Roe v. Wade vs. the Church

Season 1
Episode Number
Release Date
May 20, 2019
WomenSexual Assault

Introduction (00:01:23)

Hey guys. Welcome back to the PSALMS to God podcast. So, if you couldn't tell by the title of the episode, this is going to be a loaded podcast. So pray for me because I've tried to record this episode many times and eventually I realized that the reason I was having trouble articulating my points in a clear and concise manner for the podcast is that I was approaching it from the wrong angles. I was having trouble verbalizing why I was actually angry.

And to backtrack—let's backtrack a little bit. So if you go all the way back to the 70s, to 1973 in particular, there was a case held by the Supreme Court: Roe v. Wade. It’s a very, very popular case; I'm sure you learned about it in school. You may have forgotten about it, but essentially the outcome of this legal case was that the Supreme Court upheld that the “unduly restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional.”[1][2]

What that means is that there are cases where the United States recognizes abortion as a legal right. Laws are always worded in a tongue-twisting kind of manner. Basically Roe v. Wade upholds the legality of abortion in certain cases.

This past week, something to the tune of eight states made changes to their laws that restrict abortion further,[3] and it has caused people to begin talking about whether or not another case will go before The Supreme Court, and if the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade.[4] The state that made the most waves this past week was Alabama, because Alabama passed basically a total ban on abortion—it doesn't matter if the person was raped.[5] All of those things have been thrown out the window, and it will be completely illegal for the woman to seek abortion.

As you can imagine, opinions have ensued. Social media is full of people expressing their informed and uninformed opinions about this legal matter and about the state of the United States. Like how? Like where we going? And what's about to happen? And of course you have people who think we are one step closer to The Handmaid's Tale[6][7] and people were furious that Alabama has made this law. There are people, who of course are pro-choice, that think that the abortion should be an option for these women. And then you have people who are cheering in celebration that are pro-life, that think that, you know, all states should adopt this this law.

As I was seeing people argue back and forth on social media and people talking about it, and I was starting to feel a way and to get angry, I realized that what was making me angry actually had nothing to do with abortion. That's that sounds crazy. I already told you: the episode is about Roe v. Wade versus the Church; it’s about abortion. What do you mean you're not angry about abortion?

Why I'm Angry (00:05:23)

Well this is just it. As I was reading conversations... I understand both points of view. I understand the stance of people who are pro-life, and I understand the stance of people who are pro-choice. I understand. And from a Biblical point of view, I completely understand and agree that the Bible is pro-life. That when you start talking about “Where does life begin?”, you know, Jeremiah tells us that God knew us before he put us in the womb,[8] which means that even before conception, you were a thought in God's mind and that you were a person. So, and of course in Christianity the notion is that my life is not mine; it doesn't belong to me. I didn't create my life, God did. My life belongs to God, not me, which is why suicide is wrong, as well. It's also considered murder, so even though it's my body,[9] I don't have the right to kill myself. And so I understand all of the arguments for pro-life from a religious standpoint.

I also understand all of the complications that exist in our world due to the fact that we live in a fallen world, and I understand the concerns about, for instance, people seeking out abortions in places where they're illegal. Because let's be real, OK. Let's be honest. Laws are there for a reason and to keep order, but laws are really for law-abiding citizens, all right. How many of y'all have sped? How many people had a drink of alcohol before you turned 21? How many of y'all done smoked weed in a state where weed is illegal? OK, there is a high number of people who have committed crimes because they don't actually agree that it's a crime so they do it anyway. And then of course, like murder: people kill people all the time even though it's against the law; it's just that there is a punishment for it. And you know if abortion is illegal, like I said, people will still seek them out. And then you will have cases of like backwater abortion cases that could go horribly wrong, that are not regulated, that are being done on the black market. The cost and things will not be regulated—it’s a whole lot of problems that come with that as well.

As I was thinking about these things, it made me realize what it was that I was actually mad at. Because I was reading the people arguing, it wasn't so much that I was disagreeing with the points that were being made. What made me mad is that the whole world right now is talking about abortion and they're talking about what—when in the process of, you know, when does a fetus become a life? When does it have rights? When, you know all of these things. But these things are irrelevant. What made me mad is because we're talking about the wrong thing, OK.

The Actual Issue At Hand (00:08:49)

If you have a dog, and your dog pees on your carpet, you can clean the carpet, OK. He pees and pees and pees. Your carpet is completely screwed up, so you have to replace the carpet in the house. Are you going to keep replacing the carpet? Or are you going to train the dog to go outside to go to the bathroom? The problem is not the pee from the dog, the problem is the training of the dog. You can't just replace the carpet every single time. It's the same thing with abortion. There's a reason that women are seeking abortions. There's a problem, and we can't eliminate the symptoms without fixing the problems. And no one is talking about the problems!

What made me mad is that countless men—yeah, I'm going there, and women have been talking about it too but what I've seen is countless men on my Facebook timeline, on my Instagram timeline, on social media in general, walking around in life... There are so many men who are ready to put their two cents in about what a woman can and cannot do to her body, but they are not out here rallying for all of the causes that make women want abortions. They're not out here trying to fix rape! They're not out here trying to fix the foster care system! They're not out here trying to get universal healthcare for everyone! They're not out here addressing the issues that are plaguing the female community and the reason why you have women showing up at a clinic asking for an abortion in the first place, and that's what I want to talk about on this podcast today, because the church is not exempt. I'm coming for everybody today, because I want to talk about the reason we're in this state, and the reason why people are willing to abort their child, whether they consider it a life or not.

Christian Responsibility (00:10:55)

So before we get into these issues, I want to read two verses from the Bible to you. The first is from Deuteronomy 10:18:

He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 10:18 CSB

This means that God is here for the orphans—that is who is claimed as the fatherless. He is giving them food and clothing. We, as the children of God... We, as believers, have a responsibility to take care of any child that comes into this world without a parent or without a family structure.

The second verse that I want to read is James 1:27.

Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

James 1:27 CSB

So we have a responsibility to children everywhere.

Rape (00:12:00)

I want to start with rape. Let's talk about the stats of rape, because I've seen so many people ready to give their opinion about whether someone who is a survivor of rape should have to keep their child or not keep their child. That's not the point. The point is that they should have never been raped in the first place. So let's talk about that, OK?

Every 92 seconds someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. 15% of those people are between the ages of 12 and 17, and 54% are between 18 and 34. One out of six women in the United States has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their life.[10]

I want you to think about. Think about your mothers, your sisters, your aunts, your grandmothers, your daughters, your cousin... One out of every six women in the United States has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. I don't know how many in-depth conversations you've been having with your female friends, but I can tell you, just among my friends, I believe the statistic, because I know some people and I know what they've been through, and I know what's happened to them.

College women who are between the ages of 18 and 24 are three times more likely to experience rape, and women of the same age that are not enrolled in college are four times more likely to experience rape than the general population. And the number of children conceived from rape each year in the United States could range anywhere from 7,750 to 12,500.[10]

Think about that. That's a lot of children coming from the fact that a man chose to invade a woman's body without her consent.

But you know what it doesn't stop there. That's not the only problem, because 94% of women who are raped experience PTSD in the two weeks following their rape. 30% still have PTSD symptoms 9 months after the rape. 33% of those survivors contemplate suicide, and 13% of them actually attempt suicide. 70% of survivors of sexual assault or rape have severe or moderate distress after the event, and it's a larger percentage of any other violent crime.[10]

So basically, rape has an adverse— a more adverse—effect on people than just regular violence: just somebody jumped out and tried to beat you up, somebody tried to rob you at gunpoint. Rape is a violation of your personal space. It is a violation of your trust. It is a violation of you as a human being, of your rights, of your autonomy, and it affects people mentally, physically, emotionally—it is a trauma of its own.

It's a problem and the fact that no one wants to talk about that problem, but they’re more concerned about the child that comes from the problem. Let's get to the issues, OK?

People who are survivors of rape and sexual assault are 3.4 times more likely to use weed, 6 times more likely to use cocaine, and 10 times more likely to use other major drugs.[10]

When I was in graduate school, I think this was probably around 2011, my sorority hosted an HIV awareness luncheon. And during that luncheon we had two people who are HIV+ come and share their stories about what they've been through, and how they had gotten where they are, and how they were living life, etcetera etcetera.... What they wanted us to know. And one was a man and one was a woman. The woman shared the story of how she contracted HIV, and how she downwardly spiraled into substance abuse after she contracted it. And you know how she contracted HIV? Because she was raped. I think she said it was two men, might have been more, I'm not sure. You guys gotta bear with me, because like I said this was like 2011 when she told me this story. But essentially she was walking home, minding her own business, when some men pulled her into a van, raped her continuously, left her to die, someone found her and took her to the hospital, and then she found out that she was HIV+. And in the midst of that, she experienced all the things I talked about before: depression, PTSD, desire to commit suicide, and then she ended up using, I think, cocaine for a long time, and could not get herself clean. She already had a child—I believe. I don't think the child was a product of the rape—but she was unable to care for her child, because she was spiraling out of control.

