The following is written by retired twenty-year veteran of the Las Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and former “Deputy of the Year,” Tony Miano.
Abortion is not a victimless crime and there are not multiple victims in an abortion. There is only one victim in an abortion. And that is the unborn child whose life is summarily and brutally brought to an end in his or her mother’s womb. Abortion is murder.
April 1st, 2016, was a busy day for the pro-life movement. I wish the busyness was the result of April Fool’s Day pranks, but there was nothing funny about what took place. Three significant voices in American Evangelicalism, Christian ethics, and the pro-life movement announced publicly that they saw women (women in general) who abort their children as “not . . . bringing about the death of the unborn human baby,” according to Albert Mohler; “should be treated solely as a second victim and not as a first accomplice,” according to Joe Carter, and as “women in crisis,” according to Russell Moore.
While there is no evidence that the three men in question planned to make their positions known on the same day, all three are prominent members of the Southern Baptist Convention and it’s hard not to think there was not at least some communication between them prior to each of them publicly sharing their comments.
On April 1st, I too had something to say. I vehemently disagreed with the position of the three influential men in the form of a video: “Abortion: Yes, Murderers Should Be Punished.” In hindsight, while I would not retract anything I said in the video, I probably should have taken the route I am taking now—putting pen to paper.
I also took to Twitter and Facebook with a plethora of posts, which, I’m sure, was annoying and even troll-like to some. Why did I do it? First: I wanted the three men to know that I disagreed with them. Before you ask me the too-often-asked question about if I first tried to contact the men privately before taking them to task, please read an important article by Pastor Josh Buice. You will find it, here.
The second reason I took to social media to communicate my displeasure with what I believe is the unbiblical position these men and others hold is that I didn’t want the followers and fans of these men to accept their position wholesale. No matter how strongly and sincerely Christians assert that the Word of God is their authority, most Christians (on one level or another) have difficulty disagreeing with those they most highly respect. So, I spoke loudly and often, hoping many people would at least be given a moment of pause before nodding their heads in agreement with these men.
I had no delusions of grandeur. I did not expect to receive replies from any one of the three men. However, to my surprise, Mr. Carter did respond via Twitter and engaged me and a few others in cordial conversation. While I was not at all satisfied with his answers, integrity demands giving the man his due for being willing to step into the fray.
Again, in hindsight, it may have been better for me to start with this article than to end with this article. Having put so many shots across these men’s bows on social media, I can only hope at this point they will see and read this article. If they do read it, I hope they will find it more thoughtful and cogent than my emotional rants on Facebook and Twitter.
Before addressing statements made by each man in question, let me define a few important terms and make a couple clarifying points.
It’s important the definition of a few terms are settled. In this discussion of a woman’s culpability in the murder of her preborn child, some terms are being redefined and/or misused.
“The killing of a human being by a sane person, with intent, malice aforethought (prior intention to kill the particular victim or anyone who gets in the way) and with no legal excuse or authority. In those clear circumstances, this is first degree murder. By statute, many states consider a killing in which there is torture, movement of the person before the killing (kidnapping) or the death of a police officer or prison guard, or it was as an incident to another crime (as during a hold-up or rape), to be first degree murder, with or without premeditation and with malice presumed. Second degree murder is such a killing without premeditation, as in the heat of passion or in a sudden quarrel or fight. Malice in second degree murder may be implied from a death due to the reckless lack of concern for the life of others (such as firing a gun into a crowd or bashing someone with any deadly weapon). Depending on the circumstances and state laws, murder in the first or second degree may be chargeable to a person who did not actually kill, but was involved in a crime with a partner who actually did the killing or someone died as the result of the crime. Example: In a liquor store stick-up in which the clerk shoots back at the hold-up man and kills a bystander, the armed robber can be convicted of at least second degree murder. A charge of murder requires that the victim must die within a year of the attack. Death of an unborn child who is ‘quick’ (fetus is moving) can be murder, provided there was premeditation, malice and no legal authority.”
“A person who knowingly, voluntarily, or intentionally gives assistance to another in (or in some cases fails to prevent another from) the commission of a crime. An accomplice is criminally liable to the same extent as the principal. An accomplice, unlike an accessory, is typically present when the crime is committed.”
“Someone aiding in or contributing to the commission or concealment of a felony, e.g. by assisting in planning or encouraging another to commit a crime (an accessory before the fact) or by helping another escape arrest or punishment (an accessory after the fact). An accessory, unlike an accomplice, is typically not present when the crime is committed.”
“A person who has been directly harmed by a crime that was committed by another person.”
Rightly defining these terms is critically important in this discussion.
Points of Clarification
While I do not believe, as a general rule, women are victims in the abortion of their unborn children, integrity demands the acknowledgement that there are some women who are victimized during abortions.
On November 15, 2013, Max Fisher, reporting for the Washington Post, wrote (Source):
“In July 2012, for example, a 23-year-old mother became pregnant with her second child. Local officials arrested her, seven months into her pregnancy, and demanded her family pay $6,000 in fines for violating the one-child policy. When the family couldn’t get the money together, the officials gave her an injection that killed the baby, whom the mother delivered stillborn while in police custody. It became an international news story when the mother, outraged at her child’s death and at the indignity of being forced to wait alongside the body, posted a gruesome photo of the scene on social media. In China, it generated a national debate over the question, Why is this still happening?”
A woman who is physically forced against her will to have an abortion is the victim of an assault. She is not guilty of murdering her unborn child.
Furthermore, the reality is undeniable that there are some women, regardless of age, who, as a result of mental defect or true and undeniable ignorance, do not understand they are ending the life of a human being when they have an abortion. There are some women, regardless of age, who are so deceived they do not understand they are ending the life of a human being when they have an abortion. For if false christs can come and be so deceptive as to, if possible, deceive even the Elect (Matthew 24:24), we must allow that unsaved, unregenerate hearts and minds can be deceived to the point of committing horrendous crimes. This does not make these women victims. But it may make them guilty with an explanation. It may make them guilty to a lesser degree than others.
However, I would argue, based on my own experiences with pregnant women outside abortuaries, coupled with the fact that it is widely known that even the medical and legal communities agree that that which grows inside the womb is a human being, that the women just described make up a tiny fraction of the women who have abortions. The large majority of women who have abortions understand they are ending the life of their unborn children.
Therefore, a woman, regardless of age, who walks into an abortuary under her own power, aware of what she is about to do (end the life of her baby) pays an abortionist, allows technicians to prep her for the “procedure,” and then allows the abortionist to reach inside her with instruments of death and destruction to kill her baby is guilty of murdering her unborn child.
Can it be said that a woman can be pressured, coerced, and/or threatened to have an abortion? Yes. Can it also be said that a woman finding herself in such difficult circumstances has no choice but to walk into an abortuary under her own power, pay an abortionist, allow technicians to prep her for the “procedure,” and then allow the abortionist to reach inside her with instruments of death and destruction to kill her baby has no other choice—no other option? Absolutely not. Consider what the Word of God says regarding facing difficult circumstances and decisions:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
It would be better to proclaim the law and the gospel to the mother determined to kill her child, and then assure her that in Christ God will give her the ways and the means to endure any trial, than unbiblically coddling a pre-abortive or post-abortive mother by telling her she is a victim.
A woman being pressured, coerced, and/or threatened to have an abortion has other choices. She doesn’t have to pay for and participate in the murder of her unborn child. She can call 9-1-1. She can drive or walk to the nearest police or fire station. She can call a Crisis Pregnancy Center. She can call an abuse hotline. There are many things she can do.
Tragically, most women, even women in difficult circumstances, have abortions not because they have no other choice. Rather, they have abortions because they have no other desire. They sacrifice their unborn children on the altars of fear, selfishness, and convenience. They often compound sins of sexual immorality (i.e. fornication; adultery), storing up more wrath for the day of wrath (Romans 2:5), by committing yet another egregious sin in an attempt to cover the sins that led them to the abortuary.
Having defined several important terms and making some clarifying statements, I now want to present key portions of what Albert Mohler, Joe Carter, and Russell Moore had to say. You can read the entirety of their statements, here, here, and here.
The Problems with Each Man’s Statement
Moore presents an over-generalization about abortive women, covers it in straw, and then sets it ablaze. Moore refers to women who have abortions as “women in crisis.”
Again, there is no doubt that some women report to the abortuary believing they are in the midst of a crisis. But again, they do not report to the abortuary with murdering their child as their only inescapable option. For many women, the crisis amounts to:
• not wanting her parents to find out she had fornicated on Spring Break
• not wanting her parents to discover she has been sexually active while away from home at university
• not wanting to lose a boyfriend she is sure will leave her if she has his baby
• not wanting her husband to find out she has committed adultery
• not wanting to gain weight and look bad in a bikini (a woman actually told me this on her way into an abortuary)
• not wanting a baby and seeing abortion as birth control
• not wanting a third child when she already has two
• not wanting a child to get in the way of her career aspirations
When a woman arrives at an abortuary, having made an appointment to end the life of her child, especially when there are people standing outside begging her not to kill her child and honestly offering her every possible form of assistance, the only one in crisis is the child she carries in her womb.
While Russell Moore erected and burned down a straw man, Joe Carter tries to make a similar case by violating a fundamental law of logic.
Joe Carter ends his article with these words:
“A consistent pro-life position can maintain that a woman who has an abortion may be morally culpable in the taking of an innocent life, and yet still recognize that in the interest of compassion and proximate justice (e.g., ensuring the conviction of abortionists) she should be treated solely as a second victim and not as a first accomplice.”
