Perhaps the greatest sin in the US today is abortion. I don’t mean the individual sin of a woman deciding to abort her baby. I mean the ongoing legality of it and the complicit nature of government in allowing it.
Because that’s my belief, I sympathize with conservatives who have begrudgingly declared for Donald Trump. They intend to vote for him because he says he will appoint pro-life justices when he is President. The argument is tempting.
But I’ve decided against voting for Mr. Trump. Why, if I believe so strongly about the sin of abortion? The answer to that question is multilayered, but one aspect is this: pro-life views won’t be imposed on people who embrace naturalism.
Four years ago, I wrote a post here at A Christian Worldview Of Fiction entitled “Your Body, Your Own.” It’s a clear statement of what I believe about life. But I’ve come to realize there’s an entirely different view shared by those who think this material world is all there is, that there is no life after death, and that, in fact, there is no supernatural anything.
First, the post in question (yes, I used to write much shorter articles):
“A woman has the right over her own body” has become a rallying cry for abortion advocates. But because a fetus is inside a woman’s body does not make that life a part of her body.
Anyone born without all the usual body parts is normally classified as disabled. Is someone without a fetus disabled? Certainly not, or all women who aren’t pregnant and all men would be in trouble.
In this day of liposuction and plastic surgery, women are exercising their rights to change their bodies. But how many willfully discard body parts? “I don’t like this toe, so I’ll chop it off.” Or, “Who needs that other kidney . . . think I’ll have it removed.” A woman keeps the parts of her body because she needs the parts of her body.
Not so with a fetus. Instead, the fetus needs her. She doesn’t gain nourishment from that growing baby. She gives nourishment. She doesn’t gain protection from that little one; she gives it.
When a woman decides to have an abortion, what she is really deciding is to remove the fetus from the safe environment in which this new life is growing, maturing, developing.
If someone were to remove an infant from the safety of their home because they didn’t want it, and that baby dies, we’d call it child abuse. When a pregnant woman does so, we call it legal.
At the time I wrote those words, I thought the logic was unimpeachable. What I didn’t account for was this view of life that sees humans as no different from a dog or whale or titmouse or mosquito. In this view, the human does not have a soul and has nothing of intrinsic value other than the value ascribed to it by society. So, society says the unborn have no rights and are not valuable unless the mother gives it value.
Consequently, to end the life of an unwanted unborn child is no different than ending the life of an unwanted cockroach.
Appointing a pro-life Supreme Court justice will not change this thinking. In fact, as Mr. Trump accurately pointed out in the last Presidential debate, if the court should overturn Roe v. Wade, the legality of abortion would be determined by the states instead of by the federal government.
I have no doubt that California would quickly pass a law legalizing abortion. I suspect all blue states would, and I have to wonder if the red states would be far behind. In other words, changing the law is not going to change the culture that has fostered this attitude toward the unborn.
We need meaningful change, not band-aides that stem our feelings of guilt. We need to address the wrong thinking that allows women to choose abortion, that promotes the devaluation of human life, that turns the other way when abortionists sell fetal body parts and refuses to do anything to stop it.
First we must understand why people believe as they do—that abortion is not murder. People with this perspective might ask, Is swatting a fly, murder? Killing an unwanted fetus is no different from ridding your house of an unwanted pest.
Such thinking sounds outrageous to us who belief that human life is sacred, that men and women are made in God’s image, that we have eternal souls which set us apart from all other creatures.
This belief about humans is the fundamental difference between abortionists and pro-life advocates.
My guess is that the majority of women who have an abortion never think about the reasoning behind their decision. They believe what the kind abortion clinic personnel tell them: it’s not only legal, but it’s preferred: you don’t want to bring an unwanted child into the world where they might face abuse and neglect.
But what about the unborn child’s inalienable rights? What about their soul? What about their intrinsic value as a person? These are the questions pro-life advocates need to bring front and center if we are to change the way our society thinks about abortion.
The answers are in the Bible, but also in our Constitution, starting with the Preamble:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. (Emphases mine)
Abortionists might not identify the pre-born as persons, but surely there can be no doubt that our “posterity” by definition refers to those yet to be born.
So the facts, both legal and moral, are there. But until we do the hard work to influence the thinking of our culture, we ought not expect that a Presidential Supreme Court nominee will fix the mess we’ve allowed to exist for more than forty years.