In January of 2013 I wrote an article on the changing language of abortion. In 1974 when the House of Representatives considered the merits of a Human Life Amendment advocates of abortion rights testified this would all be a different matter if we knew that the unborn child really was a person. That was disingenuous.
About ten years later abortion advocates conceded that what was in the womb was “living tissue” but was much more like a parasitical growth than a person. It was a diversionary tactic to shift to the debate from talking “life” to defining “personhood.”
In another ten years abortion advocates started to come clean, admitting that abortion takes the life of a person but justified it as an emotionally sad but necessary evil. Clinging still to the old mantra of “safe, legal and rare” abortion advocates continued to venerate the role of a woman being free of all encumbrances – including pregnancy – if she so chose. They continued their relentless war against children and against anyone who felt a human life is worthy of protection regardless of its condition or maturity.
In the next evolutionary step of the abortion-rights movement we now have more candor. Whereas marketing gurus advised the abortion-rights movement in the early 1970s not to use the term “abortion” to make their case because it was unsellable to the American public, today the term is being embraced. That is perhaps best represented by an article from Wesley Smith. Definitely read it.
The root of this problem, however, has not changed and pro-life Christians need to step to the plate and eschew timidity. The command to “speak up” was great advice from a caring mother to her son, the king, who had a forum to make a difference (Proverbs 31:8). As Christians living in a democratic form of government, where freedom of speech and religion are still espoused, though arguable endangered, we too have a forum to make a difference.
The difference to be made requires the insight to recognize the problem is bigger than our laws and our courts. This is a battle for the very hearts of people. Showing pictures of aborted children had some effect. In time it called out the misleading nature of “pro-choice” rhetoric. It demonstrated that abortion is what it really is – the taking of a human life. Those were babies lying in a bucket. That is a tiny hand and those were tiny feet of a real child.
What I believe was a miscalculation on the part of the pro-life, and especially the Christian pro-life community, is that we presumed that the visual revelation of life being taken would suffice to cause life to be protected. We believed that the “natural law” written on our hearts instinctively will compel us to protect life as inherently precious and sacred.
I believe we overlooked the significance of the first recorded sin in Scripture after the exodus from Eden. For various reasons Cain devalued the life of his brother, Abel. It became expendable and Cain was able to suppress the natural knowledge of life’s intrinsic value and kill his brother.
Thousands of years later Jesus was to warn that as wickedness increased in the world so would the love, commitment and concern of people for others grow cold (Matthew 24:12). We hardly need greater testimony than the execution of Christ Himself. Though used by God to bring eternal life to all of us, His crucifixion demonstrated just how cold the world had already become – killing the only perfectly innocent one ever to have lived.
So today, we have an evolving abortion rhetoric. No longer is it just a blob of tissue. It is not just living organic matter. Today it is a life, a person, a baby, that should be deemed expendable. The argument for abortion continues to evolve. What’s next?
The logic is painfully obvious. In a world where pro-choice has evolved into pro-abortion we see the road signs of what is ahead. It is a small leap in logic to go from taking life inside of the womb to taking life outside of the womb. We already have legalized assisted suicide in some states. Countries further down this path have evolved that doctrine into a right to terminate the lives of newborn children. Some are arguing that the mentally depressed be entitled to assistance in ending their own lives.
The symptoms can be treated with laws, referendums and clear thinking justices. The illness, however, is only healed through the word of God.
Our culture today has walked away from any appeal to an objective source of right and wrong. Not only have nations turned their back on the Judeo-Christian ethic but its people are being encouraged to set their own standards and to do what they think is right, feels good and is to their advantage.
The temptation to wander from the truth of God’s Word has been there since Cain killed Abel. Pontius Pilate questioned the nature of truth during his interrogation of Jesus (John 18:38). Professional philosophers and a world full of amateurs debate publicly and privately about the nature of truth as if the answer will be found if we talk about it enough.
It sounds old fashioned, and not certainly not very politically-correct, but Scripture is truth (John 17:17). Those are not my words but the words of Christ. Yet, even Christians look for “exceptions” to God’s Word to accommodate the desires of the times.
Any cultural reformation begins with a reformation of the hearts. Reforming the hearts is a spiritual activity done with the ministry of God’s Word. Christians should seek to build relationships in order to have a forum to share God’s Word.
Advocates for the legalized killing of others are misguided by the doctrines of the world. To correct requires great patience and careful instruction. That requires building a relationship. You don’t do that with name-calling, slander and violence. Most importantly, it begins with the courage to speak up and stand firm.
It is important that we are aware of the changing nature of the abortion debate. It is important that we see how it began, how it has changed, what it has become and anticipating where it is going. It is important to have good laws, good legislators and good justices. But it is most important that God’s Word be shared for the building up of people. That is the assignment we have from God. It saves lives and it saves souls.