In this statement, which will no doubt garner much support from the greater “pro-life movement,” Mr. Carter violates a law of logic known as the Law of Non-Contradiction. Matt Slick of the Christian Apologetic and Research Ministry defines this particular law of logic this way (Source):
“The Law of non-contradiction is one of the basic laws in classical logic. It states that something cannot be both true and not true at the same time when dealing with the same context. For example, the chair in my living room–right now–cannot be made of wood and not made of wood at the same time. In the law of non-contradiction, where we have a set of statements about a subject, we cannot have any of the statements in that set negate the truth of any other statement in that same set. For example, we have a set of two statements about Judas. 1) Judas hanged himself. 2) Judas fell down, and his bowels spilled out. Neither statement about Judas contradicts the other. That is, neither statement makes the other impossible because neither excludes the possibility of the other. The statements can be harmonized by stating: Judas hanged himself, and then his body fell down, and his bowels spilled out.”
“In order to make the set of statements contradictory, we would have something like: 1) Judas hanged himself. 2) Judas did not hang himself. Since either statement excludes the possibility of the other, we would then have a contradiction since both could not be true. However, to say that Judas hanged himself and Judas fell are not contradictory since both could occur.”
A person cannot be the suspect and victim of a crime at the same time and in the same sense.
It is utterly irrelevant that Mr. Carter chooses not to see abortive mothers as accomplices. It doesn’t matter what Mr. Carter believes; what matters is whether or not what he believes is true.
If Mr. Carter holds that abortive mothers carry human beings in their wombs, and those same mothers willfully enter an abortuary, pay abortionists to kill their children, allow themselves to be prepped for the “procedure,” voluntarily allow the abortionists to reach into their wombs and slaughter their unborn children, these mothers, are by definition, at minimum, accomplices (see above definition) in the murder of their children. Abortive mothers cannot be the victims in the death of their children. Neither can they be the victims of a crime they are committing.
A man calls his friend and tells him, “I need a ride to 7-11. I’m going to rob the place. If I have to, I’m going to shoot the clerk.” The friend agrees to give him a ride, but insists he won’t go inside the 7-11; he will just wait in the car. He says he doesn’t want any part in the robbery.
The two men arrive at the 7-11. The robber goes inside and approaches the clerk who is standing behind the counter. The driver watches as his friend pulls a gun. When the clerk raises his hands, the robber shoots the clerk twice in the chest, killing him instantly. The robber, now murderer, grabs what he can from the cash register, runs out of the store, and gets back into the car. “Go!” He yells. “Let’s get out of here!”
The police receive a “Shots fired; robbery just occurred call.” They arrive, find the clerk dead, and begin to interview witnesses. One witness was able to give a description of the suspect, a description of the car, and a partial license plate.
A B.O.L.O. (“Be on the Lookout”) is dispatched to patrolling units. An officer sees the suspect vehicle in front of him. He calls for assistance. When two other units arrive, the officer effects a felony traffic stop of the vehicle.
As the car pulls to the shoulder and stops, the robber/murderer jumps out of the vehicle and opens fire on the officers. The officers return fire, killing the robber/murderer. The driver gives up without resistance. He is arrested and booked at the city jail.
And with what will the driver who never entered the 7-11, who didn’t physically steal anything from the store, who did not have a gun, and who did not shoot the clerk be charged?
Capital Murder. He will be charged with murder, with special circumstances, because the murder occurred during the commission of another felony–in this case, robbery.
The case goes to trial. While the trial takes several days, the jury takes but 90 short minutes to come back with a verdict of “Guilty” on all charges.
On the day of sentencing, the now-convicted murderer is given an opportunity to speak. He begs the judge to let him go. He argues that since he did not actually commit the robbery or kill the clerk, he would prefer to be seen as a victim–a victim of circumstances. He claims he was just helping a friend who was down on his luck and needed some money. He argues that he had no other choice but to help his friend.
The judge listens, quietly, patiently. When the convicted killer finishes, the judge looks him straight in the eye and says, “You have been found guilty of murder in the first degree, with special circumstances–murder in the commission of felony robbery. I sentence you to death.”
The idea of referring to a women as victims who wantonly, with premeditation and malice aforethought, participate in the murder of their unborn children is as reprehensible as the driver of the getaway car in a robbery/murder wanting to be seen as a victim–a victim of circumstances.
Mr. Carter believes a woman can be “morally culpable” in the murder of her child while, at the same time, being a victim in her child’s murder. The legal definition (Source) of “culpable” is:
“Culpability generally implies that an act performed is wrong but does not involve any evil intent by the wrongdoer. The connotation of the term is fault rather than malice or a guilty purpose. It has limited significance in Criminal Law except in cases of reckless Homicide in which a person acts negligently or demonstrates a reckless disregard for life, which results in another person’s death. In general, however, culpability has milder connotations. It is used to mean reprehensible rather than wantonly or grossly negligent behavior. Culpable conduct may be wrong but it is not necessarily criminal.”