Like I said, the problem is the rape, because the after effects that a woman experiences after going through a rape no one can... Unless you've been there you don't understand what it's like. I can't tell you what it's like because I haven't been there. But I know people who have been there. I've seen them go through the emotional traumas and turmoils. I've heard the stories. I've seen the statistics.

84% of the women who are assaulted by an intimate partner—I want to remind you right here that most rapes and sexual assault occur from someone that the woman knows. It's not... Generally it's not strangers violating these women; it is the people that you know and thought you could trust. And 84% of the women who are assaulted by an intimate partner experience professional or emotional issues after the rape. So this is within their job, within school, within their family, whatever. They experience issues with trust and functioning in our world. 79% of the people who are assaulted by their family or a close friend experience the same troubles, and 67% who are assaulted by a stranger experience those problems.

Punishment for Rape? (00:18:43)

And now that we’ve talked about these statistics, that should shake you and should make you think about the problem, I want to talk about what happens to those who are raping people, those were just out here violating the rights of women. Most people who are accused of rape are never found guilty. The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates that 97 out of 100 rapists avoid punishment altogether.[11][12] And it doesn't surprise me, because if you remember, there was a college student by the name of Brock Turner who was convicted of rape—we have witnesses! People saw him assaulting and raping this young woman, but despite that and despite the fact that the law allowed for a maximum prison sentence of 14 years, the judge only sentenced him to 6 months.[11] 6 months! Y’all, the time period it takes for a woman to carry a child to term is nine months! He was not even sentenced to prison for the duration that his victim would have had to carry a child if she had become pregnant from his actions. How is that fair? How is that not what the conversation is about? And of those six months that he was sentenced to, he only served three. Three months! The woman would have still been dealing with morning sickness, and he's out, free to go, all willy-nilly, do whatever he wants to. That is a problem. OK? Until you fix that, don't talk to me about what the woman decides to do in the aftermath of the situation.

I can agree. We can agree about what's right and wrong. We can disagree about what's right and wrong, but that's not the problem. The problem is not what the woman is doing with her body, the problem is that she was raped in the first place. And it makes me angry that you don't want to start the conversation back there.

Statutory Rape and Child Brides (00:20:53)

But let's keep talking about rape, because there's another side of rape that's called statutory rape. That is the rape of a minor. And what that means is whether the person consents or not is irrelevant because they're too young to consent.[13][14]

The reason I want to talk about statutory rape is because I want to talk about child marriages. Seems like something that happened in third world countries, other countries; that's not a problem in the United States. Well between 2000 and 2015, 200,000 minors were married in the United States.[15] Um hmm, you heard me. Between 2000 and 2015, 200,000 minors were married in the United States. And the United States is not actively against child marriages, because the US supports the practice by approving immigration petition of couples where one spouse is a minor. Approximately 8,500 cases were approved between 2007 and 2017 in which one person in the relationship was an adult and one person with a minor. 95% of the time, the child was a female and they could have been as young as 13 years old.[16]

In Missouri, one of the states that just passed the law about abortion, there is no minimum age requirement to get married. All you needed the consent of a judge. In fact, in the United States there are 25 states that have no minimum age requirement for marriage.[15] So, what's wrong with child marriage? Why are we talking about this? Well, 50% of children who are married, before 18 are more likely to dropout of school. So 50% are more likely to dropout of school. It doubles their likelihood of poverty. It triples the likelihood of spousal abuse. Girls who have children between the ages of 15 and 19 are twice as likely to die in childbirth, and their children are at a higher risk of dying, as well, and having health problems. The reason behind that could vary. It could be because their body is not fully developed and ready to carry the baby to term. Or it could be because, like I said, they're more likely to be in poverty, so they're less likely to get adequate medical care for the baby.

Medical Care (00:23:22)

Speaking of medical care, that is another problem. That's another thing that people don't want to talk about. People are all ready talked about the abortion issue, but they don't want to talk about the health care issue. Not everyone has access to healthcare. Not every woman has access to maternity leave.

