Posts Tagged ‘Abortion’

AbortionIt is easy and understandable that people on each side of the abortion debate are passionate about their positions.  I certainly am as is evident in the “Life Matters” post I recently wrote upon the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  While I would not deny anyone their right to express their emotion, it is good when a calm, rational voice steps in to present a reasoned argument that genuinely attempts to understand both sides while clearly making a case based on articulated core principles.  That is what is contained in the informative and helpful pages of R. C. Sproul’s Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue.

The book was first published in 1990 but was updated in 2010 in order to benefit from two decades of debate and history and to assure the book remains current.  Sproul believes that abortion is the ethical dilemma of our time.  He unapologetically approaches the topic from a Christian worldview as you would expect from a leading evangelical pastor, theologian, author, philosopher and chancellor.  He takes great pains, however, in the book to avoid inflammatory language that tends to immediately alienate and cut off discussion.  Rather, he approaches the topic from multiple standpoints, including natural law and the role of government – not just biblical theology.

In the book, Sproul addresses the question of when life begins, including as an appendix the fascinating partial transcript of a court case that deals with the issue of human embryonic development.  He addresses those who are not sure about abortion (which may include many Americans).  He discusses the role of government in abortion, a woman’s right to her body, the problem of unwanted pregnancies, how Christians should relate to those with whom they disagree and with those who have had abortions, common arguments aimed against one side or the other and counterarguments, and he offers a strategy for those willing to devote time and energy to the cause of protecting innocent life.  In addition, he provides a host of resources for further study and action.  For later review of the book, the brief chapter summaries will serve as a quick reminder of key points when one returns to the text as needed.

One of the key takeaways for me in reading the book is that it helped me understand that there are more than just two positions in the debate.  Commonly, all we hear in the media are the pro-life vs. pro-choice positions.  Sproul, however, makes clear that there are really three positions to speak of, four if you include the undecided.  There is a pro-life position which deems all human life as sacred – a view which holds that the unborn child is human and worthy of that most basic protection and right of life itself.  There is a pro-abortion position which a minority of Americans would espouse due to its radically favorable view of the practice of abortion.  Then there is the pro-choice position which over time has been lumped legally and in effect with the pro-abortion position, but which has a very different driving principle behind it than the pro-abortion position, namely the right of each woman to make such a choice herself rather than have her choices limited by others.

It is that pro-choice line of thought that may very well be behind the common statement, “I wouldn’t personally want to have an abortion, but I wouldn’t want to force my beliefs on someone else.”  In this sense, those holding the pro-choice position value most that choice, whereas pro-life proponents value most the life at stake, while the less spoken of pro-abortion lobby is militantly devoted to the free practice of abortion.  In a country that historically values individual freedoms, it is no surprise, therefore, that the “freedom”-oriented language of the pro-choice side has many supporters, even if those very supporters personally oppose abortion.  Sproul’s discussion provides much food for thought for those on the pro-choice side willing to consider logical arguments for being pro-life politically due to the current legal and political implications of their position.

I encourage anyone with an interest in this subject to read Sproul’s book, even those who suspect that they won’t like the conclusions he draws or the foundational values upon which he builds his case.  In the interest of open-mindedness, many on all sides of the debate would do well to be exposed to a rational, logical presentation of the subject, if for no other reason that to consider the matter apart from the usual heated exchanges shouted from behind protest signs and campaign stump podiums.

If you’d like to view a 23-minute video of Sproul being interviewed by his son on the subject, I invite you to watch the following.  Then, go read the book.

Life Matters

Posted: January 23, 2013 in Values
Tags: , , ,

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the U. S. Supreme Court’s legalization of abortion on demand.  Since that fateful day, over 55 million unborn children have had their lives snuffed out prematurely –  55 million!  That is nine times the number of Jews murdered during the Holocaust in World War II.  We rightly despise what happened to the Jews then, yet we turn our heads at nine times that number murdered to date in our own country.  That is more than 3000 deaths per day every day of the year.  Every second of every day another 2-3 innocent lives are willfully taken.  The terrorist attacks on the U. S. on September 11, 2001 killed fewer than are killed every day in America through abortion. Take a few minutes and watch the video below to see just how large the number 55 million is compared to the population of the United States.

This is unthinkable in a so-called “civilized” society.  It is unimaginable for a people who claim to care about children.  It is the ultimate hypocrisy for a president who surrounds himself with children while signing gun control legislation, saying “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try,” and who yet supports every pro-abortion initiative that presents itself.  He may take an oath of office with his hand on two Bibles, but he scoffs at its teachings and wags his finger at the face of God who is its author by supporting legislation and funding that kills innocent children made in God’s image.

I unapologetically believe abortion to be the greatest sin and crime of our time.  The fact that it is legal does not mean that it is morally right – not by a long shot.  It is against natural law, against God’s law, and against any reasonable sense of human morality and decency.  It can only be defended by those who choose to blind themselves to the obvious truth that human life is in that womb.