“Morality is defined as (Source):
1. The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct: questioned the morality of my actions.
2. A system or collection of ideas of right and wrong conduct: religious morality; Christian morality.
3. Virtuous conduct: commended his morality.
4. A rule or lesson in moral conduct: sermons noted for their moralities.
So, what is Mr. Carter saying?
Mr. Carter is saying that a woman who voluntarily enters an abortuary to end the life of her child is doing something wrong, but there is no evil intent. Her behavior is reprehensible, but it does not rise to the level of a criminal act. By doubling down and assigning these same women victim status, Mr. Carter is saying that abortive mothers, according to his moral standard, are culpable, but that culpability is neither negligent nor includes a reckless disregard for human life that results in another human being’s death.
This is, of course, utter nonsense. A woman cannot even be culpable (as weak as the term is) and, at the same time and in the same sense, a victim of her unborn child’s murder by way of abortion. Again, Mr. Carter’s argument violates the Law of Non-Contradiction.
With the above in mind, I must ask Mr. Carter and anyone else who agrees with his thinking, the following question. By what standard and by what authority is he assigning abortive mothers the status of moral culpability and not the status of murderer? By what standard and by what authority can Mr. Carter assert that a woman has done something wrong, but she’s not responsible or liable for what she has done. By what standard and by what authority can Mr. Carter assign women who wantonly, willfully, and with premeditation and malice aforethought participate in the murder of their unborn children assign these same women victim status? It certainly is not Scripture. He doesn’t cite any Scripture in his article. There are no verses he can cite to support his position. His authority is the case law of man and the standard by which he tries to support his case the history of the way things have always been done by sinful men and sinful societies. His argument is built upon a foundation of sand.
The Word of God is clear that the killing of a human being, with premeditation and malice aforethought, is murder (Exodus 20:13).
A woman who willfully participates in the murder of her unborn child, even if she does not thrust the weapons of death and destruction into her own womb, is an accomplice in the murder of her unborn child (Proverbs 3:27; Proverbs 6:16-19; Proverbs 21:7; Isaiah 5:20).
Therefore, women who wantonly and willfully have abortions are, by definition, according to legal definitions and according to the Word of God, the murderers of their own children.
Mr. Carter’s only “out” is to insist women do not premeditate, with malice aforethought, to have abortions. Maybe Mr. Carter has never engaged in ministry outside an abortuary. If he has or does engage in ministry outside an abortuary, and he holds to the position that women are not accomplices but rather victims in the murder of their unborn children, then he must have forgotten the things he had to have seen outside the abortuary.
I’ve served Christ outside of abortuaries for more than four years. This is what I’ve seen.
As a visibly pregnant woman walked toward the back door of the abortuary, she looked our way and at our signs and laughed. She raised her clenched fist in the air, as if she were holding a knife. Then, with several forceful, downward thrusts, she pretended to stab her unborn child in her womb to death.
I pleaded with a woman not to murder her child. When she reached the back door of the abortuary and grabbed the door handle, she paused. I thought maybe–just maybe–she would come over and engage in conversation. My hope grew as she let go of the door and began to walk toward me. But she started to dance and skip in circles. And then she began to chant, “Maybe I’ll murder Jesus today!”
A young woman in her late teens or early twenties arrived at the abortuary with her parents (pictured at the top of this article). As the three walked past us, the father insisted there is no God and his abortive daughter pointed to the back of her shirt. On her shirt, she had written, “Kiss My Pro-Choice !@#$%!” When confronted with the reality that she was about to murder her child and that she would always be the mother of her child, even though her child would be dead, she said, “At least I won’t be dead!” I captured this incident in this video titled “Abortion: The Ultimate Act of Selfishness.”
Samantha, presumably with her boyfriend or husband, marched toward me the moment I spoke a word to her. She threw her keys on the ground, posturing as if she wanted to assault me.
(Note: many women who come to abortuaries act like men while the men who accompany them act like women. The women posture, threaten, and curse like men readying themselves for a bar fight; while their men hide under hoodies, often slouch in the passenger seat of the car driven by the women, and are sometimes literally drug by the hand by the women, into the abortuary.)
The woman told me that if I said another word to her she would “kick my !@#$%.” When I asked her not to murder her child, she said that her child was already dead. When I asked her how she knew her child was dead, she yelled, “Because I killed it!”
I then began to plead with her to turn to Christ. She insisted she didn’t need Jesus because she was Jewish.
A married couple arrived at the abortuary. They stopped in the driveway and allowed me to speak to them. The woman readily admitted she had come to have an abortion. Her husband sat silently in the passenger seat. She told me that she was carrying twins. She tried to convince me that one of the two children had died in her womb. A little gentle prodding revealed that the babies she carried in her womb were children #5 and #6. Both babies were alive. She simply did not want to raise more than four children. She entered the abortuary and left later, freed from her burden. She murdered both of the children she had brought with her.
