Word from the Center Digest: October 11, 2019

Hurting Their Cause

by Michael Salemink

Nobody should have to die from an abortion.

Abortion advocates have argued for decades that decriminalizing the practice saves lives.  Thousands of women, they continue to claim, were perishing every year because of coat hangers and back alleys.  The U. S. Supreme Court came to the rescue, authorizing medical professionals to perform the procedures in respectable facilities.  If future magistrates or legislators nullify the Roe v. Wade verdict, untold multitudes of women will again put themselves at the mercy of amateur butchery to avoid pregnancies.

The Washington Post recently examined the data behind this assertion.  This past spring, Planned Parenthood then-President Dr. Leana Wen had been reciting the “thousands of women” statistic at one public appearance after another.  So the Post’s chief “fact-checker,” Glenn Kessler, consulted the (pro-abortion) American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, (pro-abortion) NARAL Pro-Choice America and even (pro-abortion) Planned Parenthood itself. He also reviewed research from the 1930s to the 1970s.  On May 29, Kessler concluded: “There is no evidence that in the years immediately preceding the Supreme Court’s decision, thousands of women died every year in the United States from illegal abortions. . . . [A]dvocates hurt their cause when they use figures that do not withstand scrutiny.”

Life-affirming Lutherans can commend Kessler and the Post for reporting truth rather than parroting public opinion.  However, their analysis falls short of the whole truth.  Government records do document that abortions brought about the deaths of hundreds of mothers a year in early-to-middle twentieth-century America.  And even one abortion death amounts to an unnecessary and excessive tragedy.  That’s why we grieve that women are still losing their lives even in legalized abortions.  The Centers for Disease Control states that 437 women died nationwide (not including California, Maryland or New Hampshire) between 1973 and 2014.  It’s why we mourn the illegal abortions that keep taking place (Kermit Gosnell, anyone?), facilitated in large part by the reckless trafficking of abortion-inducing drugs over the Internet.  And it’s why we rejoice that deaths of women from abortions were already declining by the mid-1930s, some 40 years before the nine justices imposed abortion-on-demand.

But Leana Wen and Planned Parenthood and Glenn Kessler and The Washington Post all entirely ignore the harm abortion inflicts upon the child.  Every abortion, allowed or outlawed, ends a human life.  Our Heavenly Father creates little humans as members of our race – right from fertilization – to embody His image.  His Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, even assumed our human nature, sanctifying it through all phases of human existence, from embryo to adulthood, and redeemed it for eternal life through His innocent suffering and death and His glorious resurrection.

Our Heavenly Father calls those little ones toward a place in His everlasting kingdom and sees them as part of His own family.  He loves zygote and fetus alike, not because of age or appearance or ability, but for the same reason He values mother and father: out of His Fatherly divine goodness, mercy and graciousness. If only The Washington Post would remind its readers of that!

Lutherans regard every human life as a blessing worth receiving, respecting, protecting and appreciating.  Our Maker even embraces us each this way for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ.  This leads us address another aspect of abortions that the above “experts” carelessly overlook – the physical and psychological aftereffects abortion inflicts upon the mother (and father).  Infection, infertility, cancers, conflict, guilt and grief make casualties even of the lives abortions don’t take outright.  And these maladies themselves manifest as symptoms of the same underlying disease that causes adulterous intercourse, panic about pregnancy and abortion in the first place: selfish sinfulness.  Relief and healing from those maladies don’t come with operations, laws or rights, but only with faith in God’s unconditional forgiveness and salvation.

Our Lord has a better way for resolving our difficulties and sufferings than murder and death.  We do not need an ends-justify-the-means pragmatism to determine either individual morality or public policy.  Safety doesn’t make abortion right, and its dangers alone do not define it as wrong.  Abortion contradicts God’s clear Word and will.  As life-affirming Lutherans, we must obey God rather than men. Thus, we can agree with Dr. David Grimes of the University of North Carolina’s medical school, whom Kessler quotes: “Whether the numbers of deaths pre-Roe were in the hundreds or the thousands per year, the message for your readers is that nearly all of these deaths were entirely preventable.”

Nobody, neither a woman nor her child, should have to die from an abortion.

Rev. Michael Salemink is the executive director of Lutherans For Life.

Be Informed

A French language teacher in Virginia was recently fired for calling a female student by female pronouns, since the student preferred to be referred to as a male. Click here to read how Alliance Defending Freedom is taking up the case.

Be Equipped

“Being a mom has changed me in so many unexplainable ways. Life is no longer about me,” Kacey Miller, a single mom, notes. Learn more about Kacey and her decision to save her son’s life, despite being urged to have an abortion.

Be Encouraged

“I remember a dark time with no hope, no happiness and no strength. The only things I saw were the difficulties that lie ahead. I easily beat myself down over my sin, thinking my parents will disown me and everyone will think poorly of me. . . . My family welcomed me home, my loved ones surrounded me and they all forgave me. They reminded me of the hope and redemption found in Christ. . . . I remember a lady at church saying, ‘What the devil meant for evil, God has turned into a beautiful blessing. Now I get to enjoy that blessing, and [her son Leo] adds so much joy to my life, my family’s life and really anyone he meets. He gives us all eyes of life!” – Kacey Miller, single mom