Several weeks ago here in Washington D.C., I marched with tens of thousands of everyday Americans to protest Roe v. Wade and urge our representatives to stand for life. It was a wonderful thing to behold. Poll after poll shows that the pro-life movement is succeeding in winning the battle of ideas. Through scientific data and common sense, pro-lifers are convincing Americans that life begins at conception. Yet, as the pro-life movement has celebrated great victories in recent years and mobilized for the fight ahead, the battle for life continues to rage in courts and legislative chambers across the country.
The recent New York bill allowing abortion at any time during pregnancy and the subsequent comments by the Governor of Virginia on similar legislation in that state show that despite the advances of the pro-life cause, abortion will not be eliminated in America without a long political and cultural struggle. Even now, Vermont and Rhode Island are advancing horrendous legislation that would legalize abortion at any time during pregnancy for any reason. These recent bills show the logical outcome of the sexual revolution: the destruction of offspring and future generations in the name of pleasure and personal desire.
Pro-lifers must take a firm stand against this year’s wave of pro-abortion legislation. Yet, as we gasp at the evil of pro-abortion legislation, we must not give in to unbridled emotion but instead stand for life in a winsome and godly manner. Here are three things that pro-lifers must make clear in their arguments against 2019’s slew of pro-abortion bills:
1. The abortion debate is not about the freedom to choose but the right to life.
Pro-abortion advocates regularly argue that the abortion debate is about a woman’s “right to choose.” Yet, in arguing against pro-abortion bills, pro-lifers must be very clear that the abortion debate revolves, not around the “right to choose,” but around the dignity of human life in any form. Only then will pro-lifers effectively convince citizens and their legislators that outlawing abortion is not about depriving women of their rights, but about protecting the fundamental right to life of all Americans, born and unborn.
2. A society that does not protect life undermines its very existence.
This is a commonsense notion but is all too often overlooked by pro-lifers in arguing against abortion legislation. From ancient Rome to modern day America, a fundamental aspect that differentiated civilized society has been its protection of life, especially innocent and helpless life. This goes beyond debates about big versus small government and takes us to the most basic role of the civil authority—the protection of life. Pro-lifers must make the case that the abortion debate revolves around the very essence of what differentiates and protects American society from following in the footsteps of barbaric civilizations.
3. All persons have dignity and deserve respect, even those advocating for abortion.
Christians and pro-lifers should be justifiably furious at the passage of the evil New York abortion legislation or the recent barbaric comments regarding abortion made by the Governor of Virginia. Yet, in the heat of the fight, Christian pro-lifers must not forget that the power of our message rests in the truth that all men, even the Ralph Northam’s and Andrew Cuomo’s of this world, are made in the imago Dei, the very image of God. Thus, while being justly angry for the evil pro-abortion advocates commit, we must also stop to grieve for and have mercy on those so entrapped by the sexual revolution that they would advocate for the death of unborn babies. William Wilberforce, in his battle against slavery in eighteenth century Britain, is a perfect example of someone having this attitude. Our goal must be not to just defeat abortion, but to bring pro-abortion advocates and public figures to the glorious freedom of submitting to Christ as Savior.
The battle before us in the fight for life will be long, but it is one that we will win. The dignity and preciousness of every human life is a principle worth fighting for. May God grant us not only victory in defeating pro-abortion bills in 2019 and ultimately overturning Roe v. Wade, but also in bringing the glorious forgiveness and healing of the gospel to a society and culture that has been so horribly scarred by abortion.
Hugh Phillips is a Government Affairs intern at Family Research Council working on pro-life legislation.