40. 40 days, 40 years, 40 weeks, 40 men…. 40. 40 has always been a biblical number. Many events of significance in the Bible happen in 40’s, it seems. The Hebrews wandered in the desert for 40 years before taking the Promised Land; Goliath challenged the Israelite’s army for 40 days before being defeated by David; Christ Himself was tempted for 40 days in the wilderness. For those of us in the pro-life movement, the 40 year anniversary of the legalization of abortion on demand came and went two years ago, fairly uneventfully, if I am to be completely honest. In anticipation for the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I was preparing for victory. Champagne flutes ready, practiced my victory dance in front of the mirror, bought new “pro-life” heels (because, let’s get real ladies, any excuse to buy new shoes…) I was so ready! But what happened? Why hasn’t God put an end to abortion and delivered us from the evil of complacency yet? It’s been 40 years! Year 40 came and went! Where was He? Where was our David? Goliath is still standing there! What happened?!
In my frustration, I went back to basics. What is this fight all about, anyway? How would we even know if we had been delivered from the scourge of abortion? We’ve certainly been fighting for 40 years; but have we been fighting for the right thing? Let’s break this down together, folks.
I want to challenge you for a moment, if I may be so bold. I’d like to challenge you to think. I know! Crazy talk, right?! Bear with me here, we’ll get through this together, I promise.
It is a scientifically proven fact that a new and distinctly unique human life begins at conception. This is not religious dogma, it is proven fact. Any 6th grade biology student can grasp this very simple, undisputed truth. I know that’s a good bit to take in, so I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself.
Okay, you good now? Now that we’ve agreed with the basic principles of science/biology, we’ll move on.
If we agree that a new and distinct human life begins at the moment of conception, I’d like to ask you if there is any scenario where two humans could conceive something that isn’t human. What if the woman was raped? What if the child has Down syndrome or Trisomy 18? What if the woman’s life would be at risk should she bear a child? Do any of these scenarios change the fact that a new, undeniably human, life has begun in her womb, from the moment of fertilization? Do any of these scenarios change that what is conceived is, in fact, a human person at its earliest stages? These situations are tragic, of course, but let’s look only at the facts for a moment.
The answer is, “No.” You know it. I know it. Pro-choice people know it. There is not a single scenario where the ‘product of conception’ is not a new human being. No woman has ever become pregnant with a pterodactyl…. last time I checked anyway, I’m sure google would have some interesting results on that search, but I digress.
If we agree that ALL human life begins at conception (even the ‘hard cases’ we’ve just discussed), why then could we not agree and apply this same logic to pro-life legislation we propose to our lawmakers? Some won’t even consider supporting a bill unless it contains exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormality, or health of the mother. As if humans conceived under the ‘banner’ of these things are less human because of these circumstances.
I’ve seen many of these lukewarm bills and proposed laws. Ones that start off great in theory. Ones that seem to ‘reach across the aisle’ to try to unite conservatives and liberals in a more ‘middle of the road’ place, rather than further alienating the two. In fact, that’s become the primary strategy of most of the pro-life movement. And doesn’t that make sense? Isn’t that what we should be doing? Trying to show the other side can see that we are reasonable?
Not when the other side thinks that butchering children is “reasonable.”
Pro-lifers who hold these exceptions validate their point to me by saying things like, “a bill with no exceptions will never get passed,” “we need exceptions to get any democrats on board,” or “it just won’t work without exceptions.”
If you are a Christian, which the vast majority of the pro-life movement purports to be, the Spirit inside of you should be crying out in anger. Jesus is supposed to our example, our Chief Cornerstone. Bring me ONE scenario where Jesus watered down His message in accordance with who He anticipated His audience to be. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
We done with that now? K, good.
Christ NEVER EVER, not one time, EVER changed His message or the truth of who He was to fit in with the world. Never once did He waiver. Never once did He say to the disciples, “Yo, guys… I think that we need to cool it on the Truth. We are coming off as ‘extreme’ to the Pharisees.”
