Editor's Note: R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.
By R. Albert Mohler Jr., Special to CNN
After recently addressing a large secular assembly on issues of moral controversy, I turned and faced a woman who urgently wanted to ask me a question: “Why won’t the abortion issue just go away?”
I knew exactly what she was asking. I often meet abortion rights advocates who honestly thought that the national controversy over abortion would simply melt away within a few years of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973.
That was clearly the hope of the Supreme Court majority that signed onto the opinion written by Associate Justice Harry Blackmun. In a note he wrote to himself as he drafted the final opinion and looked to its aftermath, Blackmun revealed a rather optimistic assumption: “It will be an unsettled period for a while.”
Surely, he didn’t mean for that “while” to extend four decades.
Sunday marked the 39th anniversary of the decision, and the abortion question is anything but settled. Just look at the crowds gathering in Washington on Monday for the annual March for Life.
In fact, America has been unsettled ever since Roe. Abortion has become a central issue of political conflict, debate and division. If the court had hoped to calm the waters, it failed spectacularly.
As Guido Calabresi, then dean of the Yale Law School, observed, the aftermath of Roe v. Wade produced a “sense of desperate embattlement.” As Calabresi noted, the court’s decision failed to produce a national consensus. Rather, Roe “made it impossible for the opposing views to live with each other.”
Those who thought that the decision of the Supreme Court would settle the issue had reason for that hope. On other controversial questions, the court’s rulings had produced initial furor and outrage, but the nation rather quickly accommodated itself to those decisions. Take integration in public schools.
Not so with abortion.
Why? Professor Lawrence H. Tribe of the Harvard Law School, an ardent defender of abortion rights, at least recognized that the abortion question presents nothing less than a “clash of absolutes.”
Tribe attempted to propose a means of avoiding “pitting these absolutes against one another.” All such efforts have failed, precisely because the competing claims are indeed absolutes.
When abortion-rights advocates and their allies ask why the abortion issue will not just go away, they really mean to ask why, given the stark reality of Roe, the pro-life movement has not dissipated and retreated into the history books.
Here are five reasons why:
First, the radical character of Roe – overthrowing abortion laws in 49 states – galvanized pro-life forces. The judicial imposition of abortion on demand, virtually without restriction until the third trimester, produced both shock and outrage among those who believe that the unborn child has an inalienable right to life.
Within months of Roe, an organized pro-life movement came into shape, looking for any means of limiting and eventually ending the termination of unborn life.
Second, Roe also had the effect, surely unforeseen by the Supreme Court, of bringing millions of evangelical Christians into the fight on behalf of unborn life. Prior to Roe, even many evangelicals believed that abortion was a Roman Catholic issue.
Roe was a legal earthquake that awakened a massive number of evangelicals to the deadly reality of abortion. With remarkable speed, evangelicals soon educated themselves on the issue and then mobilized themselves both politically and culturally.
Third, the death spiral of abortion simply defies adequate calculation. Over a million abortions are performed in America each year. Reports last year indicated that over 40% of all pregnancies in New York end in abortion, a rate that increases to almost 60% of pregnancies among African-American women.
The sheer scale of the death toll sears the pro-life conscience. Young people can now see that millions are missing from their own generation.
Fourth, abortion has proved to be exactly what pro-life activists warned it would be: a deadly threat to human dignity that would target specific populations. Prenatal testing has produced a deadly reality for unborn babies considered less than acceptable by their parents.
The vast majority (90%) of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are now aborted. Sex-selection abortions are legal in the wide-open “right” to abortion declared by the court. Prenatal testing of other characteristics means that parents can now abort a baby that does not meet their specifications and try again.
Fifth, powerful imaging technologies now allow a look inside the womb, a privilege unknown to previous generations. That window has transformed the equation, as millions of parents have seen their unborn children and witnessed the miracle of life.
They have seen the little human form and the actions of the unborn child, sucking its thumb as it nestles within its mother. Millions of siblings have seen the images of their unborn brothers and sisters taped to the refrigerator door.
Those of us who believe that every single unborn child has a right to be born cannot resign from the effort to protect those lives.
The greatest advances made by the pro-life movement have been made among the young, the generation that has known the death toll from Roe v. Wade all their lives. More evidence that the abortion issue will not simply go away.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Clearly we can see we have millions missing from our generation. Our world would be so much better off if there were millions more people draining resources from an overpopulated planet, right?
Does this site censor comments? Why is it that I can't respond on the thread below? I was trying to respond to some of the conversation but they wont show up?
“Abortion is legal because it makes sense. From the mother's perspective, the fetus is a parasite" ...I guess it makes an big difference what you believe about what a fetus is. It also makes a difference where your reality and morality come from. Lion King has no ultimate morality apparently, except for whatever big brother decides. Moyoma has a utilitarian morality, so there's not a right a wrong, but rather what is useful and not useful.
If a fetus isn't a person, and doesn't have a heart, soul, spirit, kind of thing going on, then I would agree with you. My belief comes from a Bible verse that says that God makes each person an individual before they are born. It doesn't mention abortion, but it lends itself to the idea of a fetus being a person. If you don't believe in the Bible, I don't expect for that to have a profound impact on you, but still, how do you know that's not the case?
As far as what makes sense, our government legislates morality every time it makes a rule. I don't think the 9 justices are right all the time. Do you? 88% of Americans believe in God, but a fraction of those are consistent church goers, and practicers. So you're right, America has become very irreligious and amoral.
With all the modern types of birth control, why are abortions being performed?
Mikes – there is a nanny filter. It doesn't like words with t*it or c*um in them, for example.
P. O. Carl-
"With all the modern types of birth control, why are abortions being performed?" Morons, basically. Both female and male.
Here’s a couple thoughts on this from my perspective. I'm a practicing Christian, and I'm waiting for the right person in marriage. I'm good looking, I'm smart, successful, etc. But I also am practicing what I believe. I have had friends who have gotten abortions, and more who have had children out of wed lock. I'm not in their face judging them or posting sarcastic remarks on their facebook, I just try to be a good friend. I have a long list of mistakes that I’ve made as well, it’s just that this isn’t one of them.
One of my friends, a woman who had an abortion (she's not a Christian) was in shambles after her abortion. It had a profound emotional impact. Another friend (a "Christian") got a girl pregnant in college, and actually said he was going to marry her, that didn't end up happening, and now he has brought a kid into the world with a girl that he was getting drunk with in college, and it's not a very good situation for the kid now. I used to envy him, and wonder why I was holding on to my morality, but now I see that there is great use in being moral, however difficult an endeavor it is.
So yeah, I can obviously see that killing an inconvenient baby can be useful, but I think being moral is even more useful, and–go figure–it's recommended by Jesus.
There is no 'death spiral' of abortion. Common sense and facts tell us that just because a teen girl gets an abortion, doesn't mean she won't later marry and have children. Because that is what happens. There is no net loss of children.
People shouldn't think their religious beliefs should be imposed on others. Every woman knows her financial and emotional limits on when and how many children she can parent well. A mom of 4 kids with sick parents she has to take care of may feel that is her limit. A teen may know she needs to be older to parent, A woman with health problems or an ill child may feel that is all she can handle. This is a personal decision. Other people's religious beliefs should not be a factor. Because it isn't just about a baby but raising a child for 18 years.
Can't agree with this more. Very well put.
If a woman thinks she cannot afford to raise a child, then don't get pregnant in the first place. It is totally irresponsible and equivalent to murder if you allow yourself to be pregnant and then abort your baby.
This issue will never go away as long as Americans continue to take away the right to life of a vast portion of human beings.
and god said blah blah blah verses 3:16 blah blah blah.
Most christians cannot even name one person who wrote anything in the bible and yet they hold so much value in it. Apparently they don't need the source of information to establish credibility. They just believe it because they were taught to by authority and it is convenient for them.
Really? I'm a little dubious about your assertion that most people can't name anyone who wrote anything in the Bible, especially considering many of the books (perhaps even a plurality) are named after their authors.
You are so ignorant.
50,000,000 killed in this country alone since Roe v. Wade. For the Liberals, that's a good start!
Exactly what we all think when we hear the word "young atheist"
The reason the abortion issue won’t go away is because people are unable to understand it (1 Cor. 2:14).
For a better understanding and the spiritual truth about the abortion issue, we invite you to read the article ‘The Abortion Issue’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
Also, for a better understanding of the Mystery of God and what it means to be a sinner and a Christian, we invite you to read the articles ‘Who is God and who is Satan?’, ‘The Mystery of God Revealed’, ‘What is Sin?’, ‘Victory over Sin’ and ‘Can Christianity or any Other Religion Save You’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
All of the above articles are based on Biblical and Spiritual truth. The Bible is not only the Word of God, it is God (John 1:1) and it is the discerner of every thought and intent of the heart (Hebrews 5:12).
The Bible tells us that it is a deep hidden mystery (Mark 4:11). It was written for the believers who are able to understand every word including the parables (Matthew 13:11), as the Bible is spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). The Bible was not written for the unbelievers (atheist, members of the religious and gay community, etc) and in their sinful state they are alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them (Eph. 4:18).
To further explain the Mystery of God we have added the article ‘The Natural Body vs the Spiritual Body to our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca
Two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul recorded in 1 Cor. 15:44 that there is a natural body and a spiritual body and in our article we explain and describe the meaning of it. The understanding of the new article will provide you with the key that will unlock all the mysteries of the kingdom of God (Mark 4:11).
All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain the deep hidden mysteries of God and how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.
The Word of God is God (John1:1), it is truth and there is no lie in it (Hebrews 6:18).
Seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).
Please provide a reference that contains verifiable evidence supporting the existence of your god. Without the verification of your god's existence, your posts about demands and desires of that god are invalid.
Please do not use the word truth when mentioning your god or religion. It is an oxymoron. You have been thoroughly brainwashed. You can't even make a comment without using quotes from the bible. Form your own words from your own brain. The fact that you cannot do that in your comment tells me everything that I need to know about you. You pretty much just listed a bunch of random scripture and tried to play it off as if it is all true. The bible is not even the history of christianity. THe history of your religion would scare you and probably make you question it but not likely.
Eric G, show me a single proof that God does NOT exist, can you? Atheism itself is a sort of religion. You happen to have "faith" in the non-existence of God. So don't force your atheist "faith" on others by secularizing America.
Tombomb, get over yourself. You don't own the abortion issue no matter how petulant and rash your behavior is here. I tried to be nice to you, but you're so busy being angry and calling names that you can't see when someone is trying to help you. I've written a letter to the moderators about you and have hit the "report abuse" button on all your posts with silly nastiness. You're a poor representative for the pro-choice position because you don't control your temper. Maybe you should think about being a christian fundie–they have methods to rationalize "righteous anger." I hope you are happier in your life than your childishness implies.
Get over yourself, mom. I don't "represent" anything. I post as I choose. You can write all the little epistles you like. If you don't like my posts, here's a simpler solution: scroll past them. I won't notice or care.
momoya surely can scroll past your snipes, but others are reading them. You have some good things to say, but you cast doubt upon your rationality when you go off the wall.
Some of your slams are a riot, granted, but a sparing use of them gives them much more impact.
Tom Tom – another sad, angry, unhinged geek. Imagine that?
@Juniori .. and you are? Don't tell me that you have the right to be immature and hateful just because that's the way your god is. You can do better than that. Why don't you try to raise the level of discourse rather than continue your silly name-calling?
Why don't you be better than God? Oh, you already are! Mommy is better than God!!!
And you wonder why people find atheists to be arrogant. Not only do you think you're better and smarter than all believers. You actually think that if God did exist, YOU are better than God.
So you can't raise your level of discourse or you won't?
Yes, I am much better than your god because I don't think it is fair to torture people for eternity and I don't think it's fair to call such a god "good." . I think that people who say that eternal torture is good are sick, demented folks. It's stupid and immoral to believe in a hell-creator god. The god of the bible does many stupid things that a perfect being wouldn't do. A good god wouldn't create a hell, and a god who does stupid things shouldn't be believed in. Your god fails the basic empathy and basic intelligence tests. Don't waste your time believing in such an immoral and silly being as the god of the bible.
Why do you come to this Belief site?
it hasnt gone away b/c of religious fanatics. thinking they must impose their beliefs on others. instead of just letting it go if it does not harm them.
That's just it. You can be against abortion and still believe that it is not the governments place to make moral decisions for women. Let's be truthful. This isn't pro life vs. pro choice. It is pro choice vs. anti choice.
I think that pro choice should apply to more than just killing babies. We should also have the choice to abort other inconvenient people. We should have the choice to not pay taxes. We should have the choice of whether or not to follow the speed limits. ...I'm definitely pro choice. I just think we should take it a step further so that it covers all murders.
Mikes – don't you realize that there is no such thing as morality, only legality? So, for example, if the government says I can sever your head off for no good reason, it's perfectly fine. Why? Because it's legal! Same with slavery, genocide, and so on. If the government says it's ok to do, then it's ok to do. Any questions?
Mikes, you're not very good at critical reasoning, huh? Abortion is legal because it makes sense. From the mother's perspective, the fetus is a parasite that she can nurture until it becomes viable, or she can not offer it nutrition by aborting it before it becomes viable. 88% of Americans are christians, and christians are the ones who get abortions. If christians didn't go to abortion clinics they wouldn't be able to stay in business.
The god of the bible created a torture chamber for people he doesn't like, so he likes causing a lot of pain. You guys want to be against abortion on Sunday morning and then go visit the clinic Tuesday afternoon. Is it that christian women don't mind being hypocrites or are they just taking a page from god's book and dealing with their unwanted the way their god does? (I know that a person can't torture a fetus forever, but you get the idea).
Momoya, the situation is perfect example of humans (aks liberals) using on their own moral compass. Who needs religion?
My my momoya- I did not read your post – when I read it – yes, I surrender; I just wonder why you were not considered a parasite!!
The pro-choice crowd wants to kill babies not murderers. Well then again they are potential murderers so I guess it makes sense.
momoya you said: Abortion is legal because it makes sense. From the mother's perspective, the fetus is a parasite that she can nurture until it becomes viable, or she can not offer it nutrition by aborting it before it becomes viable.
So if your statement makes sense, I suppose I can stop feeding all my kids that are already born, because all they are i little parasites sucking up my food.
Exodus 21: 22-25
" When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, ( i.e. an 'involuntary abortion') and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman's husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine.
If any harm follows (to the human being involved here), then you shall give life for life (i.e. death penalty), eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."
If the fetus is as much a human being as the mother, why does the death of the full-size human merit capital punishment, while all the death of the premature human being merits is a fine?
the reason the abortion issue will never go away is because people against it will not change their belief that their faith undermines personal choice and no one for abortion will ever turn over the freedom of choice to people who want to control them using religious doctrine.
An unstoppable force hitting an immoveable object
Doesn`t take religion to determine right or wrong just a working conscience.
You dolts imagine you matter in this arena. You don't. The only person who matters is the woman who is pregnant. She alone has the say. No one gives a s88t about your "feelings* or your *morals*. Get over it. Unless you are the one who is pregnant, you're irrelevant. Superfluous. Not important.
Suck on that.
What a sad, pathetic soul.
It's ok. Whoever abused you as a child has stopped. You're safe now!
You don't know that. Perhaps he is still being abused. He doesn't understand how someone can agree with him on an issue yet be against his immature behavior. That's a sad way to view life. Maybe you should help him out?
And really, who gives a ripe f*ik what you idiots think? The fact is that abortion is legal and no one needs your permission or approval to access it. It is the law of the land and has been for 3 decades.
Get over it, you dinks.
You morons don't get it, do you? No one gives two figs about your thoughts concerning abortion. The only thing that matters, that has EVER mattered, is the law.
The fact is that abortion is legal. Period.
Your opinion is worth nothing.
Exactly. And if all the god-folk had gotten their stuff together they could have beat that law long ago. Pro-choicers use birth control; pro-lifers use abortion clinics. Anybody can stick their hands around their mouths and cry "witch."
Make up your mind, monoya. Are you drunk? You've already indicated you don't agree with me; now you're sucking up as if you do.
Which is it?
I'll bet Tom Tom the Retard's son parents wished they had aborted him! At least a child in the womb stops being a "parasite" after a time. Tom Tom is still mooching off the parents he hates!
Aww,I'm so honored. You are in love with me.
Is this the level of maturity to expect of you from now on? Why don't you quit wasting time with your private flame war and contribute something that shows you can be more than just an angry fool when provoked by somebody you don't even care about.
My comment was for Juniori, but if Tom needs to take it to heart then he should do so.
Go f*c k yourself, momoya. I've been on your side all along. If you don't value my support, you can go to h ell.
Ah.. such warm, kind hearted words. come give us a kiss.
Kiss my ass.
Let's just say I hope you don't act this way in public, Tom. You're cute, though, with all your little testosterone poppin' all around the place.
As I said, mono moron, make up your mind, if you have one.
I wonder, mono the moron, do you even know who you support? You give chi!t to me; you give crap to those I disagree with. What is it? Do you swing both ways?
Not that I care; I think you're just an opportunist, but I'm curious. Are you a coward? Do you even have the balls to stand up for anything?
Tom Tom is a 50 year old women who is obviously proud of the fact she killed a child in the womb. Her vile behavior is a knee jerk reaction to most normal human beings reaction to her crime.
Tom Tom the Retard's son. Here are my amazingly accurate guesses about this head case:
Job: Assistant manager of hand held electronics at Best Buy. Or a waiter.
Education: trade school
Anger level: off the charts! Near homicidal
Childhood: def, def, definitely abused by someone close
oh noes not a waiter, it will spit on your food.
You'd be lucky if he/she only spit in it.
Can you say "Lewinsky"
Wow. I hit a home run with you guys.
Your god sustains an eternal torture chamber for those he doesn't like, what's so bad about an abortion? The US is 88% christians; you claim to be against it in church, and then next week you go get the procedure. Do christian women not have a problem with being hypocrites, or do they just admire their god so much in how he treats people he doesn't want around, and they take a page from his book?
I rest my case! Tom Tom the retard's son, go back to your yank off cage. You teenage mutant ninja turtle
Most of the bloggers here are immature teens, stay away.
The fact the so called "Liberals" oppose factual information (such as sonograms) being provided to women considering abortion proves that they know full well that they are engaged in murder. They do not want to awake the conscience of the women, they want to shield people from facts because it can negatively affect the "Bottom line"... making money off of murder.
I agree with Thomas Jefferson:
"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever."
Ecc 12:14"For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."
Matt 12: "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken."
If our every word will come into judgement, what of ripping living innocent human beings out of wombs?
I am fully convinced that one day abortion will be recognized for what it truly is: The Great American Holocaust.
Jer 18:7If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, 8and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. 9And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, 10and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.
Do you idiots even think? If you don't have a chance of enduring a pregnancy and the risks thereof, your opinion is worthless. If you are not in possession of a uterus, your thoughts are irrelevant as far as abortion is concerned. What part of this do you fail to grasp? You aren't in charge of anyone else's body. You aren't in control of anyone else's pregnancy. If you want a say here, then grow a uterus and incubate your own fetus. Otherwise, dears? Fiiik off.
Jefferson was not a christian
Six million jews die it`s genocide. 50 million Americans die it`s a choice.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.