An amazing thing has happened in Texas and at the Supreme Court in the last 24 hours. Texas passed a law that prohibited abortion after 6 weeks, when a heartbeat is heard. (NOTE: I am not an expert on the law or on these laws, so I am representing them the best I can – this is in no way legal analysis). Laws against partial-birth abortion have been passed and other limitations on abortion have become state law and then been struck down in the courts or by SCOTUS. Last night, our new conservative court let this restriction stand. The Texas law, which may face a series of challenges, is now operational law, and as I understand it, Texas is now abortion-free.
Someone start the Hallelujah Chorus.
This is why the 2021 Resolution brought to the floor by Bill Ascol after it had (wisely) not been brought forward by the Resolutions Committee was so wrong-headed. As it was originally written, it would have CONDEMNED this action because it allows abortion in the first six weeks. Here is the relevant section of the resolution.
RESOLVED, that we will not embrace an incremental approach (alone) to ending abortion because it challenges God’s Lordship over the heart and the conscience, and rejects His call to repent of sin completely and immediately (Gen 3:1; John 8:44; Rom 2:14-15; 2 Corinthians 11:3)…
Thankfully, the word “alone” was added by the messengers to keep the resolution from being completely condemnatory of those who labored hard and endured much criticism to pass the most pro-life law in a long time. Texas is abortion-free today because people did not take the abolitionists’ all-or-nothing approach. The entire resolution should have been rejected but at least we had the sense to add one word to make it less unwise.
Some who advocated the resolution cast this as a test of whether we truly stand against abortion or not. That was dishonest and unfair.
- Essentially all Southern Baptists oppose abortion. Do you know ANYONE active in the SBC who is pro-abortion? It is disingenuous to cast this as an anti-abortion test. Those who opposed the resolution were not supporting abortion but a wiser approach to fighting it. It is unfair for proponents of the resolution to cast themselves as the true opponents of abortion.
- The issue is which approach is better in fighting it. Some, like the proponents of the abolitionist resolution, want an all-or-nothing approach. They will brook no compromise. The resolution as originally constructed, called on us to reject an incremental approach. Completely. Utterly. Others support legal efforts to save ANY life and restrict ANY abortions we can.
- Did Southern Baptists really intend to place themselves in a position where, when Texas bans all abortions after 6 weeks, we CONDEMN them instead of CELEBRATING the action? That is what this unfortunate resolution would have done before it was amended.
Our unified goal is to see abortion a shameful part of our history, one we regret. I would love to live in a world where abortion is illegal – completely and utterly – but if we only support laws that give us 100% victories we will never have victories like the pro-life movement saw yesterday in Texas. The incremental approach is the better approach in a fallen world. An incremental approach will always be frustrating. The GOP will sell us out. Victories will sometimes turn to defeat, but some is better than nothing.
The stunning victory of the pro-life movement yesterday shows us why the abortion resolution passed in 2021 was unwise, not in its heart or its goal, but in its approach. As we work toward outlawing ALL abortions we should rejoice when we see ANY abortions stopped.