“Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; they did not even know how to blush” (Jeremiah 6:15).
Last week, we discussed the sad story of America being given over to moral depravity citing our citizenry’s acceptance and affirmation of the barbarity of abortion and the perversity of homosexuality and other sexual immorality.
Barring a supernatural turnaround, Christians should not only expect more of the same, but a quickly devolving culture pushing new boundaries of godlessness, including the persecution of anyone who would stand in the way of their sin.
This Memorial Day Weekend, we will try to answer the following questions: What is the justified biblical response to the barbarity and debauchery that is now pervasive in America? Should our response be different to the advocates versus the individuals partaking in it? And what is the difference between tolerance, acceptance, and affirmation?
There is no hiding from what is here and what is to come and so we must know how to respond with truth and grace. Tune in to The Christian Worldview this weekend.
“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper … and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:28,32).
Whatever America once was — “a shining city on a hill,” as President Reagan said — we are now a nation that has been given over to moral wickedness.
We can rationalize that abortion is about “women’s reproductive rights” and that it should be “safe, legal, and rare” and that homosexuality is a merely a “civil rights” issue, but from a biblical perspective, America is a country crumbling morally from within … and quickly.
Read the details of late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell or watch the just-released undercover video at an Arizona abortion clinic. Listen to President Obama say he “couldn’t be prouder” of a pro basketball player who announced this week he’s a homosexual. And then notice the fierce attack on anyone who dares say otherwise.
How has America devolved to such a point where the majority-voice supports and praises sin and castigates those who stand for biblical truth? What does this bode for the future of our country and for Christians? And how should a Christian respond when “America the Beautiful” has become America the Debauched — with tolerance, acceptance, affirmation, or otherwise?
published with permission from Dr. Albert Mohler
The doctor is a murderer. The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell ended yesterday, with the infamous abortion doctor convicted of three counts of first degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter. The doctor’s abortion clinic, described by a Philadelphia prosecutor as a “house of horrors,” is no more, but the truth revealed in his trial remains. He is not the only one with blood on his hands.
The prosecution of Kermit Gosnell put the entire nation on trial. The doctor was indicted on hundreds of criminal counts, and in addition to the murder and manslaughter convictions he received yesterday, he was also convicted on more than two hundred counts including racketeering, infanticide, and performing abortions that violated Pennsylvania law. Most of those were illegal late-term abortions.
The evidence presented in the trial was gruesome. Investigators told of finding jars filled with parts of dismembered babies. Some of Dr. Gosnell’s co-workers told of seeing the doctor deliver babies alive, then murdering them by snipping their spinal cords with scissors. They told of babies moving their arms and legs and gasping for breath, even making noises as Dr. Gosnell murdered them.
The arrest of Dr. Gosnell in 2011 brought a wave of news coverage. That was not the case with his trial — at least not until public outrage demanded that the press pay more attention. The mainstream media largely ignored the trial, and national attention came only after a concerted effort in social media and on the Internet made inattention to the story nearly impossible.
As Kirsten Powers, writing in USA Today, wrote: “Since the murder trial of Pennsylvania abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell began on March 18, there has been precious little coverage of the case that should be on every news show and front page. The revolting revelations of Gosnell’s former staff, who have been testifying to what they witnessed and did during late-term abortions, should shock anyone with a heart.” She concluded, “The deafening silence of too much of the media, once a force for justice in America, is a disgrace.”
Reluctantly, many major media outlets did start to give the trial attention, but their coverage was often more about the controversy over the coverage of the trial than about the trial itself. A report that appeared in TIME magazine just after Gosnell’s conviction, Kate Pickert and Adam Sorensen argued that “while it wasn’t completely ignored, the Gosnell trial revealed the mainstream media’s hesitancy to swarm a story about a horrifying abortion-related crime.” Later, while arguing that one reason for minimal news coverage of the trial was “the extremely disturbing nature of the crime,” they also acknowledged that “it’s no secret that most journalists are socially liberal.”
This morning, Dr. Gosnell’s murder convictions made the front pages of USA Today and The Wall Street Journal. The story appeared on page A-12 of The New York Times.
Both sides in the nation’s abortion debate agreed that Dr. Gosnell should be convicted and vilified. But pro-abortion forces found themselves continually forced to argue that Dr. Gosnell’s house of horrors was an exception and that abortion is not really at issue in the entire Gosnell trial. They did their best to make that point, but it is an impossible point to make. The babies murdered in Dr. Gosnell’s “clinic” were not visiting a pediatrician. They were born only after so-called “botched abortions.” The entire context was about abortion.
In TIME, Pickert and Sorensen argued that “this was not a case about the morality of legal, late-term abortion.” While the trial was not an open debate about the morality of abortion, that issue is what every thoughtful person recognizes is at stake — which is precisely why the pro-abortion movement had to insist, over and over again, that the morality of abortion is not the issue.
Here is a clue: When you have to argue at every turn that the issue is not abortion, the issue is abortion.
Prosecutors in Pennsylvania announced that they will seek the death penalty for Dr. Gosnell. He now stands convicted of the premeditated and calculated murder of three infants, along with over 200 additional crimes. In his closing argument to the jury, prosecutor Ed Cameron turned to Dr. Gosnell and asked, “Are you human? To med these women up and stick knives in the backs of babies?”
But we must not miss the true meaning of the Gosnell trial. It is true that Dr. Gosnell was found guilty of his crimes — at least the crimes successfully prosecuted in Pennsylvania. But, in reality the whole nation was on trial, and we are all guilty.
What the pro-abortion movement fears most is that Americans will pause to consider what this trial really means. It means that Dr. Gosnell would not be on trial for murder if he had killed those three babies while inside their mother’s body. His murder convictions have everything to do with the fact that the abortions were “botched” and the babies were accidentally born alive. Had the abortions been “successful” — even up to the last hours of pregnancy — Dr. Gosnell might have been charged with performing a late-term abortion, but not of murder.
And, speaking of late-term abortions, the abortion rights movement is against all legal restrictions on those as well. They insist on a woman’s unfettered right to an abortion up to the moment of birth.
Even more chillingly, a Planned Parenthood representative recently told a committee of the Florida legislature that even a baby born alive after a failed abortion should have its life or death decided only by its mother and her doctor.
This is America. A nation that has legalized murder in the womb and that now finds itself staring at what abortion really represents. Human dignity cannot survive in a society that insists that a baby inside the womb has no right to live while that same baby, just seconds later, is a murder victim. Respect for human life cannot endure when a baby inside the womb is just a fetus, but when moved only a few centimeters is a full citizen.
The body parts of babies presented as evidence in the Gosnell trial are routinely discarded as “medical waste” outside your local abortion clinic.
What the Gosnell trial revealed is not the exceptional gruesomeness of a single clinic in Philadelphia. It reveals the truth that all Americans are, by our laws, complicit in Dr. Gosnell’s evil. The real scandal is not just the babies murdered outside the womb, but the millions aborted legally — torn apart by blades, suctioned out as waste, poisoned unto death by drugs.
The trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell revealed the truth about this homicidal doctor and his house of horrors, but it also revealed the moral house of mirrors behind which America hides. Dr. Gosnell is not alone in having the blood of babies on his hands.
I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler
Kate Pickert and Adam Sorensen, “Three Takeaways from the Kermit Gosnell Trial,” TIME, Monday, May 13, 2013. http://nation.time.com/2013/05/13/three-takeaways-from-the-kermit-gosnell-trial/
Kirsten Powers, “Philadelphia Abortion Clinic Horror,” USA Today, Thursday, April 11, 2013. http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/04/10/philadelphia-abortion-clinic-horror-column/2072577/
Image: “The Murder of the Innocents,” from a medieval stained glass window.
