Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
No doubt you’ve heard about the abortion ban that went into effect in the state of Texas a week ago, making abortion illegal if an unborn child has a heartbeat. The law is not really a ban—some of the particulars will be explained as you keep reading. Nonetheless, many a garment was rent by pro-abortionists, weeping and gnashing their teeth nationwide over the mere suggestion that their precious sacrament, the murderous sacrifice of unborn children, should be outlawed.
On Thursday, Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, research professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, published an opinion piece in the New York Times entitled, “Texas’ Abortion Law Should Force America to Change Its Ways,” in which she rightly said that human life begins at “the moment of conception.” The reaction to the article has been explosive, to say the least.
I’m glad Dr. Prior said it and surprised the Times printed it. However, I don’t understand what the point of her article was supposed to be. In saying this law “should force America to change its ways,” Dr. Prior was not just talking about pro-abortionists, but also those who advocate for the lives of unborn children. She does nothing to establish that advocates for the unborn do anything wicked, but with convoluted logic she throws the righteous in with the unrighteous for no good reason. And this is of no help to anyone.
Like the Texas abortion law, Dr. Prior may have had good intentions with her article, but in her words, it’s “far from perfect.” When we speak the truth in love, we must do so clearly and boldly, without being glib or mincing words. Lives and eternal souls depend on it.
Permit me to demonstrate by interacting with Dr. Prior’s article. The following is her opinion piece en toto with my comments.
Dr. Prior: “Abortion is a failure for every woman and her unborn child—a failure of love, justice and mercy. Texas’ new abortion law is far from perfect, but I hope it can move us closer to these ideals.”
Now, I was inclined to agree with Dr. Prior’s opening statement, but the more I looked at it, the more it puzzled me. It sounds as if she’s saying women and children are equal victims of abortion, but that’s not true. Women who have abortions have murdered their unborn children, and this is a failure of love, justice, and mercy. I do share her hope that this Texas law will lead to better change.
Dr. Prior: “The highest purpose of human law is the protection of human life, from its beginning to its natural end. As a pro-life Christian, I believe that each of our individual origins are in the moment of conception. That’s when my life and your life began. Not in some abstract, ethereal way, but for real—all the very particular DNA, chromosomes, eye color, hair texture and toes of you.”
Dr. Prior is fighting the Priests of Scientisim with a taste of real science, and it is beautiful.
Dr. Prior: “The Texas law doesn’t ban abortion from this earliest beginning. Rather it bans almost all abortions after cardiac activity in the unborn child is detected, usually around six weeks into pregnancy, when cheeks, chin and jaws are also starting to form.”
I was curious as to why Dr. Prior chose to say “cardiac activity” instead of heartbeat. I asked her, and she replied, “I did not choose this language. It is the language required by the NYT style book.” Well, that should be no surprise.
Around six weeks gestation, an unborn child has a beating heart, as well as his or her major organs. We’ve been calling that heartbeat a heartbeat for as long as mankind has been able to detect it. When a woman goes to her doctor and hears her unborn baby’s heart for the first time, the doctor does not say, “There appears to be some cardiac activity.” The doctor says, “There’s the baby’s heartbeat!”
Several states have passed heartbeat bills to protect unborn children from the moment the heart starts beating. In an attempt to control the narrative, abortion propagandists have insisted “heartbeat” be replaced with “cardiac activity.” We can’t have anyone thinking an unborn child is a living person with a human heart.
The term “abortion” is itself dehumanizing. Murdering an unborn child used to be called infanticide. But that’s bad PR for the abortion industry, which makes a killing off the killing of the unborn. The rhetoric is always subject to adjustment to keep those abortion dollars rolling in, so bloodthirsty doctors like Mary Gatter can buy her Lamborghini.
The New York Times is happy to accommodate, but in our advocacy we must not play along. Do not soften your language when you speak in defense of these beautiful unborn babies, knit together by God in a mother’s womb, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13-14). Even before their own heart begins to beat, they are human beings, deserving of our love and protection.
Dr. Prior: “Because most abortion procedures in Texas take place after six weeks, the new law, as one of the nation’s most restrictive, will certainly reduce abortions in Texas drastically. It will also continue to be challenged in the courts. But if we start from the biological and ontological reality that each human life begins at conception, the law is hardly ‘extreme,’ as President Biden has called it. A law preserving the life of a human being at any stage can be considered ‘extreme’ only within a distorted social context.”
Well, it’s not our “social context” that’s distorted, it’s the human heart. A law protecting the lives of innocent children can only be thought of as “extreme” if you’re extremely wicked. I pray for our President and Vice President, but Biden and Kamala are wicked. Psalm 7:9 says, “Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous—you who test minds and hearts, O righteous God!”
Dr. Prior: “Because of the challenges Roe v. Wade has presented to attempts by states over the years to limit abortion in any meaningful way (such as after the first trimester, a restriction most Americans favor), the Texas law doesn’t criminalize abortion outright. Rather, it allows private citizens to sue providers and others through civil litigation. Successful suits may result in fines hefty enough to put many abortion practices out of business, an innovative workaround.”
I like the idea of limiting government power and putting more responsibility in the hands of American citizens. However, I believe as Dr. Prior that human life begins at conception, and an unborn child is worthy of all the legal protections as a born child. Abortion at any stage must be outlawed and regarded as murder. This is the justice God demands as well (see Exodus 21:22-25).
Dr. Prior: “Deputizing private citizens to enforce the ban is certainly fraught with risk. Some fear the law will turn otherwise uninterested citizens into bounty hunters who chase abortion providers, although one judge’s temporary restraining order that blocks one group from suing Planned Parenthood shows that checks and balances are in place.”
Certainly Dr. Prior doesn’t think bounty hunters chasing abortion providers is a bad thing. Someone make a reality TV show for that one: “Follow Byrd ‘The Bounty Hunter’ Tatum through the streets of Austin as he tracks down bloodthirsty abortionists who have gone underground, murdering babies for pay out of the back rooms of seedy bars and basement headshops.”
And I hope Dr. Prior is as appalled as I am that the Texas Right to Life has been blocked by a pro-abortion judge from being able to sue Planned Parenthood. Surely she is not calling that a just and fair practice of checks and balances.
Dr. Prior: “Perhaps the most pivotal part of this law is that it creates a cause of action against anyone who ‘aids or abets’ the performance or inducement of an abortion. But it doesn’t fully define ‘aids or abets.’ Thus, the law demands us to ask: What does it really mean to offer aid to someone to whom abortion seems the best option?”
Let’s start with abortion doctors /slash/ baby executioners and anyone who works for an abortion clinic. Round all of them up immediately and turn them in. Hundreds of lives will be saved today, and every abortion clinic will be shut down. Does anyone have Byrd Tatum’s number?
Dr. Prior: “In America, of all the pregnancies that don’t end in miscarriage, nearly one in five is aborted; this is a society in which things are wildly off track. A world like this, spun by forces that lead to that many lives being undone, doesn’t happen by chance. It takes all of us. It takes a village to make abortion seem like the best choice.”
Depending on where you live, the number of abortions is much, much higher. For example, in a place like New York City, half of all pregnancies among black women end in abortion. That is one child murdered for every one child born alive. This not just “wildly off track.” That’s genocide. (Let’s see the Times print that line.)
I’m curious about this collective language Dr. Prior uses. What does she mean by “us”? Who is in this “village” that has made “abortion seem like the best choice”? I ask because Dr. Prior has written in the past about systemic injustice, blaming systems as evil, not individual people. “We” did not make abortion seem like the best choice. Godless people sacrificing children on altars of convenience and sensuality turned abortion into a cultural sacrament.
Dr. Prior: “We can change our ways, though. The Texas law ought to compel us to help women with unwanted pregnancies in meaningful ways. The millions of dollars that Texas lawmakers have allocated to the Alternatives to Abortion program, which offers support to those who ‘choose life in difficult circumstances,’ is a start. But Texas’ infamously high maternal mortality rate must also be addressed. It is not pro-life to save the child, only to lose her mother in the process. Unborn children don’t exist in a vacuum. Their lives are conceived, birthed (or not) and lived in community. To serve them, we must serve their communities.”
I want to give my sister in Christ the benefit of the doubt, but this argument is so absurd it’s dishonest. Dr. Prior linked to an article by The Guardian which said “in Texas the maternal mortality rate is above the U.S. average, at 18.5 deaths per 100,000 live births.” Dr. Prior called this “infamously high.” No, it’s almost exactly average. The article called this a “maternal mortality crisis.” It’s not. That’s a mortality rate of 0.01 percent.
That aside. Death in childbirth is incidental. Death by abortion is murder. Death in childbirth is 18 women per 100,000 who give birth. Murder by abortion, according to Dr. Prior’s own figure, is one child killed for every four that are born alive. A baby doctor could go his or her entire career delivering thousands of babies never to witness a mother die in childbirth. An abortion “doctor” goes his or her entire career killing thousands of babies never to let a single child be born alive.
If the maternal mortality rate “needs to be addressed,” then address it (she linked to an article addressing it which linked to other articles literally addressing it). But the maternal mortality rate in Texas is neither something abnormal, nor is it some oversight by the pro-life movement. Why such a drastic reach? Why does she feel like she needs to make a charge of wrongdoing where there is no wrongdoing? Dr. Prior is a research professor at a seminary. There’s no excuse for this.