Contrary to what Mr. Moore believes, these women are not in crises that render them victims. Contrary to what Mr. Carter believes, these women are not secondary victims.
Now, let’s consider what Albert Mohler had to say.
Like Mr. Carter, Mr. Mohler appeals to the laws and the traditions of men to make his argument. Mr. Mohler is a brilliant man and a stalwart defender of the Christian faith. To say I was disappointed after reading his article is an understatement.
Again, it seems that all three men cited in this article are working off the same talking points. (I just learned that Denny Burk [Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, the undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary] wrote an article very similar to that of Mr. Mohler’s [Source]).
A member of my ministry’s Advisory Board, Pastor Chuck O’Neal, knowing I would publish this article, read Albert Mohler’s article. Pastor O’Neal made a rather astute observation and followed it with a most salient point–one that can be applied to Carter’s and Moore’s arguments as well.
Pastor Chuck sent me an email that contained quotes from Mr. Mohler’s article. Following each sometimes-lengthy quote, most of which involved Mr. Mohler citing an extra-biblical source. After each quote, Pastor O’Neal simply wrote: “But what does the Word of God say?”
Mr. Mohler wrote: “The big background of this story is the fact that the pro-life movement has never, ever called for the criminalization of abortion when it comes to the woman.”
But what does the Word of God say?
“They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin” (Jeremiah 32:35).
Like Judah of old, today mothers and fathers sacrifice their children to the Molechs of this age–selfishness, expediency, and convenience. The thought of mothers sacrificing their children in fire was not commanded by God, nor did it even enter His mind.
Can we not say the same about the sacrifice of unborn children to the false gods of selfishness, expediency, and convenience? Of course we can! It matters not that the pro-life movement tainted by the sinful philosophies of men have never “called for the criminalization of abortion when it comes to the woman.” What matters is that God would never command the abortion of children, nor would it even enter His mind. Yet Mr. Mohler and others insist on calling these same mothers “victims.”
Mr. Mohler wrote: “Blackwell said, ‘We have always considered the baby and mother as victims in abortion. He (Trump) has been all over the map on issues of principle. He has established a pattern that is indicative of his inexperience.’”
But what does the Word of God Say?
“When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exodus 21:22-25).
“But wait, Tony! This passage applies to abortionists who kill babies and maybe fathers who coerce women to have abortions! You’ve just made Al Mohler’s case!”
Not so. This passage clearly shows that any negligence leading to the death of an unborn child is seen as murder in the eyes of God. It is true that in this passage the mother is the victim of an assault and not culpable in the death of her child. But the key element of this passage is the value God places on the life of the unborn child, and anyone involved in the death of the child is guilty of the death of the child.
Consider this. If a man punches a woman in the stomach so as to cause the death of the unborn child she is carrying, he has murdered the child. But if the mother repeatedly punches herself in the stomach so as to cause the death of her unborn baby, we are to call her a “victim?” Or, would Mr. Mohler have us believe that the mother can only be a victim if she hires someone to kill her unborn child?
Mr. Mohler wrote: “Speaking to the New York Times, Jeanne Mancini, the President of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said that efforts to punish individual women for seeking or having an abortion were, in her words, ‘completely out of touch with the pro-life movement.’ She went on to say, ‘No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment.’”
But what does the Word of God say?
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
“Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:15).
God is pro-life. God will punish murderers. The pro-life movement is “completely out of touch” with God.
No doubt, Mr. Mohler affirms the pro-life movement’s position that those who call for the prosecution and punishment of women who murder their unborn children are “completely out of touch with the pro-life movement.”
Let me make it clear. Yes, I am completely out of touch with the pro-life movement. I am not a pragmatist. I am not a secular humanist. I am not a moralistic therapeutic deist. I am completely out of touch with the pro-life movement because I am a Christian. I am a Christian and the Word of God is my authority and my guide. My mind is not held captive to the philosophies of the pro-life movement. My mind is held captive to the Word of God.
That’s the question I have for all three men cited in this article (and Mr. Burk). But what does the Bible say, gentlemen? What does the Bible say? None of the men even attempt to assert any kind of biblical authority for their positions.
Mr. Mohler, appealing to history–specifically the Feminist Movement, wrote:
“The big background of this story is the fact that the pro-life movement has never, ever called for the criminalization of abortion when it comes to the woman. The pro-life movement actually emerged out of the early feminist movement, something that many people in modern America do not remember. The early feminists argued among other things that abortion was something that was inflicted upon women by men at their own convenience and women, argued the early feminists such as Susan B. Anthony, were the victims of abortion along with the unborn children who were aborted.”
Mr. Mohler mentioned Susan B. Anthony (among other suffragettes and early feminists) by name, so I decided to do a little research (actually, my friend Richard Story did it for me).
