To what extent should abortion be an issue for Christian voters in the upcoming election? Should it be the sole vote determiner, or just one factor among many, or not an issue at all? I have had lots of recent conversations with people about these issues, and although I will not attempt to give a thorough answer to them, I do want to at least give a few thoughts.
First, some facts (according to abortionno.org):
-in the United States, 3,700 babies are aborted per day.
-93% of all abortions occur because of social reasons (the child is unwanted/inconvenient), while only 6% are due to health complications, and 1% are the results of rape/incest.
-almost half (48%) of all abortions occur after the ninth week of pregnancy, and 5% happen after the 16th week.
-Tragically, nearly 1 in 5 (18%) women who have an abortion identify themselves as evangelical.
-a total of 48.5 million babies have been aborted since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 – that is roughly 1/6 of our population (300 million).
This is a tough post to write. Let me make it clear at the outset that I am not trying to pick a fight with anyone who disagrees or condemn anyone who has had an abortion. I do, however, feel compelled to speak a few words about this issue. Although I welcome my non-Christian friends to read along and comment, I am primarily writing to my fellow Christians here.
The first thing to say is that we who are Christians should be among the most socially, politically, and culturally engaged people in society. Sometimes thoughtful Christians get so turned off by some of the more radical wings of the “religious right” that they just tune out when it come social issues like abortion. But we are called by our Lord to be the salt and light of the world and to fight injustice wherever it exists. Who will fight for justice if Christians do not? And what greater injustice is there in contemporary American society than the killing of the unborn? One of the most basic themes of biblical justice is the protection of the needy and the defense of those who cannot defend themselves. Do we not have a deep responsibility to protect the life that God creates and values?
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.” -Psalm 139:13-14
One of the most common sentiments I hear from some of my Christian friends is, “yes, abortion is a great evil, but we should not be single-issue voters – we should look at all of the various issues in making our voting decision.”
For anyone thinking along those lines, I plead with you to read this brief article by John Piper. It is certainly true that we should look at all the various issues, but its also true that some issues may be more important than others; some may even be critically, decisively important. Each issue should have a degree of importance proportionate to its moral, spiritual, and social quality. So the question, what kind of moral, spiritual, and social quality does the termination of the unborn have? Without saying more on this, I refer you to Piper’s very good article.
Another common response is, “yes, abortion is important, but whether or not we have a pro-life President is not important, because that does not really effect the number of abortions that occur.”
Its true that fighting against abortion requires more than simply voting for a pro-life Presidential candidate, but it does not follow that our President’s stance is not important at all. In addition to the obvious role of appointing Supreme Court Justices (an important factor in over-turning Roe vs. Wade), this article lists numerous ways that having a pro-life President makes a difference for the abortion issue (thanks to Justin Taylor for the link).
I urge all of my fellow Christians to seriously and prayerfully consider this important issue as November 2008 approaches. I plead with you to use your vote to protect those who cannot protect themselves.