What exactly are “family values”? For anyone with their ear to the conservative ground, you’d think it meant a dude and a lady caring about nothing more than getting hitched, popping out some babies, and conforming to gender roles. Wikipedia tells me that family values are also synonymous with Christian values, conservative values, and “morality,” and I think abortion fits in with that perfectly.
If these values include having and caring for the children you have, providing for them, and putting them first, I see no reason why abortion should be left out of the family values spectrum. Guttmacher tells us that 61% of women who have abortions are already mothers, meaning that they are already caring for children and for whatever reason, decide that caring for another is out of the scope of reality. What’s more family values-y than focusing on providing for the children you already have? Having an abortion, for some women, can be the ultimate sign of commitment to her current family. What’s more family values than affirming your decision to parent your already-born kids?
It’s difficult for me as a Jew to speak to the Christianity part of family values. What I can say is that if Christianity is about compassion and caring, it’s time for Christian leaders to step up to the plate and defend their women who choose to have abortions. Having an abortion can be a sign of moral responsibility, of taking ownership of your situation and realizing that adding a child to the mix is not feasible. For the religious woman/family, an abortion experience is something that can be helped, not hurt, by her faith. Organizations like Faith Aloud and Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice help eradicate the polarity of sexual health and religion. There’s no reason why a woman of faith should feel alienated from “family values” because she pursues an abortion. Having an abortion can and should be integrated into those values.