Printer-friendly Version E-mail Story
The abortion question and the future of America
October 27, 2008
By R. Albert Mohler Jr., President, Southern Seminary
The shadow of abortion looms large over the American conscience. More than 30 years after Roe v. Wade, the abortion controversy has not gone away. The nation is even more divided on this question in 2008 than it was in 1973.
For the better part of four decades, some have attempted to find a middle ground between the pro-choice and pro-life positions, but to no avail. The reason quickly becomes clear. If abortion is to be understood as a fundamental right, no woman can be denied the exercise of that right. If abortion is the taking of innocent human life, no justification can be offered for abortion as a means of ending an unwanted pregnancy — none at all.
Abortion is back front and center in the 2008 presidential race. Sen. John McCain and the Republican Party Platform call for a reversal of Roe v. Wade and are against any notion of abortion as a fundamental right. Both the candidate and the platform call for specific measures to curtail access to abortion and to lead, eventually, to the end of abortion on demand.
Sen. Barack Obama and the Democratic Party Platform call for a stalwart and enthusiastic defense of Roe v. Wade and for expanded access to abortion. In the case of Sen. Obama, his advocacy of abortion rights goes considerably beyond where any major candidate has ever gone before.
In a recent essay, "Obama's Abortion Extremism," Professor Robert P. George of Princeton University makes the case that Sen. Obama is "the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to seek the office of President of the United States."
This is quite a claim, but George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton, argues his case convincingly.
"For starters, he supports legislation that would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which protects pro-life citizens from having to pay for abortions that are not necessary to save the life of the mother and are not the result of rape or incest. The abortion industry laments that this longstanding federal law, according to the pro-abortion group NARAL, 'forces about half the women who would otherwise have abortions to carry unintended pregnancies to term and bear children against their wishes instead.'"
"He has promised that 'the first thing I'd do as President is sign the Freedom of Choice Act' (known as FOCA). This proposed legislation would create a federally guaranteed 'fundamental right' to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, including, as Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia has noted in a statement condemning the proposed Act, 'a right to abort a fully developed child in the final weeks for undefined "health" reasons.'
"In essence, FOCA would abolish virtually every existing state and federal limitation on abortion, including parental consent and notification laws for minors, state and federal funding restrictions on abortion, and conscience protections for pro-life citizens working in the health-care industry-protections against being forced to participate in the practice of abortion or else lose their jobs."
"Obama, unlike even many 'pro-choice' legislators, opposed the ban on partial-birth abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature and condemned the Supreme Court decision that upheld legislation banning this heinous practice."
Some now argue that pro-life voters can nevertheless vote for Sen. Obama. As Professor George argues, this is delusional.
There are signs of fatigue among Christians on this issue. Some argue that the sanctity of life issue is simply one among many important issues. Without doubt, we are faced with many urgent and important issues. Nevertheless, every voter must come to terms with what issues matter most in the electoral decision. At some point, every voter is a potential "single issue" voter. Some issues simply eclipse others.
This is the case with the sanctity of human life. I can understand the fatigue. So little progress seems to have been made. So much ground has been lost. So many unborn babies have been aborted. The culture has turned increasingly hostile to this commitment, especially among the young. There is a sense that many want to get on with other issues.
Yet, there is the reality that we face a choice. This is a limited choice. And we cannot evade responsibility for the question of abortion. Our vote will determine whether millions of unborn babies live or die. The Freedom of Choice Act, if passed, would lead directly to a radical increase in the numbers of abortions. The abortion industry has told us that themselves.
The question comes down to this: How many lives are we willing to forfeit — to write off as expendable — in order to "move on" to other issues of concern? There is no way to avoid that question and remain morally serious. The voting booth is no place to hide.
To read George's article, visit www.thepublicdiscourse.com/viewarticle.php?selectedarticle=2008.10.14_George_Robert_Obama%27s%20Abortion%20Extremism_.xml.