Dr. Prior: “A few years ago, following another abortion controversy, a pastor argued in a since-viral Facebook post that ‘”the unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for,’ because they don’t make demands on us. Unlike others who need help, they don’t disagree or argue or require that we change our lifestyles or societal structures. They are silent. As long as they live in their mother’s womb, defending their lives requires no sacrifice from us. This idea challenges me.”
If the unborn are such “a convenient group of people to advocate for,” then why are so many evangelicals cowards about it? Andy Stanley has outright said he won’t talk about abortion. When was the last time anyone heard Rick Warren do a series advocating for the unborn? For years, I have been asking that someone produce for me one instance of Beth Moore calling abortion murder and warning women of the dangerous lies of feminism.
There are brave souls advocating for unborn children, and they will tell you that work is anything but easy. I can speak from firsthand experience. Dr. Prior used relatively soft pro-life language in her opinion piece, and yet she has received an onslaught of angry vitriol when her article came out. Proverbs 29:10 says, “Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright.”
Considering the backlash, I asked Dr. Prior, “Would you take back or reword, ‘defending their lives requires no sacrifice from us’?” She said, “These were not my words. These are the words paraphrased by the source I linked to in the article. My words follow where I say that those words challenge me.”
That isn’t what I asked. Despite the cruel reaction she received and the peace she sacrificed, Dr. Prior refuses to acknowledge that to “open your mouth for the mute” is not easy and requires a stout heart. That’s why even many Christians don’t do it.
Dr. Prior: “It should challenge us all, including those who think other things outweigh letting little embryonic girls and boys to continue to live. A world that pits a mother’s well-being against her child’s life is world that needs extensive repair.”
This world needs the gospel—the good news that God so loved the world He sent His only Son to die on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for sin. He rose again from the dead so that whoever believes in Jesus will not perish under the judgment of God, but you will have eternal life.
The blood of Jesus covers sins even as wicked as sexual perversion and the murder of innocent infant children. Humble yourself before the Lord. He will give you a new heart and a new mind, no longer desiring the wickedness of the world but living in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Prior: “And the fact is that in our consumerism, individualism and pragmatism, we live in a transactional society that gives rise to bounty hunters on the left and on the right. Outside the abortion clinics, and inside them, too. We need to be people who act (not transact) for mercy, justice, and love. And love isn’t love that doesn’t act.”
Punishing abortion providers is an act of mercy, justice, and love for unborn children. Now, I can be critical of the pro-life movement, and I have been. There are places where this movement needs to be critiqued, especially when it comes to championing bills that permit the murder of unborn children up to six weeks gestation.
But that isn’t the article Dr. Prior wrote. It’s the system that’s wrong, according to this article. There are “bounty hunters on the left and on the right. Outside the abortion clinics, and inside them, too.” When it comes to “love that doesn’t act” outside the abortion clinic, the best example she could come up with was a maternal mortality rate that has nothing to do with being pro-life.
I asked Dr. Prior exactly what she wanted pro-lifers to change. She replied, “I was saying that all of America must change its ways if we really want to reduce abortion (pro-choice people also say they want to reduce abortion, so I include all of America here). There are many, many ways we could do that, and in a 900-word-limit article, I was able to mention only a couple. There are infinite ways we can do this, but that is a different essay, or rather many essays.”
I asked her to be specific, and she still couldn’t give me one example. If there are infinite ways, pick one! I’m not trying to be harsh. Abortion is harsh. Thousands of babies died today and thousands more tomorrow. Millions of deceived souls will perish in an eternal hell because they would not repent and believe the gospel. We do no one any favors by being vague.
Dr. Prior: “As history has shown again and again, we sometimes need the law to teach us to love. Sometimes it takes a law to remind us that fellow human beings are not ours to own, harm, or kill. Love is a higher law. But it is still a law. And this is where we must begin.”
Well, that’s a nice conclusion, but Romans 8:7-8 says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh, cannot please God.” Those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are incapable of keeping this “higher law.” They don’t even want to—as Dr. Prior’s e-mail inbox is no doubt reminding her.
The title of Dr. Prior’s article was, “Texas’ Abortion Law Should Force America to Change Its Ways.” Here’s what we should change: Abortion should be outlawed completely, for it is the murder of unborn children. The law and gospel should be preached completely, for the gospel is the power of God for salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). The judgment of God is coming against this wicked and perverse generation. There is too much at stake to be vague about this.
Proverbs 24:11-12 say, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will He not repay man according to his work?”