A few weeks ago I attended the March for Life as part of my role on the 2018 Leadership Council of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). March for Life is a massive annual gathering in Washington DC of countless pro-life groups and organizations to peacefully protest the Supreme Court’s decision decades ago to legalize the taking of innocent unborn life.
The ERLC, held a 3 day conference wrapping around the March for the purpose of defending all of life, from the womb to the tomb, so to speak. I’d like to pass on a few the things I learned during the experience.
Being pro-life from a Biblical worldview is much more than simply being anti-abortion. Since all men & women are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) we are
- pro-life of the unborn child,
- pro-life of the woman who’s had or is considering an abortion
- pro-life of the unborn child’s father or grandfather who are encouraging or pressuring the mother to have an abortion
- pro-life of the doctor and medical team performing abortions
Christ followers must recognize that everyone involved is made in the image of God and deserves both love and respect and the opportunity to hear of God’s saving grace and forgiveness.
We don’t have to choose between pro-life and pro-justice. We can be both. Benjamin Watson, Tight End for the Baltimore Ravens, told of a conversation where he was challenged, “Why don’t you take care of the babies already born into hopeless poverty instead of worrying about those not yet born?” His reply was, “Why can’t we do both? We (Christians) can be people who stand up for the unborn and protect and care for those who are vulnerable and abused.”
Unborn children are not the only people whose lives are being devalued and threatened. Pro-life means protecting special needs children & adults, the handicapped, children in foster care, the elderly and sick who are a supposed “drain on our medical services,” inmates who still deserve to be treated with dignity, refugees who have been forced from their homes by war or natural disaster, women & children who are being trafficked for profit… the list includes anyone devalued by those in power.
Science is on our side. The advent of ultra sound has been a game changer. Mothers can see their child’s beating heart just weeks into their pregnancy. Very early on they can see arms and legs. We also have learned that by 20 weeks into a pregnancy unborn children can experience pain. That’s why 191 countries do not allow abortion after 24 weeks. Those countries all agree that’s a child who is viable and must be protected at that point. Only four countries allow late term abortions – North Korea, Vietnam, China, and the United States.
In Washington I saw firsthand that the tide is turning on this issue. Among the nearly 100,000 marchers most were younger than me. Polls show America is evenly divided between pro-abortion and pro-life… until you ask the question, “Where do you draw the line of when life begins?” Most Americans, and I would certainly hope most Christ followers, do not wish to be included with cruel totalitarian communist countries who have little value for human rights.
Finally, I learned that Pregnancy Help Centers are the real heroes of the pro-life movement. Like the one in our community led by Jackie Fuller whose ranks of volunteers include many of you. They love and respect their clients, regardless of the choices they’ve made or will make. They offer mothers the opportunity to see their child on ultra sound. They counsel mothers and fathers with alternatives. They provide parenting classes for those who choose life. And they share the Gospel with everyone who walks through the door, which is the ultimate reason they exist. They could use more volunteers. Give them a call.