“Never, never will we desist until we extinguish every trace of this bloody traffic, of which our posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scarce believe that it has been suffered to exist so long a disgrace and dishonor to this country.”
These words were spoken by William Wilberforce, the British politician who worked tirelessly to end the slave trade in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Though Wilberforce was referring to the centuriesold and universally condemned practice of slavery, his words just as easily apply to our own national “disgrace and dishonor” today. I am speaking, of course, of abortion. This constitutionally protected right to murder one’s own unborn child is the preeminent social injustice of our day. If the Lord does not return first, the history books will surely regard this moral atrocity with the same shame and outrage that we experience when we read about the African slave trade or Hitler’s Holocaust, bewildered that such miscarriages of justice could have been allowed to persist in a civilized and educated society for so long.
And yet it was 40 years ago this week—on January 22, 1973—that the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Roe v. Wade that a child in the womb is not to be considered a human person. Since that time, more than 50 million babies have died in America under the sanction of the law. Statistics tell us that one in three American women will have an abortion by age 45. This dramatically illustrates how the right to take the life of a pre-born child has been woven into the fabric of our cultural consciousness for an entire generation. It is time for a new generation committed to the sanctity of life to stand against this injustice. As followers of Jesus Christ, we should be leading the way in defending the defenseless (cf. Proverbs 31:8) and honoring the image of God in all people (Genesis 1:27; cf. 9:6).
However, some things are so horrible that it becomes difficult for us to think about them for too long. It is tempting to avoid such thoughts for the sake of our peace of mind. Yet this is where we need to be encouraged and exhorted. As grisly as it is, Christians must be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1) and face this discomforting reality head-on. We need to feel the injustice of abortion and mourn the loss of life so that we might be stirred to action.
So what can we do? Our first response should be to pray that God would eradicate this evil. Our struggle in this battle is not merely one of flesh and blood, but is against spiritual forces of wickedness (Ephesians 6:12). As a result, the weapons of our warfare must not be of the flesh, but must be divinely powerful (2 Corinthians 10:3–5). God alone is sufficient for such a task, and we must pray for Him to mercifully change the hearts of those who call evil good and good evil.
Secondly, we can support our local pregnancy resource centers. Grace Church partners with the Open Arms Pregnancy Center in Northridge (formerly the Pregnancy Resource Center of the San Fernando Valley). They offer free services, education, ultrasound, baby clothing and furnishings, biblically based pregnancy and parenting classes, and even Bible studies for those grieving past abortions. Most importantly, in all their encounters they seek to engage both young women and men with the gospel of Christ.
Finally, we can proclaim the gospel faithfully in our circle of influence. James 4:1–2 tells us that the root of murder lies in the sinful desires that enslave the human heart. It follows that victory in the pro-life cause will not come from a change in policy or new legislation. Though we would happily welcome that, the only remedy for the sinful human heart is the gospel. Our compassion to protect innocent human life and our compassion to see sinners saved from eternal punishment come together in the church’s mission to preach the gospel to all creation. May we be faithful to this commission.