Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to visit with a bunch of other supporters of life the site where Planned Parenthood has decided they want their new Gulf Coast initiative building to be erected. The general war cry of the rally was “New Orleans needs peace; not more abortion.” Planned Parenthood is currently the nation’s largest abortion provider evidenced by their record total number of abortions in 2011 (333, 964.). I’ve always been prolife. It is something that I’ve come to believe from various sources of inquiry. But recently, I’ve felt I’ve been awakened from my dogmatic slumbers concerning the issue of abortion. My prayer life, writing, and future planning are different in view of these tragic realities. Because of that, I’ve decided to write and teach more about abortion and how it relates to the Gospel. As I’m sitting down and able to reflect on the evening, I have a couple of thoughts about the whole situation below.
1-There really is a lot of talking back and forth between the two groups without much understanding. The pro-abortion group’s signs largely trumpeted the following statements: no man has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body, my body= my choice, women need healthcare, we won’t go back to using clothes hangers, etc. The general position was one of freedom and choice. “No one has the right to _____________. After all, this is America.” This of course was yelled; not softly spoken. I saw a bunch of women afraid and upset over the prospect of losing free or cheap pregnancy and STD care. The pro-life advocates held signs saying the following: no one has the right to murder, killing children is wrong, children are a gift from God, Planned Parenthood= more dead babies, abortion is violent, etc. Their position was one of morality. “It is wrong to take the life of _________ because life is a precious gift of God.” One group focused on freedom and oppression while the other focused on morality and social goods.
2-The pro-choice crowd has a really hard time understanding that this, while influenced by religion, is not solely a religion debate. I’ll admit, this likely isn’t helped by people walking around with rugs that have a picture of the Virgin Mary on it or gigantic crucifixes with a creepy looking Jesus hanging half-dead from it (he’s not dead). The perception may be in some sense founded. But nevertheless, this isn’t merely a group of people forcing their religion on someone. I heard one young women yell about the separation of church and state and how the prolife crowd isn’t following it. “Keep your religion out of my $%^&*!” Comments and signs baring such rhetoric were common. The problem is that, while religion plays a large role concerning morality, one does not have to be religious to affirm the immorality of killing a baby. That’s simply a matter of ethics. Furthermore, it seems somewhat intolerant to tell people they must leave at the door a fundamental part of who they are. “You can have an opinion as long as it does not contain religious or moral implications for other people.” The moral have no less a right to say something is wrong anymore than the prochoice advocate has the right to say “it’s wrong for you to force your morality on another.” It needs also to be said that no one in the prolife crowd hates women or wants to see women suffer without healthcare. That’s an easily burned straw man. The issue is about the gradations of good and ethics of killing a part of the human race. It is good for a woman to have a right to her own body. It’s better for women to not murder a part of the human race. Our rights end where others’ begin. Such incorrigible facts are apparently taken for granted in our day and age.
3-Many of the ladies pointed out that the most prolife countries on the planet were also the most oppressive to women: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Iraq. The problem I have with the linkage is those countries really aren’t prolife in any meaningful sense of the word. The prolife stance is one where one values the sanctity, dignity, and loveliness of life in such a way that we actively seek to extend the wholeness and happiness of all invited to such a feast. Everyone agrees women are oppressed in those countries. There are stories of women being stoned for wearing loose clothing, hands being cut off because someone stole bread to feed their family, and a host of other human rights violations. Our problem is that the abortionist is more in line with the Islamic fascists than the prolifer. Only one side believes it’s a right to pluck a child out of the womb. J. Budziszewski writes, “It is hard to see why people should object to a world in which babies are cut out of their mother’s wombs with daggers, but not one in which mothers invite daggers into their wombs so that their babies may be cut out.”
4-There really is no chance for thoughtful dialogue at these types of events. You cannot dialogue with someone screaming about the right to do whatever they please wherever they please however they please. The problem I have with it is a major one I’ve criticized elsewhere. We are not our own. No man is an island. We all are linked. No one is a law unto themselves and above the commandment and basic moral principle of “don’t murder another person.” Call murder whatever you want, in the end, the baby is still sliced to pieces and scrapped off a metal plate into a biohazard bag. The pro-abortion crowd is right. We do want to limit and restrict that so called “right.” R.C. Sproul notes, “Every law enacted limits or restricts someone’s choices. That is the very nature of law. If we do not wish to restrict other people’s choices through legislation, we must stop legislating and cease voting. I think that most people will grant that freedom of choice is not an absolute freedom. No human being is an absolute law unto himself. Unless we are prepared to buy into an ethical system of pure relativism by which law and society become impossible, we must flee as the wind from the proposition that the individual is autonomous.”
