What if Roe vs. Wade went away?

gavelIn today’s “Links To Go,” there are a couple of articles that beat me to the punch a bit on the subject of how Christians should speak up for life. Rex Butts has recently written a couple of posts on the subject: 40 Years of Roe v. Wade… Lord Come! and Ending Abortion. And Chris Altrock had a good article last week: Real solution to abortion.

I’d like us to think about a hypothetical. What if Roe vs. Wade were overturned? What if the Supreme Court announced this afternoon that states could prohibit abortion?

Obviously that would move the political fight to the state level. And, given the current political climate in the U.S., I think many states would make abortion legal.

What if the Supreme Court made abortion illegal? Would that end abortions? You know and I know that it wouldn’t. I do find it interesting to hear the gun control vs. abortion debates (amazing how often those two get paired); the same people who say that outlawing guns wouldn’t stop gun violence seem to think that outlawing abortion would end abortions. It’s not true.

Worldwide, abortion rates are highest in countries where abortion isn’t legal. And our own history tells us that abortions were going on before Roe vs. Wade, even in States where it was illegal. Many of us probably know of Christians who had abortions, even though they thought they were damning themselves by doing so. Outlawing abortion would probably decrease the number of abortions in this country, but it would by no means eliminate them.

When I mentioned before the sorts of things that Christians should be doing about abortion, I was told that churches were already doing those things “in spades.” Maybe. But I can’t help but wonder how many lives could have been saved if we’d taken the same money and the same effort we’ve spent trying to change laws and used those things trying to minister to young couples, unwed mothers and unwanted children.

Throughout the history of our country, we’ve wrestled with the concept of which lives have value and which don’t. Society has been wrong, time and again. Some Christians have bucked the trend, some haven’t. Some Christians spoke up for the rights of native Americans; many didn’t. Some spoke out against slavery; some didn’t. Some supported the civil rights movement; some opposed it vehemently. Some support the killing of America’s enemies in other countries; some speak out against it.

Now, as society has decided that these lives aren’t worth saving, we need to back up and begin speaking for all lives. If we try to pick and choose, society can ignore us easily. We speak up for the unborn. We speak up for foreigners. We speak up for those who die around the world from hunger, thirst and disease. We speak up for life. We become truly pro-life and not just pro-life on one topic.

7 thoughts on “What if Roe vs. Wade went away?

  1. Joel Solliday

    Outlawing guns would generally just take them away from those who respect the law. And outlawing abortion would not end it either. Most pro-life Christians I know realize that a wider and more respectful embrace of trust in God (which cannot be legislated), and stronger, more loving, traditional families would bring both gun violence and abortion rates down. It is legitimate for people of faith to oppose legislation that would expressly tear down traditional families.
    God calls countless believers to minister to young couples, unwed mothers and unwanted children. And since legalizing abortion did increase its numbers dramatically, God may also call some who minister in kindness to also work to change bad laws. I never begrudge God calling people to serve for decent ends in different ways. Let those who see human life as sacred not battle each other over methods used to honor life. Let us respect that different methods do not put us on different sides.

  2. Tim Archer Post author

    Joel, I agree. We should oppose legislation that allows for the widespread killing of the unborn.

    You apparently have access to some studies that I haven’t been able to find. That information would be helpful to me. I haven’t read anything that says that the legalization of abortion led to a dramatic jump in the number of abortions. I’m seriously not disputing that; I just haven’t found anything (beyond mere affirmation of the fact) that shows that to be true. I’ve seen the stats on the number of legal abortions going up, but that would be logical, right?

    Let me add one thing to your statement. Let those who view human life as sacred do so by calling on Christians to stop killing people in the name of country. If human life is sacred, it’s sacred. If not, then we’re merely supporting a political party’s views. And we can go on from there, finding other ways to uphold the sacredness of life.

    Pro-life means much more than being against abortion.

  3. Jay

    Almost 10 years ago, an article in Página 12 shocked me. In 2003 the number of abortions in Argentina was estimated to approximate the number in the USA. Their population was only about one tenth of our population, but abortion was so rampant, that they had almost as many abortions as we did. The biggest difference was that every one of the abortions in Argentina was illegal. There had not been one single legal abortion. The other big difference was between the death rates of the mothers. Abortion continues to be the leading cause of death for pregnant women in Latin America, where it has been illegal in every country. We knew 2 young women who died, one from a poorly done abortion by a neighbor lady, and the other from cancer when she did not get an abortion and the hormones stimulated the tumor’s growth.
    Counting something that it illegal isn’t easy. We can get numbers on the amounts of tobacco sold that are much more accurate than on the amounts of marijuana. The same is true for abortion in Latin America. With the variety of estimated numbers and rates there, every one far exceeds the rate here where it is legal. Last year Uruguay legalized first trimester abortion with a number of restrictions. They are the first L.A. country to legalize it. It will be interesting to see what their numbers do.
    I am certainly not in favor of increasing abortion rates; I have never heard any one say that they are. There are a variety of ideas on how to bring the rates down. Making it illegal does not appear to do anything but raise the rate both on abortions and on the death of the mothers. Maybe we should get on a different bandwagon.

  4. Tim Archer Post author


    That’s the sort of thing I’ve seen. The number of abortions has gone up worldwide since 1972. The surprising thing is that the number has gone up as much or more in places where abortion is still illegal. To say that abortions have gone up since Roe vs. Wade doesn’t say that they’ve gone up BECAUSE of Roe vs. Wade.

    I’m not in favor of abortion AT ALL. But I don’t think changing the laws is the magic bullet so many seem to believe it is.

  5. laymond

    Tim, you tell me when spiritual life begins, and I will tell you what I think about abortion. I know that according to biblical teachings that Adam became a living soul when he took his first breath. Is a fetus just the beginning of a vessel for a living soul to inhabit later, as Adam’s body was before it breathed it’s first breath, or is a fetus a living soul within the womb, answer all the questions and then we will better know how to treat the fetis. there is but one example I can find about the unborn, within the bible,and that is the penality to be paid if a fetis is killed during a fight. It said pay the man for his loss. There is a lot of soul searching to do before we start accusing people of murder.

  6. Jay

    I have heard that in the 1st century there was a practice of a father “recognizing” his child. When it was a month or two old, the mother would feed it well and make it as presentable as possible and take it to her husband in the field. When he took it and looked at it closely, he could carry it back to the house with her and it would be their child. He could also decide to take it over, leave it in the ditch, and go back to working the field. It was something of a 4th term abortion. Early Christians made a name for themselves for rescuing crying babies from ditches. I have not read anything about it, but I can imagine how infant baptism became a public recognition of the child by the parents and the community. In Spanish they still say that a father “reconoce su hijo” (recognizes his child), usually when he names it or begins to pay some sort of child support.
    I think Christians should now make a name for ourselves, not by fighting the laws, hoping politicians will legislate morality for us, but by being an example. I think that the church supported adoption agencies, family counselling, orphanages, and homes for expecting mothers and for young single mothers have all been good steps. Even more good may be done by the many individuals and couples that become foster parents, adopt, encourage, listen and help. If we aren’t doing something for a poor scared isolated expectant woman or girl, we are hardly in any position to judge her when she doesn’t do what we think she should, unless we are running for a Pharisee of the year award.

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