It has become popular in certain Christian circles to downplay abortion as just one issue among many issues. We are increasingly encouraged the best way to deal with abortion is to stop focusing on it as pro-lifers and, instead, focus on the other issues touching a woman’s decision to have an abortion as whole-lifers…issues such as poverty, healthcare, education, and even climate change. Recently, there has actually been a push for Christians to view abortion as of no greater importance than smoking…because smoking kills people, too.
Of course, it is good and right to consider the other issues touching a decision to have an abortion, such as financial security. These issues place pressure on women and can influence their decisions. Pro-life pregnancy care centers do a wonderful job of listening to women’s concerns and burdens and connecting them to resources within their local communities to alleviate as much pressure as possible. By the way, if you care about helping vulnerable pregnant women, you should be supporting your local pro-life pregnancy center.
But, abortion isn’t just one issue among many. It is an exceptional issue as slavery was (and is) an exceptional issue, rape is an exceptional issue, child and elder abuse are exceptional issues, domestic violence is an exceptional issue, and murder is an exceptional issue.
Let us consider why abortion, as it currently exists in our nation, cannot be treated as just one issue among many issues and why doing so is actually detrimental to those being taken away to death and stumbling toward slaughter (Proverbs 24:11): the pre-born and women.
Among the many important issues of our day, there are exceptional issues.
We could say poverty, lack of healthcare, lack of educational opportunities, lack of jobs, etc., are indirect attacks on the sanctity of human life. What makes slavery, rape, child and elder abuse, domestic violence, and murder exceptional is that they are direct attacks on the sanctity of human life.
Poverty is something we try to alleviate; rape is something we prosecute. Why?
Why don’t we try to alleviate rape by focusing on financial security, educational opportunities, and healthcare access? Is it not that we recognize the difference between indirect attacks on people’s inherent value and dignity and direct attacks?
God’s Word tells us genuine love abhors what is evil and holds fast to what is good (Romans 12:9). Genuine love is whole-life…it holds fast to what is good…but it is also pro-life…it abhors what is evil.
Christians are to hold fast to what is good. We should be focused on doing good, i.e., alleviating poverty, improving education and healthcare, increasing opportunities, ruling over creation well, etc. Although we may disagree on the best way to carry out these good works and the role the Church, the individual, and the government should have, we can all agree these issues are important.
When it comes to doing good, Christians can hold various positions and come up with a variety of plans to care for others. There is liberty of conscience and room for debate as we seek the best for our local communities and nation as a whole. When it comes to evil, though, and direct attacks on the sanctity of human life and individual human beings, there is no liberty of conscience, and there is no room for debate. There is right, and there is wrong.
We are to abhor evil and focus our efforts on rescuing those being taken away to death and holding back those stumbling toward the slaughter.
Abortion is an exceptional issue.
Abortion is a direct and legal attack on the sanctity of human life. It is the purposeful killing of innocent human beings and the profanation of women and the female body.
In abortion, a full human person is killed through chemicals, dismemberment, or poisoning. In this nation, we have allowed babies to be fully born except the head, scissors jammed into the base of the child’s skull, and his or her brains sucked out. Every day, babies are torn apart piece by piece and limb by limb, women are ingesting chemicals given for the sole purpose of killing the early developing child, and fully developed, viable babies can be injected with poison such as Digoxin via a needle inserted through the mother’s abdomen and into the baby’s head, torso, or heart to cause cardiac arrest and the baby’s death. We have left babies born alive after failed abortion attempts to die alone in soiled linen closets, and there are elected officials today who even argue the fate of a baby born alive after a failed abortion should be left to the doctor and mother.
Abortion is not only an exceptional issue, but it stands out among the other exceptional issues of our day for several reasons:
- The Supreme Court rulings in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton invalidated the laws of all fifty states and removed abortion from the democratic process where Americans and their elected legislatures could discuss and debate how best to care for pregnant women and their pre-born children according to the inherent value and dignity of both.
