It’s been forty-five years since Roe v. Wade, and the anniversary might have slipped your mind. I don’t know about you, but a lot in me wants to forget about this silent holocaust. I agree with pro-life speaker and author Frederica Mathewes-Green who recently said, The average person just wants to forget the abortion issue entirely.… Abortion is a miserable thing to think about—people don’t want to think about it. No one, you see, likes abortion. As Mathewes-Green said in that same interview, a woman seeking an abortion feels helpless: She wants an abortion like an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg….
For the first time in decades, our church skipped our annual pro-life teaching. We did so for good reason: we needed to grieve together in the aftermath of the Montecito flood. But let us be careful that we don’t forget these tiny, voiceless victims. Over the past forty-five years, millions of children have lost their lives to this hidden industry. At the same time, a correspondingly similar number of women–and men–have either plunged themselves into a sea of guilt and grief, or they have hardened their own hearts and souls against the preciousness of life itself.
So, as we begin 2018, what is happening in the United States with regard to the unborn among us?
On the one hand, there is some good news for the unborn.
- The abortion rate is at its lowest since 1973. In 2017 we performed fewer than 1 million abortions–and it is disheartening to celebrate this statistic since the number is still shockingly high.
- Our population continues to become more pro-life. Yes, a majority of Americans supports abortion rights, but that majority is getting smaller.
- Most Americans want some restrictions on abortion, either for late-term abortion, sex-selection abortion, or abortion due to the baby’s health defects.
- Another good sign is that younger people tend to be more pro-life than their parents.
- In January the Trump administration reinstated what is called the Mexico City Policy, which means that U.S. aid must not be used to perform abortions internationally.
- The U.S. also cut funding to the Orwellian-sounding United Nations Population Fund that subsidized forced abortion and forced sterilization in China.
- At the state level, American pro-life legislatures put forward bills and passed laws protecting the unborn. Kentucky, for example, banned abortions after twenty weeks and now requires abortionists to show the mother an ultrasound of her baby before aborting.
- For the first time, the president of the United States addressed the annual Washington D.C. March for Life via live video feed. Other presidents have phoned in messages or sent texts of their message. But this year, from the Rose Garden, President Trump addressed the marchers saying, “Under my administration, we will always defend the very first right in the Declaration of Independence, and that is the right to life. We are protecting the sanctity of life and the family as the foundation of our society.”
But not all the news is good.
- While surgical abortions are at their lowest point since 1973, chemical abortions are skyrocketing. In plain English, that means over half of all abortions are accomplished by the mother taking a series of pills that ends her pregnancy.
- Last spring in Oregon the Reproductive Health Equity Act was passed ensuring that Oregonians are able to procure abortions for free.
- In June, Delaware passed a bill making abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy.
- And just this week, the United States Senate voted down the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. That bill would have outlawed abortion for infants capable of feeling pain as they are aborted. The measure was defeated 51-46.
And around the world…
- In France, a television ad entitled Dear Future Mom encouraged mothers who learned that their in-utero child had Down syndrome: Your child will be able to do many things. He’ll be able to hug you, to run toward you. The advertisement advocating for the life of Down syndrome babies was banned from French television stations.
- To our north, nearly half of the Canadian Pediatric Society has recommended legalizing euthanasia for children in certain circumstances.
- Scotland became the first nation in the United Kingdom to legalize the drug Mifepristone, which a mom can use to induce abortion at home.
The value–or, more accurately, the lack of value–we assign to every human being is an issue that refuses to go away. Even forty-five years later.
When the Roe decision was handed down in 1973, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote for the majority, stating that Roe would settle the issue for Americans and then we would move on. Well, we haven’t moved on. And we won’t. The right to life is the most polarizing political issue of our time.
Church, let’s not forget. It is too easy to avoid talking about and thinking about what Mathewes-Green called this miserable thing. Let’s not. Three recommendations: Read. Read about this issue. Stay current on what is happening with regard to the unborn. Read Scott Klusendorf’s The Case for Life. Pray. Pray for our president and our governors. Pray for our hearts to change. Talk. When appropriate, talk with your friends and neighbors about the value of every life. After all, every human being is created in the image of God.