Blessing or Barbarism? An Answer to the Issue of Abortion

I hope you’ll understand my reason for penning this post with the grit, brutality, and rank candor that I employ. While a sensitive issue, this is not an issue that we can afford to tip-toe around. Children are being slaughtered and the church must be bold and brave to speak up. I only hope that my voice and pen will rise above the fray to inform souls and save lives…

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I remember the day well. It was late April of 2016. I had just returned from a conference and my beautiful wife had just returned from her 20 week ultrasound. As I sunk into the couch in our living room and stared into Danielle’s distraught face, I prepared myself for what I was sure would be life-altering news. The news came. Our baby, who we – surrounded by friends – had discovered was a little girl less than a week prior, had massive congenital heart defects that threatened her life and assured us that she would undergo open-heart surgery shortly after birth. My shock transformed to rage when Danielle then informed me that having made this discovery, the doctors had reminded her that a fetus with AVSD (the heart defect our baby would suffer from) often carried chromosomal imperfections as well and that chromosomal testing should be done so that we could “make an informed decision.” You may not understand my vexation. You may think I overreacted. You may assume that I am an ardent right-wing bigot with low mental acumen and zero compassion for the expectant mother. So whatever your perspective of me or position surrounding this debate may be, please allow me to explain my disgust.

The choice before us was brutally straightforward. On the one hand we could choose a difficult pregnancy, extremely high medical bills, countless days in the NICU and then CVICU, routine cardiology appointments, physical limitations for our child, and possibly chromosomal abnormalities. That seemed overwhelming (and quite literally has been). Or we could choose to “terminate the pregnancy.” This would mean that on a specified date Danielle and I would make our way to the hospital where a skilled and careful surgeon would insert a suction catheter into my wife’s uterus sucking out the amniotic fluid surrounding our child. The doctor would then ask for the Sopher clamp – a 13 inch long instrument, made of stainless steel and designed with razor sharp teeth on the end. Pressing the clamp into the uterus, the physician would blindly search for something upon which to clasp those steel teeth. He would then take hold of, forcibly twist, and jerk the clamp back. Emerging from Danielle would be a four inch leg that had been kicking her mommy from the inside for the past 7 weeks. Then would come little arms, a developed spine, operational intestines, and a heart that had been beating since day 18. All the while we would know that our baby, who could react to pain since week 8, was feeling every act of violence against her person. Having extracted most of the tiny body, the surgeon would then insert the Sopher clamp one last time to search for something roughly the size of a large plum – namely the baby’s skull. He would know his job was a success when white material oozed from the cervix, the material being a tiny brain that had been channeling waves since week 6. In the end, perhaps a little face would have come back – as is sometimes the case – staring now lifelessly our way. Throughout this whole procedure, all of the extracted baby parts would be placed on a tray and reassembled so the doctor could make sure that the entire baby was accounted for and that there were no parts left behind. There would lay our lifeless, dismembered baby girl.

Dr. Warren Hern, a Boulder, Colorado abortionist who has performed a number of second trimester abortions, says these operations can be troubling to a clinic staff including the doctors themselves. He states, “There is no possibility of denial of an act of destruction by the operator. It is before one’s eyes. The sensation of dismemberment flows through the forceps like an electric current.”

Abortionist Lisa Harris once wrote of her experience aborting babies while herself pregnant: “With my first pass of the forceps, I grasped an extremity and began to pull it down. I could see a small foot hanging from the teeth of my forceps. With a quick tug, I separated the leg. Precisely at that moment, I felt a kick – a fluttery ‘thump, thump’ in my own uterus. It was one of the first times I felt fetal movement. There was a leg and foot in my forceps, and a ‘thump, thump’ in my abdomen.”

These were our options. The blessing of life or the barbarism of death. It was not a choice in our minds. It should not be a choice for anyone. Our little girl would live.

