It has often been said that when a truth is simple enough for even a four-year-old child to understand, most adults will probably not comprehend it. The older we get, the more inclined we are to discuss even the most important matters in a nuanced way, sometimes to the point of obfuscating the actual facts. Such is the case with abortion.
As I have traveled around the country for the past 30 years, it has been my privilege to remind pro-lifers that abortion is an act of murder. I urge those who are involved with us to make it clear that abortion is a disqualifying issue. In other words, the politician or the proposed law must not provide acceptance for a single act of abortion.
And every time I point this out, at least one person in the audience will roll his eyes and I can imagine that he is thinking, "There she goes again! She just isn’t realistic."
So you can imagine my joy when Northern Kentucky Right to Life published their most recent newsletter and quoted, not me, but one of my heroines, Ellen McCormack, who ran for the presidency of the United States in 1976 and in 1980 as a pro-life Democrat. She wrote
Suppose we learn that our favorite legislator is an embezzler. On other matters, he continues to advocate good social programs. Nevertheless, would he not lose our support immediately? Would anyone even think of arguing that "embezzlement is only one issue"?
In the objective order, which is more serious – acting in such a way as to steal thousands of dollars (embezzlement) or acting in such a way as to take millions of lives (abortion)?
Suppose that our favorite legislator suddenly announces his support of legalized child abuse. He claims that "it will go on anyway and we might as well do it in hospitals – under conditions that are safe for the parents." Would he not lose our vote?
Imagine that – in a throwback to the 19th century – our legislator decides that slavery should not be prohibited. "Whether whites or blacks are equal is a decision that everyone must make for himself. We should not impose our personal morality on those who see nothing wrong with slavery." Would support of slavery not be a disqualifying issue?
It might be argued that the above examples are extreme. But are they? In the objective order, abortion is as great an evil as the examples mentioned above.
It should be observed that pro-life people are not saying – as critics sometimes erroneously claim – that abortion is the "only" issue that should be taken into account. What we are saying is that support of abortion should disqualify a legislator from receiving our vote – no matter what stands he takes on other questions.
Thus, we usually will not vote for a candidate "only" because he is honest. We will probably check for other qualities. But, if he is an embezzler, that in itself disqualifies him. In the same way, we usually will not vote for legislators "only" because they oppose child abuse and slavery. But, if the opposite is true – and they support those things – that in itself would be a disqualifying issue.
IF ONLY the concept of the "disqualifying issue" were understood and applied by all those who oppose abortion! If that happened, we would have a Human Life Amendment tomorrow.
The strongest argument we hear against the position proposed by Ellen McCormack is that we have to take a subtle approach and work toward the goal through incremental steps. But as Flip Benham, founder of Operation Save America, has written in his article "Incrementalism: A lie from the Pit of Hell
Incrementalism is a devastating lie that prevents Christians from standing upon God’s Word and God’s Word alone. It causes us to make compromises with "the seed of the serpent" that God would never have us make. Case in point, Parental Notification and Parental Consent: it is not all right to kill children when their parents have been notified. Neither is it all right to kill children whose mothers have been given parental consent. A Christian cannot sign on to legislation like this, no matter how well intentioned the motive, for it is contrary to God’s Word. Unfortunately, incrementalism, has caused us to be ashamed of God’s Word (Mark 8:38).
But you may say, "At least it is a step in the right direction and think of the thousands of lives that will be saved." This is the lie of incrementalism at its finest. It causes one to make bargains with the enemy by compromising the Word of God. Babies may or may not be saved but, in signing or sponsoring legislation like this, you have just put yourself in the place of Almighty God. He never gave you the moral authority (the bargaining chip) to make this kind of a decision. Your duty is to stand on His Word and His Word alone. All children are precious in His sight and all human life is sacred.
What Flip is telling the reader is that when pro-lifers support abortion in the case of rape, incest or life of the mother, or endorse proposals that do not address the reality of what abortion is, we are simply playing into the hands of the enemy.
In other words, as Robert Muise, an attorney with the Thomas More Law Center has written
, "For over thirty years, leaders in the pro-life movement have shied away from a direct challenge to Roe and have opted for an ‘incremental approach’. After these thirty-plus years, we still have Roe and abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy."
If you and I truly believe that abortion is an act of murder we should act that way, we should speak that way and we should demand that those who claim to be pro-life reflect this principle in all they say and do. As Ellen McCormack said, if we all did this with consistency we would have achieved legal personhood for the preborn child from the first instant his life begins onward.
It’s time to disqualify anybody who cannot see this fundamental truth from the pro-life effort.