In the days following the leak of the Supreme Court’s draft of the Dobbs case, which threatens Roe v Wade, Amazon announced it would contribute up to $4000 to any employee who must travel to get an abortion. Abortion as economics. A court decision may not affect overmuch the demand for abortion, at least in the short run. Prime seeks to ensure the supply.
Much of our effort, particularly political effort, has been directed toward the supply side of abortion: if we restrict or outlaw abortions, fewer women will have them. If Roe is indeed overturned, some states will limit or outlaw legal abortion. Which will be a good thing, indeed.
Addressing the demand side of abortion, however, is more important—and more difficult. Demand-side thinking seeks to head off abortion before it becomes an issue. Pro-life work from the demand side calls for many things, all of which are personal. It calls the church to open our homes to pregnant mothers and their children. It requires us to restore our vision of marriage, with chastity at its place at the height of virtue—not just as an aspiration, but as an expectation. Accordingly, it will require us to face the destructiveness of contraception, acknowledging that the sex-without-consequences mentality that contraception fosters fuels abortion. Realizing that we can’t “have it all,” it will require us to order our life around children rather than ordering children around life, thereby revisiting the notion that it is normal for both mother and father to work outside the home, and revisiting how we educate our children—who we permit to educate them, and what we permit them to learn. It calls men to love their wives and families well, so that young men can see the form of godliness, particularly in relationship to women, and all the privileges and responsibilities marriage entails. Most of all, it will require God. For doing justice and loving mercy always requires walking humbly with God, and that happens when we are surrendered to Him and His purposes. And that is always costly. Are we prepared for life without abortion?
In what must be one of the most compelling life mission statements ever penned, William Wilberforce wrote “God Almighty has set before me two Great Objects: the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners.” While he did not use the language, Wilberforce saw his mission in supply and demand terms. He addressed the supply side, leading the effort to abolish the slave trade. And he addressed the demand side, the cultural renewal that would abolish the demand for such evil. And that work, as Wilberforce understood, is the work of the church, the city on a hill who by her faithful example shows the world who God is, who we were created to be, and what life can look like when people are convinced that God is good. It is always easier to tell someone what to do than it is to say “Come and see.”