The day I was 100 yards away from the infamous Jackson abortion clinic

December 1, 2021

I have been keeping up with what is often simply referred to in my circles as “Dobbs.” This morning, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard the oral arguments in this case. Dobbs challenges the constitutionality of Mississippi’s 2018 Gestational Age Act, which bans abortions of unborn children whose gestational age is more than 15 weeks. 

In the 1992 SCOTUS case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court essentially upheld the essence of Roe v. Wade (1973) but replaced the trimester framework of Roe with a viability standard. Briefly stated, if the court rules in Mississippi’s favor, the arbitrary viability standard will be removed, granting states the authority to enact life-saving legislation. A favorable ruling, in this case, would save countless innocent lives.  

But I’m not writing this article because I have some expertise on the legal nuances of this case. You can find a detailed analysis on this issue from all kinds of groups and organizations that specialize in these matters, and I thank God for them. I have been significantly helped by the work of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) in understanding this case and its significance.

Right outside my hotel room 

I am writing this article because of a recent gut-wrenching moment that made this case even more personal to me. I had the great joy of preaching at the Mississippi Baptist Pastors Conference a short time ago. The conference met in Jackson, Mississippi, and I had the privilege of preaching in the historic pulpit of FBC Jackson. My hosts graciously got me accommodations at a nearby hotel.

As I got out of bed the first morning at about 7:30 a.m., I heard singing outside my hotel room. I thought it was odd because I did not imagine Jackson, Mississippi, as a place where parties from the night before would still be going on in the morning. However, when I looked out my window, I saw an unattractive pink stucco building about a hundred yards away from my hotel. I also saw a group of young adults gathered in a circle. They were the ones singing. These adults were not singing party songs from the night before; they were singing praise songs and praying.

It was then that I noticed other adults wearing reflective vests, and it finally hit me that the pink building was an abortion clinic where babies were losing their lives. I can’t explain the nauseating feeling I got standing there contemplating what was happening so close to me. But then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Not only was this an abortion clinic, but this was the Jackson abortion clinic of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. I wept. I prayed. 

From 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., I counted eight cars arriving at the abortion clinic. Eight in two hours. I wept and prayed some more. It was jarring. I hardly slept that night. “Dobbs” was not merely a court case for me at that moment. “Dobbs” was life and death, women and babies, voices I could hear as they walked into doors that would end one life and forever alter the other.  

Today — a day which will determine the future of abortion in America — is a good day to weep and pray some more. I am praying that one day soon I will get to stay in the same hotel room. I want to look out of the same window, knowing that God made the prayers of those young adults that morning effectual. And if that pink stucco block building is still standing, I want to know it is no longer a place where innocent lives are ended. 

If so, I will weep and pray again, but this time they will be tears of joy.

This article originally appeared here

David E. Prince

David E. Prince is the Assistant Professor of Christian Preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition to his role on the faculty, he is also the pastor of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. He is married to Judi and they have eight children.  Read More by this Author