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This past Monday, around lunchtime, I had the TV on in the background while I was doing some other things in the house when I overheard this very touching and somber music coming from the TV. I happened to turn to see what was on the screen, and it was one of those Sarah McLachlan-style animal rights commercials with touching and sad images of dogs and cats with a narrator talking about the abuse of animals and the need for all of us to care about their plight. The commercial gave information on how you could contact this organization and give some financial support and or help take in an abused animal. What struck me was that, literally, as soon as the commercial ended, the cable news program I had the TV turned onto came back reporting that the Supreme Court had just issued a 5-4 ruling in favor of abortion rights in a highly anticipated court case that illustrated yet again, for me, why I believe abortion remains our nation’s greatest human rights violation and our greatest contradiction.
Over the last several months, as our country and world are confronted with the worst pandemic in over a century, we’ve been talking a lot about doing everything we can to save lives. We’ve been told that the measures we have followed have been to help save the lives of our family members, grandparents and parents, and the most vulnerable members of our population to the coronavirus. And yet yearly, the World Health Organization confirms that 40 million to 50 million lives are taken through abortion, with over 3,000 lives per day in the United States alone. I’m a supporter for doing everything we can as a nation to save lives from the coronavirus, but I feel a moral obligation to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, and to raise alarm for the plight for the most vulnerable members of our population: the unborn children in the womb. And before you tune me out and write me off with your staunch opinions on the sensitive and difficult issue of abortion, let me appeal to your conscience about something you know deep down.
We all know that there is human life in the womb. We use words like fetus to dehumanize the presence of human life, and euphemisms like “choice” and “women’s health” to cloud the nature of what we are debating, but deep down, we cannot deny the truth. We know that when we look at an ultrasound with the imaging technology, we now have available that we are looking at human life. I believe what the Bible says about God forming us in the womb, about Him knowing us before we were born, and that we are sacred ultimately because we are all uniquely and individually created in the Imago Dei. But you don’t have to believe as I do to acknowledge the obvious. As John Piper said, “When the unborn are wanted, they are treated as children and patients. When they are unwanted, they are not children.” Everything from our fetal homicide laws to our customs when we have a wanted pregnancy illustrate this blaring contradiction.
Our country has been having a needed conversation about race these past few weeks, as racism is an issue and stain on America’s legacy and promise of freedom, and it’s a contradiction to equal justice under the law for all that is part of its creed (As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so eloquently put it) from before its founding. And yet, the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is being denied to millions of unborn children every year. We hear many voices crying out for rights being denied and against discrimination, yet who will speak up for the voiceless? Who will stand up for the rights of the unborn? Abortion is not a political issue; it’s a moral issue, and it’s time for all of us to do some soul-searching. We cannot have it both ways, we cannot say on the one hand that we believe abortion is wrong but on the other hand say it should be legal.
For those of us who proclaim to be “pro-life,” we cannot be against abortion but not for women, and for the mothers who are wrestling with whether to have their child. We must have compassion for everyone who is contemplating an abortion or who has had one. We must do more to provide the support that mothers will need, and to care about the worth and dignity of human life beyond birth with actions and not only words.
“Out of sight, out of mind” is a phrase that I believe truly sums up our moral indifference to this ongoing national and international tragedy. Yet I will never forget the first time this debate became real for me. I attended a youth rally featuring a female speaker who spoke powerfully into my life, and into the thousands of lives who attended this event. Then she revealed that her mother’s pregnancy with her was unexpected and her mother wrestled with whether to abort her. Her mom chose life, and this speaker proclaimed to all of us, “I am not an accident.” It got me thinking, “Wow, what if she had been aborted? She would not be here? Then I thought, “How many people who would have made a powerful difference in the world are not here today because of abortion?”
God knows, He knows each of them by name. Yet what a tragedy that we don’t. I’m all for efforts to address abortion legally, but my hope and prayer is that in my lifetime, this barbaric practice would end and not just be illegal, but more than that, unthinkable.
In his majority opinion of June Medical Services v. Russo, Chief Justice John Roberts (who had previously been on the opposite side of a similar case in 2016 that also ruled for abortion rights) explained that he ruled for abortion rights in this case because of the legal doctrine of “stare decisis,” which means courts must follow precedent. I respectfully would remind the chief justice about the legal precedent from a case in 1857 called Dred Scott v. Sanford. Shall we stop this bleeding?
“Jesus Wept.”- John 11:35
Stephen Mitchell is the senior pastor at Trinity Bible Church in Severna Park. He is also the author of “Taking A Stand In Our Dying Land” and has spoken in various churches and retreats.
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