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On the third Sunday in January of each year, many evangelical churches set aside a few moments to mourn the loss of millions of unborn children and to celebrate the precious gift of life that God has given each of us.

Oftentimes, when Christians speak about political or social issues, some in our society respond by telling us we should keep our beliefs private, within the walls of the church. Many people believe that faith is private and personal and should not impinge upon decisions being made in the political arena.

But we believe that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead, and his resurrection is a very public event. Furthermore, our declaration that Jesus Christ is King of Kings has political implications. That is why throughout history, Christians have spoken truth to power:

  • The saints who went before us were courageous enough to denounce infanticide in ancient Rome and rescue discarded babies from trash heaps.
  • In England, men like William Wilberforce and John Wesley, exposed the horrors of the slave trade and organized Christians into groups that would fight for the rights of people considered to be “inferior”.
  • Many Christians in Germany opposed Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime. Some of them, including the pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, paid for his outspoken opposition by being condemned to death.
  • More recently, pastors like Martin Luther King, Jr. have reminded us that every human being bears the image of God regardless of their race.
  • And today, you can find countless Christians working to put an end to human trafficking and sexual slavery, and to rid Africa of the deadly scourge of AIDS.

We stand in a long line of courageous men and women who were not afraid to speak out against the injustices of their day. And that is why we speak up in defense of the vulnerable lives of unborn human beings.

We believe that every human life has value. Every human being has intrinsic dignity. All human beings – from those in the womb, to those in elderly nursing environments – have worth. Every life deserves to be protected by law. We believe in human rights for all.

Since our last celebration of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we have seen public sentiment continue to move in a pro-life direction. A majority of Americans now consider themselves to be “pro-life.” A sizeable majority opposes abortion funding by the government. Most Americans endorse restrictions on abortion that would make this practice rare.

Even pro-choice leaders have begun speaking of abortion as a “tragic choice.” President Obama admits that there is a moral component to this question that cannot be easily dismissed.

The recognition of a moral dimension to this question is both encouraging and discouraging. It is encouraging that people are finally accepting what science and biology have been telling us: Life begins at conception! Ultrasounds have given us a glimpse into life inside the womb.

But the admission of abortion as a “tragic necessity” is also discouraging. It means that some people believe that abortion terminates a human life, and yet they still believe that there are circumstances under which this kind of killing should be sanctioned. I don’t know who scares me more – the abortion crusader who believes, against all the evidence, that the fetus is no more human than a blob of tissue, or the abortion advocate who believes fetuses may indeed be human persons and yet would still sanction an atrocious act of violence toward these helpless victims.

The question of abortion goes beyond partisan politics. One can find Republicans who promote the legal sanction of abortion, just as one can find courageous Democrats who stand against it. As Christians this morning, we call on all officials in our country to protect and serve every member of our society, including those who are the smallest and most vulnerable.

It is appropriate that Sanctity of Human Life Sunday would be celebrated the same weekend that Americans remember the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. One reason why we stand for life is because we stand for human rights and racial equality. Abortion strikes at the heart of both of these convictions.

In an interview with The New York Times last July, Supreme Court Justice – Ruth Bader Ginsberg – was asked about the federal restrictions that forbid the use of Medicaid for abortion. Listen carefully to her response:

“The ruling about that surprised me. Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe versus Wade was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of…”

Justice Ginsberg admits that behind the Supreme Court decision in 1973 was the concern that we limit the expansion of “populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” I wonder what populations she might have been referring to. If the statistics on abortion demographics are any indication, one can hardly miss her point. Abortion has taken a terrible toll on the black community.

  • 14 million black babies have been aborted since 1973. (That number is equal to one-third of the number of blacks living today.)
  • Black women are almost 5 times more likely to abort than white women.
  • And get this: although blacks compose only 13 percent of the population, they have 37 percent of all abortions.

The niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. – Alveda King – has said:

“Abortion and racism are evil twins, born of the same lie. Where racism now hides its face in public, abortion is accomplishing the goals of which racism only once dreamed.”

Of course, we do not oppose the slaughter of unborn children merely because it unjustly targets minorities. We believe that abortion cheapens life for all of us. Once we discriminate against human life in its earliest forms, we soon determine that other lives can be discarded and wasted.