For decades the argument for abortion centered around the false assertion that a fetus was not human. Potential mothers had the right to decide to terminate their pregnancies, most often for the sake of comfort and convenience, because they, after all, were human and the fetus was merely a collection of tissue. However, recent science has so disproven this ridiculous theory that intellectual pro-choice advocates must in fact acknowledge that abortion is the killing of human life. In an article entitled “So What if Abortion Ends Life?” written by Mary Elizabeth Williams, a staunch pro-choice activist, she declares this fact and her position: “Yet I know that throughout my own pregnancies I never wavered in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that is what a fetus is: a human life. And that does not make me one iota less pro-choice.”

This is diabolical selfishness of the most depraved order. Additionally it is intellectually inconsistent. If someone assaults a pregnant woman and intentionally or unintentionally ends the life of her unborn baby, the assailant is charged with first degree homicide. However, that same mother can willfully choose to end the life of that child, at minimal expense, and it is merely a discarding of undesired cells. If a mother is excited for her baby then that baby is in fact a child; but if that same mother is unprepared for or inconvenienced by the baby then it is just a ball of material.

This week a notable politician, following the celebrated triumph of making full-term abortions legal in New York state, tweeted the following: “Forty-six years after Roe v. Wade, we affirm what will always be true: Women have an unalienable right to make their own decisions about their health care. Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.” My response – and common sense, science, and conscience back this: Baby rights are human rights (since we know that unborn children are in fact human life). A baby, as a person – flesh, blood (often of a different type than his or her mother), body, and soul – have an unalienable right to live. And to take it one step further I would ask of the tweet, “always be true to whom?” If it is merely true to you – because it’s what makes you feel fuzzy, or it’s what “seems right to you” – then you have zero authority to dictate that this must be true to anyone else. If it is not just true for you, but is universal truth then there must be a standard of universal truth to which you are appealing. There must be Truth outside of and beyond you that you are calling others to submit and adhere to.

Though science and our souls rise up to validate the treachery of the murder of unborn humanity, there is a higher authority, an absolute truth to which we make our first and final appeal (and before the cacophony of protests swell accusing me of appealing to authority I would simply ask: to what final authority do you submit?) If there isn’t one then you have no absolute right to claim that civilizations that legalize infanticide are evil or wrong. That is merely, your opinion that you cannot press with conviction upon anyone else. Contrasting individual judgment is sacred Scripture – the highest authority. Scripture declares that all humanity is fashioned in the image of God and is therefore inherently, unavoidably, and equally valuable. Scripture states that murder – the willful, unjust taking of life – is evil. Therefore, abortion in any form or at any stage of pregnancy is a diabolical atrocity against the Creator and His most masterful creation.

My sincere and earnest hope is that the church of Jesus Christ will not retreat to uncomfortable silence on this issue. My hope is that babies will be saved, mothers will be loved, and truth will reign. My hope is that not-yet-ready mothers will be supported by the church and will place their little ones in homes of parents who will love and care for them – as our own birth mother did for our first and third child. My hope is that foster care and adoption will blossom within Christianity and that infanticide in the womb will end in our nation. My hope is that those who have administered abortions or endured abortions will know the forgiveness that is found in our Savior and be freed from crippling guilt. Life is precious, valuable, and beautiful. Let’s do all we can to fight for it.

Semper Reformanda

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

This week in 1973, an important supreme court decision legalized abortion nationwide. Since then, some sixty million babies have been aborted. While a mother’s womb was once the safest place for a child, it is now one of the most dangerous. But the issue that lies at the root of the abortion debate is whether or not there is life within the womb. Recently in the news, I saw the terrifying report about Chris Watts, the Colorado man who murdered his wife and two daughters. Then there was mention that he was being charged with four counts of murder because his wife was pregnant with their unborn child. Yet what is not explained is how our society can justify the taking of unborn life for millions of others. Since the rise of postmodernism, our culture affirms that each of us can come to our own conclusions in these matters and neither opinion is right or wrong. But the ultimate question that remains is whether or not there is life in the womb.

In Psalm 139, David is basking in the limitless expanse that is God. He marvels at God’s omniscience (perfect knowledge of all), omnipresence (existing fully everywhere), and omnipotence (infinite in power). In verses 13-18, David is particularly humbled by God’s intimate acquaintance with him while in the womb. He shares that God, perfectly knit us together, sovereignly planned our days, and graciously upholds us even now.

