On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled that a woman had a constitutional right to abort her baby. The case was titled Roe vs. Wade, named for the parties involved. Norma McCorvey was a woman who sought an abortion in Dallas County, Texas, but was it denied by Henry Wade, the district attorney at the time. In the court case, which traveled all the way from Dallas to the Supreme Court, Norma McCorvey was listed anonymously as Jane Roe; thus, the landmark battle became known as Roe vs. Wade.
The Supreme Court decision in favor of McCorvey was lauded as a victory for women’s reproductive rights and eliminated any and all considerations pertaining to stages of pregnancy, fetal development, or emotional trauma to the mother. It did, however, leave room for states to enforce their own laws concerning the second and third trimesters. According to several polls, the number of legal abortions since Roe vs. Wade was passed may now be as high as 60 million. The deaths of sixty million unborn Americans should force us to think carefully about this issue. While many champion Roe vs. Wade as a great victory for women, is this the Christian viewpoint? Is this God’s viewpoint?
It was not until the late 1950s that pregnancy began to fall out of popularity in the United States. Although abortion has been practiced throughout history, the predominant view was always that children were blessings. Most families were comprised of two parents and the children born to or adopted by them. Mothers usually stayed home to raise the kids while fathers earned the paycheck.
The 1960s brought the sexual revolution and, with it, the rising fear of unwanted pregnancies. Various methods of birth control exploded on the market, but when the birth control failed, as it often did, abortion became a desired solution. Since abortions were illegal in the United States, many women sought to obtain unsafe “back-alley abortions” from untrained abortionists. Disease, sterility, and even death resulted from those choices. That gruesome history made the nation ripe for a change in abortion laws. Rather than curb the rampant sexual immorality, the country began to cry for an abortion solution.
God already had a solution, but America had ordered Him from the classrooms and from the bedrooms. The wages of sin is always death (Romans 6:23), and in 1973 the ones America chose to pay those wages were the unborn children. God tells us loud and clear that He is the Author of life (Genesis 1:27; Acts 3:15). Every human being is a unique creation designed to reflect the glory of God (Psalm 139:13–18). The Lord says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). It is God who forms a baby in the womb.
Roe vs. Wade was indeed a great victory—for sexual immorality, for selfishness, and for death mongers. It freed women from slavery to their natural, motherly instincts at the cost of their souls. God created within a woman’s heart the desire to protect and nurture her own babies (Isaiah 49:15). Regardless of how inconvenient or difficult the pregnancy may be, elective abortion is an unnatural step. The baby is not the only thing that dies. The mother will lose an integral part of herself. And she will live with that knowledge the rest of her life.
Roe vs. Wade legalized murder, because abortion is murder. The growing baby is not a part of its mother, so killing it means killing a separate entity. A distinct human being. God abhors murder, as seen in many places in Scripture (e.g., Genesis 9:5; Exodus 20:13; Revelation 22:15).
Christians should view the Roe vs. Wade decision with sadness and outrage. We should do everything within our legal power to overturn it. Ironically, Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe in the landmark decision) was befriended by a pro-life leader whose love and patience broke through her fear and anger. McCorvey eventually reversed her opinion on abortion and joined the movement to overthrow Roe vs. Wade.
We should all follow the example of the man who befriended McCorvey and realize that behind every abortion there is a hurting mother. God loves that mother as much as He loves her baby. While Roe vs. Wade was a savage blow to pre-born children in America, the women who’ve had abortions since that court decision need to know there is hope and healing in Jesus Christ. God can forgive all sin.
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