Most people care about abortion and some care intensely. The conservative right vigorously labors to prevent abortion and to support parents and children including those in the womb. The progressive left strenuously works to protect and expand abortion rights and the individual well-being of women. These positions are not lightly held on either side and are, rather, deeply rooted in compelling convictions. January is Sanctity of Human Life month and the 21st was SOHLS (Sanctity of Human Life Sunday), so I write on this issue yet again.
Being prolife, why should I care if other people kill their unborn children? As pro-choice people often say, if I am opposed to abortion, I should just not have one. It is argued that someone else’s choice in this matter has little direct effect on me. I am not harmed and consequently have no standing to object. My body is not involved, therefore I have no rights in the matter. To indulge in cynicism, if my neighbor murders their unborn children, it is an advantage for me. There is one less neighbor I need to love, and one less voter and culture warrior to contend with. If those who espouse pro-life values and practices continue to facilitate the bearing and raising of children and those who espouse pro-choice values and practices continue to facilitate not doing so, the political consequences will eventually favor the prolife movement. This logic is selfish and destructive and must not be indulged.
This horrible pragmatism must be superseded by the overriding obligation and privilege of Christians to love our neighbors as ourselves including speaking the truth in love and meeting the pressings needs of friend and foe. Abortion is abhorrent and destructive to child, mother, marriage, family and society. It destroys the life of the unborn child, the love of the mother for her child, the love of the father for the mother of his child and the love of the family for each other and their neighbor. It creates a culture that relieves itself of difficulties by destroying itself. It is claimed that there are no Downs Syndrome children in Iceland because these children were aborted. In love for my neighbor, I must do all the good I can to prevent such a great evil.
But given that I believe that abortion is such a great evil, why do I not do more against it? Why am I not as rabid as some of the abolitionists were? Why don’t I scream against the Planned Parenthood plantations and the strange fruit of dead babies hanging from their dumpsters? Why don’t I do more to support the underground railroad of care centers that help unborn children escape the deadly danger of their own maternal masters? Why is there not a William Wilberforce to lead the charge in our legislatures to outlaw this monstruous practice? When will politicians repent of the blatant hypocrisy of “personally opposed to but publicly supportive of” abortion? Their consciences are seared and dead. The Democrats, especially in New York State, are like plantation owners, intoxicated in their celebrations. Why don’t I demand that their honors be vacated and their statues removed? The Republicans are no better in their hypocrisy, being personally and publicly opposed to abortion but doing little and less to seek change never mind pursuing abortions for their mistresses.
Many things divide our country but abortion should be a primary cause of this division and not an afterthought or footnote. We should contend with each other until one side prevails and the other side is in jail. There is no final negotiation on this issue. If the unborn are children made in the image of God with a moral and Constitutional right to life, then abortionists should be punished for murder and all who assist them penalized as accessories albeit with many mitigations for women unjustly pressured into this outrage. Or, if the unborn are non-persons, fully subject to the will of their mother, having no right to life and legal protections, then pro-lifers are immoral in unsettling the consciences of others. They are also illegal in impeding the rights of those who seek and perform abortions and they should be prosecuted.
Loving our enemies in this matter means making explicit for them the self-evident truth that unborn children are human beings and have a God-given right to life. It means urging them to meet the pressing needs of pregnant women so they can care for their children before and after birth, both in person and in law. Prochoice politicians should be replaced by the electorate with prolife ones. Those convicted of murder should be given opportunity to repent and pursue a life-affirming practice of medicine and social service. Those convicted as accessories to murder should be given opportunity to repent and pursue a life-affirming marriage, family and community. Those who refuse to repent of this evil and who stubbornly persist in it should be prosecuted and punished in a manner appropriate to their crimes. This slaughter of the innocents must stop.
Kit Swartz Ruling Elder RPC Fulton, NY Teaching Elder Emeritus Oswego, NY