January 16, 2015

Looking toward Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

by Mike Riccardi

Abortion vs WarForty-two years ago next week—on January 22, 1973—the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Roe v. Wade that a child in the womb is not to be considered a human person. Since that time, over 56 million babies have died in America under the sanction of the law. In January 1984, 31 years ago this week, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday of every January as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, to coincide with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. That’s this Sunday.

As we take time this weekend to remember that the fight against this most tangible evil in our society is far from over, I thought I would pool together some of the posts that The Cripplegate has run on abortion to this point. I pray they serve you as you think, reflect, mourn, and pray about how you might give yourself to bring the Gospel of Christ to bear on the issue of abortion.

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WilberforceExtinguish This Bloody Traffic – On the Friday before Sanctity Sunday in 2013, I took a page out of William Wilberforce’s textbook and compared Britain’s horrified disgrace over the slave trade to what will surely one day be the world’s horrified disgrace over the merciless slaughter of millions of children:

The constitutionally protected right to murder one’s own unborn child is the preeminent social injustice of our day. Should the Lord Jesus choose to patiently prolong His coming, the history books will surely regard such a moral atrocity with the same shame and outrage that we experience as we read about the African slave trade or Hitler’s Holocaust, bewildered that such miscarriages of justice could have been allowed to persist in a civilized and educated society for so long.

I also try to harness our moral outrage and stir us to action. What can we do about abortion?

Our instinct of self-preservation can tempt us to avoid thinking about such things for the sake of our own emotional comfort or peace of mind. But this is where we need to be strengthened. As grisly as it is, Christians must be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2:1), and face such a discomforting reality head-on. We need to feel the injustice of abortion and mourn the loss of life long enough that we might be stirred to action.

So what can we do. I offer three responses. Read the whole thing.

arc of moral universeThe Abortion Memorial – In a similar fashion, Jesse looks toward the day when there will be an abortion memorial, similar to the Holocaust memorial. He imagines what that historical museum exhibit would look like.

I picture walking into the hallway and being hit with statistics. “Seventy million people vacuumed legally—one every 30 seconds. Forty percent of pregnancies in New York City ended in abortion…back then.”

[. . .]

“Of course,” the next room will tell you, “the moral guilt was spread throughout the country. Unlike segregation and slavery, you can’t pin abortion on a particular corner of the US. The largest killer was Planned Parenthood, and it was funded by every single American tax payer. So there is certainly enough blame to go around.”

Clump of CellsA Depraved Mind, Darkened in Understanding – If we reflect upon the societal scourge of abortion for any length of time, it’s easy for us to become exasperated:

And so I’ve been listening to the various “defenses” of this legalized murder, and I think to myself, “Can he really believe that something that grows, moves, consumes, is distinct from the mother, and has its own chromosomal makeup and its own unique DNA isn’t alive?” “Does it really satisfy her intellectual honesty to say that something with a heartbeat, functioning kidneys and liver, and that is responsive to pain is just a clump of cells? And, a ‘clump of cells’ when it’s not wanted, but a ‘baby’ when it is wanted?” “Don’t any red flags go up when we start talking about human beings not being human persons? (Can we say Slave Trade? Or Nazi Germany?) “How can that possibly be, when even on just a purely rational and even scientific level that reasoning is so weak?”

How is it that the most radically pro-infanticide President this country has ever seen can chastise us for failing to do all we can do to protect all of our children, and speak about a society being judged by how well we care for our children? I listen to that and I think to myself, “Seriously? That just doesn’t compute for him?”

But then I took a look at what Scripture says about the depravity of the human mind. The effects of sin penetrate even to the level of our thinking, and God is not surprised by this. Read the whole thing.

I survived Roe v WadeRoe v. Abortion: The Radical Repentance of Norma McCorvey – Clint takes a look at how “Jane Roe” became “Norma McCorvey” again. It was McCorvey’s case that set the legal stage for the murder of untold millions. And yet in 1994, after a profession of faith in Christ, Norma repented of her actions that led to the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade:

I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby! I felt crushed under the truth of this realization.

I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.

Read the whole thing.

gosnellGosnell’s Grisly Trial and Why I Care – At the end of the infamous trial of Kermit Gosnell, Jesse offered his recap of the entire grisly story, and helped Christians to see what the significance of his guilty verdict meant for them and for the legality of abortion in the United States:

… a Christian view of law has two basic premises; some things are morally wrong whether or not they are legal, and a society’s morality is seen outlawing those very things. Jefferson called it natural law, and Augustine called it natural light; the apostle Paul calls it “obvious” (Rom 1:19). It doesn’t matter if murdering babies is legal or illegal -it is obviously immoral, and a country’s laws are by definition immoral if they allow it.

These two points are exactly where the Christian’s stand against abortion and the Gosnell trial intersect. It was a test to see if something as flagrantly immoral as drugging up women, inducing labor, and cutting the baby’s heads off, is allowable in our culture. There was debate about if it was prohibited by our laws. After all, consider the three counts of murder the judge dismissed: what’s the difference between murder and abortion, legally speaking? A few inches? A few mm’s of Dioxin? A few miles across state lines? Consider the absurdity of the judge’s verdict that the murdered baby’s bodies were not legally corpses, but fetuses, and thus it was permissible to chop off their feet and display them.

Yet the guilty verdict stands as a testimony that while abortion shows a logical inconsistency in our laws, there are still some limits to what our culture of death will allow.

Read the whole thing.

gavelAbortion and the Status Quo – Jesse comments on the US Supreme Court’s November 2013 decision to decline to take up an emergency appeal from Planned Parenthood concerning a potential Texas law that will have the effect of closing some of the state’s abortion clinics. He comments on the judges’ reasoning, noting that the bankruptcy of the pro-abortion position can only mean that its demise is not far off. Let’s pray he’s right.

In one of the most blindly macabre phrases I’ve ever read, Justice Breyer wrote that “maintaining the status quo” of abortion in Texas is the legal threshold the judges should consider. Imagine: in this reasoning the continued slaughter of babies must be allowed, and attempts to regulate those that do it should be prohibited, because otherwise the status quo could be tinkered with. That says a lot about what counts as the status quo in our culture of death. The truth is, the pro-abortion position is running out of plausible defenses. As Planned Parenthood’s response to the Texas law shows, they are not in this for women’s health. After all, the if the whole point of legalized abortion is ostensibly to “protect women’s health,” then certainly a connection to a hospital is a step in the right direction.

praying handsGood News in the Fight against Abortion –  In a similar piece, Jesse reacts to the March 2014 appellate court ruling which reversed a lower court’s ruling, allowing Texas’ new restrictions on abortion to remain in effect. He responds especially to comments from Planned Parenthood and Wendy Davis, again with a hopeful optimism that the intellectual dishonesty of the pro-abortion argument will be so exposed as to make it an untenable position.

Those who are committed to ending legal abortion in the US should take courage that the fight is slowly drifting our way. As science and technology advance, there remain really no plausible defenses of the legality of abortion. As laws continue to pass that regulate abortion, it becomes more and more difficult to pretend it is just like any other medical procedure. And as Wendy Davis and Planned Parenthood continue to explain why they oppose abortion regulation, the shallowness of their argument is laid bare. The more they defend their position, the more they expose that abortion is indeed harmful, and must be stopped. As they explain why they oppose these laws, they are simultaneously ending the myth that they care more about women’s health than they do about promoting a pro-abortion culture, no matter the cost.

Again, let us pray that God grants repentance to our nation, and to our world.

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And perhaps the most needful reminder comes from John Ensor and Scott Klusendorf. They remind us that “the world does not need highly developed pro-life theoreticians. It needs [Gospel heralds], people sensing the call of God on their lives and effectively appealing to the conscience of their generation. And it needs [those who will love their neighbors as themselves], ready to act on their convictions in practical lifesaving ways” (Stand for Life, 4).

May we who love Christ in this generation never desist until we have extinguished every trace of this bloody traffic.

Mike Riccardi

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Mike is the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. He also teaches Evangelism at The Master's Seminary.
  • MR

    Psalm 145:8
    The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

    It’s no longer a question of a fetus being a human life, science has silenced that ridiculous argument. It’s total depravity of the heart. Praise God that He keeps His word and is holding back His wrath, that some of these might hear and believe.

  • Johnny

    Perhaps more could be done to oppose abortion if more couples in the church would open their homes to unwanted children and orphans, or by setting the example and having more children than the nuclear 2.5 status quo.

    In any case, I’m convinced one cannot be pro-life and deliberately childless.
    Just doesn’t jive.

    • 4Commencefiring4

      I’m not sure that follows. Many favor gun rights and the attendant restrictions that come with ownership, yet don’t own a gun themselves. Being pro-life means you believe that a woman, once pregnant, should carry that child to term. That belief doesn’t require that you become a parent yourself. I believe those who get EBT cards should not buy liquor or smokes with them, but that doen’t mean I have to be on welfare myself.

    • MR

      Okay Johnny, how many children is the God mandated number? And that statement doesn’t make any sense, a couple decides for whatever reason to not have children, and that makes them pro-choice?