Before you get your holy knickers in a twist, let me start by affirming that I AM PRO-LIFE. I am VERY pro-life. I’m pro-life to the point that I chose to ignore medical advice to carry my baby to term even though I was told that it would probably result in my own death. I have spent the past 20 years being a voice for the unborn and sharing my story. Being pro-life is the reason I abhor these “heartbeat abortion bills” and you should, too.
Reason #1: The Exceptions Clause
The Alabama Human Life Protection Act
This bill would make abortion and attempted abortion felony offenses except in cases where abortion is necessary in order to prevent a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”
As a pro-life advocate, I love and fully support the idea of a ban on one of America’s greatest tragedies: abortion-on-demand. Sadly, the Alabama Human Life Protection Act (and many like it elsewhere) is not one. The so-called “heartbeat bill” bans all abortions after a heartbeat can be detected, for any reason except to prevent a serious issue with the mother’s health or if the unborn child would be stillborn or die after childbirth.
Again, as a Christian who is pro-life, this sounds quite reasonable. I, personally, found myself facing the probability of death when I was pregnant with my first child and I chose not to abort my baby but to trust God with our lives, instead. But I can’t expect everyone to make that same decision. In fact, there are many strong Christians that would struggle with that decision. How could we, as Christians, possibly expect the world to rely on a faith that they do not have.
Sadly, what is NOT mentioned in this bill is an exemption for cases of sexual assault.
According to this bill, if a 10 year old child is raped by her father and becomes pregnant, that little girl would be forced to carry that baby to term and then watch it be taken from her because a 10 year old child cannot raise a baby. That may seem like an unlikely scenario but it happens and it’s heartless.
In cases of rape or incest, this Alabama law is telling women that their life is less valuable than that of their unborn child. Is that really the message we want to portray as conservative Christians?
When situations get complex and turned around in my mind, I ask myself the simple question that much of the world balks at: What Would Jesus Do?
If Jesus encountered a woman who had been raped, what would He do? More than likely, He would bring healing to her heart and life so that she would decide to keep her child and trust in Him. That should always be our ultimate goal, right? To bring the world to a saving relationship with God. But what if Jesus was put in charge of making a law about abortion? What if He couldn’t personally minister to each woman? Would He really ban it without exception? Would He really cause further pain to those who had been victimized?
Jesus made exceptions to the rules all the time. In fact, in Matthew 23:23, He called the Pharisees a bunch of hypocrites because they were so focused on tithing but ignored the “weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy, and faith”. I have to think that Jesus would have mercy on a girl who had been raped.
The Bible is full of examples of exceptions. God said that He hated divorce but then gave reasons that He would permit it. Jesus violated the Sabbath law by healing people. He commanded believers to be baptized but He told the thief on the cross beside Him that he would be with Him that very day in Paradise. Jesus came so that God’s love and mercy would replace the old law. I have to believe that He still wants His love and mercy to reign concerning women who have become victims of rape and incest.
The liberal left is crying out that this bill shows that Republicans don’t care about women. They’re proclaiming that Republican men only want to have control over women, their bodies, and their decisions. As a conservative Republican woman, I’m wondering if the left is right on this one.
Reason #2: The Wrong Goal
Not only does the Alabama Human Life Protection Act allow no room for exceptions for victims of rape and incest, but both the Alabama House and Senate rejected amendments to the bill brought by Democrats earlier this week that would include these exceptions. So much for reaching across the aisle and working together.
Politically, this bill may look like a huge win for Republicans but as Christians, it is an embarrassing act of merciless oppression.
Representative Terri Collins who sponsored the bill said that the bill was intended to challenge the Supreme Court’s decision in the infamous 1973 Roe v Wade case. Rep Collins believes that adding an exception for victims of sexual assault would “dilute” the argument that an unborn child is a person. Personally, I feel that not including that exception shows women that lawmakers in the great state of Alabama believe that an unborn child’s life is more important than a mother’s.
I pray for the day that Roe v Wade is finally overturned for God’s glory, but this is not the way to do it. This is not the battle we want to fight. This is not the goal.
We want a ban on abortion-on-demand. We want to establish that a person is a person from the moment of conception. We do not want to diminish the pain that victims of sexual assault experience. We do not want to get into the business of determining whose life has the most value. That is not up to us.
We want our fellow citizens of this great nation to love God and to value human life. We want people to join us as voices for the voiceless because God has touched their lives and impassioned them to join our cause. But Jesus never bullied anybody. He wanted people to follow Him out of love, not by force.
As Christians, our goal is to stand up for the rights of the unborn, not to take away the rights of women. Our goal is to teach our peers that life begins at conception, not to determine whose life is more valuable. Our goal is to do no harm, not to bring more pain to the victims. Our goal is to love, not control.
And until He returns or calls me home, that’s exactly what this pro-life, conservative, Christian woman is going to do.
EDIT TO ADD….
I’m going to throw in a bonus reason, here…
Reason #3: It’s Bad Business
I know next to nothing about politics and my use of logic may have no place in the political world, but humor me, if you will.
The liberals, the left, the pro-choice all want to keep Roe v Wade intact. They want to celebrate abortion and a woman’s right to choose one until the end of time. They look at the conservative, the right, the pro-life as oppressive, controlling monsters that are leading the war against women.
So, in response to that, we (the conservative pro-life Christians) write a bill than bans all abortions for any reason except the mother’s death? Really? Way to convince them that they’re right!
On one hand, we have politics. I may not know much about politics, but I know enough to know that it’s a world of give and take. It’s supposed to be about creating laws to govern the entire body of people, regardless of their beliefs or opinions or gender or status or religion or place of birth.
On the other hand, we have faith. We have the Bible. We have an absolute black and white Word from God that tells us that abortion is murder. There’s no gray area there. And as Christians, we should absolutely NEVER compromise our faith. We should NEVER compromise or water down the Word of God. We should always stand firm and declare Truth to a hurting world.
So when it comes to being a Christian in a political world, we have choices to make and it seems to me that we ought to be able to find a way to declare Truth without hurting people. As my pastor always says, “Lead with grace, land with truth.”
If we want to overturn Roe v Wade and be light to the world, we need to compromise our politics, not our faith.
If we want to sign an out-right ban on all abortions, it should come with extra funding for foster care and adoption services as well as counselling for the victims. We have to offer other solutions to the problem.
If we want to overturn Roe v Wade AND bring others to Christ, we need to stop fighting for abortion to be illegal in sexual assault cases and start setting up more Pregnancy Resource Centers to help women who find themselves victims of such heinous crimes.
If we want to show the world love instead of the things that they see (oppression, control, and hatred of women), then we need to show them that we’re logical, rational, and willing to work together.
As it stands now, the Alabama Human Life Protection Act doesn’t stand a chance. Sure, it was signed in Alabama but it will definitely be challenged and sent to the Supreme Court. It’ll be found to be unconstitutional in some way and it’ll be dead in the water. If not right away, soon. Then we, as pro-lifers have lost ground and lost respect as reasonable, logical people to work with.
Instead, it seems to be better business to accept the Democrats’ amendment to allow exceptions for rape and incest victims, which, by the way, is a very nominal percentage of abortions in any state. It would be a huge victory for pro-life conservatives and a tolerable alternative for pro-choice democrats. Rally the troops and raise the funds to provide counseling and options to those few who are victims of sexual assault and you’ve almost completely eradicated abortion in the state of Alabama without declaring war on women.
But like I said, maybe there’s just no room for logic in politics.