Why we aim to make abortion illegal, unthinkable, and unnecessary

June 14, 2022

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, it will be a historic moment for the dignity of human life. We will rightly celebrate the thousands and thousands of lives that will be saved. Yet, while we pursue every opportunity to make abortion illegal by creating laws that protect life, an equally important goal is for abortion to be unthinkable and unnecessary in the hearts and minds of our culture. There will only be widespread change when we all see life—holistically—as having inherent value.

A post-Roe world is good, but a post-abortion world is what we continue to fervently work to achieve by reaching vulnerable women where they are in their time of need. Laws are critical, but they cannot change the fact that there will still be thousands of women who will face an unplanned pregnancy. Many of them will be afraid, unprepared, and unsure of what to do and where to turn. And even if Roe is overturned, it is critical we inspire, equip, and mobilize a new generation to defend the dignity of all human life, transforming our culture so they see abortion as unnecessary and unthinkable.

Is unnecessary, necessary?

Many may be asking the question, “When is abortion really ever ‘necessary’?” We use the word “unnecessary” to directly counter the constant narrative of lies that Planned Parenthood has fed to women for the last 50 years, including: “In your situation, an abortion is necessary for you to live a full life. An abortion is necessary for you to earn a living. An abortion is necessary for you to flourish.”

When we say we want to make abortion “unnecessary” in our lifetime, we aren’t using that term because we believe it is necessary, but because so many women believe abortion is their only option. We are seeking to speak their language as we address them because they often feel scared, trapped, shamed, and don’t know where to go. All these factors make women in vulnerable situations feel abortion the only choice to make.

This is what these women have heard. This is what they feel. This is what they believe. We don’t need to be an echo chamber in our own community, using words and language that we approve and make us comfortable. Rather, we must reach abortion-minded and abortion-vulnerable women where they are and speak with compassion, empathy, and relevancy to their situations, which are often messy, complex, and dire.

Miss D’s story

Miss D was just that kind of young woman (her real name is changed for her privacy and safety). When D was 6 years old, she was removed from her mother, and parental rights were terminated. From that time until she aged out of the foster care system at 18, she had 13 foster families. While in the foster care system, a family adopted her, and the father physically abused her. She was removed from that home, and the parental rights of the adoptive family were terminated. When D aged out of the foster care system, she had no family, no support, and nowhere to go. She began using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain from her trauma. This led to her being trafficked, and she eventually became pregnant unexpectedly.

Against all odds, she carried her baby to term. DHS removed the baby from her care and terminated her parental rights because she was unable to care for her baby. Continuing down this dark path, she had a second unplanned pregnancy. This time, D was committed to having an abortion. She had no family, no protection, could barely care for herself, and had no support. Through a mutual friend, D met an advocate from a pro-life organization who began to walk alongside her in love, compassion, and empathy and showed her that she had other choices. The advocate told D she would foster her daughter, connect her to a church, and help her with resources to provide ongoing support through a continuum for care. Again, counter to the “necessary” message she was told by culture, D courageously chose life. Abortion became “unnecessary” in her eyes because God sent someone to her who told her she did not have to believe that lie. Today, Baby E is alive and ready for a forever family!

Welcoming vulnerable women with open arms

We need to recognize that most women like D who are considering abortion are doing so because they feel afraid, overwhelmed, unsupported, and have limited options. Some can hardly support themselves, let alone a child. Some are pressured by their partner and don’t have anyone else in their life to help them. Others think that the church will shame them because they are pregnant outside of marriage.

So as the church is facing a potential post-Roe world, we need to welcome these women with open arms, love them, value them, support them, and yes, communicate in a way that reaches them with a sense of empathy—all while keeping Christ’s truth, love, and compassion for the broken and hurting front and center.

We want the church to be the first place that women go in their time of crisis to receive care and support, not judgment. As we continue to work tirelessly toward laws that protect our vulnerable, preborn neighbors, protect family flourishing, and meet the needs of women so that no woman ever views abortion as thinkable or necessary, let us also stand for life in this historic moment by unifying our efforts, continuing our critical work, and making the church the most supportive and hopeful place to go in a vulnerable woman’s time of need. And then, perhaps, God will use our efforts to turn this moment into an opportunity to change our culture’s entire view of life.

Elizabeth Graham

Elizabeth Graham serves as CEO for Life Collective, Inc. Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She and her husband Richmond enjoy raising their two children in east Tennessee. 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