US Senate leaders have revealed a plan that would avert a government shutdown for seven weeks. If such efforts are unsuccessful by Sunday, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed and a wide range of services will be suspended.
Some airports may experience disruptions and delays, roughly ten thousand children could lose access to childcare starting next month, and disaster relief funds could be depleted. Current members of the military would not receive paychecks. Security at the southern border could be further imperiled. Additional aid to Ukraine could be affected.
Ironically, lawmakers would continue to receive paychecks, but other federal workers would not.
Here we find another example of the fact that what happens in the halls of power affects people far from them. Let’s reflect on this reality in light of the most urgent moral issue of our time.
“It’s time to change the conversation”
Yesterday we discussed the ongoing efforts to normalize unbiblical immorality in our culture. Here is the best (or worst) example I have seen recently: the National Network of Abortion Funds has produced a video titled “Everyone Loves Someone Who Had an Abortion.” It claims:
In order for abortion to be truly an option, it must not only be legal, but actually available, without the shame. It’s time we worked together towards a world where all people have the power and resources to care for and support their bodies, identities, and health—for themselves and their families. We need to take the hassle, hustle, and harassment out of healthcare. It’s time to change the conversation about abortion, to make it a real option, available to all people without shame or judgment. We all love someone who has had an abortion, whether we know it or not.
This strategy and others like it are working: popular support for abortion has risen after Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022, and abortion rights have won in every election where they have been contested since that time.
The logic of abortion is persuasive for many: no unwanted child should be brought into the world; the state has no right to legislate personal morality; and a woman must be permitted to make pregnancy decisions in light of her health, the circumstances leading to her pregnancy, and her other life challenges.
Here’s the point I’d like you to consider today: each argument works equally well for infanticide.
The change that occurs at birth
If no unwanted child should be brought into the world, should one be allowed to continue to live in it? If the state cannot legislate personal morality, why does it have the right to forbid infanticide? If a woman should be able to make pregnancy decisions in light of her health and life circumstances, why does this right end when she gives birth?
The only change that occurs at birth is that the preborn baby moves a few inches from inside the womb to outside it. Inside the womb, it has its own autonomy, brain, nervous system, and blood circulation. From the moment of conception, it has its own chromosomes and unique genetic blueprint. It is as distinctly a human being as its mother or father.
Some abortion advocates support the right to end the preborn baby’s life prior to “viability,” its ability to live outside the womb (around twenty-three weeks into pregnancy). But is a newborn baby truly viable? How long can it live without the nurture and protection of its caregivers?
In summary: if we oppose infanticide (as we obviously and adamantly should), we should oppose abortion. A mother has no more logical right to kill the preborn baby living in her womb than a homeowner has the logical right to kill a guest living in their house.
“The man who moves a mountain”
Here’s the problem with my reasoning: I am reasoning. I am employing logic in response to a deeply emotional and personal issue. But this can be a “category mistake” like asking how much a circle weighs or the color of the number 7.
While it’s vital that we defend the cause of life in reasoned terms (cf. 1 Peter 3:15–16), it’s also vital that we help women facing unplanned pregnancies deal with the very real pressures they face. The No. 1 reason women choose abortion is that they are “not financially prepared.” “Not a good time” comes in second, followed by “issues with partner,” “need to focus on other children,” “interferes with future plans,” and “not emotionally or mentally prepared.”
The church can help with each of these issues. We can support pregnant women financially, relationally, socially, and personally. We can help them raise their children or choose adoption. We can be pro-life, not just pro-birth.
Where to begin? The artist Agnes Martin noted, “Your path is at your feet, whether you realize it or not.” Confucius advised, “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” Pray for women considering abortion and for those who have chosen it in the past. Encourage your pastor and other faith leaders to be bold, courageous, and compassionate on this issue. Pray for local pro-life ministries and support them financially. Encourage adoption and consider it personally.
“All that borrows life from Thee”
The forces aligned against life—from our nation’s capital to local abortion providers—are powerful and well-funded. But they do not have our Father’s blessing. They do not have access to his omnipotent strength, omniscient wisdom, and omnibenevolent compassion. So long as we are on his side, we are on the winning side.
In the words of Isaac Watts:
There’s not a plant or flower below,
But makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow,
By order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee
Are ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be,
Thou, God, are present there.