Guest: Scott Poling, senior pastor, Harvest Baptist Church, Oswego, IL (since 1995)
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:14-15).
This coming Tuesday, January 22nd, is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision by the U.S. Supreme that ruled that the 14th amendment of the constitution has a right to privacy which gives a woman the right to have an abortion.
Since that landmark case, 54 million unborn and partially born babies have been killed in the United States (source: National Right to Life Committee) all in the name of “choice”, “a woman’s right to health care”, and other such misleading euphemisms.
This weekend on The Christian Worldview, pastor Scott Poling of Harvest Baptist Church in Illinois will discuss why the protection of the unborn is of utmost importance and what Christians should be doing at this time when abortion is “settled law” in America. He will also share an amazing personal story with regards to this issue.
After addressing a large secular assembly on issues of moral controversy, I turned and faced a woman who urgently wanted to ask me a question: “Why won’t the abortion issue just go away?”
I knew exactly what she was asking. I often meet abortion rights advocates who honestly thought that the national controversy over abortion would simply melt away within a few years of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973.
That was clearly the hope of the Supreme Court majority that signed onto the opinion written by Associate Justice Harry Blackmun. In a note he wrote to himself as he drafted the final opinion and looked to its aftermath, Blackmun revealed a rather optimistic assumption: “It will be an unsettled period for a while.”
Surely, he didn’t mean for that “while” to extend four decades.
Next Tuesday will mark the 40th anniversary of the decision, and the abortion question is anything but settled. Just look at the crowds gathering in Washington next week for the annual March for Life.
In fact, America has been unsettled ever since Roe. Abortion has become a central issue of political conflict, debate and division. If the court had hoped to calm the waters, it failed spectacularly.
As Guido Calabresi, then dean of the Yale Law School, observed, the aftermath of Roe v. Wade produced a “sense of desperate embattlement.” As Calabresi noted, the court’s decision failed to produce a national consensus. Rather, Roe “made it impossible for the opposing views to live with each other.”
Those who thought that the decision of the Supreme Court would settle the issue had reason for that hope. On other controversial questions, the court’s rulings had produced initial furor and outrage, but the nation rather quickly accommodated itself to those decisions. Take integration in public schools.
Not so with abortion.
Why? Professor Lawrence H. Tribe of the Harvard Law School, an ardent defender of abortion rights, at least recognized that the abortion question presents nothing less than a “clash of absolutes.”
Tribe attempted to propose a means of avoiding “pitting these absolutes against one another.” All such efforts have failed, precisely because the competing claims are indeed absolutes.
When abortion-rights advocates and their allies ask why the abortion issue will not just go away, they really mean to ask why, given the stark reality of Roe, the pro-life movement has not dissipated and retreated into the history books.
Here are five reasons why:
First, the radical character of Roe – overthrowing abortion laws in 49 states – galvanized pro-life forces. The judicial imposition of abortion on demand, virtually without restriction until the third trimester, produced both shock and outrage among those who believe that the unborn child has an inalienable right to life.
Within months of Roe, an organized pro-life movement came into shape, looking for any means of limiting and eventually ending the termination of unborn life.
Second, Roe also had the effect, surely unforeseen by the Supreme Court, of bringing millions of evangelical Christians into the fight on behalf of unborn life. Prior to Roe, even many evangelicals believed that abortion was a Roman Catholic issue.
Roe was a legal earthquake that awakened a massive number of evangelicals to the deadly reality of abortion. With remarkable speed, evangelicals soon educated themselves on the issue and then mobilized themselves both politically and culturally.
Third, the death spiral of abortion simply defies adequate calculation. Over a million abortions are performed in America each year. Reports last year indicated that over 40% of all pregnancies in New York end in abortion, a rate that increases to almost 60% of pregnancies among African-American women.
The sheer scale of the death toll sears the pro-life conscience. Young people can now see that millions are missing from their own generation.
