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Dooley Noted: Sanctity of Life Sunday

With eyes wide open my sons stared at screens to the left and right that would momentarily transmit images of their baby sister. Unlike those that came before it, this ultrasound was a family affair. “I see her face!” “Look at her little hand!” “You can see her toes!” These were just a few of the comments that decorated our special moment right after the doctor declared, “It’s a girl!” Though we did not meet her until months later, we all loved our newest addition before she was born.

An honest reading of Scripture leads to the conclusion that life begins at conception.  Before we are born, God knows us, (Jer. 1:4-5), has a plan for our lives (Psalm 139:16), and meticulously forms us (Psalm 139:13-15).  Designated as a baby before his birth, John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:41).  Realizing the depth of his own depravity, King David understood himself to be a sinner the moment he was conceived (Psalm 51:5).  Life in the womb may be more fragile, but it remains human life still the same. Certainly, a pro-life ethic requires more than caring for life within the womb, but it never requires less. Christians cannot afford to be wrong about this basic issue of morality.

Thankfully, since the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June of last year, abortion is illegal here in Tennessee and in many other states that value human life. Despite claims that women would lose basic healthcare rights and suffer greatly under the new law, nothing of the kind has played out. Maternal mortality rates have not risen, and it is not illegal to treat an ectopic pregnancy. What has happened though, is a decrease in abortion across the nation by a total of 6% according to the research group Society of Family Planning. Lest anyone think numbers like these don’t matter, that’s 10,000 fewer abortions in the months of July and August of 2022.

Ironically, those who scream the loudest about protecting healthcare for women say little to nothing about the dangers posed by abortion. Aside from the physical risks associated with the surgery itself, abortion is a threat to future reproductive success, increasing the occurrences of infertility, miscarriage, and preterm birth.  Higher risk for cervical, ovarian, and breast cancers seem to be associated with abortion as well.  Added to these are the consequential psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, and drug abuse.  Suicide after an abortion is six times more likely than following the delivery of a child.  Abortion works against the overall health of women, not for it.

Thankfully, the most recent technology reinforces the biblical understanding of life’s sanctity. With uncanny accuracy, 4D sonogram images allow parents to see the facial expressions of their child.  Now, HD live ultrasounds light up babies in the womb with such precision that skin tone is discernable. Though the culture of death minimizes these advances as irrelevant, women deserve the opportunity to make informed decisions about their pregnancy. I am grateful for ministries like Birth Choice, right here in Jackson, that provide free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, abortion education, and parenting classes to women facing crisis pregnancies. Their services for women who choose life are meaningful and holistic, deserving of our full support.

But there is still work to be done.

Just this past week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act by a vote of 220-210. The aim of the bill was to provide care for infants that survive abortions. Tragically, all but one member of one of our major political parties voted against the measure! Though some might claim that similar protections were already in place, an inaccurate assertion in my view, the effort unquestionably increased penalties for violating the guidelines. Since infanticide is already illegal in the United States, how could any moral person be against providing basic healthcare for a child fighting to live?

The undeniable reality that we must come to grips with is that abortion destroys more than “the product of conception.” When people boast of their right to CHOOSE, we must explain exactly what they are choosing. Every terminated pregnancy ends with death of a child. There is no middle ground between life and death. The dignity of all human life does not allow neutrality on these issues. Because every person is made in the image of God and charged with the sacred duty of caring for and overseeing creation (Gen. 1:26-27), silent protest is not good enough. God holds us accountable for what we do, but also for what we do not do. Mothers should not kill their children. Fathers should not flee their responsibilities. We should not celebrate what God abhors. Though I am honored to proudly stand for the sanctity of all human life this Sunday, I pray the day will come when such statements are no longer necessary.

Dr Adam B. Dooley is pastor of Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson, TN, and author of Hope When Life Unravels. Contact him at adooley@ebcjackson.org. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBDooley.

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