Winter 2018-19

Learning to Value Life: A Response to the New York Decision on Abortion

A Hot Topic

The world of social media has been abuzz with talk about a new abortion law passed in New York. In an act signed on January 22, 2019—the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the Empire State now protects abortionists from criminal prosecution, allows health practitioners other than doctors to perform abortions, and permits abortions up until birth if it is deemed necessary for the mother’s health.

As a Christian, it saddens me to see God’s law being broken. As a pro-lifer, I am horrified at this act of violence toward innocent children. As the incoming president of my school’s pro-life student group, I’ve been asked what I have to say about this tragic decision.

What I keep asking myself is, why is this news so shocking? Why is the attention of the American Church just now drawn to the issue of abortion? Why is it unusual that we’re talking about this?

A Surprising Move?

Seven states (New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Vermont, Colorado, and Alaska) now allow abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. As of Tuesday, only three states prohibit late-term abortions except if the mother’s life is threatened (see here for more thoughts on “life-saving” abortions). The rest allow abortions up until birth if it’s for the “health” of the mother.

As demonstrated by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the pivotal Supreme Court cases that legalized abortion across the U.S. in 1973, “health” can mean “all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well-being of the patient” (Doe v. Bolton).

A Saddening Truth

Sadly, New York is not alone in its permissiveness of abortion. In most places across the U.S., it is relatively easy to obtain a legal late-term abortion.

What I find most saddening, though, is the fact that in every U.S. state, abortion is lawful at some stage of pregnancy and has been for 46 years. Friends, taking the life of a 34-week-old baby is no worse than taking that of an 8-week-old baby. Killing in the first trimester is not acceptable any more than killing in the third.

An Indispensable Response

As believers, our first response to the recent decision in New York, as well as to any instance of abortion anywhere at any time, must be prayer. Come, get on your knees with me, and let’s plead with God to bring an end to this continuous destruction of His precious children. Let’s intercede for frightened young mothers and desperate young fathers. Let’s pray for those performing the procedures to turn from their practices and find new life in Christ.

Beyond this, let’s keep our eyes, doors, and arms open, ready to support those experiencing unplanned pregnancies. May we be the ones who rush in to help with financial help, babysitting, meals, and friendship. Whether in big ways or small, each of us can do something to fight for the cause of life.

Will you come with me on this quest? Will you take the time to acknowledge the way each person around you displays the image of God? Will you learn with me what it means to value every human life, from the greatest to the least, as a sacred gift from the Creator?