Here's the Deal, by Matt Barber

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7 Reasons the Pope Was Wrong About Christian ‘Obsession’ on Abortion

Has Pope Francis overstepped his bounds on the abortion issue?
Has Pope Francis overstepped his bounds on the abortion issue?

A politician was asked for his position on a very controversial piece of legislation. As the journalists surrounding him leaned in for his much-awaited answer, he reflected for a moment and then responded.

“Some of my friends are for it. Some of my friends are against it. As for me … I’m for my friends!”

Recent statements by Pope Francis have left multitudes wondering about some of the ambiguity in what he’s trying to communicate, especially regarding the hot-button issues of the sanctity of life (abortion) and the sanctity of marriage (homosexuality). As Christians, we should “believe the best,” but when major liberal news outlets are applauding the pope's statements and inferring he’s speaking about a new era of inclusion, acceptance and tolerance, we’re left in a quandary.

May those of us who are Christian in identification pray for all of our spiritual leaders, as the Scripture teaches. Even those who have doctrinal disagreements with the Catholic Church should pray for the pontiff because he represents Christianity to the world.

As a board member for 38 years with the Intercessors for America national prayer ministry, I am uniting with this ministry in two weeks to commemorate our 40th anniversary in calling Americans to pray and fast for civil and spiritual leaders. I suggest that as a prayer point, we lift up the pope in our prayers so that there comes greater clarity in his statements, especially regarding abortion and homosexuality.

Even though the pope recommended that we not be “obsessed” with these two areas, I’m reminded of the challenge Martin Luther brought in his era that speaks to us today:

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point that the world and the devil are at the moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages is where the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is merely flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

So while we await our prayers being answered for the pope to speak with greater focus on these issues, let’s sharpen our swords to answer more of the common questions and objections people raise concerning abortion. And may we do so in a winsome and confident manner. We’ll address the gay issues next.

7 Common Objections to Pro-Life Ideals, Part 2

1. “What about politicians who say they are pro-life but don’t want to impose their personal views on others?" This clever attempt to dodge the issue is similar to someone saying they oppose sexual molestation of children and stalking by predators but don’t want to impose their personal views on others. 

2. “Isn’t abortion a safe, harmless procedure like other surgeries—say, a root canal or tonsillectomy?” Absolutely not! It is an operation terminating the life of a developing little baby. If it was simply like these two procedures mentioned, why are there so many post-abortion support groups and scores of women getting professional counseling and grief therapy? Why do you think the majority of people choose not to even look at pictures of an abortion or the remains of a dismembered little baby? Have you spoken with or read testimonies of women with abortion-related physical and psychological problems that cause ongoing remorse and regret? This is a serious issue. 

3. “Is it love to bring unwanted children into the world where they will be neglected, abused and poverty-stricken?” Just because a pregnancy is initially unwanted or unplanned does not necessarily mean that the baby will be unwanted when born. And should the biological parents not desire to care for their newborn, there are hundreds of thousands of couples—many who have waited up to seven years due to a shortage of available babies—who are eager to adopt.

Concerning poverty, are we to conclude that death is better than being poor? Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you.” But love never takes innocent human life; rather, love always seeks to heal, to help and to extend constructive alternatives.

Before her death, Mother Teresa spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., with then President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, at her side. They were and are both abortion supporters. Responding to those who say abortion spares “unwanted” children, the diminutive nun extended her arms and said, “There is no such thing as an unwanted child! Bring any such child to me. I will find them a home!” She later stated, “We cannot fight credibly against other social and moral ills, including poverty and violence, while we tolerate mass killings by abortion."

4. “Doesn’t a woman have the right to control her own body? Isn’t this really a war on women?” In reality, a baby is not just “part of the woman’s body" like her liver or lungs. The unborn child is a totally separate person with 46 chromosomes, a separate blood system (often with a totally different blood type) and its own unique body parts.

