January 22, 2006, marked the 33rd anniversary of the United States Supreme Court's decision on Roe v. Wade, which made the killing of unborn children a legal right. Over the course of three decades, this nation has allowed an estimated 47 million little lives to be snuffed out. Will it ever end?
There are indicators that momentum is gaining against abortion. Recently, even the Washington Post—not exactly the embodiment of pro-life discourse—admitted as much in its coverage of the annual March for Life in Washington, DC. "Protestors See Mood Shift Against 'Roe'," the headline said. While the newspaper still couched its reporting in slanted language, the essence was plain enough: The next generation is more pro-life than the preceding ones, and is quite willing to make itself heard.
Ryan McAlpin, a nineteen-year-old from Chicago who participated with his friends, declared, "This is the beginning of the end. We'll look back at some point soon and won't believe that people were ever killing babies like it was nothing." Joe Giganti, a spokesman for the National Pro-Life Action Center, commented, "I'd say the mood has changed significantly just in the past year. We're going to see the overturning of Roe." A Family Research Council vice president, Charmaine Yoest, told a morning gathering, "Consensus is building that we are moving into a post-Roe future, and we need to be ready."
Of course, the streets of Washington were not exclusively filled with the defenders of the unborn. The usual counter-demonstrators were ready with their famous mantra: "Keep your hands off my body!" This slogan, it should be noted, would be most effective when used before conception is even a possibility. In fact, a great many scourges of modern life would be eradicated if boys and girls—and men and women—would keep their respective hands off the bodies of any and all members of the opposite sex to whom they are not married. It would certainly preclude having a masked-murderer in a lab coat put his hands on the body of a pregnant woman. Yes, it is a fine thing to chant, but the timing makes all the difference between a moribund motto and a strategy that will actually improve life for this generation and the next.
Ever so slowly, it is dawning on the collective consciousness that perhaps it is time to rethink this newfound "right." The law of unintended consequences is beginning to exact its fee, and the resulting charge is often not in line with what abortionists are willing to pay. For example, abortion in developing nations such as India and China has taken a decidedly "unfair" track. Sex-selective abortions are becoming the choice that really rankles the pro-choice crowd. Much to the dismay of feminists, when given the choice these societies are predominately aborting females.
On the other hand, one of the achievements the abortion crusade is sure to take pride in is the "affirmative action" aspect. That is, minority women are vastly overrepresented in abortion clinics, so much so that it makes one seriously consider whether abortion may actually be a tool of racism and genocide being disguised as a "right."
In this nation, the abortion movement is declining because of what has been named the "Roe Effect." This proposes that since children tend to absorb the values, political views, and lifestyle of their parents, abortionists are actually damaging their cause through its very practice. They are destroying the individuals in the next generation who would be most likely to support abortion. Jay Bryant, in his editorial entitled "The Last Boomer Battle" (TownHall.com, March 29, 2005), says, "Because most of today's boomer women [born approximately 1943-1960] are post-menopausal, and while they may still believe the ideological arguments fashioned to support their position, the urgency of the matter has faded—as has the stamina to undertake rigorous political action such as marching all day in the hot Washington sun."
It does appear that the tide is turning in this country, and the recent confirmations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito—both allegedly pro-life—add to this momentous prospect. But the battle is far from won. Even if Roe were to be overturned tomorrow, and each of the states found enough vigor to ban this grisly practice, and perhaps even a Constitutional amendment was thrown in for good measure—all monumental undertakings—the real battle would just be starting.
As with ancient Israel in the wilderness, the problem is not with the laws, but with the heart. What is in the heart of a people that has killed 47 million of its own in 33 years? How many tens of millions of men and women will have Roe defiling their consciences even in a post-Roe world? What percentage of the populace has come to the sick conclusion that an unborn child should be punished for the mistakes of its parents? Laws can only do so much; such malignant selfishness is sure to manifest itself in other ways.
While the momentum against abortion is encouraging, it is still essentially carnal. It does not solve the problem of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9). The real difference will come when the modern nations of Israel are reminded of who they are, the remnant of Israel and Judah are re-united after the second Exodus, and God gives them a new heart. The result, through being ruled by the King of Kings, will be a veritable tidal wave of righteousness:
Because finding fault with them, He says: "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." (Hebrews 8:8-12; see Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:26-28)
- David C. Grabbe