“The Law Of Love”

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 7 2009 @ 3:37pm

A reader writes:

One thing that helped me to rethink the abortion issue was the time I spent researching health care in the eastern D.R. Congo.  It's impossible to study the health system there without confronting the rape epidemic that plagues the region.

One hospital I visited is mostly funded by overseas churches.  Their supporters and workers CROSSINWINTERJohannes Simon:Getty are conservative, evangelical Protestants, many of whom you would probably classify as "Christianists."  The patients in their facility are living reminders of the region's horror story. Most were violently gang raped by soldiers and have unspeakable physical and mental wounds.  Staff at the hospital sacrifice a lot to repair the physical damage of rape and to provide counseling to the women who manage to get there.

They also dispense RU-486 "morning after" pills.  When I asked one of the directors why, I was told, "We follow the law of love."  They came to the conclusion that when a dilemma doesn't present black-and-white choices, Christians have to do the most loving thing.  Once they looked at it in those terms, it became clear that for an orphaned, eleven-year-old rape victim in a collapsed state with no adoption system and overcrowded orphanages, the most loving thing to do is not to force one child to deliver another who would inevitably suffer and almost certainly die.  The most loving thing to do for those girls is to end potential pregnancies with grief for the horror that the living and the yet-to-be-born have to endure.

I cannot imagine facing the moral dilemmas your readers have shared this week.  It's all grey.  But in most of the accounts, it is clear that these women and their families did their best to follow the law of love.  They chose to suffer emotional and mental anguish themselves so that their children would not have to live brief lives of pain.  And that seems to me to be morally defensible.