Here’s why a Christian cannot support any organization which engages in the taking of innocent human life
It all sounds so reasonable. Some Christians say, “Poor women need basic reproductive medical care; they may need the ocassional abortion. The compassionate thing to do is provide it at low cost and redeem it by donating the fetal remains for research purposes. Why would a follower of Christ possibly object? It’s wrong to harass PP with possibly illegally obtained sting videos which only hamper the good they are doing to the poor.”
When the first video was released by the Center for Medical Progress back in July, Patheos blogger Dan Wilkinson outlined this position in his post Why I’m a Christian Who Still Supports Planned Parenthood. I don’t know or follow Wilkinson, but since he articulates the opinions of many Christians in mainline demoninations, I will answer showing why a Christian cannot support Planned Parenthood.
My primary problem with Wilkinson’s opinion is that he labels his view as Christian, yet doesn’t offer a biblical or doctrinal defense.
Wilkinson defends Planned Parenthood in several ways:
- Using fetal remains for research. He deems the practice “entirely legal and entirely appropriate.” His reasoning is that others may benefit and abortion is happening anyway so why not bring some good out of it.
- Using callous language to describe abortion. He says just because it’s gory doesn’t make abortion morally wrong.
- Using Planned Parenthood’s 3% description of their abortion business. He labels those (fellow Christians) who characterize PP as an abortion mill “the far right” and says that because PP helps the underserved with other types of care we need more.
- Using the argument that it’s complicated. Wilkinson says, “[G]iven the theological, philosophical and scientific ambiguities surrounding the issue, I find such absolutism untenable. I don’t want anyone to ever be in the position where they’re considering abortion, but I also don’t want to deny them that option. I’m not God and, despite what many Christians claim, God doesn’t seem to have said anything that’s directly relevant to this topic.”
- Using his blog as a platform to encourage financially supporting PP.
Aborted fetal remains for research is allowed under US law, however, the language is so broad and oversight so lacking that experts agree determining whether or not the law is being upheld is murky business at best. Did PP alter its methods in order to obtain better specimens? That would be illegal, yet the videos show PP doctors agreeing, for example, to move the baby to breech position to better obtain the requested body parts. But beyond the legal questions, followers of Christ need to consider that each new life bears the image of God and thus has intrinsic value from conception forward. The prohibition against shedding innocent blood applies to the blood of the fetus with its separate DNA from his or her mother. To harvest that tissue for science is to be complicit in the abortion itself.
As biologist and bioethicist Gerard Nadal, PhD remarked on a Facebook post discussing whether fetal tissue research is essential, “You may not do evil that good may come of it. Put another way, the whole purpose of moral and ethical codes of conduct is to avoid doing what is expedient when it comes at the expense of another. That defines predation. My field is descending ever deeper into a world of high-tech cannibalism. We will soon reach a tipping point where so much of the field is caught up in the use of these tissues that it will be prohibitively expensive and time consuming to retool to more moral and ethical means of research. My peers conflate “Essential” with “Expedient.” They lose their souls, and the soul of the discipline, in the process.”
Callous language doesn’t make abortion morally wrong–agreed. Nor does the fact that abortion is a gory business make it wrong. What offends is the obvious devaluing of human life. It comes down to the question, what is the unborn? Embryology texts define a fetus as a separate, distinct, living, whole human being from conception forward. It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being. Therefore, abortion is wrong no matter the tone or word choices used to describe it.
Abortion is only 3%. From an ethical standpoint the percentage is irrelevant. Would you take your child to a pediatrician who only killed 3% of the toddlers treated every year? The 3% argument is meant to deflect a charge that PP is subsidizing abortion with taxpayer dollars. PP insists they only collect government monies for procedures which qualify for Medicaid reimbursement, and this does not include abortion. But Cecile Richards also did not challenge an assertion at a recent Congressional hearing which suggested 86% of its annual revenue comes from their abortion business. Here’s the number that matters: over 300,000 abortions annually, accounting for approximately one-third of the one million annual abortions performed in the US each year.
Calling Planned Parenthood clients the underserved masks an important point–the majority of those seeking contraception and abortion services are young women in their early 20’s. They are “underserved” only in alternatives to abortion access. Yes, abortion is legal, but taxpayers may not be compelled to pay for it since the Hyde Amendment passed in 1976. Defunding Planned Parenthood’s 665 locations would have zero impact on access to over 13,000 family health clinics which offer much more comprehensive care minus the violence of abortion.
It’s complicated and God is silent. If you deny that abortion sheds innocent blood you are missing a basic understanding of the practice. Sorry to be gory, but whether through a surgical dismemberment or chemical death of the fetus, blood is involved, and lots of it. The fact that our circumstances press in and drive us to desperate measures does not change what God says with crystal clarity: killing is off the table as problem-solving. But there is an answer . . .
You can give to Planned Parenthood which will waste your gift spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund political campaigns, pay mega-salaries, and endlessly spin its story in the media at your expense, all while enjoying tax-exempt status for their $127 million in excess revenue annually. Or you could support the life-affirming work of the pregnancy help movement which is providing women and couples a real choice–and without taxpayer dollars.
Bottom line: As a Christian we should protect and defend the weak–the voiceless unborn children as well as their mothers whose backs may be up against the wall. And we should reject abortion and those who profit from it.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have already had an abortion, please know that I wrote Cradle My Heart, Finding God’s Love After Abortion to provide affirmation and hope from the Scriptures. You may also browse a list of resources for help and healing also affirming you are forgiven in Jesus’ Name and you will be welcomed into fellowship as you seek your restoration. If you are pregnant and need free, confidential help call 1-800-712-HELP. If you’ve had an abortion and need help call 1-866-482-LIFE.
Join us on Cradle My Heart Radio as we discuss the news of the week. Call 1-800-811-3003 to ask a question or make a comment on the air during our open phones from 9:30-10 pm ET Sundays on our Faith Radio affilitates. If you would prefer to ask a question by email write to me at email@example.com before air time. For a list of radio stations or to tune in to Cradle My Heart live streaming on the Internet, go here. Smart phone users can listen on tunein linked here. The show is podcast on iTunes and archived here.