5-It bothered me to my core to see so many African American women supporting Planned Parenthood. African Americans make up 12.6% of U.S. Population, but account for 30% of all abortions. In Louisiana, 1 in 7 minority pregnancies end in abortion. Nationally, 1 in 2.7 black pregnancies end in abortion. 79% of PP Abortion Facilities are located near minority neighborhoods: The 2010 Census reveals that PP has located 79% of its 165 abortion facilities within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods. I, like others, have noticed the numbers. One writer says, “Every day 1,300 black babies are killed in America. Seven hundred Hispanic babies die every day from abortion. Call this what you will – when the slaughter has an ethnic face and the percentages are double that of the white community and the killers are almost all white, something is going on here that ought to make the lovers of racial equality and racial harmony wake up… O that the murderous effect of abortion in the Black and Latino communities, destroying tens of thousands at the hands of white abortionists, would explode with the same reprehensible reputation as lynching.”
6-Many of the ladies pointed out much of the good Planned Parenthood is involved with. They sought to make the debate about the right to healthcare. I can admit with a pure heart, Planned Parenthood does some good. The problem though is the amount of abortions they do perform instead of advocating other avenues of services. They perform 145 abortions for every 1 adoption referral. In NOLA, all other women’s health services Planned Parenthood may offer are readily available elsewhere. In 2011 alone, they aborted 333, 964 babies. That’s over 900 a day. I don’t deny that they offer some services that are helpful to women. My fundamental issue with the nonprofit is the number of abortions they perform. Contraceptive services dropped by 8% and cancer prevention services dropped by 35% while abortion services increased by 26%. For someone who is convinced from revelation, reason, and rigorous scientific evidence that what is in the womb is a person, this is a cause for concern.
7-There needs to be more involvement from the Church. The church exists to be salt and light to those in power that continue to lead as if there’s not a God above. If Jesus is Lord, Caesar is not. The early church sought to win the hearts of individuals by sharing the gospel but they also worked to end what they considered to be immoral practices within the Roman Empire (the gladiatorial games, crucifixion, concubinage, infanticide, and slavery). Christ is calling His followers not to the mere theoretical opposition of injustice, but rather to the real and practical (and often painful) ministry of meeting physical needs in a dying world. You want to be where Christ is believer? You’ll find yourself not only in Church Sunday morning, but amongst the prostitutes, homeless, aborted, and the maligned. Christians everywhere should be heralds of peace and reconciliation seeking to bring the tranquility of the gospel to the nations during tumultuous times. We are called not to be mean angry, belligerent, intolerant, judgmental, red-faced, and hate-filled influence, but rather winsome, kind, thoughtful, loving, persuasive influence that is suitable to each circumstance and that always protects the other person’s right to disagree, but that is also uncompromising about the truthfulness and moral goodness of the teachings of God’s Word. We oppose that which is violent and oppressive to people. Abortion is both of those things. The silence of the Church thunders in the wake of 55 million dead babies. R.C. Sproul Jr. notes, “The great tragedy of the last thirty years is not ultimately that the heathen, those who the Bible tells us “love death,” are killing their children. Rather, the great tragedy is that those who have been bought by the blood of the Lamb just don’t care. Of course the heathen kill their children. They, after all, are the heathen. But we who were dead in our trespasses and sins, but who have been made alive, who have been set free by the death of the One Innocent, ought not to give up.”
8-The women protesting for Planned Parenthood, the prolifers, the abortionists, all the politicians, every individual present, and myself need the Gospel. One pro-abortion lady responded to a sign that said, “Women regret abortion” with “no we don’t.” There will never be a change until we recognize our need for it. There’s something wrong with us and we need help. Michael Horton is right saying, “We are not sick, but spiritually dead. We are not good people with room for improvement, but the ungodly. We are not children who need a little direction, but lost. The gospel comes not to help us get our act together, fixing us up for a night on the town, making us more respectable to ourselves or to others. Rather, it comes to kill us and make us alive and completely new creatures. Not a new and improved self, but a self buried and raised with Christ, is the gospel’s message of genuine transformation.” May the Lord save to the uttermost.