Perhaps no issue of our day has so galvanized the Christian community as the debate over abortion. Since abortion protests first became widespread in the early 1980s, millions of evangelical Christians and pro-family Roman Catholics have joined ranks to combat the legalized genocide of abortion; and many of these people have gone on to become engaged in other forms of Christian resistance as well.
According to statistics of the National Right to Life Committee, more than 32.5 million pre-born infants have been murdered in this country since the Roe v. Wade decision legalized unrestricted abortions in 1973. Today the U.S. leads the world in abortions with the clinical termination of more than 1.5 million little lives each year. Reportedly, as many as one-third of all pregnancies in this country end in abortion.
In the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, former Secretary of Education William Bennett reports that 40 percent of abortions are performed on women who have already had one or more abortions. While unmarried women are five times more likely to have an abortion than married women, recent studies show it is routinely used for contraception by women of all ages, both married and single. And despite the rhetoric of abortion-rights advocates, less than 7 percent of abortions involve the life of the mother, the health of the child, or victims of incest or rape.
The largest abortion provider in this country is Planned Parenthood, with some 164 affiliates operating 915 clinics in neighborhoods all over America. Not all the clinics perform abortions, but all of them give abortion counseling. According to their own literature, Planned Parenthood clinics performed 134,277 abortions in 1993 alone.
While fees paid by the mothers to Planned Parenthood brought an estimated $40 million in 1993, based on $296 per abortion, the largest single supporter of the organization is the United States Government, which supplied nearly $158 million in contracts and grants in 1993. A third of all Planned Parenthood revenues are provided by tax dollars. For the government to take taxes from citizens who disagree with the practice of abortion on religious grounds and use their money to support this repugnant practice shows blatant disregard for constitutional rights.
The Bible Makes It Clear
The Bible is very clear on the sanctity of life issue. God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Though many have tried to justify abortion on the basis of “women’s rights” and a supposed “population explosion,” the Bible makes it clear that no one is ever free to destroy innocent life. The sixth commandment says, “You shall not murder” (Deuteronomy 5:17). In another teaching we are told that we are not to pervert justice for the poor, participate in dishonest schemes, or take the life of the innocent and the righteous (Exodus 23:6 –7).
In his song of praise, David said,
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them (Psalm 139:13–16).
Clearly God knows and cares about all life.
A thief may come to steal, to kill, or to destroy, but Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). God is the author of life. New life is a blessing from God; and it is our obligation, as believers, to defend the unborn in every way possible by seeking to change hearts and laws on this issue.
Even some of the most adamant pro-abortion activists are repelled by the grisly procedure known as “partial-birth abortion.” The process is so revolting and inhumane, abortion advocates have consistently lied or bent the facts beyond reason to avoid the glare of truth. The National Abortion Federation, which represents abortion providers, claimed at one time that less than 500 of these abortions are performed each year for medical reasons involving deformed fetuses, the mother’s health, or other anomalies. But this claim has been proven false, and the collusion involved is now painfully clear.
Ron Fitzsimmons, of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, representing 200 abortion clinics, said in 1996 that the procedure is extremely rare and only performed to save the woman’s life or when the fetus is deformed. But suffering from pangs of conscience, Fitzsimmons confessed in the American Medical News journal that he “lied through my teeth.” He admitted that the procedure is relatively common and is routinely performed on healthy women with healthy fetuses.
But the news came too late. When President Clinton vetoed the partial-birth abortion ban that had been passed by Congress in late 1996, he said he objected because the bill did not provide an exception for a woman’s health—an unwarranted concern according to Fitzsimmons and other medical professionals, including Dr. C. Everett Koop.
The media has cooperated with the abortion industry in cloaking the truth about partial-birth abortion. A PBS special titled “Partial Truth” was aired in January 1997 showing that media coverage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban was “riddled with misinformation from the start.” From the day the bill to ban partial-birth abortions was introduced in the 104th Congress in June 1995 until the president’s veto in September 1996, analyst Terry Eastland revealed that “reporters tended to accept as true the assertions of the abortion-rights side, despite evidence calling into question their claims.” For 14 months the media reported as truth all such statements made by abortion supporters, while the claims of pro-life groups were ridiculed and routinely dismissed as unfounded hysteria.
