Relentlessly Call Abortion What It Really Is

Relentlessly Call Abortion What It Really Is

Abortion is rarely talked about.

I’m not talking about the word “abortion.” We hear this word a lot it in the public square. But we rarely hear about it. Abortion almost always refers to something else. We hear that abortion is fundamentally about a woman’s right to reproductive freedom. Or abortion is a litmus test for judicial nominees. Or abortion is symptomatic of what’s wrong with the social discourse in America.

But none of those things is what abortion really is. Abortion is the intentional killing of unborn children.

Death Is in the Power of the Tongue

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Abortion is a clear example of this truth.

The killing of children can be tolerated and even championed as a social good so long as we don’t call it what it is. Call abortion an individual’s right to privacy and you can write it into the legal code. Call abortion a compassionate choice offered to a frightened girl to save her future or to save a child from an undesirable quality of life and you can swing popular opinion. Call abortion a liberation of women from the social and economic oppression of male dominance and passionate people will march on capitols chanting demands to preserve the human right of abortion on-demand.

But you won’t hear the street marchers chant, “We will fight for the right to kill our children!” Because calling abortion what it is might awaken uneasy consciences out of a euphemistic stupor to realize that millions of the most defenseless human beings on the planet are being denied the self-evident, Creator-endowed human right to life.

Death is in the power of logic contradicting, term redefining, and deceptively clinical tongues. We have allowed legal child-killing on-demand for 41 years because we’ve called it something else.

Life Is in the Power of the Tongue

That’s why Christians, the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13–14) must keep speaking the truth about what abortion is with relentless clarity. “We destroy arguments” (2 Corinthians 10:5) by not yielding the ground of clear truth. Because life is in the power of truth-speaking tongues.

Therefore, we will keep saying:

Abortion kills children and we all know this.

Our legal code demonstrates that we know this because it grants an unborn child the rights of personhood in areas such as tort, criminal, and property law, making legalized abortion a schizophrenic, arbitrary, and tragically defective legal ruling.

Abortion is mercilessly violent. Children with heartbeats, brainwaves, and a nervous system that allows them to feel pain are literally torn to pieces.

“93% of all abortions [in the United States] are performed on healthy mothers, with healthy babies . . . Less than 1% are performed because of rape or incest.” (Abort73)

The number of children killed by abortion every year dwarfs the Holocaust and other homicidal horrors of history.

  • Approximately 3,300 children are killed by abortion every day in the United States. Americans kill 1.2 million unborn children every year.

  • The World Health Organization estimates between 40 and 50 million children are killed around the world by abortion, approximately 125,000 every day.

Unborn girls are killed at a higher rate than unborn boys. Estimates are as high as 163 million unborn girls have been intentionally killed since the 1970’s because they were girls, resulting in what some are now calling a “gendercide” (see Abuse of Discretion, 334).

And we will speak many, many more clear truths (here are 15 more) until abortion on-demand is ended.

Here’s the point: truthful tongues save lives. Legalized abortion is an evil that occurs and is tolerated because of deceptive words. And it’s truthful words that are required to clear the fatal fog with clarity.

Keep Speaking

I don’t know if our speaking truth will succeed in helping to change the abortion laws. World Magazine reports encouraging developments. But as John Piper says, “We are not called to win; we are called to witness.”

However, history does show that the faithful, relentless, prophetic witness of the saints over many years results in the remarkable spread of the gospel and the end of thousands of horrible social evils from the individual to the national levels.

So we must keep speaking. We must call abortion what it is: the killing of children and a vicious established legalized evil and injustice.

Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we just remembered because of his relentless truth-telling in the face of established, legalized racial evil, once said, “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.”

We dare not be guilty of this. The Lord who said, “Rescue those who are being taken away to death” will not accept the excuse, “Behold, we did not know this” (Proverbs 24:11–12).

May life be in the power of our truthful tongues.


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Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.