Once again when I was in grad school around 2011/2012-ish, I had a friend who was working in the same town as me, and she was on the up-and-up in her career. She was making moves; she was making plans, and she had just informed us that she quit her job and she was taking a better position in another state. A few days after she quit her job and accepted this new position, she found out that she was pregnant. Because she had not been working at her new job for the appropriate amount of time, she was not eligible for maternity leave. It's not guaranteed that “Oh, I start today and now I'm pregnant, so I should get maternity leave.” No, you have to work for that particular company, which was a state-supported institution—I want to point that out, all right. Back on the government, state-supported institution. She was not eligible for maternity leave. The only reason she was able to take time off, is because her co-workers sympathized and donated their time to help her get time off.

That's a problem. How are you supposed to ensure that you have proper care for your body? How are you supposed to ensure that the baby is at optimal health? If you can't take the time off to go to your medical appointment? If you can't be on bed rest when the doctor tells you that you need to be on bed rest? If you can't take care of the baby after the baby has been born? Let's talk about why the United States does not have a policy that every woman should be entitled to maternity leave, OK?[17]

Now, like I said, medical care. There is a cost associated with that. Do you know how much it costs to have a baby? So you have to have prenatal care. If you don't have insurance the estimated average cost of prenatal care is about $2,000.[18]

Then you actually have to have the birth. Unless you are an expert and you know what you're doing to have the baby at home, you're most likely going to go to the hospital to have the baby. And of course, even having the baby at home, you need to guarantee that it's a smooth process, that there are no complications, that there are no issues. So an uncomplicated vaginal birth at the hospital is about $9,600.[18] I don't got $9,600, do you? The charge for an uncomplicated C-section is about $15,800.[18] I have don’t have that money either.

If you don't have insurance, who is paying these costs? Why are we not talking about that? Because OK, yeah sure the baby is valuable. The baby should have the chance to live. OK, well that means the baby should be cared for during prenatal care, and the baby should be able to be born. Hello? That's the issue. Not everybody has money. That is why abortion is more heavily impacted upon lower-income families than on rich families, because you don't have money.

And once we get post-birth—post prenatal care, post natural birth or C-section or whatever—then you have all of the other things that come with raising a child. Children are not cheap. They are expensive. Like ignoring the cost of diapers, cribs, car seats, pacifiers, baby food, whatever, like all of these things that you have to have, you know, the doctor's appointment for the baby. Of course there's all of those things, but not every baby comes out one hundred percent healthy. I wish they did. In a perfect world they would, but they don't. Some children come into the world with mental disabilities. Some come into the world with physical disabilities. And of course some of that could be exacerbated by the fact that the mother didn't have adequate prenatal care because they couldn't afford it, or because their job wouldn't let them take off and they put too much stress on their body. You see where I'm going with this? That is a problem.

And then when these children are born and they have the disabilities that they have, society—I read those verses in the beginning for a reason. We as Christians have a responsibility to care for our fellow man, and our fellow children, and our fellow believers. And so when these children come into the world, we have a responsibility to take care of them. Who is working on the reforms of taking care of children with disabilities? Who is making sure that they're not just pushed into the corner, pushed aside and forgotten about? Who is making plans for who is going to take care of the children who will never be self-sufficient?

There are people who are... Who have severe cognitive or mental disabilities that cannot function on their own. They are basically children for their entire lives. Who is going to take care of them when their parents die? Why are we not talking about systems and, you know, methods of making sure that they get good care? Because I want to preface this. I'm pointing out these things because they're broken, not because there's absolutely no system in place or that, you know, nobody has thought about this. I'm talking about the fact that I don't want to see these people abused. I don't want to see them neglected. That's where the conversation needs to be. What are we doing for the children that are born disabled? What are we doing for the children that are born with medical ailments that cost thousands, and hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars? How are we supporting those families? How are we making sure that those kids have a fighting chance, too?

Those are the conversations that I want to hear people talking about instead of worrying about what the mother's doing with her body. Because I want to fix the root causes of the issue.