Reporter Ruth Padawer of the Bergen, New Jersey, Record did her own research, however, and published a series of stories showing that partial-birth abortions are common. At least 1,500 such abortions were performed in a single clinic in that state—a finding that should have raised questions for other journalists. Subsequently, a series by Barbara Vobejda and David Brown, M.D., in The Washington Post, showed that the procedure seldom involves the health of the mother or malformed children.
Behind media disinformation, pro-abortion groups and leaders “spin” the facts to suit their agenda, regardless of the consequences. At a 1996 meeting of the National Abortion Federation, as reported in American Medical News, Kathryn Kolbert, vice-president of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, told an audience, “I urge incredible restraint here, to focus on your message and stick to it, because otherwise we’ll get creamed.”
In a candid confession she said, “If the debate is whether the fetus feels pain, we lose. If the debate in the public arena is what’s the effect of anesthesia, we’ll lose. If the debate is whether or not women ought to be entitled to late abortions, we probably will lose. But if the debate is on the circumstances of individual women . . . then I think we can win these fights.”
Acting on Kolbert’s advice, abortion leaders paraded a group of women with tragic stories before the TV cameras and the White House in order to provoke a presidential veto. They did not mention, however, that one of the women had suffered five miscarriages as a direct result of the partial-birth procedure; nor did they mention the links between abortion and cancer, or other related health risks.
The Human Cost
According to Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, the real tragedy of such deceptive practices is that the truth has been hidden from the American people. Bad policies upheld by government have allowed infanticide to continue without restraint. “The abortion law that currently exists in this country,” says Johnson, “exists in large part because its defenders have been able to avoid open public debate about what actually happens in an abortion. They have prevented the brutal realities from coming into sharp focus.”
One of the most moving eye-witness accounts of a partial-birth abortion comes from Brenda Pratt Shafer, a registered nurse who served in the clinic of Dr. Martin Haskell of Dayton, Ohio, one of the best known practitioners of this type of abortion. In a letter to Rep. Tony Hall (D-Ohio), Ms. Shafer wrote that witnessing the partial-birth abortion procedure was “the most horrifying experience of my life.” Describing the murder of a six-month old fetus, she said:
The baby’s body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was kicking his feet. All the while his little head was still stuck inside. Dr. Haskell took a pair of scissors and inserted them into the back of the baby’s head. Then he opened the scissors up. Then he stuck the high-powered suction tube into the hole and sucked the baby’s brain out. I almost threw up as I watched him do these things.
How can anyone read these words without horror and revulsion? Short of the death chambers of Auschwitz, what horrors known to man could compare to this awful act? Yet such acts are performed countless times every day all across America with the full sanction of the Supreme Court, the United States Congress, the President, and the laws of the land. But someone must ask: Can God long restrain His hand of judgment from a nation that persists in such ghastly carnage?
How You Can Help
Churches in many cities sponsor pro-life groups that participate in letter writing, picketing of abortion clinics, volunteering at crisis pregnancy centers, and other activities designed to bring attention to women so they will consider the life in their womb before considering the abortion option. There are also a number of other organizations working for “sanctity of life” issues.
You may contact these organizations:
National Right to Life CommitteeAmerican Life League
419 7th Street, NW, Suite 500 P.O. Box 1350
Washington, D.C. 20004-2293Stafford, Virginia 22555
(202) 626-8800(540) 659-4171
Americans United for Life
343 S. Dearborn, Suite 1804
Chicago, Illinois 60604-3816
For further reading:
Marvin Olasky. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1992.
Keith A. Fournier. In Defense of Life. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1996.
Randy C. Alcorn. Pro-Life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments. Portland: Multnomah Press, 1992.
Frederica Mathewes-Green. Real Choices: Offering Practical Life Affirming Alternatives to Abortion. Portland: Multnomah Press, 1994.
On the World Wide Web:
Abortion Perspectives: http://www.texaslink.com/gilbert/abortion/main.html
American Life League: http://www.all.org/
Catholics United for Life: http://www.mich.com/~buffalo/
Stop Fetal Tissue Research: http://user.mc.net/dougp/stopftr.html
Leadership University: http://www.leaderu.com/
Texans United for Life: http://www.tul.org/
Copyright 1997, Coral Ridge Ministries. All rights reserved.