Fourth, abortion has proved to be exactly what pro-life activists warned it would be: a deadly threat to human dignity that would target specific populations. Prenatal testing has produced a deadly reality for unborn babies considered less than acceptable by their parents.
The vast majority (90%) of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are now aborted. Sex-selection abortions are legal in the wide-open “right” to abortion declared by the court. Prenatal testing of other characteristics means that parents can now abort a baby that does not meet their specifications and try again.
Fifth, powerful imaging technologies now allow a look inside the womb, a privilege unknown to previous generations. That window has transformed the equation, as millions of parents have seen their unborn children and witnessed the miracle of life.
They have seen the little human form and the actions of the unborn child, sucking its thumb as it nestles within its mother. Millions of siblings have seen the images of their unborn brothers and sisters taped to the refrigerator door.
Those of us who believe that every single unborn child has a right to be born cannot resign from the effort to protect those lives.
The greatest advances made by the pro-life movement have been made among the young, the generation that has known the death toll from Roe v. Wade all their lives. More evidence that the abortion issue will not simply go away.
Nevertheless, Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land and abortion on demand remains a constant. Since Roe more than 55 million unborn Americans have been aborted, and the nation is more concerned about economics than the sanctity of human life. We have must ground to recover, but the only foundation for a recovery of human dignity is an affirmation of the fact that every single human being is made in God’s image and is of sacred worth from the moment of fertilization until natural death.
Until that truth is affirmed, we will see abortion remain the law of the land and human dignity will hang in the balance.
American presidential elections are the world’s most public display of the democratic process. The global media follow the American elections with a fervor that is easily understood — what happens in an American presidential election matters all over the world. Our presidential campaigns are political pageants and electoral dynamos. But, as any honest thoughtful observer will understand, our elections are also great worldview exercises. We reveal our worldview by our vote.
This is particularly true of the 2012 election. The presidential nominees of the two major parties represent two very different worldviews and visions. President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have adopted policy positions that place them in direct conflict, and the platforms of their respective parties reveal two radically different renderings of reality.
Years ago, Governor George Wallace of Alabama remarked with disdain that there is not “a dime’s worth of difference” between the Democrats and the Republicans. In a sense, he was at least partly right. A look back at the platforms of the two parties in the 1950s and 1960s reveals little division over many of the issues that now frame our national debate. Some of today’s issues were simply missing, of course, given the fact that they were not even part of the national conversation. But on issues of the economy, foreign policy, the function of government, and a host of other issues, the parties held positions that were far closer than is the case today. Divisive issues such as the war in Vietnam would be addressed with different policy proposals, but the platforms of the two parties reflected a shared moral and political framework — a truth that would shock many Americans today.
All that changed with the social and political divisions that came with the 1968 and 1972 elections, when the Democratic Party experienced its great transformation concerning a host of social issues. The 1980 election saw the Republicans experience their own transformation, with social issues such as abortion rising to major attention in the party platform.
Fast forward to 2012, and the distance between the two parties is breathtaking. The nation’s political polarization is clearly evident in the radical distinctions between the Republican and Democratic platforms. But this polarization is not merely political. It is fundamentally moral and ideological. These two platforms present two contradictory understandings of realities as basic as human life, liberty, and the institution of marriage.
Though the two parties have taken opposing positions on many of these issues for years, the radical nature of this current polarization is new.
The parties differ about matters such as health care and the environment, the power of public employee unions, Medicare, and foreign policy. But those differences, real and consequential, pale in contrast with the positions taken by the parties concerning the issues of abortion and same-sex marriage.
In 2012, the Democratic Party becomes the first major political party in the United States to call for the legalization of same-sex marriage. “We support marriage equality and support the movement to secure equal treatment under the law for same-sex couples,” states the platform. This follows President Obama’s announcement earlier this year that his “evolving” position on same-sex marriage now reached the point that he would openly call for same-sex couples to be given the legal right to marry.
