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Former SBC Professor and ERLC Fellow Defends Women Having Abortions, Rebukes Al Mohler for Wanting to Hold Them Accountable

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Abortion, Apostasy, Feminism, heresy, News, Opinion, Politics, Religion, Social-Issues, The Church, US

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After Politico published a leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on Roe v. Wade in 2022, former Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professor, Karen Swallow Prior, took to social media to express her disdain for President Trump who is responsible for placing conservative justices in the nation’s high court. Prior argued that even though she claims to be pro-life, having Roe v. Wade overturned was not worth having Trump in office for four years.

After Prior’s statement, she continued to argue that she would have been in favor of waiting longer to overturn Roe v. Wade so long as it meant she wouldn’t have had to endure Donald Trump.


Of course, as any card-carrying progressive Evangelical would, Swallow Prior hijacks the pro-life movement to mean something that it actually doesn’t mean, and conflates it with social justice. To these social justice types, being pro-life doesn’t just mean protecting the lives of innocent unborn children at the hands of murderous mothers, fathers, abortionists, and abortion lobbyists, but it also means one must support socialism and hate Donald Trump.

In fact, these progressive Evangelicals are so obsessed with Donald Trump that nearly two years after the election, they simply can’t let it go—they can’t just be thankful that no matter what they think about the man, God used him for good in many ways.

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Swallow Prior’s rhetoric drew the ire of conservative Southern Baptists. According to a Washington Post article, Karen Swallow Prior was standing on her front porch in tears after conservatives “trashed” her “pro-life creds.” The article reports:

In response to her tweets, hundreds of Prior’s fellow Christian activists, including leaders in her Southern Baptist denomination, trashed her antiabortion cred:

“Jezebel — horribly, horribly wicked woman.”

“Enemies of God.”

“You’re complicit in the deaths of millions.”

By Wednesday, Prior stood on the same porch in tears.

The Washington Post article reported Swallow Prior as saying “I felt as a pro-life Christian, we were working together, whatever disagreements, politically or theologically we had, we were working together, we were fighting the culture. And now we are attacking each other. I have reservations about where the culture war mentality took us.”

Fast forward two years later, and Swallow Prior is now writing a scathing rebuke to Al Mohler in particular and the abortion abolitionist movement in general for holding the view that women are morally culpable for seeking to terminate the lives of their unborn children. In a piece for RNS titled “Mohler and the abortion abolitionists don’t take sin seriously enough,” Swallow Prior writes:

But in the March 15 episode of his podcast, “The Briefing,” Mohler praised the abolitionists’ view that “all persons who are morally and criminally responsible for abortion should be prosecuted,” including the women who have abortions. “I think this is an embarrassing shortfall on the part of many who call themselves pro-life,” Mohler said, “where they have just decided to exempt women seeking abortions from really any moral accountability.”

While Mohler’s remarks carefully elided any distinction between “moral accountability” and legal prosecution, they whipped abolitionists into a frenzy. “Let’s go,” posted one, as though the discussion over prosecuting women who seek abortions is a sports competition. “You love to see it,” exulted another. A more egalitarian abolitionist argued that “both parents should die.”

On the surface, it might seem that, in order to hold the view that elective abortion unjustly deprives an innocent human being of life, one must logically count that act as murder and punish accordingly.

But the natures of human relationships, community norms and social imaginaries have a logic all their own.

She then goes into a detailed defense of the view that there should be exceptions to moral and legal culpability for women who seek to have abortions, blaming “society” for the pressures that push women to seek them, even comparing the act of killing a child to suicide:

Where suicide (once called self-murder) is against the law, those who attempt it and fail are not tried, imprisoned or executed but are offered help and assistance.

The same principle is applied in all cases of self-harm and self-mutilation. While the child carried by a pregnant woman is a complete, whole, individual human being, that being is connected to her body. This is a physical and biological reality. It means that the child cannot be helped or protected without supporting the mother, too. The child’s body is surrounded by the mother’s body, which is surrounded by a social and relational world that either supports her or traps her.

But her excuse for women who seek abortions is lame, at best, and does not take the act of sin seriously. She quotes an author who says “No woman wants an abortion like she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion like an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg” and then points out that women who have the legal right to abortion “feel free”—and somehow, that’s a sentiment worth protecting.

Of course, Swallow Prior never actually gets to the heart of the issue: that women who seek abortions are committing a grievous sin that starts in their own, unrepentant hearts. I agree with Swallow Prior that part of the problem is societal, but for different reasons. And, of course, with different conclusions. Swallow Prior believes that women shouldn’t be held accountable for the sins they commit because society has pressured them into believing that having an abortion is morally acceptable. She even goes as far as to admit that up to a third of women sitting in Southern Baptist church pews have committed abortions, and uses this as a reason to reject the notion that they are guilty of sin.

She writes:

In fact, data from the Southern Baptist’s own research arm indicates that many women in the church who have had abortions (7 in 10 women who have had abortions identify as Christian) find a lack of grace and support from the church. It has also been reported that 1 in 3 women who attend a Southern Baptist church have had an abortion.

“When 1 in 3 women within a denomination have committed a sin that their denominational leaders say they should be prosecuted and even imprisoned for,” Swallow Prior writes, “we have a problem that is much larger than that of individual moral failing. This is a cultural and systemic problem.”

Indeed, we do have a cultural and systemic problem. The first problem is that our Christian leaders haven’t taken the sin of abortion serious enough, and the vast majority of these women sitting in these pews believe that they aren’t morally culpable for this sin, and thus, no need for repentance. This is thanks to the influential views of center-leftists like Karen Swallow Prior who repeat this mantra. By holding the view that women shouldn’t be legally responsible for murdering their children, we’re telling them, systemically and culturally, that they are innocent—but they’re not.

“The medical establishment that approves of abortion on demand,” Swallow Prior continues, “the politicians and judges who have enshrined it in law, and our impoverished social imaginary have all served to malform our consciences in regard to unborn human life for generations now.” This is a true statement. But she omits herself. She, herself, and those, like ERLC president, Brent Leatherwood, are just as guilty, if not more (because they claim Christ), of malforming the consciences of women seeking abortions.

She then closes by comparing abortion to slavery, arguing that society needs to “balance” justice and mercy when it starts to seek redress for moral wrongs that it has “normalized” over the centuries. Yet, she can’t see that this is exactly what we’re trying to do. Millions upon millions of innocent children have been murdered in the wombs by their mothers over the centuries. Yes, centuries. And we can debate the morality of every jot and tittle of slavery and slave ownership, but the reality is that American chattel slavery ended with a bloody war. And, quite frankly, that’s exactly how abortion needs to end—immediately, forcefully, and without compromise.

Not only do Swall Prior’s views undermine the gospel by teaching women they aren’t accountable for their sins, but they also prolong the legality of the heinous act in a society where she claims she is against abortion. But she’s really not, because she’s the one not taking sin seriously enough. The reality is that, because of her radical feminism, she cares more about the murder suspect’s emotional state than the murder victims. Yet, the only victims of abortion are the millions of children in the womb who are being unjustly killed, and it’s high time we recognize that fact and reject the pleas of feminists like Karen Swallow Prior who want to continue to make excuses for the mothers who seek these abortions.

Sadly, this is the prevailing view of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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