In an article titled “7 Feminists Who Were Pro-Life” (Source), we discover the following about Susan B. Anthony’s views:
“Anthony is credited by some scholars with writing one of the most powerful anti-abortion articles ever to appear in The Revolution; however, the article was published with only her initial, leading some to argue that it she was not in fact the author. The article, entitled ‘Child Murder’ included the following:
‘Guilty? Yes no matter what the motive, love of ease, or desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! Thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.’
Without a doubt, Susan B. Anthony believed men were criminally liable, even more so than women, for the murder of unborn children. However, Anthony would find the men cited in this article as having missed the mark. Anthony found any woman “awfully guilty who commit[ed] the deed.” She did not consider them merely culpable as Mohler, Carter, Moore, and Burke do.
Mr. Mohler closes his commentary with this shocking statement:
“But here’s where the pro-life movement returns back to say, who is the guilty party in an abortion? It is the person who brings about the death of the child. The woman seeking the abortion is not without moral responsibility, but she is not herself bringing about the death of the unborn human baby. That’s the crucial issue here, and that’s why the pro-life movement has consistently sought to criminalize abortion at the level of the person performing the abortion. That is, unlike what Nicholas Kristof argues here, a morally consistent argument and it has been consistent over time.”
Like Mr. Carter, Mr. Mohler asserts that a woman is not a guilty party in an abortion, but she is morally responsible. Morally responsible for what? The death of the child? She’s morally responsible for the death of the child, but she’s not guilty of the death of the child? This kind of politically correct, constituent-pleasing, biblically inconsistent double-speak is far beneath a man of Mr. Mohler’s theological, philosophical, and political brilliance. In fact, in this last paragraph, Mr. Mohler sounds more like a campaigning politician than a careful theologian.
Mr. Mohler, sir? There would be no abortionists if there were not women bent on murdering their unborn children. How can you not see this?
The mother is most certainly bringing about the death of her child. She contracts with a butcher of living bodies to end the life of her child. She does so with premeditation and malice aforethought. While she herself is not holding the instruments of death, carefully inserting them into her birth canal, finding the baby in the womb and ripping him or her apart, and then evacuating the body parts and placing them on a cold, stainless steel tray, she is both a co-conspirator and accomplice in the act. She is guilty of murder.
The pro-life movement has been consistent over time. But it has not been morally consistent. It has been immorally consistent. Since a mother is not merely morally culpable, but actually guilty in the murder of of her unborn child through abortion, then who is morally culpable in the death of these precious children?
The pro-life movement is morally culpable in the death of unborn children. Mr. Mohler, Mr. Carter, Mr. Moore, Mr. Burke, and those who hold to their unbiblical position of allowing abortive mothers to nestle comfortably under the umbrella of victim status are morally culpable in the death of an untold number of children.
Trotting Out The Toddler
What I find very sad about Mr. Mohler’s (et al) position is that it is biblically indefensible and logically unsustainable. Sadder still is that I can use the same apologetic device to defeat their position that I use to defeat the position of every pro-choice person with whom I have ever spoke. It’s called “Trotting Out the Toddler.” You can see an example of this, here.
The question those who advocate for calling women who murder their unborn children “victims” cannot or will not answer is this: How old must a child be before a mother who hires someone to kill her child becomes guilty of murder?
A mother gives birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl. Everything is fine, at first. But after a few short weeks, the mother’s boyfriend threatens to walk out on her if she doesn’t give the baby up for adoption. The mother, grief-stricken at the thought of someone else raising her child while, at the same time, not wanting to lose her boyfriend, hires a stranger to take her daughter out to the desert, kill her, and then bury her in a shallow grave.
Is the mother guilty of murder?
A young woman gives birth to a child, against her parents wishes. She drops out of school to raise her baby. She has no income and is finding it difficult to find work and someone to care for her baby if she were to find a job. The young woman’s parents come to her one day and tell her that the baby’s constant crying is keeping them up at night. They tell her that they were against her having the baby and feel that it would be best for her and her baby to move out of the house. They give her until the end of the week to find a new place to live.
The young woman panics. Seeing no other option, she calls her ex-boyfriend and father of the child and asks if she and their daughter can stay with him. He says that he will take her back, but not the baby. Since the baby is a only few weeks old, the boyfriend suggests to the mother that he find a desolate trash dumpster and leave the baby inside it. She convinces herself that it would have been better for the baby if she had never been born. And someone told her that all babies go to heaven. So she agrees to let her boyfriend leave her little girl in a trash can, where she dies.
Is the mother guilty of murder?
The only difference between these two scenarios and similar scenarios that end in the abortion of an unborn child is the age of the child.
A woman who hires someone to take her infant child to the desert, kill her, and bury her in a shallow grave is a murderer. But end the same story with the woman hiring an abortionist to end the life of her unborn baby, and Al Mohler would have us believe the woman is a victim.