The velocity of the Democratic Party’s shift concerning same-sex marriage was on full display on the stage of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, when former President Bill Clinton nominated President Obama for re-election. In 1996, President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) into law after a massive bi-partisan majority in Congress approved the legislation. That act established that the United States government would recognize only the union of a man and a woman as marriage, and that no state would be required to recognize a same-sex union performed in any other state.
Just 16 years later, the Democratic president who signed that act into law nominated a Democratic president who is working for its repeal. President Obama has ordered his Attorney General not to defend DOMA in the Federal courts. He and his party now openly call for what that federal statute — still bearing the full force of law — prohibits.
The Republican platform stated: “We affirm our support for a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” Thus, the Republican platform calls for nothing less than a Constitutional amendment to prevent what the Democratic platform demands the law to affirm. That Constitutional amendment, Republicans argue, is made necessary by the very fact that the Democratic President will not defend DOMA.
On the issue of abortion, the Republican platform states, “we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” The Democratic platform states: “The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.”
The worldview clash could hardly be more dramatic. The Republicans frame the issue in terms of the unborn child’s “fundamental individual right to life.” The Democrats frame the issue as “a woman’s right to make decisions” — including the explicit right to decide to kill the baby in her womb. These are two contradictory moral claims.
One party claims that no abortions should be legal and the other claims that all abortions should be legal. Each party is driven by their own moral logic. The Republicans are driven by the belief that, at every point of development, every individual human being is sacred and has a fundamental right to life. The Democrats are driven by the belief that the woman’s unfettered right to choose an abortion is paramount, and that a woman can demand an abortion at any time for any reason — or for no reason. As their language states, “We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.” The most revealing words there are “any” and “all.”
Both parties hold these positions because they are, in truth, the inevitable consequences of basic worldview assumptions. These assumptions include belief that marriage is essential to human flourishing and cannot be redefined without bringing on human disaster, contrasted with the belief that the liberation of humanity from oppression and prejudice requires the redefinition of marriage. In the background are contradictory assumptions about human sexuality, sexual morality, moral authority, individual autonomy, and the ends to which human beings are to aim their lives.
The assumptions framing the abortion positions of the two parties include the belief that every human life is sacred and to be protected at every point of development contrasted with the belief that a human life takes on greater worth and right to live as the development continues, but is tentative at least until the moment of live birth. The belief that the baby is itself the most urgent moral unit is contrasted with the belief that the woman and her right to control her own reproductive destiny is paramount. Behind these beliefs stand convictions and assumptions about human dignity, the worth of human life, the responsibility of the society to every human life, the purpose and end of human reproduction, and nothing less than the meaning of both life and death.
We are not looking at minor matters of political difference. We are staring into the abyss of comprehensive moral conflict. Christian voters can escape neither the consequences of their vote, nor the fact that our most basic convictions will be revealed in the voting booth come November. Christians cannot face these questions without the knowledge that God is the Giver of life, who made every human life in his image. We cannot consider this election without the knowledge that our Creator has given us the covenant of marriage as the union of one man and one woman as the demonstration of his glory and the promise of human flourishing.
Americans will elect a president in November, but our vote will reveal far more than our political preference. The 2012 election is a worldview exercise of unprecedented contrasts — an unavoidable test of our most basic convictions. The electoral map will reveal more than an election winner. It will reveal who Americans really are and what we really believe.
“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:13-14).
Two generations and 53 million abortions later, it would be natural to assume that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that made killing one’s unborn child legal, is now “water over the dam”. In other words, the United States doesn’t appear to be going back to pre-abortion days anytime soon. Not enough minds could be changed, right?
Wrong, according to respected evangelist and author Ray Comfort. He says “the cause [against abortion] has to be a hill to die on” and that people’s minds on the issue can be changed in seconds?
