually happens to the baby in an abortion?”
The right to abortion and easy access to abortion services are considered integral parts of what is commonly referred to as “women’s reproductive health” or “a woman’s right to control her own body.” This “right” is not recognized in many parts of the world, and this is what the Nairobi Summit wants to change with the Human Rights Commission document. Abortion, they say, should be a human right.
But what about the baby? What about the baby’s right to live?
Challenge your teens to think:
- about the baby — its right to live, to be welcomed, to be loved and cared for
- about their own body — whose it is, and what is their responsibility for it (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)
- about their choices as to what they do with their bodies
- about what could replace abortion when an unplanned pregnancy does take place