In 1973, the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade ruled that state laws banning abortion were unconstitutional. The court ruled that a woman’s right to privacy was legally more important than the interest of any state in the protection of an unborn child. The decision ruled that unborn children were not “persons” who were entitled to any protections under our Constitution. With the stroke of a pen, laws banning abortion were nullified and unborn children lost all legal protection. Over one million legal abortions have been performed in the U.S. every year since 1973.
When a society begins to deny life to the most vulnerable and to mark those lives as a “choice,” the decline of the society and its value of life will soon follow. Beloved, this is exactly what has happened in America. Today, Dar-win’s discredited theory of evolution is considered settled fact in the minds of Americans and most of the rest of the world with survival of the fittest being the standard for life and death. In the years since the legalization of abortion, life has become ranked by value, worth, dignity, and health. While what the enemy found in the garden in Genesis 3 has been at war with the Imago Dei since creation, for the U.S., the watershed moment was January 22, 1973.
Life is Not a Choice
We must recognize, life is not a choice. For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:16-17). Every life is a masterpiece, and as believers, we are losing the abortion battle because our battlefield has become limited to the courtroom and the halls of government instead of extending to the hearts and souls of men. Our messaging is stale and lacking passion for the Creator. We have made women in crisis the villains instead of seeing them as the mission field. Our rhetoric marks pro-choice advocates as evil, instead of dropping to our knees in prayer for their souls, hearts, and minds to be turned to our great God.
Our failure to honor God through valuing the Imago Dei has ramifications far beyond the shores of the U.S. According to the Guttmacher Institute, an average of 56 million children are lost to abortion each year worldwide. In fact, one in four of all pregnancies across the world end in abortion. The vast nature of this global genocide is staggering. Though abortion rates have dropped incrementally in recent years, we are far from winning the fight for life.
We are losing the battle for life in the hearts and minds of people not just because our messaging is poor. We are losing because we have lost the zest that the Lord intended for us to have. It is uber exciting to be a part of the pro-life movement, and we don’t need large marketing firms to define slogans and talking points; we simply need to turn to the Bible with fervor. God’s Word is full of adventure, full of life, and full of an exhilarating pursuit. Our Savior gives us the only talking points we need when He tells us in John 10:10-11, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”
Jesus didn’t lay down His life in order for us to live boring, stuffy lives with dull messages but to live a full life, faithfully defending His image bearers while preaching the good news of the Kingdom. Each life that the Lord fashions in the womb bears His image and has a distinct purpose.
Beloved, abortion is scary. Abortion is evil because it eliminates a life that is rich, meaningful, and purposeful in Christ. When we push back evil with the light of the gospel, we can expect that the darkness will strike back and attack. However, our response to these attacks on the Kingdom of Light must be to respond with the love of Christ
We cannot miss that the fight is not a fight merely of words and legal actions, but it is from the sweat of our brow by supporting our rhetoric with the way that we love the orphan, the single mom, the woman who made an adoption plan, the family who has lost their children to the foster care system, and those image bearers who are plagued with a special need or disability. We must expand our focus on issues of life to have a whole-life message and show the world that we love pregnant women as much as we love their children and trust that little by little the Spirit will draw more people in to listen to our full message of life. When we are waiting on the other end of the maternity ward to embrace a single mom and her child, that is the moment we begin to show with our lives and actions how much we truly value life.
Please do not miss it: all of these actions are not merely occasions to deal with earthly distress. They all make great opportunities for gospel proclamation because when we love life tangibly, we receive extraordinary opportunities to speak of the greatest pro-life advocate, Jesus, the One who gave His life so that we could truly have life.
The time has come for the army of light that is committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ to push back the oppression, brutality, and homicide of abortion. Every believer, no matter their gifting, can do something.
This blog was adapted from Chapter Two of Image Bearers: Shifting from Pro-birth to Pro-life by Herbie Newell, the President/Executive Director of Lifeline. You can purchase a full copy here.