Roe in a Global Context

The reality of the pro-life movement around the world

Calum Miller

As a medical doctor, academic, and pro-life advocate in the United Kingdom, I work in a healthcare system with the most radical abortion practices in Europe. It allows for abortion on demand up until 24 weeks. And yet, even the U.K. does not have as extreme and barbaric an abortion law as the United States had under Roe v. Wade

I must confess a certain satisfaction in watching abortion activists in the U.S. find out that all of Europe’s abortion laws are far stricter than Roe—and almost all are stricter even than Mississippi’s 15-week ban, which critics of the decision denounced as a theocratic imposition in the United States. However, I regret to report that the governments of France (12 week ban), Denmark (12 weeks), the Czech Republic (12 weeks), and Estonia (11 weeks) have not been the centers of charismatic renewal; the latter two remain the most atheistic countries in Europe, behind only China globally (if you believe the statistics about China).

Of course, now the American states are divided. Several have some of the most protective pro-life laws in the world, up there with pro-life European countries Malta and (slightly less protective) Poland, which have the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world—far lower than those in France, Germany, the U.K., and (of course) the U.S. under Roe. Though this latter point is not necessarily something for pro-life U.S. states to gloat about: for all that pro-life states have done to protect women in difficult pregnancy situations, they have truly appalling maternal mortality rates, usually at least 10 times that of Poland. In the field of maternal health, vast improvement is needed for American women. Malta—a pro-life country with not a single maternal death in 10 years—sets an example to emulate.1https://www.google.com/url?q=https://righttolife.org.uk/news/malta-both-major-parties-confirm-pro-life-position-on-abortion&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1667230091351429&usg=AOvVaw32XlDwkOB8T5ivg5ImlyT6

It would be easy to assume that major pro-life wins in the U.S. ripple across the world, and there is a sense in which this is true. It certainly has given some hope to pro-lifers across the globe, and in some places it has shown that things are not so simple as ‘Western countries support abortion, so it is the progressive thing to do’ (a depressingly common, though not universal, sentiment). I was recently in the Philippines and I asked whether Dobbs was a boost to the pro-life movement there, or if it was emboldening the pro-choice activists and governments in a furious backlash which European pro-lifers are struggling to resist. The answer was certainly heartening: “Most people here don’t see Republican or Democrat, we just see America. And this empowered us.”

The Global Reality of the Pro-Life Movement

As I mentioned above, while the Dobbs decision provided hope, it does not signal a global change. And for pro-lifers to win—to save mothers and their babies from every kind of death—we have to confront reality. And the reality is that globally, we are losing, rapidly.

Yes, most people around the world are pro-life.2https://www.google.com/url?q=https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/055akcr6zk/Globalism2019_%2520Guardian_Various_2.pdf&sa=D&source=docs&ust=1667230091354589&usg=AOvVaw0CQSSzuUXfZVJmravmPSLV Yes, most people even in Western Europe would support Mississippi’s law over Roe. And yes, Dobbs was a monumental victory for which we should, as British abolitionist Granville Sharp did at the ending of the slave trade, fall to our knees and praise the God who rescues. But the large majority of Westerners—especially those in elite positions with money and influence—are pro-choice. And they are having an enormous influence not only in the U.S. and Europe, but in every corner of the globe, no matter how religious or conservative that place may be.

When I was in the Philippines—one of the most pro-life, Catholic countries in the world, with a rapidly growing evangelical population—I asked perhaps the critical question for where a country is going: what do young people think? I was told that many young people at the two leading universities were scared to voice their pro-life beliefs. This was not Berkeley or Portland: this was the Philippines.

Be not mistaken: however independent the U.S. has been for the last century, it cannot remain untouched by global trends. One of the most powerful arguments the Supreme Court heard in Dobbs was that most of the world has far more pro-life laws than Roe. But if, as is being relentlessly pursued by the most powerful countries in the world, abortion becomes an international human right through the United Nations, and if every country except (parts of) the U.S. promotes abortion, young pro-life Americans will only feel more alienated than they already are. The international influence on America will only increase further as it increasingly depends on immigration, with a fertility rate (1.7) well below replacement (2.1), and only likely to decrease further.

The reality is that Dobbs is great news, wonderful news, but it is not a tidal change globally. The world still turns, and it is turning into an abortion empire far more expansive than the world has ever seen. The International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International are more than happy to be seated on the throne, surrounded by such illustrious courtiers as the United Nations, the U.S. government, the European Union, and the World Health Organization, among plenty besides.

Dire Situations Create Amazing Opportunities

Here is the good news: American pro-lifers can make an enormous difference. 

In parts of the world with tiny or nonexistent pro-life movements, a little goes a very, very long way. This extreme cost-effectiveness—the ability to save countless lives with a small amount—is part of what attracted me to global pro-life work in the first place. And pro-life advocates around the world have already learned a huge amount just from observing the energy, creativity, motivation, and sheer scale of the U.S. pro-life movement. Even the passive diffusion of American pro-life efforts has made a big difference around the world. 

American pro-lifers have set an example that is not even close to being paralleled; it has been completely unique in modern history, and profoundly inspiring. And they have started a number of organizations working in other parts of the world. Those of us working around the globe are so grateful for what the American pro-life movement has modeled to the rest of us as an example to follow.

But at the moment, it is nowhere near enough. Pro-lifers in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific are vastly under-resourced. It is difficult to find a single funded pro-life advocate in many countries I have worked with, and in most of the other countries, I struggle to find more than one. In comparison, when we see the hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars that go to abortion advocates in pro-life countries every single year, it is clear how dire the situation is.

Yet dire situations can create wonderful opportunities. There is a reason those wanting to make the biggest difference in the world often end up combating the greatest evils. When you consider the influence even just one funded pro-life advocate supported by an international community of pro-lifers can make in a country of tens of millions of people, one can only be excited, however dark the subject matter. But without these movements starting and growing now, it is hard to see the world going anywhere other than the way of the West—with tens of millions more lives lost every single year as a result.I don’t mean to be negative about something which was truly good. Dobbs was a truly wondrous result over which we all can, and should, rejoice. But the difference between pro-life U.S. states being alone in the world, or being supported by scores of countries and billions of people across the globe, is enormous. And our actions in the next two or three years will go a long way to determining that reality. Countries around the world—especially in the developing world—need pro-life missionaries, shareable resources, overseas networks, mentoring and training of pro-life leaders, and lots and lots of funding.

Jesus calls us to go to every nation to make disciples (Matt. 28:19). His love and concern for every individual person in every country is so deep we can barely even begin to imagine. May we see God’s heart for those billions of babies and mothers and our opportunity to rescue them while we still can.

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