Election 2012 Part 4: Do the Candidates Have Different Positions on Abortion and Does it Matter?

First: Due to the many blog comments raising questions about third party candidates, and issues of conscience in not voting for “the lesser of two evils,” I will devote Thursday’s blog to that subject.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t thought through abortion—and I’m convinced most people haven’t—you need to or this blog just won’t make sense. At least please read this two-page handout I wrote. It succinctly states the biblical and historical position that unborn children are created by God, in his image, and that God expects his people to defend their right to live.

If you wish to dig further, I’ve written many other articles on this subject and two books, ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments and Why Prolife?

Someone recently posted a comment saying, “All you care about is abortion.” Not true. I care about the poor, about racial issues, equal pay for equal work, and women’s rights. As I stated in the first blog, “Election 2012, Part 1: Racial Issues, Helping the Poor and Financial Responsibility,” I believe in helping the truly poor and empowering those who are capable  to work out of their poverty.

Baby in womb at five months

I devoted the second blog to religious liberties. This may prove the single most important issue in this election, and will have profound impact on our future rights.

In the third blog I addressed my serious problems with the Mormon faith of one candidate and the nominal Christianity of the other.

Now I come to the subject of abortion. And while it is not the only issue, it’s vitally important.  I recently addressed the question, “Shouldn’t we care about other social injustices besides abortion?” My answer was an emphatic yes, which is why our ministry gives financial resources, time and attention to fighting these other injustices. But when I bring it up, many Christians refuse to stay on track with the issue of abortion. They immediately say, “But what about….?” I think it’s revealing how many people always change the subject.

When an entire people group is being stripped of its rights, enslaved, or killed, it is hard to imagine how any Christian could not be deeply concerned. The Jews weren’t the only suffering people in Nazi Germany, the slaves weren’t the only suffering people in America, and the unborn aren’t the only people today whose rights are violated. But when you consider that over fifty million American children have been killed by legalized abortion in the last forty years, I find it incredible that many Christians speak out less on their behalf than that of any other needy people. (Consider a recent evangelical justice conference where every human rights cause was addressed by the speakers, with one exception: abortion.)

President Obama has relentlessly denied the most basic right—the right to life—to the poorest of the poor: weak and helpless unborn children who cannot vote and cannot speak for themselves.  

President ObamaThe president has been a voice for the abortion industry, supporting the right to abort a child at any time during the pregnancy, until the moment of birth. He has defended partial birth abortion. It is a matter of fact that the President of the United States fully endorses the following: a doctor beginning delivery of a live newborn baby, then shoving scissors in the back of his or her skull and sucking out his or her brains. (See this medical depiction of the process.)

These are not just words. Don’t pass over them. Contemplate a baby 80% out of the womb, who millions of Americans would love to adopt (with no inconvenience to the mother, whose pregnancy is over).  Instead of this child being taken eight more inches outside the womb, she is viciously murdered by scissors, then her brains are literally sucked out. This is not a horror movie. This is an actual procedure publically defended by the President of the United States.  His wife wrote in defense of partial birth abortion, calling it “a legitimate medical procedure.”  

If THIS is not evil, could you please explain to me what IS evil?

When I get comments from angry people, as I will because of saying what I just did, I always find it interesting that they are not angry at those who defend the hideous killing of children, including the president and his wife. Rather, they are angry at people who oppose that killing, and are simply pointing out the truth about what it really entails.

(Similarly, I am baffled when people get upset at anyone showing the pictures of murdered children. Why not get upset with those who are actually murdering and defending the murder of the children in the pictures? When the pictures of murdered Jews were published in The New York Times, who did people get upset with: The New York Times, or the Nazis?)

As an Illinois state senator, Obama opposed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which simply said that if a child survived an abortion, and was lying there helplessly, that his life should be saved by hospital staff.

Unborn childA prominent evangelical, who supported Barack Obama in 2008, earnestly assured me that abortions would decrease under his presidency. I pointed out that he had promised Planned Parenthood that he would rescind the Mexico City Policy, so that American tax money would fund abortions around the world. My friend told me, “No way would he do that!” I said, “Are you calling him a liar?” I only wish he had been lying. Within days of his inauguration President Obama revoked the Mexico City Policy. Now all of us who pay taxes—including the prolifers who voted for Barack Obama—are paying for the killing of children all over the world.

