In a Country Where Abortion is Illegal

If you knew some of the things that happened here in Cameroon, you would be so angry. There are injustices here that, just to be honest, we would never see in the US. And if they did happen, it would be in the news and people would go to jail. I doubt that this is particularly surprising to most of you. We tend to think that unjust things happen in third-world countries. But have you ever considered that the practices of your nation are shocking to someone in the third-world? I am not talking about just culture shock, but real moral outrage.This is the response that I receive when I have talked to some of my neighbors about abortion in America. They have been genuinely repulsed by the fact that abortion is legal in the States. Their shock comes from several reasons, among which I will name a few.

Children are a Blessing

In the US we often hear rhetoric telling us that unborn babies are not really babies. We hear that they are unformed clumps of cells, and that disposing of them is no different than an appendectomy. I have very strong doubts that many in the US believe this lie, but many pretend to. This fantasy is not present for most here in Cameroon. Children are not seen (merely) as a burden, but a blessing, something to strive for. Barrenness is seen as weakness and feared. And the natural response from parents to their children, even their unborn children, is to protect. I find this perspective overall refreshing, and closer to the biblical mindset.

For instance, the psalmist in Psalm 127 tells us, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (v. 3). Not ignoring the difficulties of raising children, the Bible teaches that they are a blessing from the Lord. According to this psalmist, when we discover a pregnancy, we out to think: this is a reward from God! I do not feel like this is the overall mindset of Americans, however, it is the mindset of most Cameroonians I know. Abortion is outrageous because it is the destruction of a blessing.

Parents Love Their Children

I spent several months living in the jungle here with the Baka, a pygmy tribe here in Cameroon. One day I spent some time with a mother who had a very sick little baby. Not too long later I heard loud wailing and walked out to find her holding her baby boy, now dead in her arms. I sat there with the family for a while, not really knowing what to say as they mourned their newborn. As I now reflect on this time, I realize that there could not have been a more appropriate response. Parents love their children and the death of a child is one of the saddest experiences a parent can ever go through. The abortion industry tries to sell us the lie that abortion is, in some situations, what is best for the parents (and even the child). However, naturally we know that the death of our children is not good.

Biblically speaking, the love that a parent has for her children is an assumption. Paul, when wanting to describe his gentle love for the church said, “we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (I Thessalonians 2:7). It is so normal, so common, for a mother to love her child that Paul used it as an illustration knowing that it would not be confused. Whenever I read reports of women or men who have killed their own (already born) children in the news, it is shocking. Abortion is no less shocking, as it is no less the murder of a child by her parents.

We All Have a Conscience

When Stacey and I spent time with the Speak for the Unborn ministry in Louisville, KY we saw many men and women go into the abortion clinic. Some tried to put on a tough face, I even saw a few laughing, mocking those of us who would speak out for their children. However, by far the most common look I saw on the women’s faces was sorrow. Whether they were coerced, felt like they had no other choice, or were just slaves to sin, these women knew what they were doing. You could see it in their eyes. And you could see that it haunted them.

This is not a mystery. We have a God who calls us to “speak for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8), and to “defend the poor and fatherless” (Psalm 82:3). This very same God has written his law on our hearts (Romans 2:15). He wired us to know what is right and wrong. He wired us to know that he hates the killing of innocents. Why are so many women haunted by their decision to abort? Because they were made with a conscience that tells them it is wrong. I have seen in the West how we have calloused ourselves to this conscience in this regard. And living in a less-calloused culture makes the horror or our apathy so evident.

There are lots of problems here in Cameroon. There are many ways in which I teach my children not to be like the culture around us. But when the subject of abortion comes up, I am genuinely ashamed to be an American. Cameroon has a much lower literacy rate, is full of people enslaved to traditional religion. But its people look across the ocean and cannot imagine how we can so freely kill our own children. And it is not like we have not had warning. We have had the Bible for centuries longer than my neighbors. We tend to think we are so much more advanced than those in poor countries, but I tell you, the people of Cameroon will rise up at the judgment with the Americans and condemn it. For we, who were so knowledgeable, so “advanced” failed to see the obvious. We failed to thank God for the blessing of children, failed to love them, and ignored our consciences.

I pray that this Sanctity of Life Sunday would be a time of repentance for my generation. May we turn from the sin of abortion and to the Savior who is so ready to forgive.


Author: David M. Hare

Dave is a husband, father of four Africans, and is currently helping the Kwakum people do Oral Bible Storying and Bible translation in Cameroon, Africa.