The world of politics in America seems crazy, doesn’t it? We’re always hearing the negative things. So and so did this; so and so said that. You’d think it was leading to the downfall of the American Experiment as we know it.
It’s kind of always been this way. In 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel over opposing political views and personal offenses. Burr fled to the western territories as a fugitive…the Vice President!
Can you imagine Vice President Pence pulling out pistols and challenging someone to a duel? Thankfully, our political landscape isn’t that bad (yet!).
4 Positive Things
I don’t want to make light of the challenges we face today (with abortion at the top of that list). But I just want us to remember that this has always been how the game of politics is played in our country. The loudest and most abrasive man often wins. That’s unfortunate because of the moral weight of the topics we face.
Thankfully, things aren’t always as bad as they seem. Here are four positive things you should know about abortion in the United States.
1. Recorded abortions are declining.
Though 42 million abortions occured worldwide in 2018, a little less than 1 million of those were recorded in the United States. The abortion rate has been steadily declining since the 1990s in America.1
Why it’s declining remains to be understood. Some say it’s due to increased use of long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). Others say it’s because of increased contraceptive education in schools.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to determine. It may be that reporting abortion statistics is virtually unenforceable, so abortions simply aren’t being recorded properly. Or it may be that the thousands of pregnancy centers across the country are giving women a tangible alternative to abortion more and more effectively. But in any case, the fact that abortion appears to be declining in the United States is a good thing.
2. Laws have been passed in multiple states to restrict abortion.
The Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton SCOTUS cases both had decisions handed down on the same day: January 22, 1973. They set the foundation for an obscure “right to privacy,” an even more obscure definition of personal “health,” and a very clear mandate that states could not outright ban abortions.
Doe is particularly interesting, because in that case, the anonymous plaintiff came from Georgia. The case was against Attorney General Arthur Bolton, who enforced the law that restricted abortions except in cases of rape and incest, along with a few other restrictions. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled these restrictions unconstitutional.
But now, 46 years later, a new law has been passed in Georgia. The law restricts abortion to 6 weeks, or when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is potentially earlier. It allows for cases of rape and incest, or when the mother’s life is in extreme peril, but the restrictions are more than we’ve seen from the Georgia state legislature since 1973.2
Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio are moving in a similar direction with new laws recently passed, and other state legislatures following close behind. While higher court judges may be attempting to block some of these laws, the fact that multiple states are finally pursuing legal action to restrict abortion is encouraging.
3. Alabama has effectively outlawed abortion.
Alabama is at the forefront of the fight against abortion. Attorney Eric Johnston helped write the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which restricts abortion in almost every case, except in cases where the mother’s life is in extreme peril.
Johnston’s argument is based on the human rights of the unborn. The law recognizes unborn humans as having the same rights that born humans have in the state of Alabama. So, Johnston argued, no exceptions can be made in cases of rape or incest because even then the unborn is a human with rights like any other Alabama citizen. Only in extreme cases where the mother would end up dying (which would by default cause the child to die) can a technical abortion be performed.3
Let’s hope more states follow this line of legal argument.
4. Both plaintiffs in the original SCOTUS cases became pro-life.
If you didn’t know, both plaintiffs in the original SCOTUS cases became pro-life. Mary Doe (of Doe v. Bolton) was later identified as Sandra Cano. She actually protested the case, claiming that her attorney tricked her into filing it. Sandra stated that she was pro-life and regretted her involvement. She died in 2014.
Jane Roe (of Roe v. Wade) was later identified as Norma McCorvey. She became a Christian some years later and subsequently became a pro-life activist. She regretted her involvement in the SCOTUS case, as well. She died in 2017.
It’s very encouraging that, though these women may have been part of the cause for legalized abortion in the beginning, they eventually changed their minds and actively worked to combat the rulings of their original cases. Though they may not have seen real progress during their lifetimes, they laid the foundation for what we’re seeing now.
Likely due to the two newest members of the Supreme Court, lawyers and lawmakers in states across the country have a renewed courage and sense of urgency. Without getting our hopes up, the end looks like it could possibly be in sight for legalized abortion.
No matter who’s in the White House, I’m glad we’re finally seeing some significant progress. For too long abortion has been used as a political weapon, resulting in nothing more than empty promises. But it’s so much more—it’s a moral problem that the leaders of our time must correct.
Unborn children should have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, along with their moms who should be equipped and empowered to see their dreams fulfilled. Rather than tell a mom to kill her baby because she can’t handle motherhood, we should show her she can do it—and then help her get there.
Laws dictate the actions of our citizens. And until the law in our state says abortion is unacceptable, women will still seek them out here. We hope and pray that one day North Carolina will be as progressive as Alabama when it comes to unborn human rights.
What You Can Do
But we don’t have to wait around for laws to change in order to see hearts and minds changed on abortion. Let’s also pray for and work toward seeing more people, like Norma McCorvey and Sandra Cano, completely abandon the fight for abortion and start fighting for the rights of their unborn neighbors.
Creating a culture of life begins with us. Don’t let crazy politics get in the way. Rather than challenging someone to a duel when you disagree with them, invite them into a one-one-one conversation. Hear their perspective, show them you care, and share the truth with love.
Only then can we possibly see the end of legalized abortion in our lifetime. Who do you need to engage?
Carter Mundy is the Associate Executive Director at GPCC.
- Breitbart, Dec. 31, 2018, http://archive.vn/hqWgy; National Right to Life factsheet, https://nrlc.org/uploads/factsheets/FS01AbortionintheUS.pdf. ↩
- New York Times article, “Georgia Governor Signs ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Abortion Law” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/07/us/heartbeat-bill-georgia.html. ↩
- For more, see The Gospel Coalition’s Collin Hansen interview with Eric Johnston: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/podcasts/tgc-podcast/meet-lawyer-behind-alabamas-abortion-ban/. ↩