Recently I read a good article by Gualberto Garcia Jones, Is the pro-life movement making a mistake supporting the 20-week abortion ban? It presented several good reasons why supporting the Pain-Capable Abortion Act is a mistake. I heartily agreed with its conclusions, and it got me thinking more on this subject.
Further reflection revealed that from the purely strategic point of view, supporting this bill is not smart. The pro-abortionists will still oppose it with nearly the same force that they would oppose a complete abortion ban. Thus, to succeed, we'll be expending almost as much energy as it would take to get a complete ban passed, yet with only 1% of the return (since such a ban would only stop about 1% of abortions).
And that 1% won't really even be 1% in the end. It will be a fraction of 1%. Because once late-term abortions are banned, women will be pressured to get those abortions earlier; they won't be able to wait. The net result may even be negative, because the abortion industry will have another means of putting pressure on women to get their abortions early and often—it will be a decision that can't wait. Which means that there will be less opportunity for those women to choose life.
So viewed even from the perspective of wanting to save as many lives as possible, this effort, though well-meaning, falls short.
But should saving lives be our ultimate goal?
Climbing the Slope
Saving as many lives as we can, even when we can't save them all. That is the hope behind efforts like the 20-week ban, the heartbeat bill, etc.
These efforts are attempts to climb back up a slippery slope that ultimately leads, at the bottom, to a devaluing of all human life. Our culture has been sliding down that slope, and the attempt is being made to slowly but surely make our way back up it.
But even if we outlaw abortion completely, that doesn't get us off the slope. It only means that we may be standing at the top, waiting to slide back down it again. Our ultimate goal cannot be only to climb the slope, but to get off of it completely. To stand on fundamentally different ground.
And how is that achieved? It only happens when we as a nation recognize that what makes us valuable as people is not our ability to experience pain, our heartbeat, our sentience, our mental state, our genetics, or any other material part of our being.
It is the soul.
What makes us valuable…is the soul.
Both our body and soul are made in the image of God. And that soul, that spirit, that breath of life which God himself breathed into us—that is what makes us different than the animals. All them, like man, were formed from the dust of the ground. But only into man's nostrils was the breath of life breathed, and he made a living soul.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
When we get to decide when human life is valuable, even when we make the right decision, that is a problem. Because we don't get to decide. Our opinion and feelings don't matter. The value of the human soul is intrinsic; this truth is absolute.
We are only off of the slope when the value of life is not defined by human opinion. When it is defined by God, and not by man.
It is only when we come to a recognition of that immaterial part of us, that eternal soul, as being the thing of intrinsic value, that we have actually left the slope altogether. No other ground is safe.
Getting Off the Slope
When we understand that life is valuable because of the soul, then we must also recognize that saving souls is the ultimate impetus of saving lives. And therefore, saving souls should be our ultimate purpose.
We must be thankful for every life that we do save, and should indeed see it as our duty to stand up for truth and justice. But as with all things in life, this effort to save lives must be seen from the eternal perspective. We must not forget the words of the Lord, who said, "What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Those whose lives we save will not be profited in eternity by that act. If it is important to save lives, it is that much more important to save souls. Which is why every effort to do so, as in every other part of our lives, should be saturated with the gospel.
Indeed, it is only the gospel which can save souls, and thus truly save lives at all. We do not save a single life from death without it. Those who we rescue will still one day succumb. Perhaps not by murder, but they will surely die.
Without the gospel, we do not save lives—we just postpone deaths.
Only Jesus Christ can save from death. If we truly value life, then the gospel should be our focus. Because murder is sin. And for that, the gospel is the only cure.
Indeed, we must ask how one can really be "pro-life" and not speak the gospel. Without it there is no life. Only death. Eternal death.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
The pro-life movement must not be ashamed of the gospel. Otherwise, it will ultimately fail in its primary objective.
Because when it comes to saving lives, the gospel is the only hope.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.