1. Protest Singers
What it is: Several musicians expressed dismay over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade at the Glastonbury Festival this weekend.
Why it’s an echo chamber: Olivia Rodrigo, Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, and Lorde were among the acts to criticize the U.S. Supreme Court from the UK Stage. Lamar drew religious iconography into his performance, donning a crown of thorns and saying, “They judge you, they judged Christ, Godspeed for women’s rights.” Rodrigo took the stage with Lily Allen to perform Allen’s 2009 anthem, “F*** You,” dedicating it to the five conservative-leaning justices and declaring, “So many girls and women are going to die because of this.” Such displays from vocal young celebrities might convince teens that anyone who is in favor of pro-life policy is in league with a judicial system that is intent on limiting and controlling women’s choices.
2. A Dangerous Concoction
What it is: On TikTok, For You Pages are lighting up with advice to stockpile Plan B and contraceptives as well as herbal remedies for home abortions, and Google Trends shows searches for herbal abortifacients are skyrocketing.
Why it’s dangerous: Abortions performed in clinics aren’t the only way that women end pregnancies, and people have used various techniques for preventing pregnancy throughout recorded human history. But without guidance and supervision from a medical professional, consuming any over-the-counter medication over recommended dosages can harm internal organs. And hobbyist apothecaries on TikTok are not qualified to give out advice about abortifacients like mugwort, pennyroyal, chamomile, or any other mixture. There is also the possibility of malicious accounts posting poisonous herbs that can do serious harm if ingested. Teens who are concerned about abortion access may be consuming this kind of information without a safe place to process and talk about it.
3. Case Far From Closed
What it is: According to the Pew Data Research Center, public opinion on abortion has remained relatively stable for the past several years. 61 percent of people surveyed say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 37 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases.
Why it’s important to keep in mind: The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, along with subsequent trigger laws that immediately limited abortion access in multiple states, has opened a floodgate of rage and protest. Memes and sensational headlines simplify an issue that people have complicated and deeply personal feelings about. According to Pew, the issue is starkly divided on religious lines, with 74 percent of White Evangelicals feeling abortion should be illegal and 84 percent of the religiously unaffiliated believing the opposite. Online, it may feel like absolutely everyone opposes the pro-life position, while in “real life,” it may feel like everyone at our churches and schools agrees with the Court’s decision. However strongly we feel about protecting life, we have to leave room to let people express their feelings and reactions to this legal development, or we risk total estrangement from people who are hurting and need Jesus.
Song of the Week
“Glimpse of Us” by Joji: a moody piano ballad from new-ish musician Joji about missing an ex, even while being in a really great new relationship. The song itself is gentle and somber. The music video, on the other hand, is intense, vulgar, and frenetic—a fast-paced montage of masked men destroying things and causing havoc, apparently to try to numb a sense of heartbreak. Lyrics and video (containing profanity) here.
In the Q&A portion of one of his lectures, Jordan Peterson was asked about his thoughts on abortion. At one point he said, “The discussion regarding the legality of abortion is nested inside a larger discussion about the morality of abortion, and that’s nested inside a larger discussion about the proper place of sexuality in human behavior. And to me, that’s the level at which the problem needs to be addressed.” Although he doesn’t offer specific prescriptions about how to do that, it’s a helpful way to position the conversation.
In many people’s minds, sex is appropriate whenever the parties involved consent to it. In this view, sexual activity outside of marriage becomes a foregone conclusion. Abortion is then regarded as a necessary adaptation for this new undeniable sexual ethic. In that same Q&A, Peterson says, “Let’s say you are in a position where you are inclined to seek an abortion. The question is: how did you get there?” The literal answer for 99% of pregnant women is via voluntary sexual intercourse—but when our culture frames “sexual expression” as an inevitability, it can seem hard to envision other safe paths forward apart from abortion.
For some, it’s too late to think proactively. Along those lines, one of the primary pro-choice arguments has been that having children too soon will plunge parents into permanent poverty. But when the church is at its best, it has rallied together to provide for those who could not provide for themselves. Acts 2:44-45 says about the early church, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.” Other ancient sources record that the early church was known for saving and protecting unwanted children, who were sometimes left outside to die.
Although some may frame “celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision” and “thinking about how to be more holistically pro-life” as somehow in tension, the early church models both a care for babies and for their mothers. May God give us grace to do the same.
Here are some questions to spark conversation about this with your teens:
- What are your thoughts about Roe v. Wade being overturned?
- Whose perspective are you paying attention to on this topic?
- What do you think it would look like for the church to be truly, completely “pro-life”?