Planned Parenthood: Invitation, Explanation, Indignation

I am writing with an urgent invitation, a personal explanation, and renewed indignation.

First, the invitation. I invite you to join us this Saturday morning, August 22, at one of the three hundred protest gatherings at Planned Parenthood sites across the nation. Find the one nearest you. It will be 9:00–11:00 AM local time.

(I will join others as part of the prayer leadership at the Twin Cities event at 671 Vandalia Street in St. Paul. Parking is sparse. Park far. Walk much. Small sacrifice.)

Your presence on Saturday morning would mean at least this: “Killing unborn human beings is not an acceptable answer to crisis pregnancies. There are better ways to care for mom and child and dad.”

If you have watched the investigative videos from The Center for Medical Progress about Planned Parenthood, I suspect you would want your presence to mean much more.

A Personal Explanation

I remember sitting in Pizza Hut with my wife in 1989, watching a newscast from Atlanta with the first glimmers of what became the Rescue Movement of peaceful protests in response to abortion. I was deeply moved, and said, to her, “That is right.” I was part of that movement in the Twin Cities for about three years. Then it faded away. I have no regrets about participating. I think it was right, and did good.

My explanation for participating in Saturday’s protest goes like this.

1. They are killing human beings in there. They cut them in pieces — usually. Sometimes, as the most recent video shows, they manage to get an “intact fetal cadaver.” That is risky, since there is a law against killing a baby outside the womb. You have to kill it first, then take it out. The moral insanity of that position is worthy of a resounding corporate “No!”

2. For three years, I lived fifteen miles from the Dachau Concentration Camp just outside Munich, Germany. I visited multiple times. They were killing human beings there too. Did the neighbors know? How quick we are to fault them! But we do know. We know beyond the shadow of a doubt. Yes, it is the same. Yes, it is the same. I don’t want to be complicit in the slaughter.

This passage of Scripture is as real and valid today as it was in the late eighties:

Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:11–12)

3. We have no moral leadership in the White House on this supremely important issue facing — staring down — our nation. President Obama refused even to support the protection of children who are four-fifths out of the womb in the process of birth (partial-birth abortion). He supports the right of doctors to pull a baby out, all but the head, and then suck the brains out, and deliver the child dead, so it can be called an abortion, and not infanticide. When a nation has no moral voice at the highest levels of governance, special means of expression may be called for.

4. There are seasons of life. Seasons of personal life, family life, and cultural life. Or call them moments. Cultural moments. Flash points. In these seasons, you do what you may not have done in other seasons. We don’t protest every day of every year.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: . . . a time to break down, and a time to build up . . . time to keep silence, and a time to speak. (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3, 7)

It seems to me that we are in an unusual moment in our nation. For me, it is time to gather.

Renewed Indignation

Indignation is cheap. Anyone can get bent out of shape. There is no great moral capital in human anger. It comes easy. But the absence of anger (and sorrow) in some cases is a sign of a disordered heart.

When an evil is as massive as the killing of human beings is in our nation, large and hard words lose their force over time. What is needed is real stories, real experience, real glimpses — not just of the babies, but the hearts of those who kill them. We are getting those, in this peculiar cultural moment.

In the most recent investigative video about Planned Parenthood, that went online this week, we have the confession of a former employee. This is what broke her will to stay. A coworker called to her, “Hey, Holly, come over here. I want you to see something kinda cool.” So Holly (speaking on the video) goes over and sees a fully intact, manifestly human, baby, delivered by abortion. And the technician says to Holly, “Okay, I want to show you something.” So she taps the heart with one of her instruments, and the heart starts beating.

“Kinda cool.”


UPDATE: Read John Piper’s reflections on the protest and listen to his five-minute prayer.


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