Today marks the 48th anniversary of Roe v Wade. That’s forty-eight years of legalized abortion in the United States. Forty-eight years of championing “a woman’s right to choose.” Forty-eight years of slaughtering our unborn.
For the majority of those forty-eight years, the lines on this issue were clearly drawn. It was a question of life or death. Right or wrong. Either you respected the tiny humans inside the womb and sought to protect them, or you spurned “the products of conception” and fought for the power to snuff them out at will.
Lately, however, that distinction has become blurred.
Liberals have abandoned their self-professed goal of making abortions “legal, safe, and rare.” Instead, they’re relentlessly pushing to remove every obstacle to the unrestricted slaying of innocents, while simultaneously advancing the notion that theirs is the more compassionate, life-affirming position.
That’s doublespeak if I’ve ever heard it. A lie straight from the pit of hell. It takes everything we know to be true and stands it on its head.
Sadly, this backward thinking has now infiltrated the church. Well-meaning Christians have been duped into believing that abortions can be offered in service to God. That true compassion for the poor demands we provide them a means by which they can kill their babies. That babies aren’t really a blessing from God, as the Bible asserts, but an unnecessary burden.
I first saw this view articulated by a former pro-life advocate almost two years ago. A left-leaning friend sent me an opinion piece written by Rob Schenck in defense of Roe v Wade. She wanted to know what I thought about it.
As I explained to my friend, I take issue with this author on a number of points. And though I considered publishing my response as an open letter to the author at the time, I opted not to do so.
I was hoping the views Schenck so smoothly articulated were an aberration. Little did I dream that this false compassion would soon have such a stranglehold on the church that even some of my own, well-meaning friends — friends I love and respect but with whom I vehemently disagree — would vote for the most aggressively pro-abortion administration our country has ever known.
It may be too little, too late, but this is what I have to say, both to Schenck and to anybody else who claims to be pro-life, but isn’t.
You can’t have it both ways
You cannot be “personally against abortion” and simultaneously approve it. If you were truly horrified by the murder of innocents, you could not heartily endorse the practice.
Clearly, Schenck is equivocating with respect to his views on this matter:
“No doubt, many of my former allies will call me a turncoat. I don’t see it that way. I still believe that every abortion is a tragedy and that when a woman is pregnant, bringing the child into the world is always ideal.”
But this statement follows in the wake of a 637-word explanation of why he presently champions a court decision that he previously spent “more than 30 years” fighting to overturn — a ruling he now touts as “pro-life.”
Despite the fact Roe v Wade has led to nearly 62 million US abortions since 1973 when it was first handed down, Schenck has the audacity to suggest that its repeal would “be destructive to life.”
So it’s obvious his beliefs have changed. They’ve radically changed. Schenck has done a night-and-day, 180-degree about-face, as his own testimony proves. To pretend otherwise is deceptive and wrong.
Learn to think outside the box
Rarely are there only two options for dealing with crisis pregnancies. Schenck is presenting a false dilemma. He writes:
“I can no longer pretend that telling poor pregnant women they have just one option — give birth and try your luck raising a child, even though the odds are stacked against you — is ‘pro-life’ in any meaningful sense.”
This is a gross misrepresentation. I’d like for Schenck to show me even one Christian-based crisis pregnancy center that has ever told a pregnant woman she has no other option but to raise her baby in abject poverty completely cut off from help of any kind. That may be the only alternative to abortion Planned Parenthood paints for their clients, but it’s an outright lie, regardless who says it.
Had Schenck spent less time picketing abortion clinics and shoving fetuses in the faces of presidential candidates and more time serving the needs of women in crisis, he would know abortion is not the only option. By presenting this scenario as an either/or proposition, he is being intentionally close-minded. He shows no creativity, no effort, no willingness to brainstorm solutions that would take into account the welfare of both mother and baby.
The crisis pregnancy centers with which I’m most familiar provide many viable alternatives to abortion.