Opinions on Sex in Society and the Church (00:29:55)

So all right there's rape, there's health issues but it doesn't end there, because not everybody wants a child. Before I start talking about adoption and the foster care system, which is obviously the alternative to aborting your child, I want to talk about sex in our culture. And this is where I really, really want to talk about the church. We all know that from a Biblical standpoint, we are all supposed to be abstinent until we get married—and not that there are no problems in having children as a married couple. Married couples have children that may not be the healthiest, and you may have varying emotions between couples about wanting the children. There could still be abusive families, where the you know the wife is being abused, the husband is being abused, the child is being... There is abuse, OK. Just because you have two parents, doesn't mean that everything is all hunky-dory and everything is beautiful. But there's a higher probability. There is more stress and strain on single parent homes, whether it's the stress and strain of the cost, or whether it's the fact that it wasn't a planned situation and the mother is left alone to deal with the pregnancy.

And the reason I bring this up is I looked up the statistics about people having premarital sex—and these statistics are from 2002. I'm sorry I couldn't find more recent statistics, but in 2002 they found that by the age of 20, 77% of the people they had surveyed had had sex, and of that 75% of the people responded that it was premarital sex, 12% of the people were married when they had sex. (And I don't know what happened to the other 3% of the people; they probably just didn't fully answer the question.) By the age of 44, 95% of the respondents had had premarital sex, and of this 95%, a higher percentage of men had had premarital sex than women. Yeah that's not surprising, either. So they also looked at women who turned 15 between the ages—between the years of 1964 and 1993. So we're spanning multiple generations. And of these women, at least 91% had had premarital sex by the age of 30.[19]

And the reason I want to point this out is because as a Christian who is waiting until marriage to have sex, I can tell you that when you date—or when you try to date—even when you're talking to Christian men there is extreme pressure to have sex before marriage. Our society is all about sex, and the idea of waiting until marriage is an extremely taboo and unheard-of concept in our society. I don't know how many guys have looked at me like I was absolutely crazy when they found out that this wasn't a “OK, after two dates or three dates, I can have sex with you.” It’s like “No, no, no. That's not how this works.” And so yeah, people will be like “No, I can't date you because I believe we should have sex before we get married.” That is a pressure that is put on women by men.

And I can tell you from the time that I was in high school all the way up into present-day, those of us who are choosing to wait until we get married have absolutely been pressured by men to have sex, and we have been rejected by men because we refuse to have sex with them, when we're not ready, when we're not married, when we're not in situations where if we should accidentally get pregnant we would be okay and sufficient to take care of these children. And those are pressures that men put on women. And I'm not going to say there are no women out here pressure in men. I'm sure there are, all right. But my point is that the same men who are on social media arguing back and forth, are the same men who aren't going to date a woman who won't have sex with him until he marries her. “She a prude.” “She ain't no fun.” They're not trying to date her. These are the same men who endorse locker-room talk, and are okay with objectifying women's bodies, and are okay with sex being everywhere in our culture, and like I said this includes Christian men.

The reason I say that this is an issue that comes into the church, is because the church is guilty of this, as well. You see, women have more at stake when they decide to have sex with someone. Not only is it easier for women to contract STDs and STIs because of the nature of how sex works,[20] you're also at risk of getting pregnant. A man can have sex and never think about it again. If it's a one night stand, he may never even see this woman again. He may never even talk to his woman again. He doesn't have to think about it, but she could get pregnant. And she's the one who's going to have to carry that baby for nine months. And she's the one who is going to have to raise that baby, and she's going to have to teach that baby. And that baby is with her at least until 18, but let's be real, we're Millennials; a lot of Millennials still living at home with their Mama at 30. That is a lifetime commitment, and it is the woman who is generally strapped with that commitment, because in most cases single parent homes are a mother and her kids. Occasionally a father and his kids, but mostly a mother and her kids.[21]

At church, a single parent gave her testimony, and I think it was perfect timing because it feeds into all of the things that have been making me angry over this past week. This is woman became pregnant when she was in high school, and of course the church shunned her. Never mind who the father is, or where the father was, I don't even know if he went to the same church. I don't know who the father was, but that's irrelevant. What is relevant is that she said that the pastor of the church,[22] who never came to see her—ever—while she was pregnant, before she was pregnant; the pastor never spoke to her. But after she had this baby, the pastor came to her house, asked to speak to her, and then told her that she had been disfellowshipped from the church.

