Losing Ever Since Roe? — TIME Sounds the Siren for Abortion Rights

 

The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade will bring the nation face to face with the abortion question once again. More accurately, it will serve as an opportunity for activists and supporters on both sides of the abortion controversy in America to consider where the nation stands, four decades after Roe.

Roe was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. The divided Court handed down a confusing and complex decision, constructed by Justice Harry Blackmun in an effort to put the abortion controversy to rest. The decision was simple enough in its main point — that a woman had a constitutional right to an abortion for any reason or for no reason within the first trimester of her pregnancy. The effect was to legalize abortion on demand nationwide.

Nevertheless, Roe did not put the abortion issue to rest. The decision was constructed out of Justice Blackmun’s own constitutional and obstetric creativity. He invented the notion of three trimesters of pregnancy as a legal concept and then created an unfettered right to abortion within the first trimester. From the onset, abortion advocates have opposed any effort to restrict abortion in the second and third trimesters, or to regulate abortion providers and clinics.

Roe actually awakened and called into existence a vast pro-life movement that did not exist before the decision was handed down. With few notable exceptions, American evangelicals were willing for abortion to be marginalized as a Roman Catholic issue. Roe changed that. The horror of abortion on demand finally seared the evangelical conscience. In every presidential election since Roe v. Wade, abortion has been a central issue — and never more so than in the 2012 election. The two party platforms of 2012 had diametrically opposed statements on abortion. That represented a division far deeper than existed in 1973.

Now, with the 40th anniversary of Roe, TIME magazine is sounding the siren for abortion rights with a cover story that warns: “40 Years Ago, Abortion-Rights Activists Won an Epic Victory with Roe v. Wade. They’ve Been Losing Ever Since.” Really?

The article, written by Kate Pickert, points to the profound fact that, in at least some parts of the country, an abortion is harder than ever to obtain. She reports that 24 states have adopted more than 90 new restrictions on abortion since 2010, and then adds:

“These laws make it harder every year to exercise a right heralded as a crowning achievement of the 20th century women’s movement. In addition to North Dakota, three other states–South Dakota, Mississippi and Arkansas–have just one surgical-abortion clinic in operation. The number of abortion providers nationwide shrank from 2,908 in 1982 to 1,793 in 2008, the latest year for which data is available. Getting an abortion in America is, in some places, harder today than at any point since it became a constitutionally protected right 40 years ago this month.”

She writes about the fact that many states have parental notification laws for minors, that some states now require abortion clinics to meet regulations common to other medical facilities, and that other states require a waiting period and counseling. Also, at least 30 states do not cover abortion under Medicaid.

As Kate Pickert sees it, the abortion rights cause is in big trouble at the state level. In her words, abortion activists are “unequivocally losing.” She also understands at least part of why this is so.

In her words:

“Part of the reason is that the public is siding more and more with their opponents. Even though three-quarters of Americans believe abortion should be legal under some or all circumstances, just 41% identified themselves as pro-choice in a Gallup survey conducted in May 2012. In this age of prenatal ultrasounds and sophisticated neonatology, a sizable majority of Americans support abortion restrictions like waiting periods and parental-consent laws. Pro-life activists write the legislation to set these rules. Their pro-choice counterparts, meanwhile, have opted to stick with their longtime core message that government should not interfere at all with women’s health care decisions, a stance that seems tone-deaf to the current reality.”

Beyond these facets of the issue, Pickert points to a widening gulf between older and younger feminists on abortion, both in terms of ideology and political strategy. Younger activists now favor an emphasis on “reproductive justice,” she reports. As she explains, this term indicates “a broader, more diffuse agenda that addresses abortion access but also contraception, child care, gay rights, health insurance, and economic opportunity.”

As TIME reports, there have been more than 50 million legal abortions in the United States since 1973, and one in three American women will have an abortion by age 45. The abortion rate for African-American women is 3.5 times that of white women. How does that square with Pickert’s warning that abortion rights activists are “unequivocally losing?”

She sees the fact that the millennial generation was born after Roe v. Wade and that a generational split within feminism hampers the formation of a solid political front. But she also acknowledges a deeper problem: “Most Americans support access to abortion in cases of rape or incest or when the mother’s life is threatened, along with a raft of common state abortion restrictions. Gallup data shows that 79% of pro-choice Americans believe abortion should be illegal in the third trimester of pregnancy and that 60% support 24-hour waiting periods and parental consent for minors.”

Those statistics are the real source of her worry. The very fact that she wrote those two sentences in that way indicates the fear among abortion rights activists. They are losing ground on their central and inflexible demand that any woman or girl has a right to an abortion on demand without any external complication and without any necessary reason. Beyond this, abortion proponents also demand government funding for abortion and coverage under the new health care program.