- Abortion is celebrated as not only a right or a choice but a moral good. This has had an immeasurable effect on the conscience of society. If it is morally good to deny a group of human beings as full human persons due to some shared human characteristics such as stage in development or disability, where do we anchor the right to life for any human being? And if it is morally good to purposefully take a human life to alleviate inconvenience, poverty, or pursue opportunities, when is it morally wrong?
- Abortion has corrupted politics and created a partisan divide specifically connected to the Supreme Court decisions.
- Abortion has not freed women from pregnancy but instead chained them to violence disguised as choice and removed from society any responsibility to create space where women are fully valued as both professionals and parents.
- Abortion is itself a weapon used by uncommitted men against women. Abortion gives uncommitted men one more powerful and relatively cheap means of abandoning women to physically, mentally, and emotionally deal with an unplanned pregnancy alone. Abortion has even encouraged irresponsibility in men by sending the message that abortion is not only a woman’s right but also her responsibility following an unplanned pregnancy. As a matter of fact, that message has been so strongly promoted that some men have resorted to abuse and murder if a woman is unwilling to take up her responsibility to have an abortion. (Abuse of Discretion, pages 321-329)
Abortion encourages cycles of brokenness.
As opposed to merely being a result of cycles of brokenness, abortion can actually encourage these cycles such as abuse, addiction, poor educational outcomes, fewer opportunities, the breakdown of the family, and lack of access to comprehensive and quality healthcare, all of which increase the risk of poverty and additional destructive tendencies.
- Women and men can experience mental health issues following abortion, including suicidal ideation. (Coleman; Barraclough)
- They can suffer increased substance abuse, risky behaviors, and diminished concern for their health and well-being. (Coleman)
- Relationship failure between a man and woman who have chosen abortion together is high. (Burke)
- Abortion grief and mental health issues can lead to relationship struggles later in life (Coleman)
- Mental health issues can affect educational outcomes, and teens are especially vulnerable to mental health issues following abortion (Elliot Institute)
- Mental health issues increase the risk of unemployment and underperformance on the job (OECD)
- The right to abortion has redefined healthcare for women, especially vulnerable women, as primarily being access to abortion and birth control. Additionally, this right has corrupted medicine so that many physicians will pressure for abortion instead of caring for women with difficult pregnancies and their pre-born children with complex diagnoses, and those in the medical community can come under pressure to violate their consciences by promoting and participating in abortions or face losing their jobs and positions.
In “Abortion and mental health: quantitative synthesis and analysis of research published 1995–2009“, it was found that “women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion.”
Based on data extracted from 22 studies, the results of this meta-analytic review of the abortion and mental health literature indicate quite consistently that abortion is associated with moderate to highly increased risks of psychological problems subsequent to the procedure. The magnitude of effects derived varied based on the comparison group (no abortion, pregnancy delivered, unintended pregnancy delivered) and the type of problem examined (alcohol use/misuse, marijuana use, anxiety, depression, suicidal behaviours). Overall, the results revealed that women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be directly attributable to abortion. The strongest effects were observed when women who had had an abortion were compared with women who had carried to term and when the outcomes measured related to substance use and suicidal behaviour.”
The argument we can prevent abortion by focusing instead on alleviating poverty and providing for greater opportunities misses the fact that abortion is often a root of poverty and a barrier to opportunities due to the mental health issues, destructive behaviors, and breakdown of relationships that can follow this choice. Additionally, the right to abortion can be the means through which women are denied comprehensive quality healthcare that places what is best for them and their pre-born children first and holds providers to a high standard of safety and care.
We can’t ignore the role abortion plays in fostering destructive cycles that prevent human flourishing, nor can we ignore the important role the law plays in the harm done to our society and the individuals that make it up.
Roe v. Wade is bad law and an egregious case of judicial overreach. Still more, it is a poisonous root that has embittered our politics, divided our nation, celebrated as right (and as a right) that which is evil, has rendered life and liberty as benefits granted to some people by the government as opposed to unalienable rights recognized by the government as inherent to all people, and has lessened society’s motivation to make room for women to have the flexibility to balance work and family.
