In the midst of the carnival-like atmosphere of the 2016 election cycle, evangelicals run the risk of allowing one thing to slip their attention: Hillary Clinton’s enthusiastic acceptance of Planned Parenthood’s endorsement and Planned Parenthood’s heightened efforts to expand its abortive territory.
In light of Planned Parenthood’s aspirations to recruit and train “tens of thousands” of persons to further its mission, how should evangelicals respond? In short, we should continue to seek both legal reform and cultural renewal, and should do so not only by articulating the Bible’s teaching about human dignity but also by enumerating the ways abortion corrupts society.
When we offer distinctively Christian reasons, we focus on the fact that God creates human beings in his “image and likeness” (Gen 1:26), knows the unborn intimately and individually just as he knows adults (Ps 139:13-16), consecrates babies for special service even while they are in the womb (Lk 1:41), considers a baby’s life equally valuable as an adult’s life (Ex 21:22-25), commands us not to kill innocent human beings (Ex 20:13), and loves humanity enough that he sent his own Son to die to save us from our sins (Jn 3:16).
In addition to this type of reasoning, which is distinctively Christian in its reliance upon Scripture, we evangelicals need to renew our efforts to communicate the pro-life position not only with Scriptural reasoning, but also through sociological persuasion. While many of our fellow citizens might not be persuaded through Scriptural reasoning, they may be persuaded when they come face-to-face with the social degradation caused by abortion.
Although countless sociological reasons might be given, such as the 26 reasons enumerated in “The America We Seek: A Statement of Pro-Life Principle and Concern,” this blogpost limits itself to articulating eight ways abortion harms society and its members.
- Abortion hurts the baby. Dying in violent and agonizing manners, somewhere between 1-2 million innocent baby humans are killed each year. The baby’s experience of pain is widely agreed upon, which is one reason why pro-abortionists resort to socially neutral euphemisms such as “products of conception” and “termination of pregnancy.” As the authors of TAWS note, “The unborn child in America today enjoys less legal protection than an endangered species of bird in a national forest.”
- Abortion hurts women. Our country’s legalization of abortion damages women by communicating to them that it is morally and legally acceptable to take the life of their baby. This legalization has catalyzed male irresponsibility and predatory sexual behavior which, in turn, destabilizes romantic relationships and marriages.
- Abortion hurts men. Abortion-on-demand means that many fathers must watch their children killed against their will; some months, years, or even decades later, fathers find out that the child they would’ve wanted to nurture was killed without their input or consent.
- Abortion hurts marriages and families. Abortion hurts families in numerous ways, among which are: its destruction of a baby, fueling of male irresponsibility, marginalization of fatherhood, and the implicit message that members of a family can use lethal force to solve their problems.
- Abortion undermines justice and equality. Abortion should not be a matter of “choice” any more than other situations that involve taking the life of an innocent person. When we allow our citizens to take the life of innocent persons, we undermine our nation’s claim to being a law-governed democracy. No longer does our nation really believer that we are all created equal; no longer do we seek justice for all.
- Abortion undermines our nation’s system of checks and balances. In Roe v. Wade and subsequent decisions, the Supreme Court majority bypassed democratic debate and legislation by fabricating a Constitutional right to abortion.
- Abortion minimizes society’s mediating institutions. Abortion-on-demand assumes that an individual (the mother) has the right to take a life without the consent of the baby’s father or siblings. This sort of individual autonomy pushes America even further toward a cultural environment where the only actors of consequence are the ever-expanding state and the solitaire individual.
- Abortion hurts society at large. In an article supporting the pro-life movement, Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon wrote, “There is growing awareness that the moral ecology of the country has suffered something like an environmental disaster, and that we are faced with a very complicated clean-up operation.” Indeed, abortion license has eroded the moral foundations of our civic community and numbed our collective consciences by normalizing lethal violence against innocent humans. Instead of reinforcing our intuitive desire to protect those persons among us who are weakest and most vulnerable, it demands that we adjust our consciences to the termination of those persons.
The Path Forward
As I noted in the introduction, the 2016 election cycle has the feel of a carnival. But instead of letting the carnival dominate our attention and sap all of our energy, let’s make sure we don’t lose sight of other significant aspects of evangelical concern, such as making every unborn child protected by law and welcomed in life.
May our striving for legal reform and cultural renewal be ultimately rooted in the gospel of Christ. May we remind abortive mothers that another Son died to liberate her from residual guilt; to the fathers who may have approved of, paid for, or pressured an abortion, may we point them to another Father whose own Son was killed; and to the doctor whose hands have been employed in abortive procedures, may we introduce him to the Great Physician who offers eternal life for those who have caused temporal death.