First of all from a Biblical standpoint, if you want to believe in the concept of disfellowshipping someone, then you should also go through the proper protocol. I'll link the verses for this protocol in the show notes in a transcript, because I don't remember them off the top of my head[23] but I do remember the protocol. And the protocol is that if someone does something wrong. Then the person who knows that they've done wrong is supposed to confront them one-on-one, and if they refuse to see right, then that person is supposed to get one or two others to go with them to have the conversation. And then if that fails, the church is supposed to bring it to that person's attention, and as a church you're supposed to intervene. And then, only then, if the person does not agree, are you supposed to boot them or reduce them to the status of a non member of your church. So for the pastor to have only spoken to her at that one time, he did not follow the proper protocol.

But we see this in churches across the nation. When a woman shows up pregnant, we know what you did. We know how you got pregnant; there's no denying it. The evidence is there, and then they're ready to stone the woman. There is no chance for her to say, “I realize that this is wrong.” It doesn't matter if 10 minutes after she had sex she realized that she shouldn’t have been having premarital sex, or if she repented during the second trimester, during the third trimester. It doesn't matter because as soon as the church finds out that this woman had premarital sex, they're ready to stone her. Never mind the fact that the same pastor that told her that she was disfellowshipped might had premarital sex his own self. We don't know, and we never will know, because it's hard to prove or deny that for a man. They definitely don't get a nice round belly as evidence when that happens.

And so that just it tells you where the church is, because in this case you have evidence and the church is abandoning you. In your time of need, the time that you need somebody the most, the church is abandoning you. And the church has a responsibility to the child, because the child was fatherless, and I already read the verses that say it’s the church's responsibility to take care of the fatherless!

But it doesn't stop there because the pastor at my own church, also shared the story of how she became pregnant with her first child, also out of wedlock. And she was also disfellowshipped from the church. And she talked about how she even contemplated abortion, because she wanted to save face in the church, and she didn't want to be stoned (metaphorically) by the congregation. How can we as a church hold people to such standards where we're teaching people that life is sacred and that abortion is wrong, but the easiest way to navigate through your life in the church and to feel safe and to feel accepted is to think about aborting your child because then there's no evidence? Because no one will know what happened, and what you did.

That is a systemic problem. That is a fundamental problem within the church. That's something we need to be talking about. We need to be talking about how we talk about sex in society, but specifically in the church. How do we address that? These are the things that we need to be talking about as a church before we even worry about the end result of the baby.

That brings me to a question, because like I said women are often stoned when it's found out that they're pregnant out of wedlock. They’re looked at as being fast and all of these other things. You know, a woman has sex once, and they're calling her a whore, all the names in the book. I remember being a high school. You find out a girl is not a virgin, all of a sudden they calling her every name in the book. So what I want to ask you, is say you have a 12 year old who was raped and ends up pregnant, and they still have to go to school. Let's ignore the trauma of being raped. Let's ignore all of the emotional and physical changes that her body is going through to carry this baby to term. What you think a day would look like at school for her? Do you think she would be bullied? Do you think people would believe that she was raped? Do you think they would assume that or do you think she would have to relive that experience and tell people that she was raped? Do you think they would even believe her? Or do you think they would call her a liar? Do you think they would treat her differently? That they would pick at her? That they would refuse to choose her for their team or for their group? That they would distance themselves from her? Do you think other girls—’cause women are the main perpetrators of this, as well—do you think women would shy away from her? That girls would not let her into their little cliques? That they would talk about her behind her back and whisper about her and laugh at her? What do you think her life would look like in those nine months—’cause it's illegal to not go to school, too! And that's a whole ‘nother podcast right there.

Adoption and the Foster Care System (00:41:47)

But we don't have time for that, because this podcast is already way, way longer than I wanted it to be, and we haven't even talked about adoption and the foster-care system. But we're going to talk about it. So the adoption and foster-care system is a system I would never want my child in. I don't want any of my cousins in it. I don't want my friends children in it. I don't want nobody in it. I mean adoption can be a beautiful thing, don't get me wrong. And foster care can also be a beautiful thing, but there is a lot of problems, a lot of problems.

