The debate surrounding abortion has been ongoing for decades, with both sides fiercely advocating for their beliefs. And while the pro-life movement claims to have made significant strides in the past, abortion abolitionists believe that their approach is not enough to protect the sanctity of human life. Abolitionists argue that the pro-life movement’s incremental approach and willingness to compromise on certain issues undermines the fundamental message that all life is precious and worthy of protection.
Even within mainstream Evangelical circles like the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the controversy over abolitionism is brewing greatly with leaders such as SBC president, Bart Barber, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission head, Brent Leatherwood, fiercely arguing that mothers should never be held accountable for committing an abortion. Other Southern Baptist pastors have even argued for exceptions to abortion laws or even keeping them legal altogether.
Yet, it is the abolitionist position that is consistent with biblical repentance as it makes no excuses for an incremental approach to such a heinous crime against humanity. Just as repentance involves turning away from sin and dedicating oneself to a new way of living, abolitionists advocate for a complete rejection of the cultural acceptance of abortion and a commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn. Repentance and abolition both require a willingness to challenge one’s beliefs, to stand firm in the face of opposition, and to take bold action in defense of what is right and just.
Abolitionists of abortion refuse to accept any policy or law that allows abortion to continue, even in limited circumstances because any compromise on the issue sends the message that some lives are less valuable than others and that any law or policy that permits abortion perpetuates the violence of abortion. Abortion is not a matter of opinion or personal preference; it is a moral issue that must be addressed with compassion, understanding, and respect for the sanctity of life.
One of the most significant concerns abolitionists have with the pro-life movement is their willingness to compromise on certain issues. While many pro-life advocates support exceptions for rape, incest, heartbeats, gestational age, or even that abortion shouldn’t be illegal, but instead, society should provide financial and social incentives for mothers to keep their children (essentially a bribe), abolitionists argue that this compromise is unacceptable. All human life, regardless of the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy, deserves protection. A life is a life, and it is not for us to decide whose life is more valuable or worthy of protection.
The pro-life movement’s focus on political action, such as supporting compromised pro-life candidates and passing watered-down pro-life laws, is also problematic in the eyes of abolitionists. While political action is necessary and all killing of unborn children should be illegal and carry heavy consequences, the root of the problem is a cultural acceptance of abortion perpetuated by these very compromised “pro-life” advocates. To end abortion, a cultural change is necessary, and the pro-life movement must focus on changing hearts and minds in addition to passing laws against it.
Moreover, abolitionists criticize the pro-life movement for not doing enough to directly save the lives of unborn children. They argue that the movement should focus more on direct action, such as sidewalk counseling at abortion clinics where they can directly interact with those seeking an abortion and confront them with the truth of God’s Word about human life and the Image of God. Abolitionists believe that these actions are crucial to ending abortion and saving lives.
In short, abolitionists believe that the pro-life movement’s incremental approach is not enough to protect the sanctity of human life and that any compromise on the issue sends the message that some lives are less valuable than others and that the pro-life movement’s focus on political action is insufficient to effect real change. To end abortion, we must focus on changing hearts and minds by confronting the abortion industry with the gospel and creating a culture that opposes any form of murder in the strictest sense.