The “industry” of abortion has taken a major hit today and evil with it. It numbers among the greatest days of my life. It is hard to process the events of Friday, June 24, 2022: I have been thinking, writing, praying, preaching and teaching on this topic since 1994. (I point to that as my political self-awareness season.) Many like me weren’t sure we’d ever see a change in the horrific laws supporting the murdering of the unborn. The analysis, the jubilation and the outcries will be swift, detailed and dogmatic.
Where is our boast, Christian?
- Is it in the decades of grass-roots work in prayer, policies and protests?
- Is it in the slow degradation of abortion access through some incremental laws?
- Is it in the growing scientific realization that viability is arbitrary and life begins at conception?
- Is it in the actual silliness of the Roe and Casey legal grounding?
- Is it with Project Veritas exposing PPA’s practice of selling aborted baby body parts?
- Is it with President Trump who nominated Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett?
- Is it Mitch McConnell who steered them through the Senate?
- Is it the brilliance of Justice Alito and Thomas (and Scalia before them)?
- Is it with Mississippi changing their laws to disallow abortions after 15 weeks?
Where is our boast, Christian? Bible-believing Christians know our God is the God of the oppressed, the fatherless, the widow, the helpless. None are as helpless as the unborn. We have prayed and He has answered. It was His good pleasure to see to it that life would prevail on this day. We boast in Him!
But we have done more than pray. So again, is it sufficient to say our boast is in the Lord? In a way, no. Our boast is also in the innumerable opportunities men and women in this country have taken to see abortion outlawed and the distressed in pregnancy helped. All of the bullet points above are victories for life and we may boast in them! Is it God’s providence that has done this? Yes! His providence, however, was worked out in and through the acts of men and women.
I ask this because of what is now before our nation: a post-Roe world. Now that the fact there is no Constitutional basis for abortion has been exposed, we have to work with our fellow citizens to stop the practice altogether. We who believe must pray but also we must engage with those organizations and groups that care for life from womb to tomb. Roe and Casey didn’t just fall for no reason: but for 1000’s of reasons over 50 years.
Perhaps our greatest problem isn’t that abortion is still legal and encouraged in some states (though that is a problem). Our greatest problem is that there will still be a demand for abortion. Why might this be? I speak as a pastor. Here’s a non-exhaustive list to get us thinking:
- Believers undervalue having families and more greatly esteem careerism for men and women (especially women). Can we read the Old and New Testaments and conclude that careers are what God esteems most from men and women?
- Believers too often undervalue the created purpose for sex: making image-bearers. Sex means more than making babies, but not less. (As an elder shared with me, it’s “meaning” is far more than something physical or procreative but for my task here, I’m dividing “meaning” from “purpose” as I think the procreative purpose is more neglected in the Protestant church.) Simply put, when we counsel the young about sex, do we ask, “Are you ready to be a father?”?
- Believers don’t think long term: 9 months isn’t that long. (I’ve said this before.) A crisis pregnancy will come to an end in 9 months. For most women that’s .01% of the average life span for a woman in the USA (81.1 years). This isn’t to minimize the crisis nature either of how it started or its process. It is to simply say believers need to think in terms of a lifetime and then of eternity.
- Believers in churches don’t often make room for those in crisis. A crisis pregnancy might still carry the scarlet A in congregations but it certainly should not. Which of us has sin that is not (yet) for public view? How can we look down on those who can’t help but parade theirs in public?
- Believers can prioritize ease over perseverance and reputation over humility. It is one of the most tragic facts that church families often pressure their daughters in crisis pregnancies to get abortions. Why? The pregnancy would be inconvenient; it would ruin parents’ plans for their daughter’s future, etc. Why else? “If word got out that our son impregnated that girl, what would people think?” Reputation isn’t nothing but it certainly isn’t worth murdering a child.
- Believers too often don’t want to be bothered. We like our lives the way we live them. Unexpected pregnancy would be so disruptive. Or, making room in our homes or our churches for those in distress would be so exhausting. Someone else will handle this. Isn’t there a government program?
It seems we might be better at caring for our aging parents than we are in caring for our wayward sons or daughters; I guess that’s good. Yet, unless we look some of these reasons in the eyes and ask ourselves which applies to us, then we risk keeping the demand for abortion alive and too many still-to-be-born little ones dead.