Why Planned Parenthood doesn’t fit on Mother’s Day

May 13, 2020

I don’t know why I was surprised. Planned Parenthood rarely misses an opportunity to capitalize on a cultural moment. This Mother’s Day was no different. But still, as I was scrolling through social media on Sunday, I was met with a sense of shock when I encountered a post from Planned Parenthood’s Twitter account. The words themselves were fairly benign; the tweet read “Happy Mother’s Day” and featured a graphic with the message: “From moms at home, to moms on the front line—thank you.” But unlike the countless other Mother’s Day posts I encountered that day, that post is lodged in my memory. 

In a sense, their messaging was perfect, meaning it accomplished exactly what it was supposed to. On a day like Mother’s Day, few people would think of Planned Parenthood. Indeed, who would want to? But rather than letting the day pass without comment, the organization opted to draw attention to itself anyway. Planned Parenthood, though, can’t acknowledge Mother’s Day apart from a twisted sense of irony. On a day of celebration, where Americans take time to honor those who gave us the gift of life and the blessings of nurture, love, and care, Planned Parenthood doesn’t fit. 

The joy of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day often comes under criticism for being a Hallmark holiday. Some claim we ought not to celebrate it because, instead of being about moms, the hype surrounding Mother’s Day is actually driven by industries that stand to profit from excessive purchases of cards, jewelry, flowers, and other gifts. Regardless, there is no doubt that the institution of motherhood is immensely valuable, not just in American society, but in any society. And that’s because motherhood is one of those indispensable features of God’s design for human flourishing.

The fact that we pay tribute to mothers each year by marking a day out on the calendar is surely appropriate. Sunday, my social media feeds were full of posts from friends about their moms. Some were physically present with their mothers. Some were only able to communicate digitally. Others posted in remembrance. But all of that was beautiful. The fact that for so many thinking of the value of motherhood evokes feelings of gratitude and joy tells us something important about God’s pattern for families. There are few blessings on earth like a kind and compassionate and devoted mother. Indeed, such women change the course of our lives and sometimes the course of history.

The pain of Mother’s Day

But it is also true that Mother’s Day is not a happy day for all. There are people in my life who do not know their mothers. There are even more men and women for whom that relationship is more burden than blessing. Not only that, but for so many women, Mother’s Day is just one more reminder of the painful reality that they are unable to bear children of their own. And my heart breaks for them all. But even this pain points us toward something important. The longing we experience, either for a joy-filled relationship with our mothers or the strong desire for motherhood, clearly marks the absence of something good.

Planned Parenthood doesn’t fit on Mother’s Day. And we should work and pray for the day when it doesn’t fit at all.

We live in a world broken by sin and under the weight of the curse (Gen. 3:14-19). And as we live together in this fallen world, we experience the hardships of life. Our relationships are broken. Our bodies are broken. And sometimes these realities bring about a deep and abiding pain. But even as I think about the sorrow of those who’ve lost their mothers, the pain of those who’ve never known them, the longing of those whose dreams of motherhood are unfulfilled, or the struggles of those whose relationships with their mothers are riven with strife and contention, I’m also mindful of the loss that so many women across America must have felt yesterday because of the lies of Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby.

All of us know why we don’t want to hear from Planned Parenthood on Mother’s Day. For those on both sides of the abortion debate, abortion itself is something we would prefer not to think about, especially on a day like Mother’s Day. If not for that tweet, I might not have. But I did. And my heart was grieved. How many women are mourning the loss of their children this week because of the work of Planned Parenthood? How many families gathered around a dinner table on Sunday were pierced by the awareness of an absent son or daughter? Honestly, I do not know. But I know there were too many.

Planned Parenthood doesn’t fit on Mother’s Day. And we should work and pray for the day when it doesn’t fit at all. We might not be able to fix every family or fulfill every longing, but there is much we can do to elevate the value of motherhood in our society. There is much we can do to support women in unplanned and crisis pregnancies. There is much we can do to prevent more women, more families, from experiencing the pain of a past abortion. We must not only work to make abortion illegal, but to make it unthinkable. And ironically enough, celebrating mothers is one of those ways. You don’t even have to wait for the second Sunday in May. 

Josh Wester

Joshua B. Wester is the lead pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. Read More by this Author

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24