Beyond this, it must be understood that no person has absolute rights over their own body. All of us are subject to certain civil laws that restrict our personal rights. For example, a woman may not legally sell her body for prostitution; she may not legally inject narcotic drugs into her body; and she may not legally kill herself. In these ways she does not have a total “right” to control her own body. No one does!

Not long ago, the New York Times Magazine ran an article about Amy Richards after she learned she was pregnant with triplets. Realizing it would mean “shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise,” she asked her obstetrician, “Is it possible to get rid of one of them? Or two of them?” 

The article related that Richards' boyfriend balked as he stared at the three pre-born babies on the sonogram. “Oh my gosh," he said, “there are three heartbeats! I can’t believe we are about to make two disappear."

Richards fluffed off his request to at least consider having the triplets and aborted the two unborn babies. Without the abortions, she exclaimed, “I’d have to give up my life!”

Richards is the brainchild behind Planned Parenthood’s T-shirt campaign encouraging ladies to proudly proclaim, “I had an abortion!”

In our culture today, we are seeing misguided freedom run amok. It’s time to rein things back in, get back on the truth track and defend the weak and needy ones—the least of Christ’s brethren (Matt. 25:45).

5. “Aren’t you trying to impose your morality on others, especially since the Supreme Court made abortion legal?” There is an incorrect assumption here that nobody should attempt to impose their moral views upon anybody else. This assumption ignores the obvious fact that laws impose morality upon others—for example, it’s illegal to steal, to cheat on your income tax or to run without clothes through a shopping mall.

The truth is that someone’s morality determines the fate of the innocent unborn. God and our Founding Fathers stated everyone has a right to life.

Regarding the Supreme Court making abortion legal—that is true. They also declared black people were not citizens but merely property in the Dred Scott decision of 1857. They were wrong then, and they are wrong again in their abortion decision of 1973. Just as courageous people took a stand then against an immoral law and won a victory for justice, so too in our day are we called to take a stand for the defenseless baby in the womb.

6. “With modern technological advances, isn’t it best that we prevent a child from being born into the world who may be deformed or handicapped?” Since when has it become a capital offense to be less than perfect? The assumption here is one that declares, “Children born with deformities or handicaps will not live a fully meaningful life. Theirs will be a miserable existence.” No evidence supports this misguided viewpoint.

Consider the names of some who suffered severe handicaps: Helen Keller—blind and deaf; Stevie Wonder—blind from birth; Franklin Delano Roosevelt—crippled from polio; Beethoven—deaf; Stephen Hawking—genius; and Christopher Reeve and Michael J. Fox—actors. Did they live nonmeaningful lives?

7. “Do you want abortion forced to back alleys, where tens of thousands of women will once again die?” Former abortion rights activist Dr. Bernard Nathanson admitted he and his cofounders of the National Abortion Rights Action League fabricated the figure that 1 million women were getting illegal abortions in America yearly with tens of thousands dying. The doctor who became pro-life before his death and strongly opposed abortion stated that the average was really about 98,000 illegal abortions, with an average of about 250 deaths for 25 years before 1973. Plus, 90 percent of these were done in doctors’ offices—not back alleys! And, yes, some died, as they still do even in our day.

Should we legalize and sanction heroin addiction because some people die in back alleys due to overdoses and dirty needles? Should we legalize and promote prostitution as a legitimate business in order to curb the spread of rape and venereal disease? And remember, the central issue is this: There is another human being whose life is at stake!

Here’s the deal: In the recent Colorado flooding, it was mandatory that animals were to be rescued. How can we do any less for the defenseless unborn? While we pray for our leaders, such as the pope, to speak with even greater clarity on the hot-button issues of our day, namely abortion and homosexuality, let’s engage people in the marketplace in a charitable yet clear way, answering their objections with the truth. Remember, Scripture declares the Lord hates "hands that shed innocent blood” (Prov. 6:17, KJV).

Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.

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