Pro-lifers: Walk and don”t grow weary

It’s been a lifetime, the better part of 40 years, since I sat in the Tarrant County Convention Center and heard Francis Schaeffer and C. Everett Koop explain the horrors wrought on unborn children by our culture’s sexual revolution. I’d never heard any of this in church or in ethics classes, nor had I noticed it in the news—at least not in these terms. That year was really the birth of evangelical involvement in the pro-life movement; the Catholics had been at it for years. It is to our shame that it took years after Roe v. Wade for evangelicals, particularly Southern Baptists, to realize what we’d allowed to happen.

But we did realize it. Since those days, millionaire abortionists have risen and declined. Even many of the unsaved now see that abortion at any stage and for any reason is monstrous. It is a right that many defend but in which only the shameless glory. Yes, there are shameless people, and many of them are politicians, but abortion clinics are closing. In my adult life, the “women’s health issue” has been put to shame by quiet, praying volunteers at pregnancy resource centers around the country. Without public money and a decent return on investment, abortion clinics close. Without public money and any return on financial investments, pregnancy resource clinics expand and multiply.

The legal landscape has to some degree reflected growing public distaste for the extremes of the abortion lobby. The activists and profiteers know that any limitation, even on the killing of fully formed and viable children in the wombs of girls too young to legally drive a car, will terminally undermine the mythology they preach. Average citizens, and many state lawmakers, are not deeply concerned about the consequences reasonable regulation might have on the financial fortunes of ghouls.

But Roe v. Wade still stands. And public opinion is more quickly changed than legal precedent.

Young women still have what were formerly called “problem pregnancies” and lack adequate family or community support. That won’t end.

The drift of fallen humanity will always be away from righteous sexual behavior and personal responsibility. We, all of us, are tempted toward many sins to hide a single sin.

Our families and our churches will still need to support pregnancy centers, then. These outposts provide food, diapers, furniture, counseling and nurture to tens of thousands of young women (and their guys) each year. Thousands will confess Christ as Lord each year as a result of the ministry and witness these centers provide. If Roe v. Wade was overturned tomorrow, we’d still need these ministries. The government will not fund them because they are too controversial. Those with a profit motive will never help them because they are the purest benevolence. This must continue to be one of those things we’d never do for money but will do for love.

Dirty and frustrating as it can be, we must continue to advocate for laws that protect life. There will always be challenges to existing regulations by many with venal motives and some with a misbegotten but sincere desire to help women. Technology will move so that existing laws don’t address the things we can do in this day. For example, the amazing progress of medical arts to keep ever-younger babies alive outside the womb has impacted the pro-life movement in the past 20 years. The movement for embryo-destructive stem cell research is another thing that we wouldn’t have predicted when the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down.

Additionally, the strange “we favor the right to abort, but we also love babies” mentality of American society will always leave bizarre contradictions in the law. When a person kills a pregnant woman, how many “people” has he caused to die? Roe v. Wade will not allow us to treat the unborn child as a person with rights separate from his mother, but it seems to allow us to protect him from nearly every other person. We who believe in God, the giver of life, must be on hand to help tip the scales toward the value of every human life as lawmakers try to unsnarl knotted legal problems we’ve created.

Always, we have a prophetic role to a nation too often mindless of revealed truth. When thousands mobbed the capitol in Austin in favor the worst kind of abortions, Christians needed to show that there is another way to stand for one’s convictions just as there is more than one conviction on the subject. I think in this case it helped to show up.

Consider another, less contentious, event for your calendar. The Dallas March for Life will be Jan. 17 at the Dallas Convention Center from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. This is not a political rally but a spiritual one. We will pray, hear from God’s Word, sing and walk the streets of Dallas in a peaceable way until we arrive at the Dallas County Courthouse—where Roe v. Wade began.

For the sake of the unborn innocent and for the sake of a guilty nation racking up ever more guilt by what we allow, approve and even bless, we must be light bearers in our communities. There are many ways we can do that but really no way we can justify ignoring the worst thing our generation has done.

Find the latest details on the march at

Gary Ledbetter
Southern Baptist Texan
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