Pray for the Third Wave

Latinos and Blacks Join the Fray As Roe Turns 35

The end of abortion as a business is in sight when the prolife movement is not only joined, but led, by the Black and Latino Christian communities. I call it the Third Wave.

The First Wave of the modern prolife movement was the Catholic Church. In the late 60s, as abortion “rights” were argued for in New York and California, many Catholic doctors, ethicists, and laypeople understood the horrifying truth of abortion and began to organize. They opened educational offices to explain fetal life, launched political efforts to elect prolife leaders, and started “emergency pregnancy services” to help women struggling with pregnancy issues. The modern prolife movement was born. It was considered (disparaged as) a “Catholic” thing.

In the late 70s, the Second Wave arose. The evangelical church joined the cause. One rushing tributary formed when Francis Scheaffer and C. Everet Koop produced a book and film called Whatever Happened to the Human Race? Evangelical pastors and lay people were awakened to the biblical and historical call to cherish and defend innocent human life. Evangelicals flooded into the prolife movement as volunteers: writing, marching, electing, and starting neighborhood “crisis pregnancy centers.”

Now we are on the cusp of the Third Wave. A trickle of courageous Black and Latino Christian leaders are exposing the inhumanity of abortion and the pernicious racism of the abortion industry. There are quiet discussions and emerging plans among some leading Black pastors concerning abortion. Pregnancy help centers (the “first response” for most churches answering the call to cherish and defend innocent life), as a movement, have learned how to “go medical” over the last dozen years. They have added ultrasound services and multiplied their life-saving impact dramatically. They are waking up and slowly mobilizing to “go urban.” This is the only way forward. Why?

Because over the last 35 years, as two-thousand-plus pregnancy help centers got established, mostly in white, suburban, and small towns of America, the abortion business has consolidated into our nation’s cities. Over ninety percent of abortion facilities are now in urban neighborhoods. Black and Hispanic women suffer 56% of all abortions while representing only 25% of the female population. This means the abortion business is gorging itself on the blood of minority children, all the while appearing as compassionate servants of the poor.

It also means that the business of abortion cannot survive without the silent approval of the Black and Latino neighborhoods and the churches and pastors that lead them. It means that until our movement penetrates the heart of the Black and Latino church, there is little progress to be had. This is the wave of the future that leads toward progress.

But the hard truth is that Black pastors largely dismiss the prolife movement as a “white issue.” The majority of leaders resent the fact that the people now calling for the rights of pre-born children descend from people who dismissed the rights of Black adults. This may be an unfair perception. It may be racial suicide. But it also means that when the Third Wave finally comes, abortion will be ousted from these communities and mortally wounded as a practice in America.

Therefore, as we pause to acknowledge the 35th year of legalized child-killing in America, pray for the Third Wave! God, in his all-wise providence, appears to have limited the progress of both the Civil Rights Movement and Prolife Movement. Perhaps because he wants to make from two separate streams one mighty river.

His summons to his people is: “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the rights of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3–4).

Father, arouse and unite your people to be cross-bearers for child-bearers. Imbue our church leaders of every race with moral clarity and courage to name what is the clearest expression of the human indignity in our country: child-killing. Let reconciling grace flow like a river. Let humbling grace make possible Black and Latino approaches to the great work before us. Color our prolife ranks, marches, assemblies, conferences, and staffs with the richness of Black and Latino Christian servants. To them belong the honor of leading us to victory in the abolition of abortion, for the establishment of righteousness in the land and for the glory of your name.

John Ensor is president of PassionLife and author of several books, including The Great Work of the Gospel and Doing Things Right in Matters of the Heart.

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