God perfectly knit us together

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” -Psalm 139:13-15

Our family has been given quilts and rugs after the birth of a child by sweet church ladies or other friends. These knitted hats and hand-woven quilts or scarves are greatly appreciated because of the amount of detailed work involved by the giver. We know that someone put a lot of thought and energy into these, though we didn’t know they were doing so at the time. They were knitting in secret and we were blessed with the finished product. God’s involvement in the birth of a every human life is not minimal. He is intimately involved in the womb and throughout the days of that child’s life. David uses a Hebrew word here that speaks specifically to the creation of one human life. It is the same word used in Job 10:11 which states, “You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews.” David speaks of the most secret parts of human anatomy and declares that we are each, “intricately woven” by God. We ought to be humbled to know that there is no part of us that is hidden from the gaze of God. Nothing about us was accidental or haphazard, for it was none other than the Divine Creator who formed us. H. Hammond, a deceased commentator, remarks that our flesh, bones, skin, nerves, and arteries are so weaved together, “that no embroidery or carpet-work in the world can compare with it.” We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. But not only were our days in the womb planned, but everyday of our lives thereafter.

God sovereignly planned our days

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”- Psalm 139:16

Until our generation with the invention of the Ultrasound (sadly after Roe V. Wade), life in the womb was totally unseen and mysterious. It was reserved for God’s eyes only. Now we can see 4D images of babies in the womb, yet it is still a shadowy form we behold. The life in the womb remains for scientists a beautiful mystery that cannot be explained satisfactorily without mention of God. Yet this is merely the earliest stages of that life. God has a book which contains every day each of us will ever live, perfectly planned out to the nanosecond. Our God not only knits us together in the womb, he predetermines every passing moment of our entire lives before any of them even come to be. This is such an encouragement for us in the daily pressures of life. God is never shocked or surprised by our pain. Like a Master storyteller, He is orchestrating all these crazy events by Divine design. Ephesians 1 says God has been doing this from, “before the foundation of the world,” and that He, “works all things according to the counsel of his will.” In Ephesians 2:10 we’re informed that, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” This goes for not only everyday we will face, but the very one we call `today.`

God graciously upholds us even now

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” -Psalm 139:17-18

Every time our family goes to the beach, it seems we bring more sand back with us than is possible. David says if we could count God’s thoughts of us it would be more than all the sand on all the beaches in all the world. His thoughts toward us are best exemplified in the Gospel. His care for us led Him to send His only Son into this world as a baby who would bear the curse of our sin and drink God’s judgment for us on the cross. We will never get over the depth of God’s mercy and grace to us in Christ. It doesn’t make sense why God loves us sinners with such breadth and depth and height and length. And so may we spend eternity marveling that such a Creator is also our Redeemer.

Don’t Stand with Wendy Davis

Kirsten Powers:

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It’s amazing what is considered heroism these days.

A Texas legislator and her pink sneakers have been lionized for an eleventh-hour filibuster against a bill that would have made it illegal for mothers to abort babies past 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in the case of severe fetal abnormalities or to protect the life or health of the mother.

People actually cheered this.

When Davis’ filibuster was stopped, spectators voiced their anger.

But the fight is not over. The bill will be reintroduced, and supporters of the ban are optimistic it will pass. For now, Wendy Davis has achieved the dubious victory of maintaining a very dark status quo. Texas women will still be able to abort a healthy baby up to the 26th week of pregnancy for any reason, as the current law allows.

According to the Parents Connect website, if you are in the 25th week of your pregnancy, “Get ready for pat-a-cake! Baby’s hands are now fully developed and he spends most of his awake time groping around in the darkness of your uterus. Brain and nerve endings are developed enough now so that your baby can feel the sensation of touch.” Let’s be clear: Davis has been called a hero for trying to block a bill that would make aborting this baby illegal.

In addition to the limit on late-term abortions, the Texas legislature sought to pass regulations on abortion clinics similar to what was passed in Pennsylvania in 2011 after the Gosnell horror. The New York Times warned that the Texas bill “could lead to the closing of most of Texas’s 42 abortion clinics.” That sounds familiar. In 2011, the Pennsylvania ACLU claimed a post-Gosnell bill “would effectively close most and maybe all of the independent abortion clinics in Pennsylvania.” Last month, a Pennsylvania news site reported that “several” abortion clinics have closed, which isn’t quite the Armageddon the abortion-rights movement predicted.

