More Deadly Than COVID
“In 2021, 3.5 million lives were lost worldwide to Covid-19. In response to the threat of Covid, the world virtually shut down to preserve life. But was Covid-19 the leading cause of death in 2021? Actually, no. Abortion was. In 2021, there were 42.6 million abortions worldwide. There were over 10 times as many deaths from abortion than Covid. Where was the mobilization to preserve these precious lives?” (Excerpt from the devotional reading last week in our “If We will, He will…” workbook). When I read that I was taken aback. The sheer numbers are staggering.
Sunday, January 22, marks the 50th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that recognized abortion as a constitutional right. For years churches, pro-life organizations, and political groups have fought to put restrictions on the practice or end it all together. I have to admit my first introduction to partisan politics (early 1980s) was heavily influenced by this issue and it has been an important factor in my voting habits ever since.
However, this summer (Friday, June 24, 2022) the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade returning the authority to regulate abortion “to the people and their elected representatives.” In the absence of federal legislation, it is now up to individual states and their legislatures to determine its legality. Many states, anticipating this, had trigger laws in effect immediately banning abortion. Idaho is one of those states; performing an abortion is a felony here except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. Around 25 other states either have bans or severely restrict the practice, but some of these states are still tied up in court over it.
These events are a victory for those who support the pro-life cause. However, abortion access is still legal in roughly half the states—including two that border Idaho. There is little to stop those who wish to travel to a state where abortion is still legal. Some groups are even offering to pay the travel expenses for these women.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court’s decision has so enraged those who support abortion that it is only a matter of time until there is a successful effort to enact federal legislation that will codify abortion access for the entire country. There is also the eventuality of when the polarity of the court will again swing back to the liberal—it is the nature of politics. Roughly, 62% of the country favors abortion in most situations. That number has been steadily rising especially among young people and within the religiously unaffiliated (in an increasingly secular society). It has also been rising within many non-evangelical mainline churches. Do the math; the swinging of the pendulum is inevitable, barring divine intervention.
I’m glad Roe v. Wade was overturned. I rejoice that there will be far fewer unborn children sacrificed on the altar of “bodily autonomy” and personal choice, but I also recognize —as I have preached many times — that the solution to this issue lies not in the courts, but in the hearts of men and women. Until hearts are changed, there will always be people following the path of evil.
That is why reaching the world with the gospel is the answer. That is why a return to biblical morality in our preaching, teaching, and practice is essential. We cannot afford to be less vigilant because things are better; they are only better FOR NOW.