The American people have not moved in their direction. To the contrary, citizens in a majority of states have pushed for and approved of significant restrictions on abortion. Furthermore, the development of new technologies such as the ultrasound and new approaches such as crisis pregnancy centers has changed the landscape since 1973. Crisis pregnancy centers now outnumber abortion clinics in America.

To her credit, Pickert cites abortion advocates such as Frances Kissling, who urge the abortion rights movement to accept and acknowledge that abortion is not just any other medical procedure. “When people hear us say abortion is just another medical procedure, they react with shock,” Kissling said. “Abortion is not like having your tooth pulled or having your appendix out. It involves the termination of an early form of human life. That deserves some gravitas.”

Kissling also conceded the political harm the extremism of the abortion rights movement has caused. “The established pro-choice position–which essentially is: abortion should be legal, a private matter between a woman and her doctor, with no restriction or regulation beyond what is absolutely necessary to protect the woman’s health–makes 50% of the population extremely uncomfortable and unwilling to associate with us,” she told Pickert.

The thrust of the TIME cover story is clear — the fundamental victory won by abortion rights activists in Roe is now being eroded and is in threat of further weakening. But is it?

The pro-life movement must also reflect on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and there is cause for much humble thankfulness. There has been a great and measurable shift in public opinion on abortion. The extremism of the abortion rights movement has not been appreciated by the American people, who do not see abortion as just any other medical procedure. Younger Americans are more likely than their parents to be pro-life in a general sense. The generation that knows ultrasound pictures on the refrigerator is not going to accept the fact that their unborn sibling is a non-person.

And yet, the hard and unbending truth is that Roe v. Wade stands, and that more than 50 million abortions have been performed since 1973. Several states have adopted legislation that restricts abortion at the margins, but abortion on demand remains the law of the land. Faced with legislation such as personhood amendments, even the most “pro-life” of our states have failed to act on what is supposed to be the central pro-life principle — that all human life is sacred, from the moment of fertilization until natural death.

In truth, America — and countless individual Americans — have a divided mind on abortion and the sanctity of human life. We are a long way from a national consensus that could be reasonably and honestly described as pro-life. Four decades after its thunderous arrival, Roe v. Wade still stands, and the death count rises. Restricting the murder of the unborn is not enough. Even reversing Roe v. Wade will not be enough. Our task is to reach the hearts and minds of America with the message that every life is a divine gift, and that abortion is not the only grave threat to that gift. 40 years after Roe, that challenge still looms before us.

http://www.albertmohler.com/2013/01/07/losing-ever-since-roe-time-sounds-the-siren-for-abortion-rights/

Why Women Hate the Word “Submit” by Heidi Doose

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As a woman, I think I can speak freely, and as an expert, on what the majority of American women feel about the subject of submission. We don’t like it. In a society that has taught us for decades that women are equal to men, we were made to understand that to submit to anyone meant that you were a person of little worth. Only servants submitted to a higher authority. A vast majority of women today have always lived with the current social norm of equality. You’d have to go back to the 1960’s to have a complete understanding of what was once considered a “woman’s role” in the family and outside the home.

Most of history shows us that women were seen as second class citizens or less. Unfortunately, in many countries today, that is still the case. In ancient times, a women had so little worth that the livestock were considered more valuable. Her life consisted of catering to her family and serving her husband. A woman who was without a husband had an incredibly harsh life, many of them turning to a life of prostitution to survive. Very few were priviledged enough to have a position of prestige, but only because her father or husband afforded her that luxury. Women could not vote, hold positions of authority, preach, inherit land, or basically make decisions about her own life herself.

It’s not difficult to understand why women cringe at the word, “submit”. Ask an African American how they feel about the word, “slave”. How many positive reactions would you get ? They’re very similar reactions. That lifestyle was a prison sentence. You were made to feel that you had no value, you were worthless. That label has never been favorable. This touches at the very heart of why women struggle with the very thought of submitting to their husbands.

I have a friend who tells me that when parties become stale he likes to bring up politics or religion. There is one particular scripture verse he likes to throw out there just to watch the reactions on people’s faces.His favorite subject to open with? Ephesians 5:22:

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”

He laughs when he tells me how the party usual comes to life with this one verse, but after everyone has taken a breath and calmed themselves, he begins his speech. He explained to me that what women (and men) don’t understand is that when women were originally told this, they didn’t question it. It was a way of life and always had been. They didn’t rebel or march against inequality. They understood from generation to generation that this was their role. Having anyone tell them to submit to their husbands was equivilent to being told to continue breathing air. The most shocking revelation was when men were told to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Why?? Because Jesus died for his bride (the church). Men were being told to lay down their lives for someone who had no rights, no worth, no value in society except to reproduce and produce heirs to pass on the family wealth. Men, who truly believed that the world revolved around their wants and needs were being told to put aside their “self” and place the utmost value on the woman they were married to. Marriages were arranged and had little to do with romantic love.

Somehow, men have moved on and adapted. The majority of marriages are not arranged and have romance at the very beginning of the relationship. Love is not a problem…at first. So what goes wrong? I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this, but ladies, I think we’ve fallen down and not taken up our own crosses. We don’t submit. Shamefully, some of us don’t even put our kids first. What would happen if we truly lived a Proverbs 31 lifestyle or adhered to the words of Ephesians 5:22? Perhaps if we married men who didn’t sweep us off our feet with false promises and commitments they can’t live up to, but instead impressed us with wisdom and hard work that we could respect, we could actually start to reconcile ourselves to submitting to a Godly man?

http://blogs.christianpost.com/psalms/why-women-hate-the-word-submit-13964/

Why All Roads Do Lead to God by Robin Schumacher

Critics of Christianity are almost universal in their complaint of Christians being narrow-minded, arrogant, and intolerant where other beliefs are concerned. How can Christians think their way is the only way, and their road is the only one that leads to God?

It’s far more politically correct today to either denounce religion in total or espouse the famous lines spoken by Gandhi years ago: “One may drink out of the same great rivers with others, but one need not use the same cup” and “The soul of religion is one, but it is encased in a multitude of forms.”[1]

It’s no secret that I’m a Christian, but I will say this: I believe it’s absolutely true that all roads lead to God. How can that be? Let me explain.

Why It Matters What You Believe

Let’s all agree about one thing: thinking rationally, logically, and having an exclusive mindset where truth is concerned is important. It really matters what you believe.

While Christians are consistently criticized for holding an exclusive stance in regards to spiritual truth, it’s actually the only way any belief or system can be intelligently followed. If you believe this to be untrue, just think about how we practice exclusivity in other areas of our lives.

We practice exclusivity in…

  • Marriage: saying ‘yes’ to your spouse means saying ‘no’ to everyone else, unless you’re a polygamist.
  • Government: anyone want to try to run Democracy and Communism in parallel in the same country?
  • Economic policy: Capitalism and Marxism don’t make good bedfellows when tried together.
  • Mathematics: 2+2 will forever more equal 4 and nothing else.

Trying to mix and match any competing belief system – spiritual or otherwise – simply results in chaos and incoherent thinking. The truth is, no matter what they say from a surface level perspective, all worldviews champion an exclusive set of teachings in one way or another; Christianity is not alone in that regard. Why might that be?

While the idea of Pluralism[2] may be acceptable in areas of taste, it isn’t in the area of truth. This is why the noted philosopher Mortimer Adler said, “In history, mathematics, science, and philosophy there is room for competing and conflicting theories, hypotheses, doctrines, or propositions, only as long as no one of them is, at a given time, established as true.”[3]

The practical reason of why Adler is right comes down to the fact that every worldview teaches that consequences exist for being wrong. All believe that the right answer to the question being asked or situation being faced must be given or else an undesirable outcome will likely result.

This is valid not only in the spiritual realm, but in the natural world also. For example, a person having a stomach ache has a wide variety of choices to cure their ailment – everything from antacids to chemotherapy – but what they need to take all depends on the correct answer to the question, “What’s wrong with my stomach?”

An almost always overlooked fact is that every religion and belief system in the world gives different answers to three critical questions in life:

1. What is the most basic metaphysical reality?

2. What is the most fundamental human problem that we face?

3. What is the solution to that problem?

Reconciling the answers that all worldviews give to the above three questions is impossible. There may be some similarities and overlaps, but in the end, there will be major differences. This fact was summed up nicely in a stanza of Steve Turner’s poem Creed:

We believe that all religions are basically the same, at least the one that we read was. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation sin heaven hell God and salvation.[4]

Because consequences exist in this life for being wrong and making incorrect choices, why think anything will be different in the next life (assuming one exists)? This is why it matters what you believe about God and truth in general.

It goes without saying that eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong.

Why It Doesn’t Matter What You Believe

So, believing the right things certainly matters. But what this equates to is an understanding that is likely to go against the politically correct thinking in vogue today (e.g. “Christianity might be true for you, but not for me…”), which is: just believing something doesn’t make that particular ‘something’ true.

Put another way (and in a very real twist), while we’ve just discussed why what you believe matters, it also doesn’t matter what you believe. Truth is truth whether you believe it or not.

Today, so much emphasis is put on sincerity. What matters, we’re told, is that you sincerely believe what you do. No, it doesn’t. You could be sincerely wrong.

Or, as long as you have a strong desire and/or motivation for your worldview that’s what will eventually carry the day. No it won’t. You can have a strong desire that the yellow liquid you just drank was lemonade and not poison, but if it’s poison, you’ll still end up in the ER or morgue.

This is the danger of Pluralism that nobody talks about. While we can treat other people with dignity and respect where their beliefs are concerned, we should also understand that having a sincere faith and strong desire that a belief system be true when it isn’t can backfire in a terrible way.

Why All Roads Lead to God

The understanding of why it matters and doesn’t matter what a person believes leads us to the conclusion that – contrary to what many Christians say – all roads do indeed lead to God. How?

Because God exists, when you die, you will meet Him. Regardless of the ‘road’ that you’re on. It doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, or evangelical Christian. When you leave this life, the road that you’re on leads straight to Him.

But what happens then?

While what you believe about God right now doesn’t matter one bit regarding whether you’ll eventually meet Him or not, when you do come face to face with your Creator, what you believe about Him and what you have done with His truth will matter greatly one nanosecond afterwards.

You see, while all roads lead to God, only one road leads to His forgiveness, mercy, grace, and eternal life. All other roads lead to His judgment.

This is by His design. If there was any other way or road that led to God’s place of forgiveness then Jesus wouldn’t have gone to the cross. In the garden, the Son said, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me (Matt. 26:39, emphasis mine). If any other road was viable, Jesus would have been given it.

Instead, Jesus went to the cross, took on Himself the sins of those who put their trust in Him, and delivers us from the wrath of God that falls rightly on those who ignore His gift. This is why He calls Himself “the” way (John 14:6) and not “a” way; why He describes Himself as “the” door (John 7) and not just one door of many.

When we say it’s only through Jesus that eternal life with God is possible, we’re not being arrogant, intolerant, or narrow-minded. To speak the truth is the most loving thing a person can do.

When the only Man ever to die, go into the grave, walk back out, and stay that way says He is the only way, the only truth, and the only life where God is concerned, we listen.

If you haven’t done so yet, you should.

http://blogs.christianpost.com/confident-christian/why-all-roads-do-lead-to-god-13977/

Who’s Holding All the Cards?

“Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, from the clan of Elimelech, a man of standing, whose name was Boaz.” Ruth 2:1

To borrow a poker phrase, some people seem to hold all the cards. They are dealt a winning hand while the rest of us do the best with what few resources we may have. And with a “winner takes all” frame of mind, many of these high-profile, prosperous people manipulate and maneuver their wealth and power to pursue their own interests and advance their own cause. We all know the type.

In the story of Ruth, Boaz holds all the cards. He enters the scene as a man of great wealth and power. Yet I am struck by several aspects of his life that set him apart from the typical guy who holds all the cards.

I love the fact that he willingly aligns his resources with God’s heart for the poor and needy. God outlined in Levitical law that those who didn’t have the resources to survive could be “gleaners”—gathering grain that intentionally was left at the edge of the fields during harvest time. Boaz lived in a time when everyone did what was right in their own eyes. After a devastating famine, he could easily have ignored God’s heart for the poor in order to secure an abundant harvest for himself. But unlike other wealthy landowners, he still welcomed gleaners in his field. It was a tangible display of God’s love for the needy.

God also provided ways in which foreigners could be welcomed in Israel. Again, Boaz aligned himself with God’s heart—even for a Moabite from enemy territory. He could have cast Ruth aside when he learned she was not a Jew. Instead, he opened his heart to her. Sometimes we don’t want other “kinds” of people to move into our neighborhood, but God is actually delighted when they do. It’s an opportunity for us to do what Boaz did—open our hearts to “different” people who could use a tangible expression of God’s love and grace in their lives.

Not only did Boaz use his wealth for the benefit of those in need and welcome a foreigner to his field, he also desired to see God’s blessing poured out on her (Ruth 2:12) and then proceeded to be the instrument of God’s blessing in her life (Ruth 2:14). He became the answer to her prayers.

Boaz was also abundantly generous in his care for Ruth. Once again he put his treasures where God’s heart is. It is the character of God to be a generous God “able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

So when was the last time you planned to cooperate with God and be the answer to someone’s prayers? You may think, Easy for Boaz—he had all the cards! But we all have some cards. Whether big or small, there’s always something we can do to bring the heart of God to a needy life that crosses our path.

Besides, God is the One who really holds all the cards. He shares His resources with us not for us to consume them all ourselves, but to share them for His glory and the good of others. So life is not about holding all the cards. From God’s point of view, it’s what you do with your cards. Use them as God would to bless others who cross your path.

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Take some time to read the story of Ruth and try to put yourself in Boaz’s shoes.  How would you have responded to Ruth’s need?
  • Is there a “Ruth” in your world right now? If so, what “cards” are you holding that can be used to help?
  • Examine your attitude toward the poor and the needy. Does it reflect God’s heart? How about your attitude toward foreigners?

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/whos-holding-all-the-cards/