As I was scrolling through my social media feed, I was confronted with the picture of an actress wearing a shirt emblazoned with the repeated word “abortion” spaced by little hearts. In a culture built on irony, I had to be sure that this wasn’t a crass attempt at subversive humor. It wasn’t. Scandalized by the existence of such a shirt, I went to Google to find out how one was even able to get a shirt like this.
I wish I’d never typed “abortion t-shirt” into the search bar.
The first shirt available to me reads, “abortion sends babies to God faster.” The next says, “I Heart Abortion.” A third features a picture of a wire coat-hanger and encourages the banning of abortion for the economic boost coat-hanger factories would receive. The most famous is the one worn by feminist icon Gloria Steinam and other actresses; the shirt states simply and proudly, “I had an abortion.”
The conversation has shifted. The pro-choice lobby used to view abortion as a necessary evil, a sad thing that was necessary in order to protect women and give them equal reproductive rights. The goal, even by those on the left, was to educate women and men about the importance of sexual sanity and safety so that the number of abortions would decline. But now the pro-choice lobby has taken on a new tone, one different than that of even liberal leaders like President Obama.
In 2009, President Obama assigned a task force to investigate ways to make abortion rarer in the United States. This was announced during his 100-day anniversary news conference. That was seven years ago.
Here’s the President on the 2011 anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision:
“I am committed to protecting this constitutional right (to legally access an abortion). I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.”
While I disagree with the President’s support of the Roe v. Wade decision, it is important to note that he couched his support in the context of a commitment to “policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies.” That was five years ago.
Now, here’s Presidential hopeful and leading Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in a video produced while running for President in support of the nation’s largest abortion provider:
It’s true that Planned Parenthood offers inexpensive birth control and provides access to health care for many poor women in our nation’s cities. But that’s not why Hillary was making the video. She didn’t make it just to tout their birth control options. She made the video after Planned Parenthood was found to be selling harvested fetal tissue for profit. The country was understandably disturbed and outraged and Clinton joined the “Stand with Planned Parenthood” campaign to help do damage control.
This isn’t a rarity for Mrs. Clinton. In a speech given to the Women in the World Conference last year, Secretary Clinton went so far as to say that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed” in order to ensure the right to abortion for all women around the globe. Your religious objections based on two millennia of Christian teaching would need to bow to the pro-Planned Parenthood, abortion-celebrating leaders of the pro-choice movement who have removed any veneer of respect for the unborn.
Perhaps such a statement can seem extreme. On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be much of a change between President Obama’s position and that of Mrs. Clinton.
There is a marked shift in the rhetoric surrounding the issue, however. Language itself is being challenged and changed. In an article in Salon last year, Valerie Tarico made it clear that she’s not just pro-choice, she’s pro-abortion because she cares about children and takes motherhood seriously. You can’t make this up. Another commentator bemoaned the ending of China’s controversial one-child policy and argued that the United States and other countries should implement the policy themselves.
Is it fair to lump Mrs. Clinton in with these commentators? I think so. In a Buzzfeed article published at the end of January, abortion rights activists commented that they were excited about the prospects of a Clinton presidency and what it would mean for the pro-abortion lobby. The thing that excites them most about Clinton: her language. From the Buzzfeed article written by Evan McMorris Santoro:
“Clinton, they say, is more aggressive in her calls to expand abortion access, and that means a future in which Democrats no longer tip-toe around the issue. No more hopes that abortions are “legal, safe and rare” (as Clinton said in July in an interview with a New Hampshire newspaper) or suggestions that abortion is “a difficult and painful choice” (as Sanders said in a September speech at Liberty University). Abortion rights activists are aiming for a future in which they can de-stigmatize abortion and make expanded, inexpensive access to it a core tenet of American progressive politics.”
The article also includes an interview with Islye Hogue, President of pro-abortion group NARAL (the same group who lashed out at Doritos for presuming to “humanize” a fetus in a Super Bowl commercial) in which, according to the reporter, she “said Clinton has been more forceful about her desire to get rid of Hyde this cycle, a shift in rhetoric that is necessary to move Democrats into a place where they can get it done.” (The Hyde Amendment ensures that federal dollars cannot fund abortions.)
Hillary Clinton has become the champion of those moving beyond pro-choice into the rhetoric of pro-abortion.
This is a distressing change of tactic. No longer are we debating the most effective way to lessen the amount of abortions occurring in the United States every year. The pro-choice party line that abortion was a last resort to be considered somberly has been replaced by rhetoric that less than ten years ago was relegated to the extreme corners of public life — that abortion is now a moral good.
Christians don’t have the ability to remain silent on this issue. There are believers who disagree when life begins. Many say conception. Others say life begins with the first fetal heartbeat (around the fifth week; when the baby is about the size of a tip of a pen). For the sake of this conversation, however, we are in agreement: we believe that God creates all people in the image of God and therefore gives every person worth and dignity. That dignity must be protected whether the person has been born or not. Once that heart starts beating, there is no doubt — There is a living human being growing in her mother that needs to be protected, loved, and given the dignity required of all human persons.
Psalm 139 speaks directly to the in utero work of our Creator in lovingly crafting each and every person into his image. “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Abortion kills the life God has created with love and common grace. Abortion shows disdain for the worth of all people who have been made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). Abortion disregards the value of people who have been carefully knitted together by the hands of God.
So how can Christians support a candidate who champions the pro-abortion plank of her party? Clinton doesn’t downplay this Democratic ideal; she runs toward it with abandon, propping up Planned Parenthood and decrying any common-sense abortion restrictions as anti-woman. She demonizes the efforts of people with religious conviction as kooks who need to change their ways or get out of the way. And her radical shift in rhetoric is encouraging the most extreme voices of the pro-abortion lobby.
As the country is starting to shift in a pro-life direction and as states do the hard work of standing against the abortion industry, the pro-choice lobby becomes louder, more desperate, and bolder. Hillary Clinton is one of their greatest champions. Christian, if you value life, if you are sensitive to God’s call to protect those who are unwanted and disregarded by society (Gen 21:8-21; Deut 10:18), then you will find yourself unable to support Secretary Clinton for President. In fact, you must oppose her policies and cannot give her your support by voting for her.