People point out that Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on abortion, which he supported in 2002 when running for Massachusetts governor. That’s absolutely true. Some say he put his finger in the political wind and changed his mind. But sometimes people mean it when they change their minds. Converts to a position can earnestly embrace it. And sometimes when they defend a position they come to hold it as a true conviction. Doesn’t it make sense to judge someone by where he landed, not by where he started?

Many say it makes no difference whether or not the president is prolife, since presidents don’t initiate legislation and vote on it. But presidents do nominate Supreme Court justices. Unfortunately, prolife presidents have made a number of poor choices, leading people to say it makes no difference.

Mitt Romney says he’s prolife now. Paul Ryan is unmistakably prolife, and will unquestionably do what he can to influence judicial appointments. In contrast, both President Obama and Joe Biden are staunchly in favor of legalized abortion. Romney and Ryan would likely nominate prolife Supreme Court justices. President Obama will not appoint any Supreme Court judge who’s not fully approved by Planned Parenthood, the world’s largest abortion provider.

Mitt Romney says he believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned. President Obama emphatically states it should not be. Planned Parenthood is so convinced that there will be a huge difference on the abortion issue, that their president, Cecile Richards, says she’s campaigning full-time for Barack Obama!

Supreme CourtI don’t agree with all George W. Bush’s choices. But in 2006 he nominated a prolife Supreme Court justice, Samuel Alito. Despite the opposition of the proabortion lobby and its politicians, Alito’s nomination was upheld. In 2007 Alito voted to uphold the ban on partial birth abortion. Everyone agrees there is a strong chance he will vote against Roe v. Wade if it’s reconsidered. This is an example of a president’s position on abortion making a difference.

The Supreme Court appears split 4-5 on Roe v. Wade. Three Supreme Court justices will be entering their 80′s in the next four years, and another will be in his late seventies. The balance of the court’s view on abortion could change radically with only one or two appointments, and that change could affect decisions for decades. Those who are prolife but not planning to vote, or to vote for a third party, need to prayerfully consider this reality. Don’t dismiss it as a vote for the lesser of evils (more on that in my next blog) when it could oppose a horrific evil and ultimately save the lives of millions of children. (I’m not sure it will—I am saying it certainly could.)

But even if the president makes no judicial appointments, the Mexico City Policy alone determines whether all U. S. taxpayers are funding the killing of children around the world. Governor Romney has specifically said he will reinstate the policy.

Because of this, I cannot see how any prolifer can seriously argue (as some have in the comments on these blogs) that it does not matter what the next U. S. president believes about abortion. Does it really make no difference to you whether your taxes are paying for abortions around the world? Of course it matters.

Planned Parenthood and National Right to Life agree on only one thing—whether the next president is prolife or prochoice may radically affect our abortion laws. If this election won’t make any difference concerning abortion and its future legality, do you really believe Planned Parenthood would be spending millions of dollars to keep Romney from being elected?

Is it consistent with the Scriptures and with the heart of Jesus to suggest it makes no difference to God whether the President of the United States staunchly defends or opposes the killing of unborn children? How can you reconcile this with the repeated biblical statements that God hates the shedding of innocent blood and will bring judgment on the nation who does it?

Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land…and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed. (Deuteronomy 19:10)

Surely these things [judgment and destruction by other nations] happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh [head of state] and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive. (2 Kings 24:2-4)

What God says here doesn’t apply only to unborn children, but it certainly includes them:

Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless;
Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy;
Deliver them from the hand of the wicked (Psalm 82:3-4).

Baby's handConsider the words of Jesus: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me…whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’” (Matthew 25:40,45). Christ takes personally what we do and don’t do for God’s most vulnerable children (not restricted to the unborn, but certainly including them).

I will grant that some needy people may fare better, for a season, under an Obama presidency. Others may get more long-term empowerment under a Romney presidency. The men embody two different ways of helping. Personally, I believe that we as Christians are responsible to step forward and help the poor however we can, not just with our taxes but our personal assistance, financial and otherwise.

