Today, state laws range widely from protecting unborn life as early as conception to providing no protections for unborn life at all. Sadly, 21 states have absolutely no protection for pre-born life and allow abortion throughout the entire pregnancy; which is an evil that even progressive European countries don't allow.
As of July, 2023, 18 states protect life at conception, four states protect unborn life when a heartbeat is detected and seven states protect unborn life based on gestational age. While we should thank God for these states that protect unborn life, it is unfortunate that many of them include exceptions to these laws.
As we celebrate the many states that are standing up and taking action to save pre-born lives, we must understand the reality about the so-called exceptions. And we must continue calling for the complete abolition of abortion.
Iowa is one such state that has taken a stand to protect life, but has had to battle an ideological state court system. A court whose recent deadlocked decision led to a special legislative session for the sole purpose of passing the same heartbeat bill that had previously been passed in 2018. Similar issues have arisen in other states where pro-life legislation has made it into law but are not in effect.
The Problem with Exceptions
Many state laws protect unborn life, but contain exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomaly or to protect the life of the mother. While these exceptions are perhaps made with compassion for the victim of a crime or for a terribly unfortunate circumstance, they completely ignore the life that would be taken through abortion.
The problem with these exceptions is that hey devalue select pre-born lives. If a human life has value, then it has value regardless of how it was conceived. I heard the story of a woman who shared how she was conceived in one of these unfortunate circumstances. But her mother chose life for her, instead of seeing her as an exception.
This woman who is alive today has value; she had value when she was two years old; she had value just after she was born; and she had value before she was born.
The One Question that Matters
There is only one question that needs to be answered when it comes to the abortion debate: is it a life? If it is a life, no amount of justification will be enough to take it. If it is not a life, no amount of justification is needed.
The entire debate hinges on this one question. It is why so many pro-abortion advocates use de-humanizing language, such as "fetus" or "clump of cells." It desensitizes many to the reality of the horrors of killing a baby.
Many abortion advocates avoid answering the question about when a baby becomes a life worth protecting. For others, it's as if something mystical happens when a baby passes through the birth canal to bestow the baby as someone worth protecting.
For years, even science has affirmed life at conception. At conception, a baby has its own DNA, unique from its parents; a baby has the intrinsic ability to grow; a baby has a spirit, imparted from God; and a baby is already made in the image of God.
The Future of Pro-Life
A "near-total" ban on abortion is not enough.
A near-total ban on abortion means that every day in America, babies still have their lives taken before they are born. A near total ban on slavery would not have been enough. A near-total ban on Nazi Germany would not have been enough.
Now is not the time to rest.
Now is the time to stand strong.
Now is the time to get rid of exceptions.
Now is the time to call on all states to pass total bans on abortion.
Now is the time for a complete nationwide abortion ban.
Now is the time for America to fulfill its Constitutional duty to protect the inalienable God-given right to life of the unborn.
Now is the time for you to take action and let your state legislators, US legislators and presidential candidates know that you expect them to abolish abortion once and for all.
Ryan S. Howard, Ph.D., is the Host of Cutting Edge Faith, a podcast that shares the truth behind the headlines and equips Christians to live out their faith in the cultural chaos of today. Ryan has worked in global purchasing for more than 15 years and has visited over 20 countries. Ryan is the author of 21 Days to a Spirit-Led Life, a devotional available as a free download. He lives in Iowa with his wife, Bruna, and their son, John. Learn more at ryanshoward.com.
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