Abortion Laws: How the Prolife Movement is Aborting a Prolife Era

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Abortion Laws: How the Prolife Movement is Aborting a Prolife Era | Show Notes


In this episode, Kerry Baldwin explains how abortion laws are preventing the prolife movement from achieving a prolife era. Abortion has been legal in America for nearly half a century, and the prolife movement is no closer to winning the hearts and minds of people to overturn Roe and heal the damage brought by Roe.

Specifically, she addresses the latest trend of Abortion Abolitionists viz Jeff Durbin and his End Abortion Now campaign by evaluating abortion through an economic and praxeological lens. Baldwin explains how the current is disjointed and continually at odds with each other.

She also discuses the one glimmer of hope in the movement, crisis pregnancy centers, which – despite lack of funding that Planned Parenthood enjoy, are competing rather well with the abortion giant.

Few issues are as emotionally-charged as abortion; it’s polarizing, so a productive dialogue is difficult to have. This polarization has also caused many to qualify their stance; “I’m pro-life, but…” Staunch advocates see this as weakness, even placing the blood of aborted babies on the hands of those less sure about the issue. Is this a topic that is beyond the point of no return? Is there no room to challenge or re-think our perspective of abortion in a rational way?

I invite you to join me, as we Dare to Think about what it will actually take to end abortion.

I have a question for pro-lifers: If the endgame of the pro-life movement is to outlaw abortion again, what is the goal in doing so? Is it simply to end the non-criminal status of abortion, or to end the practice of it? If you’re answer is, “it’s both,” then I’m going to challenge you to consider that you are only thinking of the end game, while ignoring the long game strategy required to get there.

My primary motivation here has to do with supporting the lives of BOTH mom and baby; not just up to birth, but beyond, and while this is a criticism of what’s going on in the pro-life movement, it is not a condemnation. There’s a way forward for pro-lifers, but it involves a paradigm shift.

Part 1: How the pro-life movement is unwittingly aborting our pro-life era.
Laura S. Hussey, assistant professor in the Political Science department at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, conducted a study on pro-life activism and describes four streams of the pro-life movement in brief. The first three are highly visible;

  • Public Education Stream (Education): This stream deals with moving public opinion on abortion
  • The Political Stream (Legislative): This stream deals with electing pro-life candidates and promoting pro-life legislation reform.
  • The Direct-Action Stream (Economic): This stream deals with affecting the supply of abortion
    But the less visible stream is the Individual Outreach Stream (Social justice and welfare): This stream deals with providing practical and tangible alternatives to abortion that are immediately needed for women with unwanted pregnancies.

One major problem with these streams is that they act mutually independent from each other. In fact, factions within the streams often attack one another’s methods, philosophies, strategies, not to mention the people themselves. So, while this may look like a comprehensive approach it certainly isn’t, and the End Abortion Now campaign provides a stark example of why this is true.

Durbin’s campaign utilizes the first three streams in his “battle plan.” First, educating advocates with a Christian worldview, which will be used in direct-action sidewalk canvassing, and finally pressuring politicians to pass strong legislation reform. He believes that his strategy will be what finally wins the abortion debate, and while I want to applaud and not discourage his work with helping individual mothers, his tactics concerning the legality are overzealous and premature.

Like the unborn baby who needs time in her mother’s womb before she can successfully be brought into the world, so too, certain developments need to take place before we can birth a new pro-life era in our legal history.

Don’t misconstrue this as incrementalism; incrementalism involves progressive legal changes over time. This is an untenable solution, and I am not advocating it here.

Stream 1: The Education Stream – Is a Christian Worldview Necessary for Winning the Pro-life Argument?
As a Christian, I will say that having a “Christian worldview” is absolutely essential for Christians living in a fallen world. But what do we mean by “Christian worldview?”

Christian worldview is a framework of ideas through which we interpret and interact with the world, but our worldview is informed by our doctrines, philosophies, and even life experiences. So, while Christians may universally share certain themes in our worldview, we do not necessarily share a universally consistent worldview because our disagreements on doctrines, philosophies, and our different life experiences lead to nuanced distinctions; and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing – this is just one way we build empathy and understanding about people.

Aside from the fact that Christians don’t all agree on what entails a Christian worldview, we should agree that it isn’t actually necessary to hold a Christian worldview in order to ascend to the pro-life ethic, that abortion is murder. The Biblical position, is that a Christian worldview is unnecessary for holding to a prolife ethic.

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B.A. Philosophy, Arizona State University. My writing focuses on libertarian philosophy and reformed theology and aimed at the educated layperson. I am a confessionally Reformed Christian orthodox Presbyterian in the tradition of J. Gresham Machen (1881 – 1937)
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