Recently the U.S. House of Representatives voted to prohibit abortions after the twentieth week of pregnancy except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother. This federal bill is very similar to a law Arkansas passed in 2013.
As The Washington Post notes, the U.S. is one of only a handful of countries in the world in which abortion after the twentieth week of pregnancy is legal.
Shortly after the House passed the bill, CNN published a video that is nothing short of fiction.
The video claims that at one point abortion simply was part of life in America; that even the Catholic church did not believe life began at conception; that the anti-abortion movement began with doctors wanting to regulate midwives and homeopathic medicine; and that early pro-life activists were primarily concerned with declining birth rates among white women.
Frankly, I had no idea it was possible to cram so much wrong information into 96 seconds, but CNN did. The video is still online, and you can watch it for yourself if you want.
Here’s the truth: Christian leaders always have opposed abortion.
During the first or second century, church leaders circulated a document called The Didache summarizing many basic Christian teachings. Among other things, it said, “you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that [child] which is born.”
Our friends at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview write,
“Christians have opposed abortion of all kinds going back to the earliest writings outside of the New Testament . . . . But apparently it’s news to CNN.”
And contrary to the video’s claims, abortion was not simply part of American life. In 1871, an investigative journalist writing for The New York Times said,
Thousands of human beings are thus murdered before they have seen the light of this world, and thousands upon thousands more of adults are irremediably ruined in constitution, health and happiness. So secretly are these crimes committed and so craftily do the perpetrators inveigh their victims, that it is next to impossible to obtain evidence and witnesses.
Whatever some may say, there simply is nothing new about people — especially Christians — equating abortion with murder.
Over the years we have written repeatedly about Obamacare’s contraception mandate — also called the “HHS Mandate.” The mandate requires employers to pay for contraception and abortion-inducing medication.
Many people find this mandate unconscionable and have sued the federal government in court. While the original mandate included religious exemptions for churches, the exemption was extremely narrow.
On Friday, the federal Department of Justice unveiled its “interim final rule” keeping the mandate in place for the vast majority of employers’ employees, but dramatically expanding the Obama administration’s narrow categories for religious exemption.
This makes it much less likely Americans will be forced to violate their consciences by paying for contraception and drugs that cause abortions.
Congress needs to take steps to make this interim final rule a permanent fixture in federal law. In the meantime, the Trump Administration has given people of faith a reprieve from the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate.
This week Planned Parenthood indicated it will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling in favor of a pro-life law Arkansas passed in 2015.
More than two years ago the Arkansas Legislature passed the Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act. This law requires abortion providers to follow FDA protocols when dispensing abortion drugs and maintain an agreement with a physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital.
The legal battle over the Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act has been long and drawn-out.
Planned Parenthood sued the state over the law late in 2015. A lower court blocked the law from enforcement early last year.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge appealed to the federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Last July a panel of judges from the Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of the law.
Planned Parenthood subsequently asked the entire Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to revisit the issue, but the circuit judges declined to do so.
Now Planned Parenthood has filed a motion with the Eighth Circuit asking the court to block enforcement of the Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act while attorneys appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Planned Parenthood says it won’t be able to do abortions if this law stands, because its clinics have been unable to find a doctor with hospital admitting privileges who will contract with them.
So far its attorneys are asking the Eighth Circuit to block enforcement of the Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act so Planned Parenthood can keep doing abortions in Arkansas while it makes its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In my opinion, this is a long shot for Planned Parenthood. The Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act is a good law that ought to be enforced. The Arkansas Legislature passed it with strong support, and Attorney General Rutledge’s office has defended it in court since Day One. We look forward to other pro-life victories in the future.
Photo Credit: By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.