In seconds? How so? Comfort has just released a powerful 33-minute documentary movie (already with over 1 million views on YouTube) entitled “180” where people who were for abortion change their minds completely after being asked one question. What is that question and how can Christians help in ending our own “American holocaust”? Tune in to The Christian Worldview this weekend to find out!
published with permission from Dr. Albert Mohler
When Barack Obama was running for President, he was described by some observers as one of the most radical candidates in the nation’s history, in terms of support for abortion. Once in office, President Obama has done little to dispel that judgment. Even as the President is tracking to the middle on many issues, this is not the case when it comes to abortion.
This past Saturday, on the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the President issued a statement that is remarkable, even for presidents who support legalized abortion. The President’s statement included not one word that indicated any recognition that abortion in in any case or in any sense a tragedy. There was not even a passing reference to the unborn child. President Obama did not even use the language used disingenuously by President Bill Clinton — the pledge that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.”
“Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters,” the President stated. That “fundamental principle” was not actually the principle claimed by the Supreme Court, which located the “right” to abortion with the woman, not with a family.
The President continued: “I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.” So, the President of the United States puts his high office behind his hope to “encourage healthy relationships,” but not behind any effort even to reduce the number of abortions in this country. Currently, in America one out of five pregnancies ends in abortion.
As he concluded his brief statement, the President said: “And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.”
That paragraph is just a recitation of the feminist argument that was enshrined in Roe v. Wade — that women, no more than men, should be encumbered by the professional and personal limitations required by a pregnancy. That logic is enshrined as orthodoxy within the Democratic Party, and President Obama is one of its most ardent defenders.
Ever since Barack Obama emerged on the national political scene he has been promoted and protected by a corps of preachers and religious leaders who have tried their best to explain that he is not so pro-abortion as he seems. Nevertheless, his record is all too clear — as is this most recent statement. There was not one expression of abortion as a national tragedy, even as a report recently indicated that almost 60 percent of all pregnancies among African American women in New York City end in abortion.
How can any President of the United States fail to address his unspeakable tragedy? There was no hope expressed that abortion would be rare, only the expression that he would remain “committed to protecting this constitutional right.” The only words that even insinuate any hypothetical reduction in abortion were addressed to reducing “unintended pregnancies” and promoting adoption. But no goal of reducing abortion was stated, or even obliquely suggested. No reference at all was made of the unborn child. There was no lament — not even a throw-away line that would cost him nothing in terms of his support from abortion rights forces.
These words were not imposed upon this President. This is his own personal statement. It is one of the most revealing — and tragic — statements made by any political figure in our times.
“Obama Recalls Roe v. Wade, Backs Abortion Rights,” USA Today, Saturday, January 22, 2011. Interestingly, though the White House released the President’s statement on Saturday, no posting of it appears at the White House Web site as of early Monday morning.
As predicted by all reasonable people who knew that Obama’s executive order was disingenuous, elective abortion will now be paid for with your tax dollars. The Obama administration has just approved it. This is truly a “moral injustice of the first order.” Here are the details.
By the way, I don’t merely object to abortion because I’m now paying for it. Abortion is wrong no matter who pays for it. Tax-payer funding just adds another injustice.
Moral earthquakes, like earthquakes of the geophysical variety, most often occur suddenly and without warning. At one moment the moral argument is framed in conventional and familiar ways. Just an instant later, all is changed. An article that appears in the June 30, 2010 edition of The Times [London] represents a moral earthquake that resets an entire issue — and that issue is abortion. This chilling essay is hard to read, but impossible to ignore. To read it is to feel the moral ground shift under your feet.
In “Yes, Abortion is Killing. But It’s the Lesser Evil,” writer Antonia Senior acknowledges that an unborn child at any stage is a human life. But she then proceeds to assert that feminism is more important than life, and that, when necessary, women must be willing to kill for the feminist cause even as they are willing to die for it.
Visiting the Tower of London, Senior observed an exhibit “that asks visitors to vote on whether they would die for a cause.” Would she die for any cause? She considers a range of issues and then settles on just one: Feminism and its central doctrine of “reproductive rights.”