“When Blackmon wrote the Roe decision, it took the abortion issue out of the legislatures and put it into the courts. If it had remained in the legislatures, we would have seen a series of state-by-state compromises reflecting the views of the centrist majority that’s always existed on this issue. These legislative compromises wouldn’t have pleased everyone, but would have been regarded as legitimate.
Instead, Blackmun and his concurring colleagues invented a right to abortion, and imposed a solution more extreme than the policies of just about any other comparable nation…
The fact is, the entire country is trapped. Harry Blackmun and his colleagues suppressed that democratic abortion debate the nation needs to have. The poisons have been building ever since. You can complain about the incivility of politics, but you can’t stop the escalation of conflict in the middle. You have to kill it at the root. Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, politics will never get better.”
David Brooks, New York Times columnist, quoted in Abuse of Discretion by Clarke D. Forsythe
When people argue Roe V. Wade’s overruling is of little importance, I wonder if they feel the same about the original ruling and its effect on our society since handed down.
Reversing Roe v. Wade will not end abortion. It will turn the issue back over to states and the democratic process and return to our national moral conscience and debate the sanctity of all human life and the consideration of both human persons: the mother and her pre-born child.
Just as our nation’s rise from the ashes of legal slavery has been ugly and wrought with additional sins and wrongs, I have no doubt our nation’s rise from the ashes of Roe v. Wade (and Doe v. Bolton) will be ugly and difficult as well, but setting right that which was set wrong allows for the rise to begin and for healing to follow.
Cling to what is good; hate what is evil.
Only Jesus can solve the problem of sinful human hearts. We will never create a world good enough, with enough opportunity and security, that people no longer sin and choose evil.
This is why God calls us to care for people instead of calling us to solve issues. Caring for people and solving issues are two very different things. The brokenness of this world is inherent to its fallen state. No nation in history, no amount of affluence, no type of government, no healthcare system, nor educational system, has ever solved the issue of sin and evil.
Poverty, war, famine, natural disasters, sickness, disease, oppression, injustice, and general sin will continue until the day of Christ’s return. Either that is true, or Jesus lied to us. That doesn’t mean we can’t do things that encourage or hold back this brokenness and evil, but it does mean we shouldn’t expect the government to fix that which can only be made new in Christ.
Some of the greatest atrocities committed against human beings have been perpetrated by those attempting to create a perfect world…their idea of utopia…by oppressing certain humans seen as a means to an end or doing away with certain humans seen as an obstacle to an end.
When we place solving issues above caring for people, we can actually foster injustice and evil. Abortion was meant to solve the issue of unplanned and crisis pregnancy and has ushered in the death of millions of pre-born human beings every year worldwide and caused countless women and men mental, emotional, and physical harm, sometimes significantly so.
Only God can redeem that which is inherently broken. Only God can make all things new.
Therefore, we preach Christ crucified and resurrected as the only means through which sin and its effects are defeated in human hearts and ultimately in the world, we care for people, sinners and the sinned against, as God has commanded us showing mercy, doing justice, and protecting the innocent, we work to see the law reflect the sanctity of all human life and the inherent dignity of all people, and we hold fast to hope.
One day, there will be a new heaven and new earth free from the fallen state of this world we continue to suffer under, but until that time, we are called to care for people in a world that will never be perfect…and that includes pre-born people.
Thank goodness when William Wilberforce saw the incredible injustice done to the African American, he didn’t take to assuaging the consciences of his fellow Englishmen with fuzzy whole-life lectures.
On the contrary, he shined a laser beam on the specific plight of those whose lives and freedoms were destroyed by the genuine systemic evil of human slavery and spent his entire life attempting to awaken and enliven the conscience of England so that slavery would be both abolished in law and rejected in human hearts.
If we would love sincerely, we must not neglect to hate what is evil. Be whole-life, yes, but recognize it isn’t enough to hold to a general whole-life ethic if in doing so we grow apathetic toward an entire group of people legally stripped of their full humanity and killed by the millions every year. For the human beings whose lives are on the line, it is a matter of life and death that we are specifically, decidedly, and unapologetically pro-life.
Like Wilberforce, let us plead our case in such a way that we honor the inherent dignity of all people, even those who, at least for today, disagree with us, but let us never fail to plead our case.