A woman who agrees to have her ex-boyfriend toss their infant child in a dumpster and leave the baby to die is a murderer. But end the same story with the woman hiring an abortionist to end the life of her unborn baby, and Joe Carter and Russell Moore would have us believe the woman is a victim.
“Trotting Out the Toddler” exposes the dark reality that much of the pro-life movement, including the Christian men mentioned in this article, are literally working from the same playbook as those numbered among the pro-choice movement.
This is why I believe Mr. Mohler and those who agree with him must repent. They are not as pro-life as they think they are. This position of giving a blanket pass to women who have abortions by calling them “victims” makes the pro-life movement co-belligerents with the pro-choice movement. Both movements value the life of the mother over the life of the child.
A Call to Repent
I believe Mr. Mohler, Mr. Carter, Mr. Moore, Mr. Burke, and others, albeit unintentionally (I will give them that much benefit of the doubt), by feeding the unbiblical stereotype of murderous mothers as victims, are actually contributing to the death of unborn children. Pregnant mothers intent on murdering their unborn children, if they read the commentaries of these well-known evangelical men, could very well be all-the-more emboldened to end the lives of their unborn children. Is this likely? Maybe not. But one would certainly be far too many.
So now, because of the reckless and unbiblical commentary of well-respected Christian leaders, I will wait outside abortuaries for some woman to say, “I’m a victim! Albert Mohler said so!” This may likely never happen. However, Mr. Mohler and the pro-life movement’s claimed moral consistency opens the door for this to happen. The pro-life movement’s position that abortive mothers are, in general, victims will only serve to make my days longer and harder outside of abortuaries. Calling abortive women victims will only serve to make abortuaries busier places.
Knowing I was writing this article, my friend Tom Brewer shared with me a Facebook post he discovered. The post was written by a woman named Kristina Harrhof. While I do not know her personally, we have several mutual friends–most of whom are active in abortuary and evangelistic ministry. Kristina wrote (Source):
“I asked the pro-aborts in an abortion group the following: ‘What do you guys think of Cruz and Trump referring to those of you who have aborted as “victims?” Do you agree that that’s appropriate terminology to use for someone who is getting an abortion or who is post-abortive?’
“Here were their responses:
— ‘No. It is not. Abortion is a choice. Not something that is inflicted upon you.’ — Laura
— ‘No. Victims don’t have choices and don’t decide to be victims.’ — Donna
— ‘Neither Trump not Cruz have a clue what they’re talking about. I’m not a victim. I exercised my right to choose and in return [obtained] the freedoms to pursue my American Dream. What they propose is just offensive.’ — Susan
— ‘I emphatically disagree that it is an appropriate usage. It is a dishonest, manipulative, cowardly choice of words.’ — Kurt
— ‘This is a long-standing tactic of theirs [to label us all “victims”]. Because of course women are too stupid to know what they’re doing.’ — Evan
— “[Like] We are incapable of sound judgement.” — Cheri
— ‘Not unless the person was forced into it. Otherwise, they made a choice. If they feel regret, they’re not a victim, but I do feel bad for them.’ — Sandra
— ‘”Victim” is only appropriate in a discussion about abortion for someone who is forced to have an abortion.’ — Kristen
“I then asked Kristen, ‘Do you think, by and large, that women are being forced to have abortions in the U.S?’
— ‘No, I do not. I believe that most abortions are taking place following a very tough decision that has to be made by the woman who is pregnant. I do not believe that the majority of abortions in the US are forced. Do I believe that some pregnant women are forced to have abortions? Yes I do. Because I know men controlling enough to do things either way. But that is why I do not support the use of the word “victim” to describe just anyone who has an abortion.’
“Folks, even the victims here are denying that they are victims. In fact, they find it offensive terminology. It’s not winning them over; it’s making them feel like we’re calling them ‘idiots.’
“And frankly, as my friend Patte [Smith] put it in her video, there are some who are supporting the use of this term who should know better theologically.”
Yes, even pro-abortion women know that, but for those who are physically forced to have an abortion, women who have abortions are not victims. In this case, on this issue, Mr. Mohler (et al.), pro-abortion women are more morally and intellectually consistent than you are.
One Other Victim
Oh. There is one other victim–not in an abortion, but at the hands of the pro-life movement. It is the gospel. The greater sins of Mr. Mohler and others who hold to this position that women who have abortions are victims are the replacement of the true gospel with a socially acceptable gospel, the minimization of the sinfulness of sin, and the stripping grace of its beautiful luster.
Is it any wonder that so many professing Christians link arms with the apostate Roman Catholic Church in the so-called fight against abortion? Is it any wonder that so many Crisis Pregnancy Centers are bastions of and incubators for Moralistic Therapeutic Deism? Is it any wonder so many professing Christians take umbrage with Christians who stand outside of abortuaries begging and pleading with men and women not to murder their children, and then calling them to repent and believe the gospel? Is it any wonder that many professing Christians outside of abortuaries are against the open-air preaching of the gospel outside these places of carnage?
