The Rights of Life
Chapter 8 from:
"That's Not How This Works! How to Hold onto Truth in a Culture that Doesn't"
In December of 2005, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in years at a local coffee shop. At the time, I had no idea the lasting impact that chance meeting would have. Susan (we’ll call her), normally vibrant and happy, was distraught that day.
After a little small talk, Susan relayed the bad news she received that week. She and her husband tried for years to have a baby, without success. Once the medical options were exhausted, a plan was finally in place to adopt a child through a local agency. They were scheduled to pick up the child the following week when they received the call… the birth mom changed her mind. After months and months of paperwork, with end was in sight, their hope changed in an instant. Susan was crushed.
My heart hurt for my friend. Our third child was three years old at the time, and I couldn’t imagine not being able to conceive. I prayed for her that day, but there wasn’t much else I could do.
Within a week of speaking with Susan, I ran into another friend. I saw this woman consistently and we often had brief conversations, usually about the weather and other unimportant stuff. On this day, Sandi (we’ll call her) confided that she was in a tough spot: she was pregnant to a man she wasn’t married to. When she broke the news, he ended the relationship and refused to see her.
Sandi held the conviction that abortion was not an option, but she already had two children and had no idea how she would care for another. The family member who had originally agreed to adopt the child had just backed out of the arrangement.
As I listened, I tried hard not to jump out of my chair. After a while I told her that I know someone who may want to adopt her baby and asked her permission to speak to my friend. If she was interested, I promised to connect them. Sandi was excited about the prospect and gave me permission to bring up the subject with my friend.
I will never forget making that call on Christmas Eve. It must have been hard to conceal my excitement because Susan later said she knew why I was calling… even before I told her. The two women met together shortly thereafter, and the rest is history. The baby girl born in April of 2006 was adopted by Susan and her husband. God had—once again—worked out a solution to the problem for BOTH women, even before they were aware of their dilemmas.
One of the more perplexing divisions of our times is between those who promote women’s choice (i.e. abortion) and those who advocate for life.
In 1973 a U.S. Supreme Court in the now famous “Roe v. Wade” case ruled that access to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional right. This legislation became an extension of the idea that government shouldn’t be able to tell women what to do with their bodies. Ever since that time, a battle has ensued.
There are a lot of social issues in America today which the Bible doesn’t have any direct answers, but the case for protecting innocent life isn’t one of them. Genesis 1 proclaims that God made man in His image; Exodus 20 records the Sixth Commandment, “You must not murder” (NLT); and Psalm 139 declares boldly and beautifully how life begins at conception. Very severe warnings are given against those who would harm children in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Luke 17:2, for example, states, “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (NIV).
There is no room for “gray area” in the Christian Worldview regarding abortion.
Because all life is deemed sacred by God, many have taken up the cause of protecting the unborn. The modern pro-life movement started and was fueled by the Catholic Church who were among the firsts to recognize that life is a God-given privilege. In 1968, Pope Paul VI forbid abortion and most methods of birth control.[i]
Although this stance has been disputed in recent days, many within the Catholic Church still valiantly defend the rights of the unborn child. Sister Deirdre Bryne proudly represents the best of this community. In a speech she gave in August 2020 to a national audience, Sister Dede—a retired Army officer and surgeon—discussed her work serving the poor in Haiti, Sudan, Kenya and Iraq. She talked about how the refugees she has worked with have been marginalized, were viewed as insignificant, and have been deemed powerless.
The largest marginalized group in the world, though, Sister Dede stated, are not outside our borders. They are here in the United States, and they are the unborn.[ii]
Towards the end of the 1970s, evangelical Christians joined the movement.[iii] As late as the 1960’s, pastors and evangelical scholars couldn’t agree if abortion was sinful. But thanks to the groundbreaking work done by our Catholic brothers and sisters, the sentiment changed. More and more evangelical organizations such as Students for Life of America, Concerned Women for America, the Family Research Council and others joined the fight. For the next few decades, the focus shifted from saving babies at all costs, to educating and supporting women in crisis. During this phase, the “face” of the movement changed to being characterized by white, suburban conservatives.