We as Christians must work to bring comfort and care to pregnant women in need, and to the women who have regrets about their abortions. We do not believe that it can somehow be in the best interest of a woman to deliberately kill her unborn child. Difficult pregnancies provide an opportunity for us to embrace the mother and child alike. And that is what churches and pregnancy centers all across America do every day.

So we call on those in government to protect the weak and vulnerable, and to do so without discrimination. We seek to defend those who cannot defend themselves. We speak up for the unborn and the disabled. We welcome the child with Down’s Syndrome, the child with abnormalities, the child with AIDS. We financially support the family who adopts children of other nationalities and races.

You can tell how pro-life, pro-family, and pro-child our churches really are by the way we support the youngest in our congregations. Some Christians would give months of their time to campaign for a pro-life candidate, but would not give a few hours a year to sit with children in the nursery or teach a child in Sunday School. A truly pro-life, pro-child church will never have a shortage of nursery workers. The sounds of babies crying are the sounds of life, God-given life that we cannot take for granted.

A truly pro-life, pro-family church welcomes the disruption of children in the foyer, rejoices at the sight of new faces in children’s church. and smiles at the thought of families from different countries and backgrounds joining us in praise to God.

Being pro-life is not just about having bumper stickers on your car. It’s about loaning your car to a single mother.

Being pro-life is not just shedding tears at the thought of how abortion robs the world of a child. It’s about you and I treasuring the children God has given us here and now.

Let’s continue the defend those who cannot defend themselves. Let’s support the pregnancy centers who need ultrasound machines whose images usually convince a woman to save her baby.

Let’s welcome the little children, and fight for their right to life.

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9 thoughts on “Roe v. Wade at 37”

  1. RJ says:

    Trevin, thanks for these thoughtful and impassioned words about the sanctity of life. I agree with everything you said. But, we Christians should not think that we get an A+ in this area. As you rightly say Christians in England opposed slavery but many did not and the majority in the U.S. were not in this fold. While Martin Luther King was marching many, and maybe even most, Christians were again on the other side of the fence.
    There are some who say we only have a “selective” sanctity of life. Many of us continue to promote the death penalty for vengence’s sake even though we know is kills innocent people. Where is forgiveness of sins even for those who may have actually committed an atrocity? And then with the exceptions of maybe the Mennonites and the Quakers we Christians are often the first to rush to war and send our young men and women off to certain death.
    So, again let’s not give ourselves an A+. We, like the people we critize, who promote abortion, have a lot to learn about the sanctity of life.

  2. Trevin Wax says:


    I agree that we can do better. I tried to make that point with regard to our churches’ view of children as well. We might not be as pro-life as we think we are, at times.

    Good word!


  3. Eric Gregory says:

    Perhaps we can get away from the terrible moniker of “pro-life” with all of its connotations of clinic bombings and the “moral majority”. These terms do nothing to help (especially amongst teens and 20-somethings), and do everything to harm a just cause. However, fighting against Roe v. Wade isn’t going to get us anywhere anytime soon – three things that will never change about our nation now: death, taxes, and abortion.

    Abortion, as it should be understood (medical necessity), is not wrong or bad – thinking that it’s somehow okay to risk the life of both mother and child because terminating ANY pregnancy is “morally wrong” needs to go out the window. Medical procedures exist for a reason. Telling a near-death mother that she’s not allowed to terminate her pregnancy and save her life, but must almost certainly lose her own life and the life of her unborn child is a tragic side-effect of the current right-wing push to end all abortion. That would be akin to telling someone with cancer that they shouldn’t receive treatment because God gave them the gift of their hair and it’s illegal to lose their hair. It’s a much different situation, to be sure, but let’s not toss a medical necessity out in order to stave off the murdering of innocents (which elective abortion certainly is).

    Why not reclassify ourselves, as Christians, as “choose life”. We acknowledge that there is a choice to be made for those who find themselves with unplanned pregnancies, but, in EVERY case (death penalty, abortion, war, etc.) we should be advocating for LIFE instead of death. We somehow find it acceptable to recognize war as a necessity (which it’s not), or the death penalty as just (which it most CERTAINLY is not), yet are stuck on the abortion issue (and rightly so). Let’s advocate for an end to war, an end to elective abortion, and an end to the death penalty.

