Less than a week after evangelical Christian Robert Dear killed three people and wounded nine others with a semiautomatic weapon at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs -- ostensibly to protest killing, which he believed was taking place at that clinic -- a Christian research group has released the findings of a national survey containing a startling revelation: 70 percent of women who have abortions in the U.S. are Christians, and 23 percent of those women identify as Evangelical Christians.
The survey was conducted by the LifeWay group in partnership with the pregnancy center support organization Care Net, which also runs "the nation's only real-time call center providing pregnancy decision coaching" with hopes that those who call in will be "transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and empowered to choose life."
The survey, which polled 1,038 women who'd had abortions from across the U.S., found that almost 40% of those women were attending a Christian church once a month or more at the time of their abortion, but that a majority of the women who attended church regularly kept their abortion a secret from their church community, mostly out of fear of being judged or condemned. Almost half of the women agreed that "pastors' teachings on forgiveness don't seem to apply to terminated pregnancies," and 54 percent agreed that churches "over-simplify decisions about pregnancy options."
Even sadder? Sixty-four percent of the women agreed that "Church members are more likely to gossip about a woman considering an abortion than help her understand her options."
Disturbingly, there's also anecdotal evidence to suggest that Christians who have received abortions are among the most vocal opponents of abortion rights (à la Pennsatucky on "Orange Is The New Black").
In her recent memoir "My Life On The Road," journalist and activist Gloria Steinem writes, "When I visit clinics, I've learned to ask the staff if they have ever seen an [anti-abortion] picketer come in, have an abortion, and go back to picketing again. From Atlanta to Wichita, the answer is yes. Yet because staff members see the woman's suffering and guard her right to privacy, they don't blow the whistle."
Steinem says that when she initially expressed disbelief over these stories, a clinic staff member explained to her "that women in such anti-abortion groups are more likely to be deprived of birth control and so to need an abortion. Then they feel guilty -- and picket even more."
From every angle -- from the horrific actions taken by Dear to the large numbers of Christian women secretly seeking abortions -- it's clear that the current strategy of Christian anti-choicers is doing far more harm than good. Perhaps it's time they consider taking a new approach.