I do not understand how anyone – male or female – can come to the conclusion that what is growing in the womb is mere fetal tissue when it has a beating heart and will indisputably result in a precious child in a matter of months.  I do not understand how anyone can claim they value choice and yet murder the most innocent and dependent of victims who obviously have no choice in the matter.  Apparently, the only real choice they care about is their own.  I do not understand a society that sits by and allows 1.2 million such deaths per year, and I sure don’t understand Christians and churches who ignore this annual holocaust.  For that matter, I don’t understand how anyone, regardless of faith, can allow it.

Others brighter and calmer than me have written articles and books that attempt to avoid emotionally charged language.  If you want to read those, then I invite you to explore the resources linked at the end of this post.  I do not believe, however, that it is always the right and necessary path to strip emotion from issues, especially when it is the deliberate murder of 55 million children we’re talking about.  We should be angry about that!  We should be emotional about that!  God help us if we are not!

Those who fail to take a stand against evil are complicit in its occurrence.  I will fight against this tragedy in word and deed and I plead with other like-minded individuals to do the same.  For many years I have taken with me into the voting booth resources from the Kentucky Right to Life Association – an affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee – to help guide voting decisions.  I have given away hundreds of copies of Randy Alcorn’s book Why Pro-Life?  I will donate time and talents and money to the cause.  The selfishness, irresponsibility and decadent, godless immorality that promotes and encourages abortions must be confronted with every ounce of strength and with every resource available from those who genuinely care about children and their unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

When will those who mourn at the loss of whales, seals, spotted owls and the tiniest of animal and plant species similarly mourn for the loss of young children who are of infinitely greater worth than any other species or part of nature?  When will society realize that one’s control over one’s own body does not extend to killing the innocent life of another?  When will the false rationalizations of removing “unwanted” children give way to the realization that through adoption those very wanted children can be placed in the loving arms of parents eager to adopt them?  What will it take for some to see the horror?  Will abortionists have to start using guns in their killing in order for some to object?  When will Christians and churches and other concerned individuals take action to intervene in the lives of scared, frightened women unsure of which path to take, counseling them and nurturing them and guiding them down a redemptive path that does not result in the death of a child and in the woman’s own emotional scarring for life?

How long will Americans tolerate hundreds of millions of tax dollars annually going to organizations like Planned Parenthood, the number one source of abortions in the country with about one million deaths to its shame in just the past three years?  How long will we buy the lie that those funds do not contribute to abortions when the primary service they provide is abortion and not other services such as contraceptive distribution and breast exams?  How long will we overlook the racist history of this organization’s founder Margaret Sanger and the long, dark shadows of that past that still reach to the disproportionate quantity of inner city locations with predominantly minority populations, contributing to the grotesque disproportion of minority abortions compared to white abortions?

In any abortion discussion, some are quick to try to carve out exceptions to opposition, so let me briefly address these.  Some may ask, “What about in cases of rape, incest, deformity, or to save the life of the mother?”  For me, it is inexcusable to punish a child by death for the sins of it’s parent, so I do not buy the rape or incest exceptions as valid.  In such cases, adoption is preferred if the parents do not want to keep the child.  In no instance should a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome or other abnormalities be cause to squelch a life that may result in great blessing and joy and learning for many.  In the unfortunate circumstance that multiple qualified medical doctors agree that carrying a child to term is very likely to endanger the life of the mother, then I leave that decision in the hands of that mother and father to do as they see fit, understanding that they may with great mourning decide to assure the life of the mother by aborting the child.  Still, even in that circumstance, some remarkable parents have risked their own lives for the sake of the child.

This issue has polarized the country for four decades and will likely continue.  Somehow, in the midst of the extreme emotions present on both sides of the issue, we must promote education and basic morality.  We must do so in decent and honorable ways, showing genuine compassion for those who disagree, but never forgetting our role as advocate for those silent voices who cannot speak for themselves.  We must work tirelessly for the cause and for the yet unborn.  We must let the many millions around us who have had abortions know that what they have done in the past is not an unpardonable sin, but that it can be forgiven by a God who loves them and who tells them in response to repentance and faith “go and sin no more.”

For those who have not followed the story of the original “Jane Roe” of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, her real name is Norma McCorvey.  Over twenty years after the court decision, she became a Christian and wrote in her 1998 book Won by Love the following: “It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby!  I felt crushed under the truth of this realization.  I had to face up to the awful reality.  Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’.  It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’.  It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs.  All those years I was wrong.  Signing that affidavit, I was wrong.  Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong.  No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff.  Abortion — at any point — was wrong.  It was so clear.  Painfully clear.

People disagree on this issue because they give priority to different sets of values.  They live by conflicting absolutes.  My hope and prayer and what I will work toward is the day when more will give highest priority to that most basic value of all – the gift of and right to life.

For further reading (far less emotional than my comments above), please, please, for the sake of 55 million children and counting, read, view and explore the following: