Unintended Consequences

In January 2019, I wrote a post that was triggered by New York’s abortion law that legalizes abortion up to 24 weeks (see “The Slaughter of the Innocents: Then and Now”). A year and a half later, I find it necessary to revisit this issue–this time to talk about a law and its implications on the other extreme. Texas recently passed a law (known simply as Senate Bill 8) that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected. In a novel legal twist, however, the state does not enforce the law. Rather, it empowers private citizens to bring suit against those who “aid and abet” abortions–including providers, those who provide money, even those who drive a woman to the clinic.

Now, before I continue, let me just say that I am staunchly pro-life. (And I’m learning to be more consistently pro-life.) Abortion is simply state-sanctioned murder of the most helpless humans. That being said, this law has wider implications than many realize. By basically incentivizing lawsuits, the law allows people to profit off of the often gut-wrenching decisions that a woman must make (thankfully, the woman cannot be a target of such lawsuits). My question is, how can a follower of Christ claim to support such an action?

Not only that, but this takes us further down the road of “the end justifies the means” thinking. While some Christians may think this is a biblical idea, I disagree. Jesus never taught such a thing, nor is it found anywhere in Scripture. While we must do as our conscience dictates, that must never be allowed to be an excuse to violate Scripture.

Further, has anyone considered that such a bill will only deepen the suspicious nature of fallen humanity? A woman is pregnant and is scared, but she may suddenly feel that she cannot reach out to anyone. Why? Because anyone she reaches out to may, in the event that she has an abortion, become either a target of a lawsuit or (and worse) one who goes after “a bounty” based on that information. Again, I ask, how could a follower of Christ do that in good conscience?

There’s one more implication that we need to consider. This law reminds me of many laws in authoritarian nations that encourage people to take action against or report those who express views that are critical of the government or established policy. Such laws are often used to discourage free speech. While abortion is not a free speech issue, does such a law not open the door to a future wider use of a similar law? This should concern the church at large, but I fear it’s a case of the church being too short-sighted, looking only at the moment, and not at the future consequences. Those worldly ideas that the church thinks are great now will often be turned against us in the future to stop the preaching of the gospel.

My friends, this is not the way. We must not stoop to worldly methods and ways to advance a righteous cause. If we want to see society changed, we will only see that happen when hearts are changed by the power of Christ through the gospel. Translation? If you want to see abortion end along with other injustices and inequalities, preach the gospel. Not everyone will believe, but those who do will be saved and changed. And ultimately that will bring us one step closer to the Eternal Kingdom.