First of all, you must understand two things. (A) I am going to share what I think and believe. My willingness to do so presupposes your opportunity to do the same. I am not claiming Truth or knowledge. These are only my thoughts, so I ask that you do not give them more weight than I myself do. (B) I’ve got to get these things down in black and white. I’ve been saying and thinking them for many years, and I just need to see what develops as I write them out. If you have not yet discovered the pensive properties of writing, you should try working out something that you don’t understand on paper (or blog) because you begin to understand something in a new, different, more complete way as you explore it with the indelible words of writing (as opposed to the ephemeral words of thought).
Okay, now for what I got on here to do.
I believe that many pro-life people, including the National Right to Life Committee itself, have lost their focus. When I was younger and trying to help a friend who had decided to have sex outside of marriage, I went to the NRLC website to look for places that could offer her contraceptives so that she wouldn’t go to a health care center that would sell her the Pill, then offer an abortion when it didn’t work/she failed to use it properly. I found only the following statement:
The ultimate goal of the National Right to Life Committee is to restore legal protection to innocent human life. The primary interest of the National Right to Life Committee and its members has been the abortion controversy; however, it is also concerned with related matters of medical ethics which relate to the right to life issues of euthanasia and infanticide. The Committee does not have a position on issues such as contraception, sex education, capital punishment, and national defense.
(You can view this statement for yourself, which is a paragraph in the NRLC Mission Statement, at http://www.nrlc.org/Missionstatement.htm)
I of course support the protection of innocent life, that which cannot support, defend, or protect itself. I also see serious problems with euthanasia and infanticide, as they are also the unnatural ending of life. However, I ask one question: why do many people even have to make the choice of having an abortion? Because they were not having safe sex because they were not properly educated about the life cycle and sex. Because they were not having safe sex because they are unaware that they can obtain free or reduced-price contraceptives. Because they do not fully understand the consequences of sex, the greatest (?) of which might just being bring a new life into this world. There are those who have the knowledge, but choose not to use it or ignore it altogether.
Whatever the case, it is my belief that abortion would become much less of an issue if people were not needing it in the first place. We are focusing on the effects of sex and not sex itself.
If sex education could reach half of the young women who would have had an abortion, but who learned that they could say no to the pressures, that they could get free condoms, that they could get free or cheap birth control and be taught how to use it without their parents knowing, those young women, who are barely able to understand their own lives and who are not yet ready to be responsible for another, would not even need to be presented with the choice of aborting their unborn children.
Why would the NRLC not, at the same time, try to limit the number of abortions by making it illegal AND by educating people so they do not have to make that choice in the first place? It is much like trying to control the emissions of a vehicle without trying to find a fuel that will just make less emissions in the first place.
The divorce rates in our country also beg a similar approach. Divorce has a marked effect on our lives and culture. It is a problem that, if not solved, but at least to some extent, lessened, would improve our lives.
Why do so many marriages end within 5 years of their inception? Perhaps they should not have gotten married in the first place. Some sort of serious waiting period or counseling should be mandatory–something–just to ensure that couples do not rush into this most serious of relationships.
I know that some states require a waiting period, but in Missouri at least, it’s a joke. Rob and I had to wait three days to get our marriage license. Three days? Okay, some people might in that time realize their mistake, but that is usually something that takes some time, even for those of us who are not overly stubborn.
I would never force every couple to have religious counseling before marriage, because I do not believe in forcing religion on anyone. However, common sense counseling, some sort of formal evaluation of compatibility by the couple themselves, would be seriously illuminating to many couples. A consideration of the example set by both party’s parents, a discussion of his and her beliefs about the commitment that marriage is with the presence of a third party who can interpret and repackage the information for each person, an understanding of what makes a healthy relationship and what makes an unhealthy one, a lesson on how to treat each other and how to solve the inevitable problems that arise–all of these things do not have to include biblical teaching, although they certainly could. But all of these things could help a bride or groom in two ways.
1. He might realize that they do not have a healthy relationship and that she is unwilling to change, so he will get out before they tie the knot. She might realize that he believes something that is totallyincompatiblee with one of her beliefs, that she cannot accept thisincompatibilityy forever before they vow their entire lives to one another. Recognition and pure elimination of ignorance would be valuable to many couples. But it is something that is hard to achieve without the guidance of a trained counselor who can guide the couple to this self-discovery.
Additionally, if the couple finds no irreconcilable faults or issues during the counseling, the process of learning about themselves and each other will inevitably draw them closer to each other and build a strong foundation for growth and change that is necessary for marriage to survive.
2. The couple would be given the tools they need to solve problems in their relationship. When those Big Issues arise that drive couples apart, so often they are do one of three things. (A) They are unsure of how to go about fixing things, and the problem is ignored until it erupts. (B) They fix things only partially, so the peace is only held onto by a thin thread, when it needs to be mended by super glue, vices, and other really strong things that hold two halves together. (C) Fight for years as their marriagedissolvess before them. Some couples solve the problems and find their marriage strengthened afterwards.
How did they learn to do such a thing? There are many ways: perhaps they were given good examples from their parents or have it in their nature. Either way, many people do not possess these interpersonal skills and their marriages would benefit from some training in these skills which are valuable to relationships.