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“I’m pro-life but…”

by James Silberman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Many issues lack moral black-and-whiteness. Thus, the typical political battle is one of nuance and concessions. We aim for practicality and consensus. Once in this mindset, it can be difficult to get out of it. Politics becomes a game of scoring points for your team and spending political capital wisely. You don’t want to overstep here, or draw the ire of the other side there – and this isn’t inherently bad. But when it comes to an issue like industrial scale child sacrifice, this attitude is entirely inappropriate.

You don’t compromise on child sacrifice. You don’t regulate murder. You don’t bother yourself with the wailing and gnashing of teeth from mass murder apologists. You call it murder and you abolish it as such. Unfortunately, many view 61+ million dead image bearers of God, with roughly a million added to the total annually, like it were any other political tug of war.

Televangelist Pat Robertson also opposed the bill saying on his show, “The 700 Club,” that “the Alabama bill has gone too far.”

These moderates are terribly, terribly wrong for two reasons. First, moderation is no virtue when the abolition of a monstrous evil is the objective. Imagine the eruption of anger which would flow from William Lloyd Garrison and the slavery abolitionists at the idea that the message be watered down. We actually don’t have to imagine. British author Elizabeth Heyrick, one of the greatest communicators, and certainly the most underrated, of the 19th century abolitionists, rebuked those whose anti-slavery advocacy was “slow and cautious.”

“It is utterly astonishing, with such an object as West Indian slavery before us, rendered palpable, in all its horrors, almost to our very senses, by a multitude of indubitable facts, collected from various sources of the highest authority, all uniting in the same appalling evidence; – with the sight of our fellow-creatures in bondage so rigorous – in moral and physical degradation so abject; – under a tyranny so arbitrary, wanton and barbarous;- it is utterly astonishing that our compassion and sympathy should be so timid and calculating – so slow and cautious.”

Timid anti-abortion advocacy is not only impractical but, whether intentionally or unintentionally, callously indifferent to the victims of abortion given the abject and barbarous degradation preborn boys and girls are subjected to at the arbitrary and tyrannical whim of nine politically connected lawyers in black robes. Two-to-three thousand image bearers of God will be murdered today. Urgency, people.

Heyrick goes on to lampoon the absurdity of delaying slavery’s abolition on account of strong objections – refuting the idea that going “outside the mainstream” or “too far for most [Brits]” is something to fear.

“But, to demand immediate emancipation, however safe, however just and desirable in itself, would (we are told) be most impolitic;-for it would never be granted;-by standing to obtain too much, you would lose all. You must go cautiously and gradually to work. A very powerful interest and a very powerful influence are against you. You must try to conciliate instead of provoke the West Indian planters;-to convince them that their own interest is concerned in the better treatment and gradual emancipation of their slavers, or your object will never be accomplished…

“The interests and the prejudices of the West Indian planters, have occupied much too prominent a place in the discussion of this great question. The abolitionists have shewn a great deal too much politeness and accommodation toward these gentlemen. With reference to them, the question is said, to be a very delicate one. Was ever the word delicacy so preposterously misapplied?”

Secondly, the reason that Americans favor “significant new restrictions, but not blanket bans” is that pro-life lobbyists and politicians have never rallied Christians to the cause of abortion’s total abolition. They’ve rallied Christians to the cause of stopping certain abortion techniques, of making sure the abortionists’ tools are sterile, of preventing the killing of babies who feel pain or whose heartbeats the abortionists can see. When that’s been the rallying cry of the pro-life movement for 46 years, how can we surprised at the pro-life apprehension to more thorough protections for preborn boys and girls?

Our demand must be for equal justice and protection for preborn human beings immediately. Most Christians think it’s possible to compromise on legislation without compromising on principle, but on black-and-white moral issues such as this, lesser demands inevitably lead to lesser principles. In her most thunderous rebuke, Heyrick explained that the concept of incremental abolition is actually an oxymoron. Attempts to “gradually abolish” a societal sin leads inevitably to toleration of the sin and delay its abolition.

“The enemies of slavery have hitherto ruined [the abolitionist] cause by the senseless cry of gradual emancipation. It is marvellous that the wise and the good should have suffered themselves to have been imposed upon by this wily artifice of the slave holder, for with him must the project of gradual emancipation have first originated.

“The slave holder knew very well that his prey would be secure, so long as the abolitionists could be cajoled into a demand for gradual instead of immediate abolition. He knew very well, that the contemplation of a gradual emancipation, would beget a gradual indifference to emancipation itself. He knew very well, that even the wise and the good, may, by habit and familiarity, be brought to endure and tolerate almost any thing…

“He knew very well, that the faithful delineation of the horrors of West Indian slavery, would produce such a general insurrection of sympathetic and indignant feeling; such abhorrence of the oppressor, such compassion for the oppressed, as must soon have been fatal to the whole system… Our example might have spread from kingdom to kingdom, from continent to continent, and the slave trade, and slavery, might by this time, have been abolished all the world over: ‘A sacrifice of a sweet savour,’ might have ascended to the Great Parent of the Universe, ‘His kingdom might have come, and his will (thus far) have been done on earth, as it is in Heaven.’

“But this GRADUAL ABOLITION, has been the grand marplot of human virtue and happiness; the very masterpiece of satanic policy. By converting the cry for immediate, into gradual emancipation, the prince of slave holders, ‘transformed himself, with astonishing dexterity, into an angel of light,’ and thereby ‘deceived the very elect.’ He saw very clearly, that if public justice and humanity, especially, if Christian justice and humanity, could be brought to demand only a gradual extermination of the enormities of the slave system; if they could be brought to acquiesce, but for one year, or for one month, in the slavery of our African brother, in robbing him of all the rights of humanity, and degrading him to a level with the brutes; that then, they could imperceptibly be brought to acquiesce in all this for an unlimited duration…

“The father of lies…deceived, not the unwary only, the unsuspecting multitude, but the wise and the good, by the plausibility, the apparent force, the justice, and above all, by the humanity of the arguments propounded for gradual emancipation. He is the subtlest of all reasoners, the most ingenious of all sophists, the most eloquent of all declaimers. He, above all other advocates, ‘can make the worst appear the better argument;’ can, most effectually pervert the judgment and blind the understanding, whilst they seem to be most enlightened and rectified. Thus by a train of most exquisite reasoning, has he brought the abolitionists to the conclusion, that the interest of the poor, degraded and oppressed slave, as well as that of his master, will be best secured by his remaining in slavery.”

The pro-life movement has long been about regulating abortion, hence the shock displayed by many pro-lifers at the attempt to abolish it. Let compromised demands fade away and a unified call for the immediate and total abolition of abortion ring out.

Immediate, Not Gradual Abolition of Abortion


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