An ordained baptist minister had an abortion for her second child because she believed faith and abortion did not need to be in conflict with each other.
Twelve years ago, when Susan Chorley was a minister at a New England church, she discovered she was pregnant with her second child. The pregnancy wasn’t very welcome at the time because it would put more financial constraint to her already struggling family.
Chorley and her husband were also going through a rough season in their marriage at the time, and she thought another baby would “add to the stress” of their relationship.
“I didn’t want to bring a baby into the world that would feel it was a burden—and I prayed to God to help me make the best decision I could in a situation that seemed impossible,” she wrote in an article for The Daily Beast.
She eventually decided to have the baby aborted to ease her family and marriage problems.
Being an ordained minister, Chorley defended her decision by saying “faith doesn’t need to be a dividing line on abortion.” She said faith should instead help “religious” women to embrace discussions about abortion.
Citing data from the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, Chorley said in 2014, 24 percent of abortion patients were Catholic, 17 percent were Protestant and 13 percent were evangelicals, proving that many women from religious backgrounds choose tohave abortion. However, because of their faith, they choose to keep mum about it.
“Clergy are not trained to think about abortion as a cause for pastoral care, often leaving people alone with their stories at a time when they need acceptance and compassion,” she said. “Instead of serving as a barrier, faith can help lead the way to transformative healing for women, our families, and our nation.”
Chorley believed faith is not just distinguishing right from wrong, but about how people “make meaning in their lives, how we understand God, and how we live our values.”
Teacher and Pastor John Piper takes a different stand on the issue of abortion, which he called “a work of darkness.” He urged believers to be more active in the fight against abortion.
“God is calling passive, inactive Christians today to engage our minds and hearts and hands in exposing the barren works of darkness. To be the conscience of our culture. To be the light of the world. To live in the great reality of being loved by God and adopted by God and forgiven by Christ … and be made children of the light,” he wrote on the Desiring God website.
Evangelist Billy Graham said abortion is a major issue among Christians because human life is sacred, and Christians must “seek to protect all human life.”
“It is … sin that produces the misbelief that women have a ‘right’ to take the lives of unborn babies,” Graham wrote in an article.
However, Chorley believed faith is “dynamic” and “changes over time.” She believed faith has evolved in such a way that issues like abortion can now be embraced.
“Christian theologies, too, have evolved as new voices, new stories, and new experiences have come to light,” she said.
At present, Chorley is traveling the country to share her abortion in various Protestant churches through the Pro-Voice tour.
“Our politicians and our communities need a way forward into deeper connection across our differences,” she said.