The “Roe v. Wade” legislation remained uncontested for several decades. On October 2, 2003, under President George Bush, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was passed to ban certain procedures deemed to be cruel and barbaric. This decision marked the first time since 1973 that any restrictions were placed on abortion.[iv]
In recent years, however, there has been a push to overturn the this ban on late-term abortions, the only restraints on the US $1.3 billion industry.[v]
Rather than a continued progress toward making abortion illegal, many proponents are choosing to double down. The push toward Political Correctness has caused the unthinkable murder of viable, unborn babies to become more acceptable. Some in the media seek to change what they deem to be the offensive labeling of “pro-choice” and “pro-life” to include more neutral phrases such “abortion-rights advocates” and “abortion rights opponents.[vi]” Advocates for abortion on-demand are offended by the term “pro-life,” possibly because it implies that unborn children have rights, not just the activists.
Here is what I do not understand: Why isn’t adoption being pushed as an alternative to late-term abortion? As a human being, partial-birth abortion doesn’t make sense to me on any level. But, as a mother, it makes even less sense (yes, less than none). Why would any woman purposely go through nine months of pregnancy if they had even an inkling that they want to abort? Pregnancy is no fun. I can’t image any rational, caring woman willing choosing to kill the child they carried for the past eight or nine months, rather than putting him or her up for adoption.
You may not realize this if you’ve never had the need, but every state in the US has Safe Haven laws. This means that a mother, and even a father, can relinquish an unharmed baby to any hospital without risk of being prosecuted for child abandonment. Many states have gone to great lengths to ensure privacy to protect both the child and the person relinquishing them.[vii]
With so many other legitimate, legal, and humane options, why is late-term, partial-birth abortion even still up for discussion? This tells me that something else is at play in this situation.
The country’s largest provider of abortions is the infamous organization, Planned Parenthood. If you go to the Planned Parenthood (PP) website, you’ll read how the organization was founded in 1916 on the idea that women should have “the information and care they need to live strong, healthy lives and fulfill their dreams.[viii] This notion is easily debunked, however, when you begin to investigate further.
I remember being shown a video in fifth grade from Planned Parenthood demonstrating how women “have a choice.” I will never forget coming home and telling my mom, very nonchalantly, about the woman in the video. When told by the doctor that she was having a girl, she immediately declared that she wanted an abortion because she already had two girls. The doctor agreed that this was a good option and scheduled her appointment.
My mom was OUTRAGED. I had never seen her freak out like that—before or since. My teacher Mr. Aufmann received a call from at least one angry parent that day. I didn’t understand her reaction at the time, but I do now.
Planned Parenthood’s motivation for “helping” women becomes clear—and disturbing—when you learn about the company’s founder, Margaret Sanger. Sanger was a believer in Eugenics, the idea of creating a superior society by encouraging procreating among the higher classes, and discouraging it among the poor and uneducated classes[ix] As a resident of New York City, Sanger first implemented her “Negro Project” by establishing a birth control clinic in Harlem, a predominantly black neighborhood, in 1923.[x] In short, Sanger sought to reduce or eliminate the black population through various birth control methods, including abortion.[xi]
Even today, 62% of Planned Parenthood’s abortion clinics are located in “targeted neighborhoods” where there is a high African American population[xii].
Sanger’s influence on the African American community is tragic. Each year more African American children die from abortion in New York City than are born.[xiii] Even abortion activist groups, such as the Guttmacher Institute admit that black women are more than 5 times as likely as white women to have an abortion.[xiv]
New Life for the Pro-life Movement
A new trend has recently started: After years of being championed by the Catholic Church and Evangelical believers, predominantly suburban churches, there is new life for the pro-life movement. Joining the fight are influential, Conservative-Christian men from the black community who recognize that their population has suffered the most from Planned Parenthood’s targeting of poor black neighborhoods.
In 2019, Kayne West declared his pro-life views in a radio interview promoting his new album Jesus Is King. West, the highest-paid rapper in 2019, admits that the black community has been “brainwashed” by progressive policies that advocated for them aborting their children.[xv] His own father, he confessed, wanted him aborted.[xvi] This new stance represents a major swing for West who openly promoted abortion in his 2013 song ‘Blood on the Leaves’ as a way to avoid consequences of extra-marital affairs and the responsibility of fatherhood.[xvii] The new-and-improved Kanye has breathed new life into an old debate.
Also joining the fight is David J. Harris, Jr., author of Why I Couldn’t Stay Silent: One Man’s Battle as a Black Conservative.[xviii] In the book, Harris shares his deeply rooted conviction about the right for life as a conservative, as a believer, and as a father. In fact, he feels so strongly about the pro-life, anti-abortion position that he asserts that it is the single most important issue when it comes to voting.[xix]
Many from every ethnic and socioeconomic class are finally coming to understand that abortion is not healthcare, it’s genocide—a coordinated and systematic killing of a racial or cultural group.