Right now more than 23,000 children will age out of the US foster care system every year, and what that means is you are now too old to be in foster care. You're basically considered like adults or something, so you don't live here anymore. We're putting you out because we can't afford to keep you here, and nobody has claimed you. Nobody has adopted you. So you're basically on your own—pushed out the door. 23,000 children.[24]

After reaching the age of 18, 20% of the children who were in foster care become instantly homeless;[24] because unlike those of us who were fortunate enough to have parents—when you have parents, your relationship is not severed by the fact that you became an adult. I talk to my parents every day. If something happens, I call my parents. When I was in grad school and I had financial troubles, I called my parents. When I was sick in college, I called my parents. They’re my first line of defense, and people who go through foster care don't have that. And so, if you age out of the system, if you don't have... If no one ever adopts you, then once you become 18, there's nobody for you to call. There is nobody that is going to help you out when you're $20 short for rent, when you’re $100 short, when you don't have anywhere to stay and you're between jobs, and you're trying to figure out what to do. You don't have anybody to run to.

Photocredit: Shutterstock.com/Blend Images

Only one out of every two foster kids who age out of the system end up having gainful employment by the age of 24. There is less than a 3% chance for children who have aged out of foster care to earn a college degree at any point in their life.[24] That's a problem because there is no difference between those children and the children that are not in foster care. Those kids are not dumb. It's not that they're dumb; it's not that they don't have the will; it’s not that they don't have the drive; it’s not they don't want to do it. It’s that they don't have the resources or the support systems to do it.

Seven out of ten girls who age out of the foster care system will become pregnant before the age of 21.[24] Now let's recap this OK: one out of two of them don't have a gainful employment opportunity or job by the time they're 24, 20% of them are homeless, only 3% of them are able to go to college, but 7 out of 10 of them will be pregnant and be having babies by the age of 21. Again these are the problems. This is what we should be talking about.

25% of the children who age out of foster care end up with PTSD. 8% of the total child population is abused by their parents and tens of thousands of children are placed into foster care because of this abuse. 60% of the young men who age out of the foster care system are convicted of a crime.[24]

Those kids are not worse than the other kids. Again, it's something that's happening in the system. The system is broken, that's what we need to be fixing. That's what we need to be concentrating on. What are we going to do with the kids who their parents are unable to care for them, or who refuse to care for them? That is our job as a Church. That is our job as responsible human beings, to figure out how we're going to care for people.

One out of every two kids who age out of the system develop a substance abuse. And one out of four of them don't graduate from high school or pass their GED. The states are spending only 1.2 to 1.3% of their available federal funds to try to recruit parents or train parents for the children in foster care, even though 22% of the children that they bring in to foster care, the goal is to adopt them.[24]

So we want to talk about money, we want to talk about what's going on. Why are we not spending more money to fix the root problems? That's what I'm angry about.

33% of the children that go through foster care change elementary schools five or more times which,[24] is partially why they fall behind academically, why they have trouble making friends, and that leads to the other problems that we talked about them not being able to graduate from high school or get their GED or go to college, because there's a systemic problem.

But it's even worse for people who look like me, because in the foster care system it is harder to get adopted, the darker you are... So dark skinned children, particularly black children, are least likely to be adopted. Black and Latino children are least likely to be adopted, and if you read the reports they're also cheaper to adopt.[25]

The value placed on our lives is less than the value placed on the lives of white children. So even into the adoption and foster care system, we see the prevalence of white supremacy, and that is a problem, as well. Because who is caring for those children? That means that black and Latino children are more likely to get stuck in the foster care, they're more likely to age out of the foster care, and all of the points that just made are more likely to apply to them. That's the problem.

Conclusions (00:47:23)

Those are problems that I want you guys to talk about. Those are problems I want you ripping people to shreds about on social media. If you want to be a social justice warrior, if you want to have an opinion on whether a woman should or should not get an abortion, I want you to discuss all of the things that I've been talkin about in this episode. I want you to stop worrying about the end result and the problem—the symptom. I want you to worry about the problem: why is it that women, countless women, are approaching clinics wanting to abort their babies? There are a lot of socio-economic factors, there a lot of societal problems and there are a lot of non-options that are in effect and in play in these cases. For people to come up out of the woodworks and spend all of their energy talking about what they think a woman should or should not do when they have never walked a single second in the shoes of a woman is absolutely ludicrous. I want you to address the real issue. I want you to have that same passion complaining about the fact that your fellow brethren are out here raping people. I want you to have that same passion in addressing your male friends, your male co-workers, your male family, relatives, whomever, about how they talk about women and how they treat women. I want you to talk to them about the fact that they need to be stepping up as fathers that there should not be so many single-parent homes. I want you to talk about them being there for the mother during all of the prenatal care, during the birth, during the child-rearing process, about providing monetary support, emotional support. I want you to talk about the fact that it takes two to make a baby. I want you to talk about the fact that Health Care in the United States is not provided for everyone, that all women don't have access to the correct resources they need to take the proper care of themselves and their babies during this process. I want you to get fired up and mad about the things that matter. I want you to worry about the things that lead us to the dead in road where women are forced to make the decision to get an abortion or to not get an abortion, because end game result should not be whether we are mandating what they can or cannot do but that people don't have to decide—that everyone is getting the proper care in the proper support, that they're not even thinking about an abortion. That's what I want you to talk about.