I always welcome comments, and read every one of them (that’s why my next blog will respond to those saying we shouldn’t vote for the lesser of evils). But based on my long experience, I have a few requests before you comment on the present blog:

1) Please don’t tell me unborn children are all I care about. Of the seven million dollars of my book royalties we’ve given away, far more has gone to help the born than the unborn—feeding and clothing poor women and children, providing them fresh water and immunizations, and providing shelters in their war-torn countries. We’ve also given a great deal to help women who’ve chosen to give birth to their children.

2) Please don’t change the subject from abortion by saying how much you care about other people. I’m truly glad that you do. I’ve written many other blogs about helping those other people. But this one is about unborn children. Can you please talk about them?

3) Every time I write about abortion, people start their comments with “I’m a prolife Christian, but….” What follows usually renders these words meaningless.  

I’ve been part of the prolife movement for about thirty years. The word “prolife” has an historic meaning. You can say you are “prolife” when it comes to the environment, wars, feeding the hungry, sex trafficking, or even animals. That’s great that you care about these things. But historically to be prolife means this: that you believe that unborn children are in fact children, just as valuable as the rest of the human race. It means you believe the weakest and most vulnerable children have the right to life, and should be legally protected from the moment of conception.

You are free to agree or disagree with the above, but that’s what the word has long meant. So if you say “I’m a prolife Christian, but…” and what follows is an explanation of why you think abortion should remain legal, or it doesn’t matter whether those you vote for favor or oppose legalized abortion….well, go ahead and say that, but you’re not prolife. Saying you are may comfort you, but you are laying claim to something you don’t really believe. No one can be prolife who says, “I support a candidate who is unswervingly committed to the legalized killing of innocent children.” (This is the equivalent of saying, “I’m pro-environment, but I support a candidate who is absolutely committed to the legalized dumping of toxic chemicals into all America’s rivers.”)

So, go ahead and say it if the only people you really care about are the ones who are already born. That may be cruel and selfish, but it is at least honest. I have had unbelievers tell me this. From their naturalistic Darwinian worldview, it makes sense that the more powerful would have the right to take precedence over the weaker. They are wrong, but are consistent with their beliefs. Saying “I am a prolife Christian” should require that you be consistent with yours.

Abort 73 shirt

I am no great fan of the Republican Party, but it does have a platform unequivocally committed to the protection of unborn children. In contrast, the Democratic platform is emphatically in favor of legalized abortion. The Democratic National Convention featured speaker after speaker celebrating the unqualified right to abortion.  It sounded exactly like a Planned Parenthood convention. (If any organization openly celebrated the killing of three-year-olds, what would we think? If we are less offended by celebrating legalized killing of the unborn, it demonstrates a simple fact—we don’t really view the unborn as human beings. But a true Christian must ask, how does God their Creator view them?)

If you are grateful your parents didn’t choose to take your life, I would encourage you to vote for a candidate who will defend the right to life of an unborn child. And don’t vote for a candidate who celebrates the right to kill what he once was and you once were. (And who your parents, friends, spouse, children and grandchildren all once were—unborn children.)

All advocates of legalized abortion, all candidates who defend abortion, and all who vote for those candidates, have one thing in common—they were not aborted. Had they been, they would not be here to run for office. And you would not be here to vote.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Photos source: prolife images from Priests for Life | Supreme Court image | abort73 shirt design

More Election 2012 Blog Posts

Part 1: Racial Issues, Helping the Poor and Financial Responsibility

Part 2: Which Candidate Will Best Protect Religious Liberties?

Part 3: Which Candidate Has More Christian Beliefs? (And Should I Vote for a Mormon?)

Part 5: Is it Wrong to Vote for the Lesser of Evils? Shouldn’t We Instead Vote for a Third Party Candidate?

Part 6: Responses to six comments, including that we should never vote for a candidate who would allow abortion for rape and incest

Part 7: Responses to 12 More Comments, Including “It’s wrong to vote pragmatically,” “Politics is a waste of time” and “I’ll only vote for a Christian”

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries