by Pastor Micheal Salemink
So, Chris tells Jamie, “I just couldn’t cast a vote for someone who supports abortion.” And Jamie says, “You know, Chris, abortion’s not the only voting issue. Other things matter to elections and politics too. Seems kind of narrow-minded for you to fixate on just that one.”
Have you ever heard a conversation like this? Have you ever had a conversation like this?
Have you ever met someone like Chris or Jamie? Have you ever felt like Chris? Like Jamie?
Is abortion an election issue? No and Yes.
No, abortion is never just an election issue. But yes, abortion is always at least an election issue. Here are ten reasons why:
- Abortion isn’t just a political issue. Abortion has to do with facts and truth about the science of human life—embryos and fetuses are living human beings as much as you and me. Abortion deals with the physical and psychological welfare of the most vulnerable among us—it kills children and makes mothers suffer. Abortion executes the injustice of discriminating against one another—unborn babies face deprivation and dying based only on their age, appearance, experiences, environment, or abilities. And abortion involves moral assessments and enforcements—who has the right to life, who has the authority to take life, when may we limit one’s lifestyle because it infringes upon somebody else’s survival?
- Abortion isn’t just a single issue. Abortion is a conclusion that comes from a whole set of principles. It relates to economics, medicine and health care, justice and civil rights. It shows how one understands the roles of government and law—shouldn’t we protect the weakest? It affects one’s sense of the community’s commitments to our underprivileged and endangered—wouldn’t we want to make up for what they lack rather than take even the little they have? It informs how one feels about our relationships to each other as citizens in a society—can’t we care instead of discarding? And abortion has long-term consequences and global implications for both individual bodies and entire populations.
- Abortion isn’t simply a popular-opinion issue. Surveys cannot establish rights and wrongs. Polls cannot determine parental duties. Ballots cannot define a human life’s worth and purpose. And even majorities cannot undo death. Of course, people have different perspectives and emotional disputes about abortion access. But none of these alters the logical, biological, social, and ethical realities of the matter. Abortion shapes the very nature of our nation and the makeup of our culture, not to mention the very lives of its victims.
- Abortion isn’t simply a personal issue. Abortion connects directly to the common good, especially to that of the least of these. It occurs at the juncture between the desires of the one and the requirements of another and the rest. It puts a thumb on the scales that balance corporate priorities with private ones; individual actions with civic impacts; and our limited, shared resources with our legitimate specific needs. As much as we might like to keep the reality of abortion behind closed doors, it infiltrates into our public consciousness, conversation, and collaborating. And given its significant stakes and manifold casualties, this is where it belongs.
- Abortion isn’t only a women’s issue. Abortion puts an offspring to death—that makes abortion a children’s issue. Every offspring descends from both a mother and a father—that makes abortion a man’s issue. It also affects the employers and clients, neighbors and acquaintances of mother, father, and child. And it involves physicians and assistants, pharmacists and manufacturers, journalists and ethicists, students and researchers, officials and citizens in similar situations. In fact, abortion demands reckoning from us all, because these are our neighbors, and this is our nation.
- Abortion isn’t only a religious issue. Opposing abortion doesn’t impose a doctrine. It acknowledges scientific data—that fertilization brings into being a distinct human life. Opposing abortion doesn’t compel a certain faith. It accepts particular facts—that killing judicially innocent human lives makes civilization impossible and renders governments irrelevant. Outlawing abortion doesn’t favor a church—it favors safety, freedom, and fairness for all. Outlawing abortion doesn’t prefer one tradition over others—it defends every member of the human race.
- Abortion isn’t merely a Gospel issue. The Scriptures have much to say about the sanctity of human life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ declares and demonstrates that God creates, redeems, and calls each one as His own precious treasure forever. Christianity explores what this means for how we treat them. But even apart from this, the biological laws of nature lay on us the duty to look after our little ones. Prohibiting abortion is a fact of life and a function of humanity. It’s a matter of right versus wrong and life versus death. And that’s the proper realm of government and regulation.
- Abortion isn’t merely a Law issue. Pregnancy means we have responsibilities as a community. This holds true even when we have no hereditary relationship to mother or baby. God the Almighty Maker has made parents and child our neighbors. But it also gives us privileges. We get to speak a truth that changes hearts and shows a love that saves lives. Pregnancy’s responsibilities come with wonderful opportunities. It invites us to receive every child (and his or her family!) as a gift from our Heavenly Father with whom we can share all the blessings He promises.
- Abortion isn’t one issue among others. In fact, abortion itself isn’t the issue. Rather, what makes one human and what makes human life worthwhile are fundamental. All of our deliberations, discussions, and decisions about absolutely anything else follow from it. Though we can debate the best “how,” we have neither room to negotiate nor right to compromise about “whether” we protect the threatened among us. The inalienable and heaven-given right to life is primary. Liberty and the pursuit of happiness remain greatly important, but secondary.
- Abortion isn’t somebody else’s issue. It’s your business, it’s my business, and it’s our business. It’s our issue as Christians, it’s our issue as citizens, and it’s our issue as human beings. Abortion and the sanctity of every human life matter very much for elections—more so than anything else. And it matters for much more than elections. It’s a whole life issue!
“Is Abortion an Election Issue?” (2020 Edition) is available as a brochure through Concordia Publishing House: www.cph.org/p-17629-is-abortion-an-election-issue.aspx.