Over a year ago, the series of awful videos emerged revealing that Planned Parenthood was selling the body parts of aborted babies. And this summer, the Supreme Court has reminded us once again that they claim to possess the authority to define human life. In its June decision, Whole Women’s Health, the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that had successfully forced approximately half of the abortion clinics in the state to close. The Court’s decision was a major blow to pro-life efforts in recent years. What was thought to have been a successful step for pro-life legislative advocacy was brushed away with apparent judicial ease by five black-robed justices in the nation’s highest federal court.
In the wake of this decision, it would be worthwhile for pro-life Americans to pause, take a deep breath and ponder the steps necessary for future victory.
Rebuilding the foundation for human rights
Ending the legality of abortion will require that society recognizes humanity’s inherent value, a perspective that is being lost on the culture at an alarming speed. Therefore, it is vitally important to note the social context in which Americans presently find themselves.
A few years ago, I went to work on Capitol Hill during my first summer break from law school, presuming that I would be on the “front lines” of the pro-life movement. However, a tour through the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History taught me more about the battlefield for defining human life than the halls of Congress ever did.
Designed at a height low enough to reach elementary-aged children, one particular exhibit features a screen. When students peer into the screen it emits an image that adds ape-like features to the child’s face falsely purporting to show the child what they would have looked like had the child been a mythological “pre-human ancestor.”
In addition, the Smithsonian currently sends out an exhibit entitled, “Exploring Human Origins: What does it mean to be human?” It advertises with a poster featuring a man and woman alongside two “Neanderthal” fabrications with the tagline: “Come to the family reunion in this Smithsonian traveling exhibition.” The Smithsonian assumes their tragic answer to the question with the lie that “being a human means being a more highly developed animal.”
The effects of this Darwinian dogma are evidenced in far more ways than just abortion. Weeks before the June Supreme Court decision, social media displayed how society was weighing the value of a young child’s life with that of an endangered gorilla. Critics were enraged that killing the massive gorilla was even an option for zoo personnel who were able to save the child’s life.
Even last summer, when the shocking undercover videos revealed that Planned Parenthood had been selling body parts of aborted babies, media attention focused for only a brief period on the nation’s largest abortion provider, represented by its president, Cecil Richards. With tragic irony, though, public attention was soon largely diverted to another Cecil—the lion—instead. Outcry in the media over a cat in Africa eclipsed the public horror of realizing that while Planned Parenthood was receiving hundreds of millions of our tax dollars, they were also gaining money from the sale of aborted baby body parts.
Our government’s disgusting love affair with Planned Parenthood means that more tax dollars are given to the nation’s largest abortion provider under Title X than to any other private organization. We shouldn’t be surprised by sin’s effects on society in this cursed world, yet we shouldn’t be emotionally content about it either. Christians of all people should know that when the world ignores a problem, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a big problem. Ignoring an injustice doesn’t mean that it’s not an atrocious injustice.
Events in the last year remind us that the pro-life movement is only part of a larger movement to reclaim the sanctity of human life as God’s word defines it. The movement must go much deeper than mere legal advocacy. America needs advocacy over the very psyche of young minds who are daily being conditioned to think that their lives are of no greater worth than an animal and that, thus, their sexual ethic ought to be no higher either.
For the pro-life movement to win legally in the days ahead, it must win big in the hearts and minds of Americans. It must address underlying mindsets and stop dealing merely with the legal “fruit” of a society that prefers endangered animals over children. Pro-choice Americans are pro-choice largely because they have no vision for the sanctity of human life. They fail to see that human beings possess the imago Dei, the image of God.
Individual Christians have the great duty to “[r]escue those who are being taken away to death” (Prov 24:11). Individual Christians must step up to the plate and be vocal in order to elevate the value of human life in America. Whether it’s pursuing a certain school curriculum or approving/disapproving of sexually explicit entertainment or even simply saying something at the lunch table, Christians in America must be vocal with their everyday lives to effectively communicate a pro-life ethic.
The guarantee of victory
Personally, I have resolved not to look to politicians for my pro-life inspiration. To see victories on this issue, we need a greater vision—and greater power—than what candidates or human courts can ever offer us. We need a vision of God, who sits upon his throne, does all that pleases him and whose day of reckoning is surely coming. We need a vision of God, who was able to bring Nineveh to repentance in a single day. We need a vision of the gospel—the power of God for salvation.
You may never stand before the U.S. Supreme Court to advocate the pro-life position, but you can do something more powerful. You can advocate for the gospel’s message to the woman in your neighborhood who is stricken with the grief of a past abortion, or the local high school student whose girlfriend just found out she was pregnant, or the abortion clinic worker who frequents your local coffeeshop. You have the sole message in your heart that can bring true hope and salvation to those affected by this issue.
For the Christian pro-life advocate, success will not merely be a reality if the Supreme Court decides to change its mind. Success is faithfulness. A liberal Supreme Court can hand down decision after decision, yet Christians press on to save innocent lives. Even if the day were to arrive when every justice on the Supreme Court became pro-abortion, Christians continue to love, to pray, to speak, to adopt, to provide ultrasounds, to propose bills, to march, to expose fraud, to counsel—all because we have a God who will make all wrongs right in the end, and because he has already made right our wrongs, including past abortions, through his Son’s atoning death on the cross.
Christians can have an unshakable resolve in the face of legal defeat because we have a destiny that has been decided by the Highest Judge, and we know that his coming is not far off. It’s with that kind of vision that we press on and remain lovingly and relentlessly pro-life.