Abortion: An Inalienable Right?

2010-affiliate-header-91550Is abortion a legal right the state is obliged to protect? The CEO of our local Planned Parenthood organization recently argued just that. Since abortion is “the law of the land,” then Tennessee must make safe abortions as accessible as possible to all its pregnant citizens. As the anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches, she is lobbying to defeat any and all legislative efforts to restrict abortions.

After all,

“Ninety-four percent of Tennessee counties have no abortion provider; almost 60 percent of Tennessee women live in those counties, forcing many women to travel long distances and take off time from work or school to obtain abortion services.”

The state (i.e. the citizenry) is therefore obliged to ensure abortion services are readily available to as many as possible in as short a drive as possible. Abortion then is an inalienable right the state must not only not oppose but must endorse.

Ms. Coffield ended her article with two startling assertions. These assertions necessarily assume a fetus is not an actual person and hence abortion cannot be murder. Let’s consider these assertions in turn.

“When Tennesseans go to the polls in November, they will vote their conscience with the knowledge that all decisions about pregnancy are deeply personal and complex. And there is no one better equipped to decide whether to continue or end a pregnancy than a woman, her family, her doctor and her faith.”

Of all those “better equipped” to make pregnancy-ending decisions (note: not life-ending decisions), there is one fundamental person missing: the father. Granted, the father might well skipped town on his pregnant one-nighter, but he should be afforded a seat at the table. He is half responsible for the pregnancy.”

Of course, the One best equipped to decide about pregnancy is God himself, who invented the idea. He most assuredly has the best vantage point to define and protect life (Acts 17.25). We do well to consult him above all.

Also, Ms. Coffield serves up a red herring by referring to ‘faith.’ Trying to co-opt the moral high road, she assumes abortion is a matter of faith. I would love to know whose ‘faith’ has ever demanded an abortion. Planned Parenthood should document when and where a Tennessee woman sought an abortion as act of worship or obedience to God. Abortion is not a civil right, protected by the freedom of religion.

Further, if these parties are “better equipped” to decide when to end a pregnancy, then why does that authority stop at birth? Again, Planned Parenthood’s whole argument rests on the assumption that abortion does not end a life, but a pregnancy. Even so, why shouldn’t a woman, her family, her doctor or her faith be trusted to end her pregnancy at thirty-five weeks? Thirty-six? After her water has broken? Two months after birth? Shouldn’t the state protect her right to end her pregnancy at any time? Why, after a certain number of weeks, should that right ever be taken from her?

Lastly, it is slippery slope when we gauge who is fit to make life-ending decisions on subjective measures. How does Mrs. Coffield know any of those parties involved are “better equipped”? Who decides what exactly “equipped” means in terms of such “personal and complex” decisions? Why am I, my family and backyard neighbor not better equipped to decide that our neighbor’s loud car should be given to someone else? What if my brothers and I are “better equipped” to end of the life of our aging dad? Just because a number of people decide to end a life doesn’t glorify the independent Tennessean straw man Mrs. Coffield constructs. Without objective, morally-absolute measures then who is and who is not “better equipped” will invite anarchy.

“Women don’t turn to politicians for advice about mammograms or cancer treatment. Personal medical decisions about pregnancy should not be made by politicians in Nashville, either.”

Really? I thought Roe v. Wade was a decision made by politicians. Ms. Coffield apparently has no problem politicians making personal medical decisions if those decisions swing in her favor.

Planned Parenthood actually considers an unwanted child to be akin to breast cancer! Abortion is to pregnancy what a mammogram or chemotherapy is to cancer. Not only is abortion not murder, it’s actually a cure! The state doesn’t interfere with any woman wanting to be healed of cancer. Therefore, it should not restrict any woman’s accessibility to abortion. Any woman who thinks her child is a disease should be afforded all the means of getting rid of that disease.

Again, the whole argument rests on dehumanizing the fetus. If mammograms or cancer treatments were killing 16,000 Tennesseans a year then we would indeed march on Nashville. We would demand legislation that prevented the unnecessary deaths of thousands from medical procedures. If abortion is the killing of thousands of Tennesseans then we should demand legislation that protected our fellow citizens from unnecessary death. If anything, the state should not only severely restrict abortion but also make foster and adoption more accessible and affordable statewide.

Planned Parenthood is feminism’s juggernaut. They have hijacked “women’s reproductive health” to advance a radical feminist agenda, one that actually and ironically strips women of femininity. Planned Parenthood exploits and preys on women while governmental grant money stuffs the coffers. Abortion obviously doesn’t help the child but it certainly doesn’t help women, either. In devaluing life, Planned Parenthood necessarily devalues womanhood and pregnant victims get swept in the torrent of regret and shame. Planned Parenthood does not want to plan families, but prevent them.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Is 5.20)

The church of Jesus Christ has a weighty responsibility. Protests, picketing and polls have their place. But the church is at her best when she holds out the glory of the Word of Life (1 Jn 1.1) in her everyday life of biblical community. A church that holds her members to gospel faithfulness will produce life-loving, life-giving, life-protecting disciples.

Jesus loves broken, abused, abandoned, immoral women (Lk 7.38; Jn 4.1-42; 12.3ff.). He loves saving them when no one else cares for them. Jesus loves the unwanted and redeems the ungodly. He forgives and cares. Jesus loves saving cowardly men and making them into humble, wife-honoring husbands. Abortion only offers a far-reaching death. The church offers life in every sense of the word.

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Mt 11.28-30)

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