Overcome Horror with Prayer
State of the Union for Abortion
Several months into a new executive administration, how might we describe the state of affairs when it comes to abortion in America?
Grievous would not be too strong a word. Distressing and outrageous also describe my response to the renewed efforts to enshrine abortion as health care, turn it into a super-spreader event worldwide, and purge dissenters working within the U.S. government who think it’s wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. But though God can, without sin, “let loose . . . his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress” (Psalm 78:49), I cannot. So, what follows is a brief state of the union for abortion that should fuel our first and best response: prayer.
For thirty years, from Boston to Beijing, I’ve done my best to respond to the shedding of innocent blood with prayerful actions. I’ve now worked in seventeen countries where abortion is most concentrated, prayerfully training pastors in pro-life ethics and their churches in pregnancy crisis intervention. But I also set aside time every week to pray with others for the end of abortion.
Why? Because some evils are so profoundly demonic in their power structure that they will not be cast out without prayer. Child-killing is one of those evils. It’s not merely a failure to maintain the human rights of the defenseless (Psalm 82:3–4). Nor is it simply an exercise in personal autonomy. It’s unrealized demonic servitude. The psalmist says, “They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters . . . and the land was polluted with blood” (Psalm 106:37–38). Certainly we must do more than pray. But let us not delude ourselves about what we are truly up against.
Affordable ‘Health Care’
According to the White House Fact Sheet of June 30, 2021, “The Biden Administration is committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and around the world. Everyone should have access to quality, affordable health care.”
“Affordable health care” is government-speak for “easy abortion.” Through executive memorandums and policy directives, Biden is removing the restrictions on U.S. and globalist organizations promoting abortion worldwide.
Biden has committed to “remove, as part of the President’s first budget, the Hyde Amendment restriction from government spending bills, reflecting the President’s support for expanding access to health care, including reproductive health care, through Medicaid and other federally-funded programs.”
The Hyde Amendment, implemented in 1980, has for forty years been the one point of conciliation between abortion advocates and pro-life taxpayers — that which is justified as a private choice, let’s agree, ought not to be paid for with public dollars.
Ending the Hyde Amendment forces all of us to pay for anyone’s abortion. It will not only lead to more abortion; it will further delegitimize dissent, religious liberty, and conscience clauses, along with emboldening the de-platforming and de-monetizing of those who dare to disagree.
Abortion by Mail
Besides removing abortion restrictions, this administration is increasing abortion funding. Domestically, its budget calls for a massive infusion of tax dollars into the Title X family planning, providing $340 million for Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. Internationally, he proposes a 72 percent increase in funding, or $583.7 million for the United Nations Population Fund.
“‘Affordable health care’ is government-speak for ‘easy abortion.’”
The United Nations Population Fund euphemistically calls itself a “sexual and reproductive health agency.” What they are is a missions organization. Within their worldview, population is the sin problem. Poor countries like Uganda, Ghana, El Salvador, and Guatemala, which still legally protect their unborn children, are the mission field. Abortion, contraception, and sterilization is the plan of salvation.
Relaxing enforcement of safety protocols is the opposite of “health care for women.” Yet this spring, the Food and Drug Administration officially suspended enforcement of the in-person requirement for chemical abortion pills. Abortion by mail is now permitted. Multiple studies, including that of Dr. Donna Harrison, covering a twenty-year-long period, report that complications are four times more frequent in chemical abortions compared to surgical abortions. Adverse events include hemorrhage, infections, and trauma from a woman’s seeing her own unborn child expelled.
In April, the National Institutes of Health removed the restrictions imposed on research using fetal stem cells under the previous administration. In May, the International Society for Stem Cell Research ended its long-standing rule that limited experimentation on human embryos to the first fourteen days of creation. This makes human embryos akin to lab rats. As the Lozier Institute writes, “The removal of the 14-day limit shows their real goal: unlimited human experimentation, making human embryos into disposable laboratory supplies.” In June, Democratic lawmakers introduced the “Women’s Health Protection Act,” which, if passed and signed by the president, would nullify all state abortion regulations.
Some Light in the Darkness
At the same time, American citizens at the state level are rushing to the defense of the unborn. In the first five months of 2021, 48 U.S. state legislatures advanced approximately 489 pro-life bills. As of the end of May, 89 new pro-life bills from 26 states had been enacted. Some, like the Arkansas bill signed this spring, ban almost all abortions. Other states have banned abortion after twelve weeks gestation, sex-selective abortion, and abortion due to prenatal disability diagnosis.
At the local level, Lubbock, Texas, is now one of 36 cities that have outlawed abortion within their city limits and declared themselves a Sanctuary City for the Unborn. Their local Planned Parenthood was forced to stop aborting babies on June 1 when this local law went into effect.
Hanging over all of this, the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) agreed this spring to take up the biggest abortion case in thirty years. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Court will answer “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
Judicial analyst Bruce Hausknecht writes,
The 1973 Roe decision, written by Justice Harry Blackmun, created artificial “trimester” rules for regulating abortion based on the concept of “viability,” the time at which a preborn baby was generally thought to be able to survive, with medical help, outside the womb. . . . Advances in medical technology have lowered the age of viability. By the time of the 1992 Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, for example, the age of viability had decreased from 28 weeks to around 23 to 24 weeks. Recently, a Wisconsin child celebrated his first birthday after a premature birth at 21 weeks, 2 days gestation.
What Can We Do?
How then should we respond to the new administration unleashing its power to promote mass child-killing at home and abroad? We pray that God would grant our president a spirit of repentance, as he did to us. And we pray God would restrain him and frustrate his plans.
“Some evils are so profoundly demonic in their power structure that they will not be cast out without prayer.”
I pray for our nation as a grieving patriot. I don’t put much stock in SCOTUS having the moral courage to follow the Constitution as written. As Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch wrote to the Court last month, “Nothing in constitutional text, structure, history, or tradition supports a right to abortion.” The stronghold of abortion is not in the text. It’s in the human heart and in the fear of man. That’s what drives me to pray.
In 1896, SCOTUS ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that racial discrimination laws were constitutional. It was a cowardly decision that played to the powerful forces within the culture of the time, not to the text of the constitution. It took 58 years for SCOTUS to find the courage in Brown v. Board of Education to say, “No more! The 14th amendment calls for equal protection of all persons.” I pray we can witness such a declaration in our time.
As the church, we must not be afraid to suffer the hostility that would come if we lived out our faith like the midwives of Egypt. To those dear sisters, suffering many injustices themselves, child-killing was the hill to die on. They “feared God” (Exodus 1:17) and so protected their babies from slaughter. When pressured by Pharoah himself, they still refused to conform (Exodus 1:18–19).
In return, God favored them (Exodus 1:20). Why? For rescuing the babies from slaughter? Not exactly. Rather, “because the midwives feared God, he gave them families” (Exodus 1:21). In other words, God rewarded their faith in him, which was expressed in their bold, pro-life actions.