Following the Dobbs decision in 2022, abortion has again become the biggest political debate of our culture.
For over 60 years, pro-abortionists have been less inclined to construct thoughtful conversations about the issue and defend their position because Roe v. Wade served as their shield. Their goalpost has moved from “safe, legal, and rare” to “my body, my choice” to now “shout your abortion” and “abortion is mercy” — even as they demand abortion up until the moment of birth.
Pro-life groups, on the other hand, have spent decades researching, campaigning, and producing content as apologists, educating continuously on the inherent humanity of the preborn. They’ve poured millions of dollars into interviewing doctors to explain the abortion procedure, proving the scientific agreement that life begins at conception, arguing the point at which a baby’s heart begins to beat, and printing images of the remains of aborted babies on posters.
Despite these efforts, pro-abortion activists have only become more and more extreme.
Just recently, the U.S. Congress voted on a bill that would require medical attention to babies who survived an abortion. All but two Democrats voted against it. Granted, medical attention is already required for babies who survive abortions under the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act of 2002, but this recent bill added a few requirements and clarified some penalties for physicians who do not render medical attention. Either way, it should have received unanimous support.
The FDA has approved abortion pills to be sold in drug stores.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass, are pushing propagandist talking points to demonize pro-life pregnancy centers as phony and dangerous.
Pro-abortion activists have vandalized churches and pregnancy centers, teenage girls are making videos flaunting their abortions as if they had just gotten their ears pierced or a new tattoo, and the FBI is targeting and arresting peaceful anti-abortion advocates.
What went wrong? Did all these years of fighting abortion in the culture war fall on deaf ears?
I would argue that our strategy for our fight against abortion has been terribly, terribly misguided. If the goal was to teach and inform, then we’ve been very successful.
But if the goal was to change hearts and minds, our emphasis has been on entirely the wrong things. Sixty years later, apologetics discourse has not been enough.
When it comes to abortion — err, the outright murder of a preborn human being — no number of scientific facts, images, or explanations from abortion doctors will change a cold, dead heart of stone to a heart of flesh.
Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ does that.
If we truly want to change the hearts of the culture on the issue of abortion, we would be wise to preach the Gospel. In Psalm 51, the psalmist pleads, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me!”
Even the psalmist understood that it is God alone who changes hearts. A heart that is wicked and dead in trespasses and sins will never understand how gravely necessary it is to reject and condemn the ongoing holocaust of pre-born children.
No person deceived by his or her own wickedness will grieve the loss of a pre-born life, much less call for justice on their behalf. No matter how many “gotcha” questions or talking points the pro-life movement can muster up, it will never be enough to soften the hearts of man.
This will only be accomplished by the supernatural transformation of the heart by the Holy Spirit.
The great evangelist George Whitefield said this about the power of the Gospel to change hearts:
“Every man, by his own natural will, hates God; but when he is turned to the Lord, by evangelical repentance, then his will is changed; then his conscience, now hardened and benumbed, shall be quickened and awakened; then his hard hearts shall be melted, and his unruly affections shall be crucified. Thus, by that repentance, the whole soul will be changed, and he will have new inclinations, new desires, and new habits.”
The power to change hearts is simply not within us. If we think our clever social media posts will finally make the girls we went to high school with weep over their celebration of murder, we are deceiving ourselves.
Pro-abortion activists, women who have chosen abortion, women who have considered abortion, the husbands and boyfriends of these women, doctors who have performed abortions, Planned Parenthood employees, and our leaders all need the same message:
They are in a desperate state, dead in their sins before a righteous and holy God who must punish their wrongdoing. They need a substitute — someone who can stand before God, pure, without sin, and bear His wrath for them. But who?
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that’s who. He stepped down from glory to live on this earth, obey God to the point of death, bear the punishment for sinners He did not deserve, and be resurrected from the dead to ascend to Heaven’s throne. Through this gift, Christ gave His righteousness to those who would believe so that they can stand blameless before God. It is through this gift that God offers all sinners what they cannot earn for only by believing in Christ and resting in Him alone can any of us be saved.
And it is only by this message, the Gospel, that a heart-change can ever be accomplished — for it is this heart-change that will allow those who have been anti-life to finally and fully recognize the horror that is abortion.
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Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.