One more time
From Our Archives | After 26 years, what remains to be said?
by Marvin Olasky
Posted 1/20/16, 07:00 am
Friday is the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. To commemorate this tragic event, WORLD is republishing five important articles from its extensive archives related to the abortion issue. The following article originally appeared in WORLD Magazine’s Jan. 16, 1999, Roe v. Wade issue.
My wife and I have labored part-time in the pro-life vineyards for two decades now. Susan was a volunteer counselor in Delaware until I became a Texas professor 15 years ago, a move that I still believe God brought about largely so she could start the Austin Crisis Pregnancy Center. I’ve written two books on the history of abortion, and we’ve been involved in many other ways. Yet, as the 26th anniversary of Roe v. Wade rolls around, it’s hard to know what to say.
I’m the editor, but Susan is my editor, and she reads each of these columns before they enter the printing process. Would-be writers for WORLD whom I’ve had to reject over the past six and a half years may take comfort in the knowledge that Susan went thumbs down on two straight attempts of mine to write this column: I was trying too hard to say something new about abortion, and there’s not much new to say. Do the courageous, determined people who have worked full-time on pro-life tasks for 26 years feel this way, in spades?
What needs to be said? The Supreme Court ruled 26 years ago that the least of those among us could be sacrificed for assertedly greater goods: women’s liberation and establishment of a new Sexual Security program. We can all count the deaths since then: some 38 million unborn children. But look at the other costs: more abuse of born children, more embittered men and women, more sexual warfare, more pressure to kill off the old and the helpless. Much lost, nothing good gained.
What else needs to be said? Franklin Roosevelt’s most famous line in his second inaugural address was, “I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” Six decades later, one-third of our nation is ill-educated and ill-informed concerning the importance of logical consistency. One-third of Americans are die-hard defenders of Bill Clinton and die-easy promoters of abortion; they are wrong but logically consistent. But another third see that the president has slimed his office and that abortionists are murderers, yet they still want them to stick around. Latter-day Laodiceans are as annoying now as those to whom the Apostle John referred in Chapter 3 of Revelation.
What especially needs to be said? That God hates child-killing, and His judgment is sure. Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C. and the temple was destroyed, according to 2 Kings 24:3-4, “because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood.” The blood was shed through child sacrifice, indulged in even by King Manasseh himself, who “sacrificed his own son in the fire …” (2 Kings 21:6). Perhaps we think that America will not be held to such a standard because the children we kill are unborn—but God in the Bible does not make that distinction, and treats those “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139) in the womb as human beings.
Perhaps we think that America will not be held to such a standard because it is not a predominantly Christian country—but the Bible tells us that God’s concern for children extends to the children of pagans, and that He hates it when pagans “burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods” (Deuteronomy 12:31). The prophetic books, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah, are filled with predictions of disaster for not only Israel but for nations ranging in power from small Moab to big Babylon.
Perhaps we think that America will not be held to such a standard because the new feminist tendency is to be sad about abortions: Children must die, alas, so careers can live. But child sacrifice was not taken lightly in ancient pagan cultures, either: Killing a child was seen as the ultimate expression of devotion to a god. Now the slogan is “Career first.” Then—in times of invasion, siege, or famine, when gods needed propitiation and someone had to die—the slogan was “Children first.”
So the view that judgment is coming someday makes sense. America is not Israel, but Israel’s punishment was not greater than any of the nations surrounding it, and our country’s quasi-pagan status should not give us any comfort. Our only hope is to turn away from the sin of abortion (and other sins) while there is still time. And may God bless the dedicated, full-time soldiers of National Right to Life, the American Life League, Care Net, Americans United for Life, and many other national organizations, along with those state affiliates and thousands of crisis pregnancy centers.
Those full-timers show the right stuff by saying what needs to be said again and again, with fierce conviction. They are an inspiration to all of us with other callings but an equal need to run and not grow weary. With God’s grace, they and others will soar on wings like eagles.