Entries for January 2013

The media is always full of stories about abortion in January, but this being the 40th anniversary there seems to be an added focus. I've noticed a trend of feature articles putting a positive spin on the lives of abortion doctors:


"Pity the lonely, harrassed hero!" This bias is amply countered by these stories:


I could go on, but am limiting myself to articles from this month. Don't miss these two articles:


Please pray for abortion doctors and their supporters. They need the Savior. The truth will set them free (John 8:34,36).

UPDATE: Two stories from the week of 2/8/13 add to the pile of "things that abortion clinics must answer for" -- Carhart Patient Dead From Horrific 33-Week Abortion Injuries and Ambulance Transported Another Sella Patient to Hospital Moments Before Board Dismissed Negligence Charges

This just in, 2/21/13: Michigan abortionist: 'It’s too late for me, I’m possessed'

Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion in this country. Most Supreme Court cases fade into history, but this one remains far from settled.

All you have to do is glance at recent headlines to find evidence of that. The news this time of year is full of stories about where we are as a nation as a result of Roe -- pro and con. Depending on the point of view, the stories usually reference how far there is left to go in securing abortion "rights," or how much ground our side has gained toward full protection of unborn babies' right to life.

One recurring theme concerns numbers: How many abortions there have been since 1973 (54,559,615 in the U.S.*); how many per year worldwide (approximately 44 million*); how many pro-life laws have been passed; or how many tax-dollars Planned Parenthood gets from the government each day ($1.5 million).

Numbers can boggle the mind, but don't tend to move people to lasting action. They seem to only make us angry or overwhelm us into inaction. And then we're on to the next atrocity.

Meanwhile, which side is winning or losing is scored with as much precision as presidential election polling, but we really don't know the pro-life side has won until a "vote" is cast . . . until a woman chooses life for her child. And we only get that information if we're privy to the counseling room in a pregnancy care center, or to conversations taking place on the sidewalk at an abortion clinic.

You can also feel closer to the "action" through involvement with a pro-life ministry as a regular supporter and/or prayer warrior. If you're not enlisted that way already, I recommend finding a "front lines" pro-life ministry to pray for. Choose one that's good at communicating prayer requests on a regular (even daily) basis via Facebook, Twitter, or email. It could be a pregnancy center in your  neighborhood or across the ocean. We can make recommendations.

Numbers in the millions are too many to fathom, so concentrate on one at a time. One baby at risk. One mom tempted by abortion. One pregnancy care center offering abortion alternatives.

One life lost is too many. You can be sure one life is on the line right now.

One life at a time is, after all, what God demands an accounting of. In Genesis 9:5, He said:

"From every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man."

As God demanded an accounting from Cain over the loss of Abel, so God will demand from someone an account of every unborn baby lost to abortion. He doesn't miss a single one, even if the official counters do. The blood of the innocents cries out to Him (Gen. 4:10, Psalm 9:12).

America will have a lot of explaining to do, for first legalizing abortion and then exporting it around the world.

There's one more that needs our attention: the woman regretting her abortion at this moment. She needs to hear of the blood of Jesus "that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." It's a word of invitation, not accusation. He wants her to unload her burden of sin at His feet. He's offering forgiveness and a new life. We are privileged to bear that message.

*We're forced to rely on abortion providers and the government for figures on abortion because otherwise we'd have no access to them. Corrected 1/22/13: The link given above is to a National Right to Life compilation of figures through 2011; adding another year of 1.2 million abortions to the that total yields 55,772,015 abortions since Roe v. Wade.

Related:
Time & Abortion
Roe v. Wade: 40 years later
Roe v. Wade month - part 1, part 2
40 years after Roe, human dignity hangs in the balance
You Can Change Our Culture's Mind on Abortion - tools to use
Better Reporting for Abortions

There is no "hobby lobby," but maybe there should be. Advocates of crafting everywhere, UNITE!

There is a Christian-owned company by that name, and it has become a focal point in the battle over government intruding on basic religious freedoms.

Earlier this year, Hobby Lobby petitioned the government for relief from the mandate that employers provide insurance covering contraceptives that can cause abortions. The case is still pending appeal, but the Supreme Court recently denied a request for an emergency injunction. Hobby Lobby says it has no intention of complying, and so, beginning on January 1, the government will fine them an unfathomable $1.3 million dollars per day!

In an open letter, CEO David Green lays out the principles that guide the company:

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. 

We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. . . . Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.

. . . So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. . . . My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American – and no American business – should have to make.

