Friday stunned me at first. I was still creating graphics for that day’s and Saturday’s blog posts, so I hadn’t yet gone online. John, however, was online, and suddenly exclaimed, “They overturned Roe!” I mumbled the obligatory “Praise God,” but kept working on my drawing, It took almost five minutes for me to realize that prayers I’d been praying for 42 years had finally been answered!
I’ve actually lived to see one of the most vile Supreme Court rulings in history declared unconstitutional!
My mumbled response turned to exuberant joy as I started thinking about His grace in giving us Supreme Court Justices with the courage to stand against culture in order to support the original intent of the Constitution. I’d prayed for this wonderful day, having been involved in pro-life ministry back in the 1980s. Like most pro-life people, weariness had discouraged me to the point that I didn’t seriously expect to see Roe overturned in my lifetime. What an amazing day! What a day to celebrate and rejoice in the Lord!
Saturday morning, John turned on our local news station. Living near Boston, I expected a little rain on the parade, so I braced myself a bit. Evidently, I didn’t brace well enough, because the first story announced (almost with a tone of reassurance) that Governor Charlie Baker had immediately issued an Executive Order “protecting reproductive rights.”
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. ~~Galatians 5:13-15 (NASB95)
Maybe my memory deceives me. If any of you were involved in the pro-life movement prior to 1987, I’d welcome your correction if I remember things wrongly. I’m about to make an assertion based on my personal recollections of being in pro-life ministry, and I know full well that people who usually agree with me will adamantly oppose my convictions on this matter. I’m therefore open to hearing correction from people of my generation who fought to save unborn lives.
As I remember those early years when Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop galvanized evangelicals to oppose abortion, infanticide and euthanasia with their film series, What Ever Happened To The Human Race?, I recall our unwillingness for any compromise. We understood the urgency of overturning Roe v. Wade. Precious babies were being slaughtered, and we needed to stand against laws that permitted such evil. We had no time to waste, and we wouldn’t settle for anything less than complete abolition of this horrible practice!
After several years of seeing absolutely nothing happen, we began to consider incremental steps to stopping abortion. Make no mistake — we continued praying for the total eradication of abortion, but we believed our all or nothing approach actually retarded our efforts. We decided that victory is best won by winning small battles first.
Tuesday night Fox News kept showing footage of angry protesters (mostly young women in less than modest attire) outside the Supreme Court building demanding that the justices not overturn Roe v. Wade. I wasn’t really surprised, but I still felt sad that they couldn’t understand that abortion takes the lives of the most vulnerable and innocent human beings. I also felt angered by their obvious selfishness. Essentially, they want sexual pleasure without its consequential responsibilities.
How odd to watch such a display mere days before Mother’s Day. Does anyone else see the irony of it? The commercials bookending shots of the protesters showed airbrushed images of devoted mothers who clearly cherished their children, urging fathers to buy them roses, chocolate and jewelry as tokens of appreciation. The mothers in the commercials clearly glowed with joy over the privilege of having brought little lives into the world. How different from the young women outside the Supreme Court who demanded to destroy their children before those children were even born!
Motherhood sometimes is inconvenient and difficult, certainly. Airbrushed commercials neglect to mention the countless sacrifices women make in order to bear and raise children. Please understand that I don’t ignore the truth that moms go through a lot of hardships and disappointments. Perhaps many of those protesters fear the challenges of motherhood precisely for those reasons. But, while I don’t want to minimize the downside of being a mom, I think it’s important to remember what Scripture teaches about children.
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. ~~James 3:13-18 (NASB95)
Who could, in good conscience, insist on bringing a pregnancy to term if doing so would cause the mother to die? Wouldn’t the mother’s death also result in the death of the unborn baby? Perhaps not always. But probably in most cases. Truly pro-life people would want to save one rather than let both mother and baby die.
Truly pro-life people also know that abortions for this reason occur very rarely. According to Table 2 in an article on why women have abortions in ScienceDirect, 3.8 women in the United States during 2004 cited “the health of the mother” as the reason for ending their pregnancies. At first glance, that statistic may surprise you, perhaps even challenging your stand against Roe v. Wade. Should we endanger 3.8 American lives simply to overturn a 1973 court decision? Do we really consider unborn lives as more valuable than the lives of women? That sort of attitude doesn’t sound very pro-life. Critics of the pro-life movement, in fact, raise the question of abortion to spare the mother’s life precisely because it indicates hypocrisy on the part of those who oppose abortion.
I want to refute this line of argumentation on two fronts: from logic and from the experience of a personal friend.
No one wants to believe that life begins at conception when she discovers that she’s pregnant against her will. Whether she suffered sexual abuse or willingly gave her body for the sake of pleasure, however, she has indeed created a human life. At that point, she probably feels trapped, desperately wanting to escape her pregnancy with as few consequences as possible. And even when she actually would like to keep the baby, her husband, boyfriend, parents or abuser may pressure her to “get rid of it.” Abortion can definitely seem like us easiest way out.
Especially if she convinces herself that it’s nothing more than a clump of tissue.
This webpage from BabyCenter.com, while it sadly avoids stating that life begins at conception, shows the week by week development of an unborn baby. Please notice that a baby’s heartbeat starts in the fifth week — before a mother usually knows she’s pregnant. Even if you can argue that the fetus isn’t a life prior to that occurrence, that heartbeat definitely indicates that life has begun! Psalm 139, in fact, includes a beautiful passage celebrating God’s care for the unborn:
Originally published January 25, 2018. My dear friend Ginny reminded me of this article after getting me up yesterday and witnessing the terrible pain I’ve been experiencing lately,
When doctors discovered that I had serious birth defects, they advised my mother to put me in an institution and forget she ever had me. According to them, I’d be a vegetable my entire life. (Thus John refers to me as his spicy little tomato.) Thankfully, Mom rejected their counsel, put me through college and lived to see me get married a month before my 49th birthday.