“Standing where religious martyrs were held and tortured in Britain’s turbulent reformation,” she writes, “I could think of one cause I would stake my life on: a woman’s right to be educated, to have a life beyond the home and to be allowed by law and custom to order her own life as she chooses. And that includes complete control over her own fertility.”
There is a bracing honesty in Antonia Senior’s argument. She admits that this “absolutist position is under siege,” even in her own mind. “Something strange” happened to this belief, so central to the claims of the feminist movement. That “something strange,” we soon learn, is her experience of becoming a mother.
Once, Senior had argued without reservation or moral qualms that the unborn child is not a baby, but merely a fetus – the standard argument of pro-abortion forces. “Then came a baby, and everything changed,” she relates. “Having a baby paints the world in an entirely different hue,” she explains.
Indeed, the experience of having a child convinced Senior that the inhabitant of the womb is indeed a human life. Responding to a recent British medical report claiming that fetuses feel no pain before 24 weeks of gestation, she correctly observes that this has nothing to do with the fundamental issue at stake. “Either a fetus is life from conception, or it is not,” she rightly asserts, “ability to feel pain is not, in itself, a defining factor.”
Her experience of giving birth to a daughter redefined that issue. “What seems increasingly clear to me is that, in the absence of an objective definition, a fetus is a life by any subjective measure,” she writes. “My daughter was formed at conception, and all the barely understood alchemy that turned the happy accident of that particular sperm meeting that particular egg into my darling, personality-packed toddler took place at that moment. She is so unmistakably herself, her own person — forged in my womb, not by my mothering.”
By any measure, that is a heart-warming expression of moral insight. Antonia Senior now knows and publicly affirms that “a fetus is a life.” With that assertion she breaks ranks with the pro-abortion activists and apologists who argue vociferously that the unborn child is nothing more than “potential” human life. Senior knows better now, and she is bold to say so.
She takes the pro-choice side of the argument to task for the moral evasion and dishonesty of arguing against the fact that the fetus is a human life. “Any other conclusion is a convenient lie that we on the pro-choice side of the debate tell ourselves to make us feel better about the action of taking a life.”
Honesty of that caliber is rare enough. But what follows is nothing less than breathtaking. Just when she seems to be poised to deliver a clear affirmation of the value and dignity of that unborn human life, she veers into an absolutist argument for abortion rights. Yes, that fetus is a human life, she argues, but that life must yield to the in violable feminist principle of abortion rights.
You simply cannot “decouple feminism from abortion rights,” she insists, adding, “you cannot separate women’s rights from their right to fertility control.”
Even as she admits that her position on the moral status of the unborn child has been utterly changed, she insists that her absolutist position on abortion rights has not. When it comes down to the right of the fetus to live versus the right of the mother to abort, the abortion right wins.
Abortion, which she acknowledges is the killing of a human life, is defined as “a lesser evil” than the curtailing of abortion rights in the name of liberating women.
“As ever, when an issue we thought was black and white becomes more nuanced, the answer lies in choosing the lesser evil,” she assures. “The nearly 200,000 aborted babies in the UK each year are the lesser evil, no matter how you define life, or death, for that matter. If you are willing to die for a cause, you must be prepared to kill for it, too.”
You must be prepared to kill for the sake of defending abortion rights? That is exactly what abortion entails — the killing of an unborn child for the sake of asserting a woman’s so-called “right to choose.”
In this essay, published in one of the world’s most venerable newspapers, Antonia Senior goes public with the argument that feminists should just admit that abortion is the killing of a human life, and then go on to assert that the right to kill an unborn human life is just the price that must be paid if feminism is to be defended.
“If you are willing to die for a cause, you must be prepared to kill for it, too.” That statement, published for all the world to see, perfectly distills the inescapable logic of the abortion right argument. It is based on a willingness to kill — and on the horrifying audacity to call this killing “the lesser evil.”
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