Blogger Kevin DeYoung says, "Millions of Americans are already outraged. And rightly so. Our government not only allows for abortion, and celebrates abortion rights, and wants women to have unfettered access to abortion on demand, it now requires other Americans to pay for abortion-inducing drugs or face crippling fines. It is not an endorsement of any political party to conclude that this policy is morally degenerate. More Americans should be alarmed than are already."

Denny Burk agrees: "This is the most egregious violation of religious liberty that I have ever seen." He goes on to explain this case is not about banning contraception. "Nothing could be further from the truth. No one wants to outlaw contraception. This controversy is about the fact that the government is forcing pro-life business owners to pay for chemical abortions. If the federal government can force citizens to purchase items that they believe to be immoral, where will this end?"

To borrow freely from Martin Neimoller:

First they came for Hobby Lobby,
but I didn't speak out because I wasn't crafty . . . or a Christian employer;
then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

January 5th was a Hobby Lobby Appreciation Day, but it's going to take more than one day of shopping at the chain of big-box arts and crafts stores to win this battle. Something sacrificial. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represents the company in its lawsuit, going as David against the Goliath of the U.S. government. I don't know how much it will take to win, but they are accepting donations.

Related: Hobby Lobby: First martyr under Obamacare?

Update: Hobby Lobby Delays Obamacare Fines for Now

Which would be harder to hear: "Mom, Dad . . . I'm pregnant" or "Mom, Dad . . . years ago I had an abortion because I was afraid to tell you I was pregnant"?

It's not a hypothetical exercise. Given the numbers of teen pregnancies and abortions in this country, for many families it's all too real . . . like the family to which the Garden of Hope recently introduced us.

A young woman called their hotline last week, seeking information about abortion. She thought she'd "quickly and secretly" terminate her pregnancy while on a visit to Grand Rapids. As a college student, having a child would complicate her life, but her greatest challenge would be telling her parents.

We talked for a long time and this dear, sweet girl had no clue about the devastation brought on by the decision to end the life of her child. I assured her that her parents would know something had happened because the sparky, happy young girl that left their house to come to GR would never be back and they would want to know what was happening to their daughter.

As she hung up the phone, she promised to talk to her parents, and the next day she called back to report. Her mom "felt badly" she'd been afraid to talk to them. They support her plan to continue the pregnancy and assure her they'll work out everything together.

Not all parents are this understanding -- some overtly pressure reluctant daughters to abort their babies -- but most are mature adults who know how to handle disappointments and setbacks. Parents love their children, have sacrificed much on their behalf already, and genuinely want what's best for them. Young people need encouragement to enlist parental input and not act on mistaken assumptions their parents will "kill" them when they receive bad news.

Still, as Russell Moore cautions in his response to TIME magazine's cover story on how the pro-life side seems to be winning, "It’s easy to identify as 'pro-life' when one sees nothing really at stake." He goes on:

A feminist leader once said that most Americans are pro-life with three exceptions: rape, incest, and “my situation.” When the teenage daughter is pregnant, the theory is abandoned and bloodthirsty pragmatism rules. I fear this feminist is all too right.

Pharaoh was pro-immigrant until the Israelites threatened what he wanted. The first Herod Administration was pro-Messiah until the actual Messiah threatened his throne. The second Herod Administration was fine with desert prophets until one meddled with his “adult entertainment.” Lots of people are pro-life and pro-child until the lives of children become personally inconvenient.

. . . [W]e must have a realistic view about how ingrained the abortion-rights worldview is in our culture.

Yes, in our culture, and in our hearts. As with other temptations, it's well before we face this one that we need to determine what our response will be. If we expect our teens to do the right thing when their backs are to the wall, we also must be firm in our minds how we'll react when they make a mistake.

Most Christian parents are zealous about getting the message of sexual purity across to their teens. The trick is striking a balance between that and the equally biblical message of the sanctity of human life. So that his daughter wouldn't err into thinking abortion was better than coming home pregnant, our president Tom Lothamer repeatedly told her, "If you make a big mistake, like getting pregnant outside marriage, don't run to the world for help. Come home! It's safer. Whatever it is, we'll handle it together."

Truly, grace is greater than all our sin. The challenge is to be "cross-bearing for the child-bearing," as John Ensor writes. "To be a lifesaver, you must do what lifesavers do every day" in pregnancy care centers. In closing, I summarize his points:

  1. You must listen and love
  2. Lower her fear and increase her hope
  3. Amplify the voice of her own moral conscience
  4. Inform and educate her
  5. Offer your personal help

Related: 

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