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.
Now, I can only assume that all the people on here who are pro-life are religious, and conservative, would that be fair? Now, using that assumption, I would ask you, Did any of you go to annual marches against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where hundreds of thousands (iraqi/afghani/U.S) of children,women, men, all of vary ages, were being slaughtered? People who were already born, who were ALIVE without question, who had human connections with brother/sisters/mothers/fathers/daughters/sons? Anyone? Do any of you want increased taxes so that your money can go to programs buying school supplies for that black child born in the ghetto so they have a real honest to god (see what I did there?) chance at a successful life, the life you're waging politcal war for? Do you want your money going to those foods stamps for the single mother? Because when it comes to that, you on right (and i'm generalizing here) don't seem to give a rats ass. If you did, if you cared about people from all walks of life, if you raised as much of an issue about the sons and daughters being shipped back in boxes from the middle east. Well then I wouldn't call you hypocrites. And you would have a much more solid base to wage war from. Right now, you all stand on sand. And hypocrites is exactly what you are.
Bravo, creepycool. I like your style.
I am pro-life in that I think abortion is abhorrent and that more can and should be done to make it unnecessary. I'm religious. Politically I'm pretty much a socialist, though I tend to vote Democratic for practical reasons. Over the years I have lobbied against several of the military adventures the U.S. has embarked on. Against the death penalty as well. Demonstrations – I've done that too. I am a counter-example to your assumption.
Oh, gosh, Bradley, bully for you!! You're all for the good of everyone except when it comes to women. Why is that not a shock?
I know you see the good in everyone, Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.
Then you're as delusional as I imagined, you d3ckwit.
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
To give people a better understanding of the principalities and destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) that control the Media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the articles ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’ and ‘Influence of the Media’.
All of the other pages and articles will explain how mankind has been deceived by the spirit of this world as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9 and they will also explain what mankind must do to be reunited with God and to be able to understand the Bible.
He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15; 14:37; Proverbs 28:5; Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:9; John 3:8; 5:30; 8:15; 16:8-11).
Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).
You shouldn't have to convince religious people. So I assume you're trying to convince secular people like myself. So I offer a bit of advice for the future, do not try to justify your opinions using scripture, it does nothing for your cause. Instead I would suggest using facts and figures from the real world in which we live. That is what we respond to.
Would it be ethical for a surgeon to remove a patients arms and legs, just because the patient didn't want them any more. Would that be strictly a right to privacy issue? Any doctors want to weigh in on that.
I'd imagine that would be cosmetic surgery. Not that i'm a doctor, but if I had a real issue with my left arm, or lefty, as I like to call it, it would be between my doctor and myself.
I stopped reading after "I'm not a doctor." I take it you're not a lawyer, nor an ethicist either.
The only real reason I can think of why someone would want that is if one of the limbs was infected or something like that and needed to be removed. I dont think they would just say I dont want my legs anymore lets get rid of them
You should use Google to research this issue if you think such requests do not occur.
And as the pro-slaughter-of-innocents side likes to say, "if you don't want an abortion, don't have one!" I say, "if you think it's so wonderful, start with yourself!" See how many volunteers we get?
How about the license for slavery, ra..pe, pederasty, etc.
Try to figure this out, Junior: which of these acts infringe on the Const intuitional rights of someone else?
Dumb as dirt, you are.
Have you ever noticed that all the pro-abortion folks are already born, and quite protective of their own lives. Funny how neatly that works out for them.
Nobody is "pro-abortion", you brain-dead moron. Get it through your cement skull: pro-choice people don't promote or celebrate abortion. They simply don't think idiots like you should be permitted to decide what is best for them.
If you don't want to have someone else decide for you that you should have your d*ck cut off, then don't presume to decide what others do with their bodies or the contents thereof.
You cannot see ANYONE who has not been born. Technically, you cannot. So, seeing somebody does not label them as anything but "there." However, you do need to face reality, so: Tell the couple with a third child who will die at delivery due to inherited disease that they have to go through it again. Tell the woman with cancer that she cannot have an abortion to get cancer therapy. Tell the women carrying a fetus wtih no brain and no skull that she has to continue to the bitter end. "Pro-life" really means pro-normality, and sadly, it ain't always so, the end result of a pregnancy is not always a bouncing baby but a dead or dying one. The "pro-life" ranting is really about needing to feel important when you really don't know everything about the issue. Please get a life, a little intelligence and a real soul, and you will finally see the shame of your garbage.
Have you ever noticed what a hyper-sensitive little girl Juniori is? It can't even take being challenged on a board when its real name is hidden! Poor little hot-house flower!
Grow a pair, ya little baby.
And well said, NYC Movie Fan! Shot the little dork down like the loser it is.
My life; your choice
Your words; your voice
They bring sharp knife
Your choice; my life
You lay; I fight
You wrong; me right
Total darkness; bright light
Sharp pain; goodnight
Not fair; can't cry
I truthful; you lie
I say love me; you say bye
You live; I die
Going to sleep; you're tore
Me innocent; you unsure
You fine; me sore
Heartbeat no more
Nonsense, utter nonsense. Very sad to see this garbage still going around. Where are those who are fighting for women's lives? Where are those who are making up poems to celebrate the women who died due to pregnancy or delivery? Where are they? Where are those standing up to prevent the PREVENTABLE loss of women's lives, their right to decide their future? Why does this unAmerican garbage start up every election year? Who is driving this hatred of US laws?
Are you absolutely sure that the "fetus" is somehow not alive? Does not have a soul?
If you were 90% percent sure that a shape on the road at night was not a person wouldn't you still at least slow down and go around it?
Of course the fetus is alive. The egg and sperm are alive. How can you be so sure that an egg has no soul, or every one of the millions of sperm? The fetus is dependent upon the mother for survival and fits every definition of a parasite; therefore, it is within her rights to nurture or abort as she will.
Well said, MM. If there is any doubt, err on the side of caution , mercy and self-control.
MOMOYA: To what level of self-loathing have we sunk, when we define our own young as a "parasite"?!? I have seen doting friends put pictures of a 12 week old fetus ( they called it their "unborn child") in baby scrapbooks. Is it only a "parasite" if it is inconvenient – or the product of poor planning? Same creature at the same stage of development, not a different species like a tapeworm? See how inconsistent this is?
Before or after birth, whenever people deny the humanity of another human, they are taking the first step towards doing something worse to him or her – like we dehumanize the enemy in war or political opponents if we forget that we are all fellow citizens who just disagree.
Therese, from the mother's perspective, the fetus is a parasite in that it's life is dependent upon the mother and it takes its nutrition from the mother.
Nobody is saying that abortion is a decent, good idea; it's ugly and unnecessary to properly educated and liberal people who understand the seriousness of birth control. The mother can abort the fetus, as the uterus does of its own accord many, many times, without the mother even being aware of it, or the mother can nurture the fetus, and that fetus becomes a child. Neither you nor I can change the facts or the definitions of the terms. People may do what they wish with their own body or any parasites taking nutrition from their body.
Who contends a fetus or embryo is not alive? Of course it is. So's a tumor. So what? Living does not equal having legal rights that trump those of the person upon whom the fetus is dependent. Sorry, dude, but them's the breaks. Your approval is neither required nor desired.
Women have the right to their own bodies and the contents thereof. Don't like it? Who gives a ripe fkk?
What happened to Anatomically Bombed and HawaiiGuest??? They were so sure of their "facts" just a few minutes ago! Hmm. Curious
How can people be so callous to the cries of the unborn?
Or they decided to quit wasting their time and go to dinner?
Fiona, how can you be so farming stupid?
The US needs more religion. We need to put God back in the schools and workplace and back on TV. What have we become as a society when we think that it is ok to kill babies?
Watch the video below. It'll make you happy to have been born male!!!
Well gosh.... instead of allowing children to be born into abject poverty and instead of allowing kids with down syndrome to be born into the homes of junkies and illiterates, we can abort the children OR every person who shows up at an anti abortion rally gets a free baby to take home and raise.
How about instead of randomly dropping these kids off at a rally – the parents put them up for adoption. Just a thought
How many children have you adopted Lion King? It must be a lot.
Well gosh...why don't we just euthanize the homeless? Problem solved. Or have everyone tries to spread awareness of the homeless be forced to donate their house as well. Then maybe the problem will go away.
Do you not comprehend any difference between a born person and a clump of cells?
Can't we all come together as Americans and celebrate the fact that around 46,000,000 babies are killed each year! And to think sooo many in China and India – just because they're girls!
All join in: "I am woman hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore . . . .
Well I am guessing you are just a troll and are not willing to respond to any arguments.
Only 1% are performed because of forced encounter or intra-familial relations
3% due to mother's health problems
1% due to baby abnormalities
95% due to birth control
That wasn't really relevant to the question I asked. I asked if there was an instance where murder was used as a last resort. There is really no way to verify if those statistics are accurate anyways, since rap.e and incest are often unreported.
I know I'm wasting my time by pointing out that your numbers are totally wrong. The most recent data shows approxamately 14,845,647 abortions recorded worldwide for 2010. The 42 million figure you are throwing around is the total number of additional abortions not originally reported due to it's legal status from 1922 – 2010 making the total figure 949 million since 1922. So yes, there are a lot of abortions every year worldwide, almost 15 million of them, with about 1.2 million occuring here in the US, but that is a far cry from your bogus number of 42 million a year. So get some facts straight before you make a fool of yourself.
Correction, your 46 million number is bogus, making the difference between the real number of 14,845,647 annual abortions and your fake number of 46 million a whopping 31,154,353 off.
Wrong agian! China alone performs 13,000,000 per year
Of course, there's always the statistics from the World Health Organization, but what do they know, right?
I did some checking and you are correct that the State run media in China reported 13 million abortions last year, though only 8 million were reported, the other 5 million were assumed based on non-reporting trends in certain provinces. This still only means the real number is more likely around 19-20 million annual reported abortions worldwide than your number of 46 million which is based on conjecture about the number of unreported abortions each year. Yes, the WHO estimates that 40-50 million is likely the total number inclusing all the unreported abortions with the large majority happening in the undeveloped world.
What I want to know is what you are doing to take care of the 140 million babies that were born last year, are they getting good homes, food, a place to sleep and eventually a job. Would you have been willing to make sure the extra 40 million embryos that were prevented from being born had the same?
correction "8 million were recorded"
What do I do to help these children? I vote. I give to adoption agencies. I discuss. I pray. I have marched – but not in a long time. Did I mention that I vote.
Thank God for the prolife groups that serves as the voice and support for the unborn.
Hey, there, "King of Beasts". Does it ever dawn on you that the reason there are so many abortions in China is that the government forces women to have them? No? Quelle surprise.
You imbecile, get it through your microcephalic head: if the government can force women to continue a pregnancy to term, it can just as easily force women to abort.
I'll bet such a thought has never crossed that thing you pretend is a mind.
The Chinese government doesn't force women to kill their unborn children, I have no clue where you would get such an idea, source?
Unborn female children are killed mainly due to the one child per family official policy, and the desire to have male children.
Good god, but you look dumber every time you post, Chard.
Do you really think it matters? The government forces abortion–which is what I stated.
If a government can control a woman's reproductive rights in one direction, it can just as easily do so in another.
What part of this escapes your (admittedly) impaired comprehension, Chard?
Oh, by the way, did you ever figure out the difference between RU486 and Plan B? Because really, how could anyone take your posts seriously when you never admitted you didn't know they were not the same?
Can I assume you approve of a "one child" policy, Chard?
Come on, Chard, get with it. You've posted on another question already. When are you going to admit you screwed up in assuming that RU486 and Plan B were the same? When will you cop to being wrong? Or will you just continue your usual pattern of ignoring any post that questions you and your points?
I love it when Chard ignores my questions. I know I've hit a home run.
Poor Chard must have been boiled and served up for supper.
Otherwise, he'd have been here to provide evidence and proof that his claims were valid.
Of course, they aren't. Never were.
What would anyone expect of a moron who thinks RU486 and Plan B are the same? I mean, really?
I think anti-murder laws should be optional. Only those who believe murder is wrong should have to follow them. Leave the rest of us out of it!
There are instances where a mother's life is in danger and abortion is the last resort. Is there any case in which murder would be a last resort?
In NYC in 2010, for every 1,000 black children born, 1,448 were aborted. I bet Martin Luther King, Jr. would be proud!
No sources means your just a troll. Go somewhere else for that crap.
Here you go!
This site is nothing but a sham, you dumbf&ck. Produce something resembling a neutral source for your "statistics".
This is a fun little three minute movie trailer too: Three of the most dangerous words, "It's a girl"
That is sad indeed!
Not as sad as you are.
So Christians don't believe in abortion? Make a law that says Christians can't have abortions.
The founder of planned parent hood is a proponent of eugenics.
Now that it's ok to get rid of inconvenient people (like babies), then it's ok to get rid of other inconvenient people, e.g. the elderly, the sick, and the weak.
Why should a baby pay for the inability of grown ups to behave like humans rather than scre wing rabbits ?
Why did you k ill me, mommy ?
For Lefties, people who are not OK to kill: muderers, rapists, mass-muderers, genocidal tyrants, cop killers, etc.
People who are A-OK to kill: the unborn, the elderly, the retarded, the sick
Is that a joke Lion King? If republicans had their way we would cut all programs to help the poor and elderly.
Yes let's all just forget about everything else that planned parenthood does. But if you don't want to seem like a complete jacka$$ then I can provide a list of common services that they provide.
Really, do you even HAVE a brain?
@J.W "Is that a joke Lion King? If republicans had their way we would cut all programs to help the poor and elderly."
Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." The surprise is that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives.
If many conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, Brooks, a registered independent, is, as a reviewer of his book said, a social scientist who has been mugged by data. They include these findings:
- Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).
- Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.
- Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.
- Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.
- In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.
- People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.
What charities are they giving to Chad? Because if it is a church-backed charitable orginization, that wouldn't surprise me. The fact is that before the civil rights movement the republicans in the south were recieving plenty of aid, and as soon as the social programs for blacks began kicking in suddenly no one wanted to pay taxes anymore. So, your cherry picked church-based charities neither surprise, nor impress me. The fact is conservatives vote for corporations, not people.
And this proves what, exactly, Chard?
Well, since Chard has been struck dumb, I'll answer. It means precisely nothing. Bible bangers give because they belong to congregations that expect them to do so. They give because it makes them look like good Christians. Nothing more. They don't give a god-dam about the poor or the hungry or the pregnant. They are looking out for their own reputations as charitable angels.
Chard buys into it because he wishes he made enough dough to matter to the upper-crust in his church.
If you want to go look at founders, then the founder of the Christian religions was a convicted felon, the founders of the US were traitors, the founder of the Boy Scouts was discrimnatory... it can go on and on. The mission of Planned Parenthood is medical, not social, thankfully NOT religious, not anything else. If those who get all strange about Planned Parenthood really knew anything about it, they would be SO ashamed of the garbage they are spouting against it!
And that organization is deeply committed to keeping abortion fun, free, fast, and frequent! Bless their hearts!
Exactly who is trying to keep abortion...fun? What the hell are you on about?
I would love to see a man post on the experience of actually having had an abortion. Or giving birth. Or being pregnant.
What a hoot.
Here are the facts on the number of women who die while having an abortion vs. the number of babies that die while being aborted
46,000,000 babies per year
That is not a trustworthy sorce......
you couldn't get more pro-abortion than that organization! Hooray!
Whine on, Lyin' King. Abortion will continue to be legal, just as it has remained since 1973. All the marches, protests, talk, and bluster haven't made a bit of difference. The majority of people in this country do not wish to see R v. W overturned. The percentage of the population that believes abortion should remain legal has remained pretty much the same ever since R v W was decided.
Women will not continue a pregnancy they do not want.
When comprehensive s3x education becomes the norm in schools and contraception information is included, the number of abortions will drop, just as it has been dropping steadily.
There will probably always be a need for abortion for as many reasons as there are women. You don't know what any of them are going through, and quite frankly, it's none of your business. Never has been. You may think it is, but women will continue to decide what is best for them without your "assistance".
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.