Why would we plant our flags on 8 week, 20 week, or pain capable abortion bans? Refusing to define life at conception waters down what should be a solid, 100-proof fight. Why do we add exceptions to bills, when we KNOW there are NO exceptions to the facts of human conception? Why do we propose bans on abortion after 8 weeks (when brain waves can be detected), or bans after 20 weeks (when we believe an unborn child can feel the pain of being ripped limb from limb)? If life begins at conception, and we assert that as our beliefs, why on earth would we settle for bills that imply otherwise? We are decrying abortion in public, but putting our money on another idea entirely. Does life begin at conception or doesn’t it? It’s time to pick a side.
“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev 3:16
Why didn’t we see our grand victory after 40 years? Simple. Are there exceptions for rape/incest/life of the mother/fetal abnormality in the bill you’re supporting?
What happens when new medical breakthroughs happen and life is no longer defined by brain waves or an ability to feel pain? I’m sure if you’re a parent, or have been around children for longer than 5 minutes, you have come to realize that every child reaches different milestones at different times. Could this not also be argued for the unborn child? Who is to say that every single unborn child magically has brain waves on Day 1 of Week 8, or that magically on day 1 of week 20, he or she can suddenly feel pain, across the board, unanimously? How does that even make sense to a thinking person? I have two children. My first didn’t take one step until after her first birthday; my second was running laps around the living room by 9 months. (True story. I’m very tired. I haven’t slept in 6 years.)
I see the logic in these theories and piecemeal attempts, as do most people. But I also see potentially explosive, catastrophic results. If we fight, tooth and nail, for a partial ban, and we win; what happens afterwards? What happens after we get the ‘first down’ on this football field? We can’t turn around and say, “Well… I know we fought super hard for this bill that says the rape-conceived child doesn’t deserve to live, but now we changed our minds. Can you guys develop convenient amnesia regarding how hard we fought for that and let’s pretend we’ve always fought for exceptions.” No! It doesn’t work that way! The entire movement will look ridiculous! Not only that, but it is not what God has called us to do! It is not how God has called us to fight this battle!
The risk we run here is offending the creator of life by trying to redefine it. Has He not said that He is the author of life?
“How then can you say you did not know? Does not He who weighs the heart perceive it?” Proverbs 24:12
In the story of David and Goliath, found in 1 Samuel 17, we see a champion for the opposing side. A giant of a man, well over 9 feet tall. Strong and imposing. Terrifying in stature. For 40 days, that giant came out and shouted a challenge to the army of The Lord every morning and every night. Now, David, who is roughly 15 years old at the time, urges and finally convinces the King to let him fight Goliath. To prepare David for battle, he was dressed in a coat of armor, a bronze helmet, and a sword; but he discarded them at the Lord’s prompting and took only his sling and 5 stones. – Let’s deviate for a moment here. David, a 15 year old boy, is about to try to battle a champion of the Philistine army, a 9 foot tall beast of a man; one who had more kills to his name than David had years to his life. You wanna talk about ‘extreme’? That’s extreme. Okay, back on point – David stands before Goliath, holding nothing but his sling and some stones. And – You guessed it. Goliath laughs. Goliath mocks him. The entire army standing behind Goliath mocks David and the Israelites. Talk about intimidating…. Yet David doesn’t waver in faith and replies to Goliath’s mockery with this “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, The God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day, The Lord will deliver you into my hands….” (1 Sam 17:45-46)
That should be our model in the pro-life movement.
I urge you, fellow pro-lifer: BE pro-life. God IS who He says He IS and He will do what He says He will do. He has already told us the way to win this battle. What is impossible with man is possible with God. We will never, ever eradicate abortion by trying to get ‘first-downs’. This isn’t football, gentleman! Turn off the TV and pay attention, because this is serious. This is life and death. If human life begins at conception, then the protection of human life needs to begin at conception.
Support Personhood from conception.
No wimping out.
No spineless representatives.
No backing out.
No fear of the other side.
Want to know why? Because, oh ye of little faith: they will mock us, they will come against us with sword and spear and javelin…. But we come in the name of The Lord Almighty! The God of the armies of Israel! The Lord of Hosts! Yahweh! Jehovah! The name of the Lord, which they have defied! We cannot win this fight by helping them defy His name!
Where are you? Lawmakers! Men of faith! Women of courage! (I feel that I should express that I’m banging my hand on my desk with every ‘!’ I type)
Lose the exceptions, the ‘armor’. Pick up your sling and stones, your faith. And let’s win this fight how God has told us we will.
“And the whole world will know that there is a GOD in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Sam 17:46-47)