With the recent changes to the makeup of the Supreme Court, it appears states around the country are choosing sides in anticipation of challenges to the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
States like Georgia, Alabama and Missouri have passed, or are in the process of passing, laws that would protect most babies from abortion, with very few exceptions.
Other states, like New York and Oregon, have passed, or are in the process of passing, laws that want to solidify abortion as a “civil right” for women without any restrictions, even eliminating protections for newborns who survive abortion.
Abortion has always been a divisive issue, but it’s possible we have never been a nation so divided. To see if there is any common ground to be found, we have been trying to listen to concerns from the other side.
An argument circulating on social media right now concerns Prohibition. We are seeing those on the left and in the libertarian movement comparing abolishing abortion to preventing alcohol consumption. The argument goes that since Prohibition didn't work with alcohol, preventing or outlawing abortion won't stop women from taking the lives of their preborn children.
Alcohol and abortion are two very different things, but the Bible has something to say about both.
In Exodus 20:13 God said, “You shall not murder.” Notice that there were no exceptions listed, not even unborn babies.
Ephesians 5:18 says, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the Spirit.” There is nothing wrong with drinking a little wine as long as you don’t overdo it.
While drinking a little is not immoral, there is no way anyone can make an argument to abort someone “just a little.” Moreover, the protection of innocent life is a foundational principle without which society can’t survive. We have no choice but to prohibit it.
It’s true that Prohibition didn’t cure the nation’s problems with alcohol, but that doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and stop trying to pass laws beneficial to Americans. We have laws against speeding and lots of people still dangerously exceed the speed limit on our roads and highways, but certainly no one would suggest we should repeal the laws and allow a free-for-all on the freeways.
Another argument we saw on Twitter today was one promulgated by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Here’s the tweet they sent: “Abortion is safe and still legal. Abortion is safe and still legal. Abortion is safe and still legal. Abortion is safe and still legal. Abortion is safe and still legal. Abortion is safe and still legal. Abortion is safe and still legal. Abortion is safe and still legal.”
Half of that curiously repetitive statement is true; abortion is still legal. But it is not safe, neither for the baby nor the mother, as Planned Parenthood well knows.
The nation’s largest abortion business in recent years paid a $2 million settlement to the family of Tonya Reaves, who died after a second-trimester abortion at a Chicago area Planned Parenthood in 2012.
Four years later, a botched abortion at a Michigan Planned Parenthood killed Cree Erwin-Sheppard.
Our friends at Operation Rescue keep careful watch on abortion businesses across the country and have documented the following:
- Planned Parenthood in Boston has reportedly hospitalized 10 women in the last 12 months.
- Ambulances reportedly removed patients from Planned Parenthood in St. Louis three times in three weeks.
- Five women in seven weeks were reportedly removed by ambulance from Planned Parenthood’s flagship facility in Manhattan.
- A Chicago Planned Parenthood reportedly averages one botched abortion every 6.5 weeks.
Perhaps comparing the number of recorded abortion fatalities and injuries to the total number of abortions performed in the U.S. makes the former number comparatively small. But if you are the woman being carried away in an ambulance, or the parent or child of one of these women, abortion starts to seem very unsafe indeed.
Another common refrain of pro-aborts is that laws that protect babies from abortion primarily impact women of color. Abortion fatalities also disproportionately impact women of color.
Both Ms. Erwin-Sheppard and Ms. Reaves were black, as was Lakisha Wilson, also killed by abortion. Alexandra Nunez, Maria Santiago, Keisha Atkins and Karnamaya Mongar were all women of color killed by abortion. We don’t read much about these women outside of the pro-life media. They are collateral damage who unwittingly died for the cause.
Recently passed pro-life laws seek to grant civil rights to babies in the womb and to protect them from the horror of death by abortion. No one is looking to punish women or relegate them to some form of second-class citizenship.
Instead, these laws seek to recognize the humanity of children in the womb and to grant them the same rights the rest of the human race enjoys. These laws are civil rights laws and are long overdue.
Father Frank Pavone is the national director of Priests for Life.
Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is the founder of King for America, Inc., consultant to the Africa Humanitarian Christian Fellowship and Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries.