Christians Dissing Pro-Life Efforts

on August 31, 2018

I keep seeing the same comments floating around social media opposing pro-life legislative efforts. The strange thing is the commentators are Christians who label themselves “pro-life.” The talking points are all the same.

This week, Jonathan Merritt, a religion columnist and son of James Merritt, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, repeated the common “I’m pro-life, but don’t want abortion outlawed” tune, tweeting:

Alright. All of Merritt’s comments invoke a lot of reaction and it is hard to know where to start.

Previously I addressed progressive Christians’ pro-abortion trajectory on Juicy Ecumenism, here. As I outlined, progressive Christians publicly call for criminalizing guns and outlawing the death penalty. But when conservative Christians mention abortion and overturning Roe v. Wade, suddenly legislative efforts will do no good.

Here, I would like to address Merritt’s overarching argument: Abortion is morally wrong, but overturning Roe could hypothetically harm women.

Abortion harms women, my friends. Physically and emotionally. It’s what the pro-life movement, alongside post-abortive women, have been saying for years. Did Roe v. Wade prevent the death of 22-year-old Semika Shaw or 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar who died at the hands of abortionist Kermit Gosnell or 29-year-old Jennifer Moribelli and 19-year-old Christin Gilbert from dying at the hands of abortionist LeRoy Carhart? Does Roe in any way protect women from abortion’s emotional and spiritual trauma? No and no.

During the Q&A session at Wild Goose Festival’s disturbing pro-abortion session, a festival volunteer bravely shared that she had an abortion when she was nineteen. She spoke openly about the deep emotional scars it left and about how she promised God that she would adopt a child in an attempt to make some sort of amends. Adoption helped her heal somewhat, but the spiritual and emotional pain of loss and regret were still evident. This woman’s testimony is common. But I especially applaud her courage for acknowledging abortion’s emotional trauma in front of a crowd that  — moments before — applauded a Presbyterian abortionist in attendance.

Let us also put aside the hypothetical and consider the scale at which abortion presently harms — destroys — lives. During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, Planned Parenthood conducted 321,384 abortion procedures alone. That means abortion took at least 321,384 little lives, not counting procedures conducted by various other abortion clinics throughout the country. 321,384 deaths. That is more than the population of Pittsburgh (305,704).

To further help us put this social injustice in perspective, consider the following:

I do not believe any of these lives were less precious than any others, but the enormous scale of deaths caused by abortion compared to guns or the death penalty is undeniable. So where is the same amount of outrage and advocacy from progressive Christians and social justice activists as devoted to guns and the death penalty?

Moreover, my colleague John Lomperis rightly noted on Twitter that several geographically sizable states have only one abortion clinic. Yet, we do not hear horror stories of women dying from “back-alley” abortions. (Lomperis is referring to Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Mississippi.)

If progressive Christians are against overturning Roe v. Wade, then what abortion regulations do they advocate for, if any?

Should a five-month pregnant woman be legally permitted to abort her unborn child?

Does a heartbeat constitute dignity and personhood?

Should expectant parents be legally permitted to abort their unborn child because she is a girl?

A boy?


Terminally ill?

Should abortion clinics be legally required to meet medical standards comparable to ambulatory surgical centers?

Must parents be notified before their underage teenage daughter undergoes an abortion procedure?

Do progressive Christians support tax-payer funding for Planned Parenthood?

One of the most helpful articles I’ve read on this subject is “Why We Should Work to Overturn Abortion Laws” by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Andrew Walker. In it, Walker addresses Christians averse to pro-life legislative efforts. He notes:

My fear is that we soft-peddle our language on abortion because we’ve grown accustomed to it, and so “reducing” becomes the primary talking point. But it ignores the crushing reality and injustice of abortion on demand. We should not have “reduced” Jim Crow laws—they should never have happened, and America is a better place for reversing this injustice. Laws that subjugate and dehumanize human beings need to be categorically overturned.

Folks like Merritt spare no ink in denouncing conservative Evangelicals as too uncritically aligned with a single political party—and at times there are some concerns worth considering about such critiques. But there seems to be little to no self-awareness for how they are seemingly even more cravenly beholden to the platforms of the Democratic Party. Perhaps it’s time for a bit of self-awareness among progressive Christianity.

  1. Comment by William on August 31, 2018 at 11:16 am

    What the church seems to have been incapable of or unwilling to address in much of a meaningful way is the sexually promiscuous culture that has emerged over these past post-Woodstock years. The church seemed to miss or ignore the onset of the sexual revolution, and over these decades has actually gotten steamrolled by it. Accommodation and appeasement has backfired (see current United Methodist schism, the Catholic Church problems, et al). That is the primary reason for church membership decline and the entrenchment of abortion as primarily a birth control practice. A sexually promiscuous lifestyle is still the antithesis of Christian sexual ethics and teachings no matter how hard liberal Christians try to excuse it, downplay it, or even accept it. So, these pro-life/pro-choicers (oxymoron) are a product of a decadent culture and, of course, massive secular liberal indoctrination. The future of the Christian church very well could hinge on it again becoming a true counterculture reformation movement offering the masses of lost souls an alternative through repentance to their self-destructive lifestyles, lifestyles that would not seek abortion in the first place as birth control while rejecting it as abjectly wrong by becoming followers of God and believing, “thou shall not kill”.

    Will the Christian church meet this challenge in this 21st century?

  2. Comment by David on August 31, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Prenatal gender selection has badly messed up the demographics of places like China and India. There are now a surplus of men who will never find wives within their countries. Major US medical groups oppose gender selection except in the rare case of a genetic disease that would affect only males.

    Fetuses affected by Tay Sachs, for example, are dying from the moment of conception and do so typically around age 3-5 after much suffering. There is little moral justification to permit this.

    There is a wide range of disability, but it is an emotional burden for the afflicted to know they will not be able to do things others do. The prevention of suffering is a moral action. Burdening families with the care required can reduced attention to other children and sometimes lead to marital discord and divorce.

    Medical procedures should not be held hostage to religious bigotry. Causing fetal death is not equated with murder in the Bible.

  3. Comment by William on September 1, 2018 at 8:58 am

    “Medical procedures should not be held hostage to religious bigotry”

    So, the 320,000+ abortions performed by Planned Parenthood annually, for example, are just your usual and customary modern day medical procedures?

  4. Comment by Dan W on September 1, 2018 at 11:05 am

    David what percentage of the 300,000+ (500,000?) abortions in the U.S. annually are for rare genetic diseases? Genetic screening is available to reduce the risk of conceiving a child with one of these rare diseases. Birth control is available to reduce the risk of conceiving an unwanted child. Amazingly simple isn’t it?

  5. Comment by David on September 2, 2018 at 7:52 am

    “As many as 75 percent of fertilized eggs do not go on to result in a full-term pregnancy. This statistic includes both miscarriages and failed implantations that usually pass without the mother ever missing a period or knowing conception took place.” From this we can gather that God favors abortion and following His example is not sinful.

  6. Comment by Dan W on September 2, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    David, yes children are a gift from God and should be protected and celebrated!

  7. Comment by Phil on September 3, 2018 at 12:32 am

    If you accept that Creation is fallen and corrupted, then it isn’t God aborting children. There’s plenty on why evil still happen and you can find those on your own. And Jesus made clear that bad things happen to good and bad people alike. These are very basic teachings in Christianity.
    If a fallen Creation leads to terrible circumstances but miracles and gifts can shine through from time to time, why on Earth would any Christian want to partake in killing more children?

  8. Comment by theenemyhatesclarity on August 31, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Jonathan Merritt should be asked directly if he believes an unborn baby is a human being. That is the sine qua non of the pro life movement. An intellectually honest pro choicer (there are a few) will say “yes, but it is still ok to kill the baby.” Some will say “no”, and most will dodge the question. I will bet Merritt will dodge the question, but biblically and scientifically the answer is clear.

    In Christ,

    The enemy hates clarity

  9. Comment by Phil on August 31, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Chelsen is too generous. There is nothing Christian about these individuals. I refuse to call them Christians.
    It’s not because of their reluctance on banning elective abortions or issues that cross into the political realm. It has nothing to do with how they vote. A Christian can vote for left-wing candidates.
    What makes them not Christian is their hostility towards basic teachings on a variety of matters. Their reliance on how to be popular with secularists and anti-Christians to form theological views.

  10. Comment by David Thrush on September 3, 2018 at 2:31 am

    My son born 25 years ago could have been an abortion…so called Christian doctor said he’d be deformed ( he’s not deformed) and suggested abortion…I got angry and said that’s not happening..
    25 years later my son has a 4 year degree, married his college sweetheart, which I played the music for, and is holding down a job in spite of his Asperger’s syndrome supporting his family…these fake left wing Christian’s are playing God, and speak out of both sides of their mouths…and I’m sure they’re making a pretty good living propagating their liberal progressive ” Christianity,”

  11. Comment by Thomas on September 8, 2018 at 10:22 am

    These fake Christians are nothing but hypocrites. Jesus knew many people like that back then. Nobody can be only “personally pro-life”, its the same as nothing, its to be pro-abortion. Second, the liberal mentality now dominating the pro-abortion movement has no puTrpose anymore in reducing the number of abortions. For what? Abortion is meaningless, its just profit, so the better way is to “shout your abortion”, like the Democratic Party now wants to do. Thats why most of them even oppose banning abortion over 20 weeks. It would be less profit, for sure. Fake Christians who claim to be only “personally opposed” to abortion aren`t Christians for sure, because they don`t follow Jesus, they follow Pilate: “I am personally against Jesus crucifixion but I will not impose my beliefs on others”. Every unborn has the face of Jesus, whose life started like any of us, and so to support abortion is to sentence Jesus to death a second time.

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