No. It’s no wonder. It’s no wonder because the gospel is of little importance in the wider pro-life movement. The gospel is a victim of the pro-life movement. And insisting on calling abortive mothers in general “victims” sends the gospel even farther to the back of the pro-life bus. Why?
If abortive mothers are told they do not have blood-soaked, guilty hands, if abortive mothers are told they are not guilty of murdering their unborn children, then for what should they be called to repentance? If women are truly victims in the abortion of their unborn children, how then, with any moral or biblical consistency, can the pro-life movement call them to repent for the death of their children?
And therein lies the greatest problem, and why the gospel is a victim of the pro-life movement. If you see abortive mothers as victims and therefore you will not call them to repent of the sin of murdering their unborn children, why would you share the gospel with them? Oh, these women might hear from the pro-life movement things like: “Jesus has a wonderful plan for your life. He will take away all your pain and sorrow. He will give you a new life.” But that kind of moralistic therapeutic deism is a false gospel that cannot save. It only sets up abortive mothers to one-day hear Jesus say, “Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness; I never knew you” (Matthew 7:21-23).
Because the wider pro-life movement sees abortive mothers as victims, most people in the pro-life movement will never do this. They will never love abortive mothers this much:
Instead, the wider pro-life movement coddles women (like the one in the video) as victims, instead of loving them with action and truth.
A Word from the Prince of Preachers
Another friend who knew I was working on this article, Randall Kirkland, sent me the April 7th evening devotion from Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening:
“Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; and my tongue shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness.” — Psalm 51:14
“In this SOLEMN CONFESSION, it is pleasing to observe that David plainly names his sin. He does not call it manslaughter, nor speak of it as an imprudence by which an unfortunate accident occurred to a worthy man, but he calls it by its true name, bloodguiltiness. He did not actually kill the husband of Bathsheba; but still it was planned in David’s heart that Uriah should be slain, and he was before the Lord his murderer. Learn in confession to be honest with God. Do not give fair names to foul sins; call them what you will, they will smell no sweeter. What God sees them to be, that do you labour to feel them to be; and with all openness of heart acknowledge their real character. Observe, that David was evidently oppressed with the heinousness of his sin. It is easy to use words, but it is difficult to feel their meaning. The fifty-first Psalm is the photograph of a contrite spirit. Let us seek after the like brokenness of heart; for however excellent our words may be, if our heart is not conscious of the hell-deservingness of sin, we cannot expect to find forgiveness.”
And with that, I would like to make a special plea to abortive mothers.
To Women Who Have Had an Abortion
If you have had an abortion, if you have ended the life of your child, know that you will always be the mother of the baby you killed. You will simply and tragically be the mother of a dead baby–a precious little one who died at your hands. Regardless of what the pro-life movement would want you to believe, God does not see you as a victim. He sees you as a murderer. I say this to you because the Bible commands me to love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:34-40). You are my neighbor; just as your now-deceased unborn child was my neighbor.
If you die in your sin, God–who is good, holy, righteous, and just–will do what is right. He will not turn a blind eye to your sin. He will punish your sin. The punishment God has determined for sin is eternity in hell. I do NOT want this for you.
But there is good news! God has provided one way for you to be rescued from His wrath against your sin. You see: God does forgive sinners, even murderers. He forgave Moses (the murder–Exodus 2:11-12; the forgiveness–Deuteronomy 34:10-12). He forgave David (the murder–2 Samuel 11:14-24; the forgiveness–Psalm 51:1-19). He forgave Paul (the murder–Acts 7:54-60; the forgiveness–Acts 9:1-22).
However, you must come to God on His terms, for God does not negotiate with sinners.
2,000 years ago, God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ (fully God and fully man), to this earth (John 1:14). He was born of a virgin (Luke 1:26-38). He lived the perfect life that you cannot live (2 Corinthians 5:21). Though innocent He was nailed to a cross, shed His blood, and died—taking upon Himself the wrath of God sinners deserve (Mark 15:22-26; Romans 3:21-26). Three days later, He rose from the dead, forever defeating sin and death. As a result of Jesus Christ’s perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection, God grants forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe (John 3:16).
Jesus said you must be “born again” (John 3:3). This is a supernatural work of God. When God causes a person to be born again (1 Peter 1:3), He gives the person a new heart and dwells in him or her, in the person of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). This change results in a hunger for righteousness (Matthew 5:6) that will cause you to repent (turn from your sins and turn toward God), and to put your faith in Jesus Christ alone as Lord and Savior. Your life is a vapor—here today and gone tomorrow. Repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15) while God has given you time. Turn to Christ and live!
For more information, please read “Our Message.”
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