If a mother wants to keep her baby, they will give her a place to live during the pregnancy, arrange for free prenatal care, furnish maternity clothes, provide parenting/life skills classes, and even help with GED prep and job training. They offer continued care, counseling, and educational classes after birth and also provide free diapers and baby clothes, cribs, and other essentials.
If a mother doesn’t feel up to the task of raising her baby, they will help with adoption placement or arrange for foster care until she can get on her feet.
And all of this is tangible, practical, life-affirming help that arises from genuine compassion — not fake (or misguided) compassion that is willing to slaughter babies rather than see them born into less-than-ideal circumstances.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater
This brings me to a third problem with Schenck’s article: His proffered solution is far worse than the problem he’s attempting to address.
One evil doesn’t justify another evil. Just as the dire financial straits, humiliation, and political unrest that Germany faced because of WWI reparations did not justify killing all the Jews and stealing their assets, so “poverty, social marginalization, and bald-faced racism” do not justify wiping an entire generation of children out of existence.
Instead of targeting root problems, abortion attacks innocent victims.
Can you imagine what outrage would ensue if conservationists took such an approach to endangered species? “Oh, these poor tigers. Their habitat isn’t what it should be. Their cubs will face scarcity. They’ll be in constant danger from poachers. If they manage to survive to adulthood, they may pose a threat to society. Why don’t we just shoot them all now?”
Such thinking would be anathema to animal lovers, but it passes as humanitarian by Schenck’s warped reasoning.
Get off your high horse
My fourth problem with Schenk’s article is his elitism. He writes:
“What is ‘pro-life’ about forcing the birth of a child, if that child will enter a world of rejection, deprivation and insecurity, to say nothing of the fear, anxiety and danger that comes with poverty, crime and a lack of educational and employment opportunities?”
This is nothing more than white privilege masquerading as social justice. How do we judge the value of life? By affluence? If people live on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, does that mean they’re not deserving of life?
Many rightly compare abortion to genocide. This is racism at its worse. Indeed, blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately affected by abortion. Black teens are four times more likely to get an abortion than whites, and twice as likely as Latinas.
Planned Parenthood’s founder, Margaret Sanger, had utter contempt and disdain for such individuals and viewed abortion as a means of “pulling human weeds” as she so callously called them. We now see Sanger’s dream being played out in our inner cities every day of the week.
[Here’s an even better source for truly horrific Sanger quotes. I also recommend you read this excellent article on how abortion targets minority children. It contains some sobering statistics and a couple of compelling quotes — one from John Piper and the other from Jesse Jackson (made before Jackson, like Schenck, flip-flopped on this issue).]
Stick to the facts
The fifth thing I dislike about Schenck’s column is its patronizing tone. True, the straw men he’s constructed can be easily knocked down. But they are grossly inaccurate representations of his real opposition. Schenck writes:
“I’d like to think that the churches and pro-life organizations I worked with for those 30 years would provide the necessary tens of millions of dollars, thousands of volunteer hours, extensive social services, medical and dental care, educational support, food, clothing and spiritual assistance. But I suspect — frankly, I know — that they cannot or will not….To my former allies who are cheering on the challenges to Roe, I say: Put your money where your mouth is. Devote yourself and your considerable resources to taking care of poor women and their children before you champion laws that hem them into impossible situations.”
To this I say, why not both? Why not care for the poor and champion laws that protect the unborn? My family has personally contributed in every way Schenck mentions: My husband has provided free medical care. My second- and third-born have given free dental care. My daughters have tutored orphans and foster kids and served at Crisis Pregnancy Centers. I’ve taught homemaking, parenting, craft, and Bible classes to impoverished mothers and children.
We don’t have tens of millions to give, but we’ve certainly donated tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to food, diapers, books, and clothing, and we’ve worked hundreds of volunteer hours. Together with our children, we’ve painted houses, stocked food pantries, cooked meals, served at homeless shelters, provided entertainment (including face painting and manning a dunking booth), carted equipment, sponsored children, organized donations, purchased supplies, hosted fundraising dinners, and financially supported a variety of ministries that serve the needy in a variety of ways.