So no, I don’t stand with Wendy. Nor do most women, as it turns out. According to a June National Journal poll, 50 percent of women support, and 43 percent oppose, a ban on abortion after 20 weeks, except in cases of rape and incest.

One can assume I am also not the only woman in America who is really tiring of the Wendys of the world claiming to represent “women’s rights” in their quest to mainstream a medical procedure—elective late-term abortion—that most of the civilized world finds barbaric and abhorrent. In many European countries, you can’t get an abortion past 12 weeks, except in narrow circumstances. Gallup reported in January that 80 percent of Americans think abortion should be illegal in the third trimester, and 64 percent think it should be illegal in the second trimester.

Maybe we should wonder what is wrong with the women who think protecting the right to abort your baby for any reason up to the 26th week is a ‘human right.’

If the majority of Americans oppose elective late-term abortion, why do we have Davis complaining to CBS’s Bob Schieffer that the male politicians who are championing the late-term abortion ban are “bullying women”? Maybe it’s she who is bullying the rest of us into supporting a view that is mocked by scientific advancement; namely 3-D sonograms. Maybe we should be thankful for the men and wonder what is wrong with the women who think protecting the right to abort your baby for any reason up to the 26th week is a “human right.”

Human-rights movements have traditionally existed to help the voiceless and those without agency gain progressively more rights. Yet in the case of abortion, the voiceless have progressively lost rights at the hands of people who claim to be human-rights crusaders. Abortion-rights leaders have turned the world upside down. They want us to believe that a grown woman is voiceless, that she has less agency than the infant in her womb who relies on her for life. A woman has so little agency, we are told, that she is incapable of getting an abortion before the fifth month of her pregnancy. To suggest she should do so is a “war on women.” It’s an insult to women dressed up as “women’s rights.”

On ABC’s This Week, Peggy Noonan responded to the chants of “I stand with Wendy” by noting, “What she is … standing for is something we would recognize as infanticide, late-term abortion, the taking of a little child’s life.” Standing for that is not heroic, and it is not something to be cheered.

Shai Linne Naming False Teachers, Abortion News You Won’t Hear About, and Learning to Lament Well

There are a few things going on in Christian news that has caught my attention and I want to make sure it catches yours as well.  They come from Shai Linne, 3801 Lancaster, and Bifrost Arts.

1) Shai Linne, whose album Lyrical Theology Part 1 will drop April 9, “names names” in his song “Fal$e Teacher$.”

He explains his motivation here:

 

2) Since you won’t hear much of anything this week on Kermit Gosnell and his little shop of abortion horrors—not on the nightly news, not on NPR, not in the newspapers—you can hear about it for yourself here:

3801 Lancaster from 3801Lancaster on Vimeo.

 

3) Bifrost Arts:

Carl Trueman:

Perhaps . . . [the Western church] has drunk so deeply at the well of modern Western materialism that it simply does not know what to do with such cries and regards them as little short of embarrassing.

A diet of unremittingly jolly choruses and hymns inevitably creates an unrealistic horizon of expectation which sees the normative Christian life as one long triumphalist street party—a theologically incorrect and a pastorally disastrous scenario in a world of broken individuals.

Has an unconscious belief that Christianity is—or at least should be—all about health, wealth, and happiness corrupted the content of our worship?

. . . In the psalms, God has given the church a language which allows it to express even the deepest agonies of the human soul in the context of worship.

Does our contemporary language of worship reflect the horizon of the expectation regarding the believer’s experience which the psalter proposes as normative?

If not, why not?

Is it because the comfortable values of Western middle-class consumerism have silently infiltrated the church and made us consider such cries irrelevant, embarrassing, and signs of abject failure?

—Carl R. Trueman, “What Can Miserable Christians Sing?” in The Wages Of Spin: Critical Writings on Historical and Contemporary Evangelicalism (Christian Focus, 2005), 159-160.