I'm sorry that this podcast episode is so long. I'm not going to because I don't think it makes any sense to break it up, and I was on a rant—look it’s just going to be what it is. So, I hope you made it this far. If you made it this far, thank you for staying with me. I'm sorry if I was yelling at you and you know, I just had to get all this off my chest. So for those who have been in these situations, I am sorry and I hope that you are doing well. For those who, again like I said are in the situation or who have been in the situation, feel free to weigh in in the comments because like I said I have never been pregnant I've never been in this situation, but my heart goes out to the people who are, because I understand that it's not black and white and there's a lot of things that are going on in our society that make this such a hot issue. So thank you guys for tuning in. Think about the things that I've said, and let's let's do better. See you next time.

EDIT: From future me, I realized that in this rant I didn't even touch on life threatening pregnancies... That's a thing too. There are cases, like ectopic pregnancies, where the life of both the mother and the baby are at stake. These cases are not so much a woman deciding to abort her baby but a medical emergency that requires it.

Footnotes and References

  1. Roe v. Wade”. Encycolpædia Britannica. December 7, 2018
  2. Roe v. Wade Fast Facts”. CNN. May 6, 2019
  3. K. K. Rebecca Lai. ”Abortion Bans: 8 States Have Passed Bills to Limit the Procedure This Year ”. NY Times. May 17, 2019
  4. Marcia Coyle. ”4 Supreme Court abortion cases that could erode Roe v. Wade ”. PBS. May 17, 2019
  5. Katie Smith. “ Abortion is still legal in Alabama and Georgia, despite new abortion bans”. CBS. May 17, 2019
  6. Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale. 1985
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale”. HULU. 2017
  8. Jeremiah 1:5
  9. It’s habit to say my, but like I stated, it’s God’s.
  10. Victims of Sexual Violence: Statistics”. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network; visited May 2019
  11. Danielle Paquette. “What makes the Stanford sex offender’s six month jail sentence so unusual”. The Washington Post. June 6, 2016
  12. The Criminal Justice System: Statistics”. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network; visited May 2019
  13. If I hadn’t been so mad, I probably would have inserted an R. Kelly joke here.
  14. Statutory Rape”. Cornell Law School; visited May 2019
  15. Sarah Ferguson. ”What You Need To Know About Child Marriage In The U.S.” Forbes. October 29, 2018
  16. Rachel Vogelstein and Alexandra Bro. ”It's Time to Close the Loopholes on Child Marriage in the U.S.”. Fortune. February 20, 2019
  17. Jane Waldfogel. ”The Family Gap for Young Women in the United States and Britain: Can Maternity Leave Make a Difference?”. Journal of Labor Economics. July 1998
  18. Heather Hatfield and Michael W. Smith, MD. ”What It Costs to Have a Baby”. WebMD. March 4, 2013
  19. Lawrence B. Finer, PhD. “Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954–2003”. Public Health Reports. January 1, 2007
  20. 10 Ways STDs Impact Women Differently from Men”. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. April 2011
  21. Jennifer Porter. ”The Majority of Children Live With Two Parents, Census Bureau Reports”. United States Census Bureau. November 17, 2016
  22. Not the church we attend now, but whatever church she went to back then.
  23. Matthew 18:15-17
  24. 51 Useful Aging Out of Foster Care Statistics | Social Race Media”. National Foster Youth Institute. May 26, 2017
  25. "Six Words: Black Babies Cost Less to Adopt". NPR. June 27, 2013
  26. April Dinwoodie. "Adoption In America: The Good, The Bad, And A Path To Reform". Huffington Post. December 7, 2017
PSALMS to God is a blog, podcast, and YouTube channel that discusses many topics and issues, always keeping YHWH as the anchor. Hosea 4:6 says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”—here, the aim is to always ask questions and study to find the answers. You can keep up with new content by signing up for the weekly newsletter.