    Let’s cast off the chains of partisan phrases like “pro-life” and recommit ourselves to calling out the injustices around us that lead to death, urging everyone to choose life. For the unborn and for the terrorist.

    Ours is a radical love.

  4. karl says:

    Eric, thank you for your comment. Your appeal creates fertile ground for both sides of the abortion issue to meet, because I also believe (to use the words of the author above) “a truly pro-life, pro-family church” could not condemn abortion and yet condone the taking of life for political or sociological reasons. To truly be pro-life, you must simultaneously be anti-abortion, anti-deathpenalty, anti-war, and anti-euthanasia.

  5. Jason Finley says:

    Don’t forget pro-creation. Get it? Sad I know…but besides being fruitful and multiplying, pro-life/anti-death also includes protecting life in the rest of creation!

  6. Duane Doughty says:

    Excellent post Trevin. I love how you outline what being pro-life looks like in action, in the real world.

  7. Neal says:

    Obama’s desire to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell” can actually help to fulfill the “days of Lot” (Luke 17, cf. Gen. 19), the fulfillment of which will hurry up the return of the Heavenly Commander-in-Chief who will make all things straight (pun intended)! Interesting Google articles include “Obama Supports Public Depravity,” “Obama Avoids Bible Verses,” “Separation of Raunch and State” and “David Letterman’s Hate Etc.” – required reading for the “Obama 101″ course.
    PS – You’re invited to use these new pro-life slogans: “Unborn babies should have the right to keep and bear arms – and legs and ears and eyes etc.!” and “Unborn babies should have the same right to be born alive that abortionists had!”

  8. Eric Gregory says:

    Neal, I think that might be a horrendous over-reading of Luke 17 since the only thing that’s clear from that chapter (regarding eschatology) is that Jesus, after his suffering and death, will be “like lightning among the clouds” and that there is a warning/encouragement is to not look after oneself (e.g. Lot’s wife), but to lose it in service of the Kingdom (e.g. for others; “the least of these”).

    I find it rather appalling that you might be looking forward to the destruction of homosexuals. That kind of “future-hoping” (focused more on a poorly-evidenced “rapture” and less on the merging of heaven and earth and the renewal of life everlasting (in the eschatological sense) is heinously unchristian and thoroughly selfish. Who would Jesus hate?

    And we MUST repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” for as much as you don’t like it, the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of those who identify as homosexuals (even if they are not sexually active) would willingly serve this country in the military. Their sexual orientation is a completely illegitimate discriminator, just as it is for any other government service position. Denying them the ability to self-identify by threatening them with expulsion is not only unconstitutional, but unchristian. For the record, I am not in favor of the ordination of partnered homosexuals (as any sexual activity outside of marriage, as defined by the Church, is fornication), but fully support civil partnerships being recognized by the state. It is of no business of the government what adult men and women do in their bedrooms (unless it involves children or violence).

    If “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” needs to remain (for whatever illogical and immoral reasons), it needs to be for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. That way we wouldn’t have any issue at all – sexuality is not allowed to be discussed. That might take care of the pornography, rape and misogyny problems that are more rampant in the military than any homosexual activity.

    I wonder if a more productive discussion about the military concerns Christian participation in combat positions; finding justification for killing after the cross and resurrection is quite difficult to do.

  9. Sheryl says:

    I think this is a helpful article, but I feel like it’s too gentle towards we Christians. I would like to see a truly pro-life church where the congregation is exhorted to stand at the gates of hell, in front of their local abortion mill. Thankfully many in my church are encouraging others to do just that. We’ve seen women change their minds, some, those elect, are coming to Christ as Scripture is being preached. How about a truly pro life church doing away with the nursery and including the youngest in their worship service? And if we find that an abortionist is worshipping in our fellowship would a truly Pro life church discipline this person and pray for their repentance? It’s been years since I prayed outside of a mill, for some reason I just grew apathetic, thankfully a friend in our Church began exhorting us to stop giving up, read Scripture outside of killing places, and let God change hearts. If we were actually doing this as the body of Christ, the mills would shut down. May God have mercy on our too busy souls.

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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