by pastor Tom Eckstein (Concordia Lutheran Church, Jamestown, ND)
I am proud to be a resident of North Dakota for various reasons. One of the primary reasons is that on Tuesday, March 26th, Governor Jack Dalrymple signed three pro-life bills into law, thus making our state the one that most clearly articulates the self-evident truth asserted in our nation’s Declaration of Independence: that all humans “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Representative Alex Looysen of Jamestown expressed this truth well with his words recently quoted in various North Dakota newspapers: “Let’s stand up for those that can’t speak, the unborn children. Let’s grant them basic human rights.”
The right to life for all humans comes from our Creator who, in Holy Scripture, clearly teaches that human life exists from the moment of conception. In Psalm 139:13 the psalmist says of God: “You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” In Luke 1:39-45 we see that John the Baptist and Jesus, our Lord, are spoken of as human babies as they reside in their mother’s wombs.
Sadly, more and more people in our nation – including those who claim the name “Christian”– no longer submit to the teaching of Holy Scripture regarding what we are to believe and how we are to live. Therefore, we need to address the issue of abortion in our nation by appealing to arguments from reason and common sense. The question is whether people are willing to listen to such arguments.
For example, one way many people attempt to justify the practice of legalized abortion is by uttering this slogan: “Every child a wanted child.” This slogan sounds so compassionate and loving – but it is neither. This evil slogan suggests that the worth of a human being is based on whether he or she is wanted by others. If this slogan says anything it clearly shows our selfishness in that we are attempting to justify ending the lives of other human beings simply because they are not wanted by us. Imagine the outcry if I used the slogan “Every woman a wanted woman!” as justification for men ending the lives of women whom they do not want. Imagine the outcry if I used the slogan “Every African American a wanted African American!” as justification for Caucasians ending the lives of African Americans whom they do not want. Yet people continue to use the slogan “Every child a wanted child!” to justify ending the lives of children in the womb who are not wanted by their parents.
One of the pro-life bills in North Dakota would prohibit an abortion if the reason for ending the child’s life is its gender or that it has some physical disability. Those who promote abortion as a way of affirming “women’s rights” should be concerned about the rights of women whose lives can be ended in the womb simply because they are women. In addition, as a parent whose daughter has autism, I am very concerned that our nation allows a child to be killed in the womb simply because he or she has some disability. Of course, those in favor of abortion could avoid the limitations of this pro-life bill simply by asserting that they do not want the child – and then giving no particular reason for why they do not want the child. But what kind of nation have we become when we can justify ending the lives of humans in the womb simply because they are not wanted by us?
Another slogan used to justify the practice of ending the life of children in the womb is: “I support the right of women to choose!” This slogan sounds so American! What could be more American than the right to choose? But the fact is that we do not have the right choose many things if those choices include the physical harm or death of another human being. Imagine the outcry if I said: “I would never rape a woman. I think it is wrong. But I support the right of other men to choose!”
When a man and a woman freely choose to engage in sexual intercourse they then should be prepared to take responsibility for the human life that may be created by their freely chosen behavior. But ending the life of another human being is a choice that should not be allowed in any civilized society – even if that human life happens to reside in the womb.
When people consider the fact that this nation currently allows parents to hire someone to kill their child while he or she is in the womb, they should ask themselves: “When is it permissible to kill a baby?” When we consider the evil fact of abortion on those terms we begin to realize that all almost all our arguments – many of them simply selfish! – for killing children while they are in the womb go against reason and common sense.
Earlier I noted that more and more people in our nation do not submit to what Holy Scripture teaches about many things – including the sacredness of human life from the point of conception. However, my prayer is that more and more people will be willing to submit to what Scripture teaches about the sacredness of the lives of infant boys and girls in their mother’s wombs – and then speak out for them because they can’t speak out for themselves. Many of our legislators in North Dakota are doing just that! God bless their efforts.
Finally, I also pray that people will hear and believe another teaching of Holy Scripture – the truth that God loves all people, and the proof is that He sent His only Son into this world to die on the cross in our place of damnation. This blessed truth means we can face our horrible sins – including the sin of abortion – and know that there is forgiveness and a new beginning through faith in Jesus.