And our family is not atypical in this respect. We have Christian friends who’ve done all these things and more, including several who serve as foster families and even more who have adopted (multiple children and many with special needs).
So Schenck’s pretending that conservatives are unable or unwilling to help is blatantly false. We are helping. We help on multiple fronts in multiple ways. According to The New York Times, religious conservatives out-do secular liberals across the board when it comes to giving: not only do we give more money, but we are also more likely to volunteer and/or donate blood.
Be careful whom you call a fool
My last beef with Schenck is the name-calling he does in his final paragraph:
“Passing extreme anti-abortion laws and overturning Roe will leave poor women desperate and the children they bear bereft of what they need to flourish. This should not be anyone’s idea of victory. Anyone who thinks otherwise is indeed a fool.”
Calling anybody who disagrees with one’s conclusions “a fool” is presumptuous and overbearing (not to mention forbidden in Scripture — Matthew 5:22) This is particularly true considering the fact the arguments Schenck makes in support of his “enlightened” new stance on abortion are so riddled with logical fallacies.
About the only thing in this entire article that rings true are the two sentences the author quotes from the book of James:
“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:15-17)
I love the book of James. When I was younger, I memorized the whole thing, and I can still quote long portions of it. Christians do have a responsibility to care for the practical needs of the poor — and killing the poor off through abortion does not absolve us of responsibility in this area.
Schenck would do well to take the rest of the book (as well as the whole of Scripture) to heart. Elsewhere James warns, “Whoever keeps the whole law but stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10)
And Schenck is definitely stumbling on this one point. When we look at Scripture in its entirety, we see that God is overwhelmingly pro-life. (Psalm 139:13-16, Job 31:15) Children are viewed as a blessing. (Psalm 127:3) Jesus drew the little children to Himself. (Mark 10:14) Unborn children were protected by law. (Exodus 21:22-25) And believers are charged with speaking up for those who have no voice (Proverbs 31:8-9) and defending those who are oppressed and dying:
“Rescue those being led away to death and restrain those stumbling toward the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know about this,’ does not He who weighs hearts consider it? Does not the One who guards your life know? Will He not repay a man according to his deeds?” (Proverbs 24:11-12)
Dawn Summers says
This is a comment I originally attempted to leave on the Tyler Newspaper site with no success.
Hi! My name is Dawn Summers and I am attempting to reach out to Jennifer Flanders. My husband (Will) and I, along with 10 of our 11 children and live-in mother are moving to the Tyler area soon. I have read Jennifer’s book Love Your Husband Love Yourself and was greatly impacted by the Biblical truths she presents. We are hoping to have the Flanders recommend their church to us. Would you please pass along this post? Thank you!
Jennifer Flanders says
You found me! I’m so happy to hear my book was a blessing to you. Also, welcome to Tyler! How soon will you be moving? We’d love to have your whole family over for dinner once you get here. We attend the 8 AM service at Grace Community Church, which is about 12 minutes from our house. But, depending on where you’ll be living, we can recommend several other excellent churches in town, as well, and help you connect with some families who are part of those congregations. We’ll look forward to hopefully meeting you soon!
What a great piece! I appreciate your thought comments based on fact and grounded in the Word!
Jennifer Flanders says
Thanks so much, Dina. That’s one thing I love about writing — the ability to check and double-check facts before hitting “publish.” 🙂
This is excellent! Thank you for writing this. We must continue to speak the truth, and this response of logical arguments spoken in love has great ideas about how to help women without murdering their babies.
Jennifer Flanders says
Yes. Speaking the truth in love. That is definitely my goal. Glad to hear it comes across. ❤️
THANK YOU for writing this well thought, well spoken response. I appreciate your courage, knowledge and candor.
Jennifer Flanders says
You’re welcome, Tana. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement.