September 11, 2001 was a clear, sunny Tuesday in New York City. The Major League Baseball season was nearing the end, and the Yankees were once again in first place with the Chicago White Sox in town. Men and women scrambled from all across the many boroughs of New York City, dropping kids off at school and jumping into the frantic pace of a city that never sleeps and never stops working. It was just a normal Tuesday in Manhattan until 8:46am Eastern Daylight Time.
Al Qaeda terrorists coordinated the hijacking of four passenger airplanes, and successfully carried out three planned suicide attacks against the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing everyone on board the planes and nearly 3,000 people on the ground. The fourth plane was apprehended by passengers who were able to crash into a Pennsylvania field, killing all on board, but sparing any greater carnage on other targets.
These attacks, which changed the course of the nation and President George W. Bush’s presidency, were the largest attacks by any foreign power on American soil and still remain the deadliest day in American history not associated with a major world war or conflict. Not only was loss of life abundant, but damage to American infrastructure was vast. Much of the World Trade Center had collapsed including the skyline landmarks Tower 1 and Tower 2, which were at the time the worlds’ tallest buildings. Additionally, a gaping hole was left in the Pentagon. September 11, 2001 would forever be etched into American history as 9/11.
Once most of the rubble had been removed at the World Trade Center site, a memorial was quickly erected to remember all of those who had lost their lives as a result of the attack, including those first responders who heroically rushed into the towers to save people trapped by the fire and smoke. The first true memorial for 9/11 was two huge spotlights, which illuminated the space where the two iconic towers had once stood proud. The mantra of the aftermath of 9/11 was, “We Will Never Forget.”
Fast-forward nearly 18 years to January 22, 2019. Many years after the World Trade Center complex had been overhauled and a new One World Trade Center erected, the state of New York and specifically Governor Andrew Cuomo, forgot. The governor turned One World Trade Center into another symbol, even if only for a night, as the tower was illuminated in the color pink to celebrate the New York State Legislature’s passing of “The Reproductive Health Act,” which expanded abortion rights throughout the state. The legislation decriminalized abortion and removed most of the restrictions on abortions after 24 weeks (the point where most babies are viable outside of the womb). Furthermore, the bill also granted midwives and nurse practitioners the right to perform abortions.
Governor Cuomo was quoted in the Washington Times; “The Reproductive Health Act is a historic victory for New Yorkers and for our progressive values. In the face of a federal government intent on rolling back Roe v. Wade and women’s reproductive rights, I promised that we would enact this critical legislation within the first 30 days of the new session – and we got it done. I am directing that New York’s landmarks be lit in pink to celebrate this achievement and shine a bright light forward for the rest of the nation to follow.”
A symbol and memorial for those mercilessly killed on 9/11 became a proclamation of more merciless killings under the guise of reproductive health. Something has truly gone awry in America when we not only allow the execution of babies, but we begin to celebrate it. Unfortunately, the war on life in 2019 didn’t end in New York but spread to Virginia, Vermont, Louisiana, the Supreme Court and the United States Senate.
Democratic State Delegate Kathy Tran brought Virginia’s proposed legislation to the floor, and it would allow abortion up to the moment of birth. Testifying before the Virginia floor she was asked incredulously, multiple times by Republican Majority Leader Todd Gilbert, what the limit was to her proposed legislation.
He asked specifically, “Where it’s obvious that a woman is about to give birth, she has physical signs that she’s about to give birth, would that still be a point at which she could request an abortion if she was so certified? She’s dilating…”
In conclusion, Tran calmly without flinching answered, “I don’t think we have a limit in the bill. My bill would allow that. Yes.”
The prophet Jeremiah answers this testimony in Jeremiah 6:15, “‘Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,’ says the LORD.”
These legislations are the result of the slippery slope of devaluing life both in and out of the womb. Convenience and choice have replaced the American values of long-suffering and dignity. We have forgotten our creator and no longer value the Imago Dei. Instead, we are fighting for the throne of the One who created us in His Image.
With all of the state fights going on, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse introduced a procedural motion to the Senate floor for his proposed legislation, “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act”. On February 25th, 2019 the procedural motion was defeated on the Senate floor by failing to get the 60 votes needed to bring it officially to the Senate floor for a vote – the final vote was 53-44.
How incredulous to think that 44 American Senators would vote against a bill that would preserve the life of a baby who survives a botched abortion! Essentially, 44 Senators agreed to partial birth abortion and even worse; infanticide. These senators all failed to see the value of protecting the innocent lives of newborns who survived the abortion procedure. We no longer declare a baby as a human by the low standard of viability outside of the womb, but clearly have sunk to a new low and only declare a baby a real life if its “wanted.” What an utterly dangerous and treacherous slippery slope!
Senator Sasse, speaking on the floor on behalf of his bill said, “I want to ask each and every one of my colleagues whether we’re okay with infanticide. This language is blunt. I recognize that and it’s too blunt for many people in this body. But frankly, that is what we’re talking about here today. Infanticide is what the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is actually about. Are we a country that protects babies that are alive, born outside the womb after having survived a botched abortion? That is what this is about. Are we a country that says it’s okay to actively allow that baby to die, which is the current position of federal law? That’s the question before us, plain and simple… Despite opposition and setbacks, despite some strange rhetoric about this bill over the course of the last week, I am hopeful in the long term. Deep down, each of us knows that every member of our human family ought to be protected, and deserves to be cherished and loved. The love we see every day in the eyes of moms and dads for their newborn babies is an inescapable reminder of that fundamental truth. Love is stronger than power.”
After the defeat of the procedural motion, Senator Patty Murray of Washington decried the legislation as “clearly anti-doctor, anti-woman and anti-family. It has no place becoming law. Its proponents claim it would make something illegal that is already illegal. It would do nothing except help Republicans advance their goal of denying women their constitutionally protected rights.”
Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said, “We must call out today’s vote for what it is: a direct attack on women’s health and rights. This legislation is based on lies and a misinformation campaign, aimed at shaming women and criminalizing doctors for a practice that doesn’t exist in medicine or reality.”
Brothers and sisters, we cannot win the fight for life in the courtroom, in the legislatures of our states, or in the halls of the US Congress, until we win the battle in the hearts of minds of the people made in the image of God.
We must act with the example of our lives. The truth is we don’t just need the US government to defund Planned Parenthood or make new laws against abortion. We need our hearts changed and our deeds altered so that our lives defund Planned Parenthood and make abortion unthinkable.
Church, what would happen if we got to know the family next door? What would happen if we stopped running our kids to endless activities and freed our schedules to get involved in the lives of pregnant women, foster children and their families, and orphans and their families?
We need to stop wasting our lives on Facebook and social media and instead invest our lives in Gospel transformation and discipleship. Are we ready for the Supreme Court of the United States of America to make abortion illegal? Are our churches ready not to just promote birth, but to help women raise their children for LIFE? When a pregnant woman can’t parent are we prepared to counsel her and present the adoption option? Will we be willing and ready to stand in the gap? Will we open our homes to adoption and foster care? Will we use our time to be mentors and disciple makers? Beloved, are we really willing to let the Gospel reclaim our families?
May our lives not be wasted but be spent for the Gospel! And may the Gospel displayed in our lives show the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus, that while we were still sinners, Christ came and became our sacrifice.
What else must we do? We must pray. The current climate should move us from our seat of judgment onto our knees in prayer for the defense of life and the trajectory of our country and our world.
A dear friend commented on these legislations shortly after they were introduced. She said, “My soul weeps… I cannot even fathom this. As a woman who bore a child from rape and has been unbelievably blessed by him, I cannot conceive of such evil. But having also been in an unplanned pregnancy, I KNOW how crafty the enemy is… I KNOW how easy it is to believe his lies… ONLY because of the abundant grace of God, my son is here. I was weak even as a believer, so my heart breaks for those who don’t yet know him. I am praying without ceasing!”
And beloved, this is exactly what we need to do – pray without ceasing. Here is a guide that will lead you to prayer for the next 10 days. Be encouraged to use this, add to it as the Lord leads, and put it on repeat until the Lord returns.
Day 1: Pray for a softening of the hearts of US governors, state lawmakers, and Congress to the Gospel. Pray for them to see babies in the womb and their mothers as valuable people made in the image of God.
Day 2: Pray for women around the world who feel as if they have no other option than to end the life of their unborn child.
Day 3: Pray for the fathers of unborn children. Pray they will encourage women to choose life for their child and that they would get involved with appropriate support for life.
Day 4: Pray for the Church. Pray that she will be able to show love and compassion to women in unexpected pregnancies. Pray that she will continue this love and compassion after the birth of the child, and even after an abortion decision.
Day 5: Pray for the Christ-exalting pregnancy resource centers throughout the US and the world. Pray for their protection, and pray that women in unexpected pregnancies will be connected with them.
Day 6: Pray for the abortion providers in the US and around the world. Pray for their salvation and for their eyes to be opened to the precious lives they are seeking to abort.
Day 7: Pray for those providing abortion recovery services. Pray that women will connect to them and they will learn about forgiveness and redemption through Christ.
Day 8: Pray for OBGYNs. Pray that the pro-life OBGYNs will flourish and women will be divinely led to these practices.
Day 9: Pray the Lord will use whatever means necessary to give women truthful information about the adoption option.
Day 10: Pray that, in God’s miraculous way, women will connect with Lifeline and other Christ exalting adoption pregnancy counseling ministries so that we will have an opportunity to share the Gospel with them.
Beloved, are you ready to stand in the gap? If so, Lifeline Children’s Services stands ready to put you to action.
Do you want to help bridge the gap between life and abortion? Can you help present adoption as a life giving alternative to a pregnant woman contemplating abortion? Has the Lord burdened you for pregnant women and broken families? We need mentors. Are you called to adopt or be a foster parent? Apply today. Is your heart burdened for the scores of orphans around the world? Get engaged from your home or on a trip with (un)adopted. The battle lines are forming and we need your help.
Partner with Lifeline today because we need your financial support to continue this crucial ministry. Visit lifelinechild.org/donate to donate to the cause or call our office in Birmingham, AL and ask to talk to one of our Executive team members (205.967.0811).
This post is an adaptation of Chapter 1 of Image Bearers by Herbie Newell. If you would like to learn more about this book and reserve a complimentary copy, please visit lifelinechild.org/imagebearers.