My mother didn’t raise a turnip, thank you very much!
All joking aside, I understand that the doctors sincerely believed they made a humane recommendation. Certainly, because they doubted that I had cognitive function, they concluded that I couldn’t possibly tell the difference between a loving home and an institution. And, more importantly (from their perspective), my parents would be spared the anguish of having a severely disabled child.
Mom knew that doctors aren’t God. They have limited powers in predicting an infant’s future. So she brought me home and proceeded to make my childhood as normal and happy as possible. When one teacher told her I’d never go to high school, she informed him that she fully intended for me to attend college. When my occupational therapist insisted that she tell me I’d never marry, she countered, “I can’t tell her something that I don’t know myself.”
Those chilling words, “Put her in an institution and forget you ever had her,” horrified my mother. They horrify me. They horrify everyone who hears the story, as well they should! Doctors have no right to predict a baby’s future and advise a new mother to put the baby away. Had Mom followed their recommendation, both of us would have suffered for the rest of our lives.
I praise God for His sovereignty in giving me a mother who refused to give up her dreams for me. Cerebral Palsy definitely has its challenges, I admit, but the Lord has blessed me with a joyful life.
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. ~~Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)
Thinking about the doctors’ prediction 64 years ago makes me think about present-day doctors who, on the basis of prenatal tests, recommend abortion to women carrying children with potential birth defects. Typically, they reason that such children, in addition to imposing an enormous financial and emotional burden on the family, would needlessly suffer a low quality of life.
But how can anyone accurately predict the future of a baby who is still in the womb, even if genetic testing indicates birth defects? Perhaps a child will be nothing more than a vegetable, but even then, God might have a purpose for that life. As a matter of fact, He used such a man to bring me to repentance of self-pity.
Usually, however, children born with birth defects exceed expectations and live full, productive lives. Aborting them simply because of possible disabilities (especially when the extent of those disabilities couldn’t possibly be determined until well into childhood) seems both arrogant and cruel. Using potential disability as a rationale for aborting a child is horrifying to me.
Actually, the rationale for aborting any child is horrifying to me.
Until I was 42, I was a registered Democrat. Interestingly, I usually crossed party lines when voting for presidents, but for the most part I believed that Democrats cared about the underprivileged. I saw no inconsistency between my Christian convictions and my political convictions other than an increasing support of abortion within my party.
In my defense, back then the Democrats made room for pro-life voters. Currently, I might note, the Republican party still has room for pro-choice voters and politicians such as Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker. So please understand that, back then, I sincerity believed my faith informed my politics.
In 1995, the abortion issue caused me to switch my party affiliation. When John and I began chatting online three years later, he helped me understand why the Republican view of the economy better addresses poverty. Now I believe I’m affiliated with a party that better reflects Biblical values.
This article was originally published in November of 2015 as part of my Autobiography With Purpose series. I wanted to reprise it today in celebration of my birthday. May it cause you to praise God for His grace and sovereignty.
She suffered two miscarriages, and then her son was stillborn. As soon as she knew she was pregnant with me, Mom obeyed the doctor’s orders by staying in bed–flat on her back–during the entire pregnancy.
When I still hadn’t arrived by the tenth month, Mom found little humor in a friend’s comment: “I thought only elephants gestated this long!” My mother, usually a stickler for proper etiquette, retorted, “Oh shut up!” as she slammed down the phone. She felt frustrated and undoubtedly fearful. At age 37, she had little time left for her dream of being a mother to come true.
But my September 30, 1953 arrival, a full month after the due-date, failed to be the joyous occasion my parents had expected. Because I weighed only five pounds and Read More »
Reacting to the growing sentiment among evangelicals that same sex attraction, unless one physically acts on it, is morally neutral, R. Scott Clark writes It Was Not So From The Beginning: Nature And Grace Teach Us That SSA Is Sin in the Abounding Grace Radio blog. As our culture pressures us to compromise with its redefinition of sexual morality, articles like this one keep us grounded in Biblical truth.
Leonardo De Chirico, in his monthly article for The Vatican Files, presents a fascinating and vitally important discussion. 160. Is the Nicene Faith the Basis for Ecumenism? clarifies the importance of doctrine as we determine whether or not to pursue unity with someone.
If you haven’t seen the movie Unplanned yet, take a moment to consider Pastor Gabriel Hughes’ thoughts in A Pastor’s Review of Unplanned: Uncertain of its Own Message, which he posts in The Midwestern Baptist. His review underscores the necessity of using discernment before jumping on the latest evangelical bandwagon.
Julie Ganschow of Biblical Counseling for Women finds that not all those billing themselves as Biblical counselors actually counsel Biblically. Wolves Among Sheepequips us to make distinctions between man-centered counseling and God-centered counseling. Ladies, please don’t ignore these distinctions!
Are You Living with a Misconception of Grace? Writing for Biblical Woman, Sarah Bubar explores the effect our culture of entitlement has on how we understand the grace of God. She also explains grace from the Biblical standpoint.
Candidly admitting her struggles, Debi Martin of Sojourner Between Two Worlds shows us The Importance of Being in God’s Word. I’m currently reading through the Bible in 90 days as Debi did in 2012. It’s my second time doing it, and I highly recommend it.
I appreciate Erin Benziger’s devotional on The Sufficiency of the Word in Do Not Be Surprised. The worldliness permeating evangelicalism pressures people to settle for much less than God has given us.
Nick Batzig of Reformation 21 pleads for discernment ministries to strive for balance by writing A Horror of Theology. Bloggers especially need to consider the points he makes in order to avoid extremes that end up dishonoring the Lord.