Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Abortion - The Slippery Slope of Our Time

Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) 2013 began on April 7. This annual observance is in remembrance of the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish people during World War II. This Memorial reminds me of the heroic story of Oskar Schindler, who saved over 1,000 Polish-Jewish refugees during that era. His story was later told in the acclaimed 1993 movie, "Schindler's List." I will never forget the ending of that movie which depicted Schindler agonizing over not saving more Jews by selling his possessions. Those he saved were with him in the scene and they proceeded to surround him, console him, thank him, and impress upon him the magnitude of his heroism.

It is estimated that the number of Jews killed in those atrocities were in excess of 6 million. While that number is staggering and worthy of dedicated remembrance, it is difficult to realize that it pales in comparison to the number of defenseless human beings brutally killed in abortions in the this country, alone, during the modern era.

By way of background, in 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its landmark decision in the case famously known as “Roe v. Wade.” Since that decision, over 50 million unborn children have been brutally killed under the sanction of the American people by virtue of our misinterpreted Constitution. While this is breathtaking, we need to still discuss it, spiritually fight and pray with every breath that we might have left. Far too many people today don’t even realize the actual nature of the original 1973 ruling and how far we have come since. In a 7-2 decision, the court ruled that a right to privacy under the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to the right for a woman to decide to have an abortion. However, the court originally legalized abortion only during the first trimester (first three months) of pregnancy. Since then, how far have we slipped?

There is a form of informal logical fallacy most commonly referred to as The Slippery Slope Fallacy. A Slippery Slope argument exaggerates that a relatively small first step leads to a chain (or “Domino Effect”) of events culminating in some disastrous result all of which could be critiqued as unrelated. By the same token, it is also a fallacy to judge all reasonable predictions as guilty of the Slippery Slope Fallacy. In many cases there are unintended significant consequences that can be reasonably predicted. For example, while I was only five years old when Roe v. Wade was handed down, I grew up during the entire modern era of abortions in America. I recall numerous debates where those advocating for life were silenced by accusations of the Slippery Slope Fallacy. However, below is just a sample of the predictions that were then dismissed as "slippery":
  • “This will lead to millions of abortions per year.”
  • “This will lead to abortions in the second and third trimesters.”
  • “This will lead to the killing of born and viable babies outside the womb.”
  • “This will lead to abortion as a means of birth control above all other means.”
  • “This will lead to taxpayers being forced to pay for abortions against their wills.” 
Those arguments may have resembled the Slippery Slope Fallacy at the time they were made. But, those predictions were reasonable and correlative, which is well supported by hindsight. We now live in a morally confused country where all of those predictions have become reality within merely a few decades. Today, abortions exceed 1 million every year. And, we are not only killing children in the third trimester, but up until 2003, we went as far as committing partial-birth abortions in some states. In certain parts of the country, we even have considered laws that permit the killing, outside of the womb, of children who survive abortions. While abortion’s defenders hide behind instances of rape, incest and endangerment of the mother, those instances only represent 4% of abortions according to the Centers for Disease Control. That leaves roughly 96% that are primarily abortions-on-demand, which is code for birth control. In January, 2009, President Barack Obama, in his first two days in office, quietly and privately rescinded the Mexico City Policy. This Policy required all non-governmental organizations outside the USA that receive US federal funding, to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services as a method of family planning. In other words, due to Obama’s rescinding that policy, today our tax dollars are knowingly being spent on abortions around the world. If that were not enough, in March 2010, Obama signed into law the infamous Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) which also requires taxpayer funding of abortions here at home. And, in the subsequent 2012 election, the Democratic Party platform explicitly endorsed taxpayer funded abortions.

Since all of those “slippery” predictions have in fact come true in my short lifetime, apparently they weren’t so unreasonable. And, there seems to be no end in sight. We have devolved as a nation from arguing that someone else’s abortion is none of our business to now arguing that everyone else has to pay for it. Well, isn’t it more logical that if it is 100% none of my business that it should be 0% of my financial responsibility? If a woman’s privacy permits abortion, doesn’t reaching into my wallet breach that privacy? It is bad enough to sanction the killing of innocent and defenseless children. It adds injury to injury to force objectors to pay for it with no say in the matter.

And, sadly, abortions are not only bad for the baby, but they are pretty bad for the mother as well. In fact, mothers birthing their unwanted children fare psychologically and physically much better than those aborting them. The British Journal of Psychology recently published a study of the largest, most definitive analysis of the mental health risks associated with abortion, synthesizing the results of 22 studies published between 1995 and 2009 involving 877,181 women, of whom 163,831 had abortions. The study found women who had an abortion experienced risk of:
  • Mental health problems increased by 81%.
  • Suicidal thoughts increased by 59%.
  • Alcohol misuse increased by 261%.
  • Alcohol dependence increased by 142%.
  • Drug misuse increased by 313%.
  • Drug dependence increased by 287%.
  • Any substance use disorder increased by 280%.
What is also sad is that 96% of abortions could probably more easily be banned if it were not for the discussion being monopolized by only two positions characterized as "all" or "nothing." All it takes is legislation banning all abortions except for the cases of rape, incest and endangerment of the mother. But, this option never gets heard over the noise. The truth is that the vast majority of all wars are won in a series of battles. Very few wars are won in a single battle. We can save up to 96% of children unnecessarily sentenced to death, while we fight for the rest. According to recent Gallup polling, support and opposition of Roe v. Wade is almost evenly split. But, in the same Gallup polls, 85% of the population support abortion in the case of life endangerment of the mother and 76% support it in the cases of rape and incest. When those instances are stripped away, only 32% support abortion when the woman does not want the child for any reason. Further only 24% support abortion in the second trimester and only 10% support abortion in the third trimester. If you ask Americans if they support abortion as a means of birth control, it receives very little support. In contrast, there is obvious support for the ban excluding rape, incest, and endangerment. And, this would ban the vast majority of abortions being executed today. If we can heroically accomplish this, we may not save all, but, like Schindler, we will have saved so many. Alternatively, we can just wait for Roe v. Wade to probably never be overturned. John 10:10 says that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” It is the “thief” that keeps us divided for killing sake. And, the longer we are divided, the further we slip down the slope and more children are killed.

In conclusion, Christians have two obligations on this issue. The first is to stand up and defend the defenseless in a manner consistent with the mission and love of Jesus Christ. This is common sense and beyond debate. While it may seem that the battle is lost, true heroes never stop spiritually fighting for the lives of others, especially children. Our second obligation is to extend God’s love, forgiveness and healing to those women who have been deceived by our culture into having abortions. They have been blinded by the thief and desperately need true love and reconciliation that the Father freely gives. This too is beyond debate.

We are certainly on a legitimate slippery slope. The facts are undeniable. And, it is reasonable to predict that there is still further distance that we might morally slip. Like Schindler, we must keep up the good fight because children’s lives are at stake. And, like the Holocaust, one day we will look back and remember the atrocities of our era. I pray we can see that day on this side of eternity. In this spiritual war, may God help us all!