The Role of Rules
What about the argument that it is unconstitutional for the government to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies? This is considered the basis for the legal argument of “Roe Vs. Wade.”
Consider this: In a state where there are no restrictions on abortion—such as New York—a mother could legally abort her son or daughter the day before her due date. If, however, enroute to the abortion clinic, a driver strikes her car killing her and her unborn child, the driver could be charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter. The absurdity and irony of this hypocrisy in our legal system is breathtaking.
If a pregnant woman is legally considered to be two separate people, it stands to reason that her “rights to her own body” end where the next life begins.
For this reason, many states have begun adopting the “Human Rights Protection Act,” more commonly known as the Heartbeat Bill. This legislation bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy. This bill allows for exceptions when the life of the mother is in jeopardy, but not for rape and incest cases. Under this law, doctors who violate these terms could incur criminal penalties.[xx] As of this writing, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri have passed this bill or one similar.
The government of any developed nation has both a right and responsibility to protect all citizens, especially those who cannot speak for themselves. The primary role of government is to restrain evil, according to John Eidsmoe, author of God and Ceasar: Biblical Faith and Political Action. The fight for life is not only constitutional, it is the obligation of any citizen of the kingdom of heaven.
America is in the fight for her lives.
[i] "Humanae Vitae". The Vatican. July 25, 1968. [ii] "Full Text: Sister Dede Byrne’S Speech At The 2020 Republican National Convention". 2020. National Catholic Register. https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/full-text-sister-dede-byrnes-speech-at-the-2020-republican-national-convent. [iii] "Abolishing Abortion: The History Of The Pro-Life Movement In America | The American Historian". 2020. Oah.Org. https://www.oah.org/tah/issues/2016/november/abolishing-abortion-the-history-of-the-pro-life-movement-in-america/. [iv] "Abortion In The United States By State". 2020. En.Wikipedia.Org. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States_by_state. [v] 2020. Plannedparenthood.Org. [vi]"NPR Choice Page". 2020. Npr.Org. https://www.npr.org/sections/publiceditor/2011/09/19/140612867/abortion-language-politically-correct-or-politically-bomb-throwing#:~:text=In%20an%20attempt%20to%20be,clinic%22%20are%20unfair%2C%20too. [vii] Rasha, Ali. 2020. Usatoday.Com. https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/parenting/2019/09/13/safe-haven-laws-things-you-didnt-know-surrendering-newborn/2031516001/. [viii] "The History & Impact Of Planned Parenthood". 2020. Plannedparenthood.Org. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/who-we-are/our-history. [ix] 2020. History.Com. https://www.history.com/topics/germany/eugenics. [x] "Negro Project". 2020. Sangervideo.Com. http://www.sangervideo.com/negroproject.html. [xi] "The Public Papers Of Margaret Sanger: Web Edition". 2020. Nyu.Edu. https://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=306638.xml&_ga=2.28799861.811420770.1598973365-396615015.1598559056. [xii] "Negro Project". 2020. Sangervideo.Com. http://www.sangervideo.com/negroproject.html. [xiii] "Negro Project". 2020. Sangervideo.Com. http://www.sangervideo.com/negroproject.html. [xiv] "Kanye West Proclaims Pro-Life Views". 2020. Right To Life UK. https://righttolife.org.uk/news/kanye-west-proclaims-pro-life-views/. [xv] "Kanye West Proclaims Pro-Life Views". 2019. Right To Life UK. https://righttolife.org.uk/news/kanye-west-proclaims-pro-life-views/. [xvi] "Klassen: Kanye West Is Changing The Face Of The Pro-Life Movement - Alpha News". 2020. Alpha News. https://alphanewsmn.com/klassen-kanye-west-is-changing-the-face-of-the-pro-life-movement/. [xvii] "Kanye West Proclaims Pro-Life Views". 2019. Right To Life UK. https://righttolife.org.uk/news/kanye-west-proclaims-pro-life-views/. [xviii] Harris, David J. 2018. Why I Couldn't Stay Silent. DJHJ Media, LLC. [xix] Harris, David J. 2018. Why I Couldn't Stay Silent. DJHJ Media, LLC. [xx] Ingles, Jo. 2019. "In 2019, Ohio Passed Its Most Restrictive Abortion Law In Modern History". Radio.Wosu.Org. https://radio.wosu.org/post/2019-ohio-passed-its-most-restrictive-abortion-law-modern-history#stream/0.