History’s exquisite stage has a way of demonstrating those with true conviction as opposed to compromisers who cave when the pressure reaches its height. There are those such as Benedict Arnold who turn their back on everything that they once declared noble. You will find men like Judas who betray that which is perfectly good for thirty pieces of silver and a blood-stained conscience. All is not hopeless, for there are still courageous men willing to stand for that which is righteous even at great cost. Men like Paul who gave his life for the faith never backing down a single inch from the truth. Such a man was William Wilberforce an English Evangelical political figure in the 18th century who was the pivotal figure in leading the charge to abolish the slave trade. He held to no compromise . . . no incrementalism . . . but total abolition!
God’s Providence has brought to us another opportunity to stand for truth and justice. A bill that would entirely abolish abortion in the state of Arkansas is on the table. Many shall oppose it wanting to push for the brutal murder of unborn children. Sinful depravity drives them down this path desirous of slaying the innocent. In a state like Arkansas, reality says the bill shall not fail because of the left’s desire to kill unborn babies, the “conservatives” are the majority in this state. No, if abortion is not abolished in the Natural State it shall be because of incremental approaches on the conservative side of the aisle. Wilberforce dealt with such men in his day. He argued for immediate abolition, whereas many wanted a more gradual approach:
“It is not only because the gradual Abolitionists have been, in fact, the only real stay of that system of wickedness and cruelty which we wish to abolish; though that assertion is unquestionably true; but it is trying beyond expression that they should be the real maintainers of the Slave Trade, who reprobate it in terms of detestation as strong as any which we ourselves can utter.” -William Wilberforce1
The slave trade in England was kept alive and well by gradual incrementalists who opposed it but refused to do the righteous thing and end it immediately. Wilberforce saw right through their stance and maintained consistency on this issue. We need the light of divine truth guiding our way so that we do not cave like the gradualists of Wilberforce’s day. We must then evaluate the subject of this bill to abolish abortion from a consistent standard of biblical justice.
Let it be said that this abolition bill is simply in alignment with what we as Arkansans and especially Christians already say we believe. The bill points to the state constitution which asserts “equality of all persons before the law is recognized and shall forever remain inviolate.” It also pulls from the constitution of the United States which says “No state shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”3 This legislation for abolition also rightly says “Innocent human life created in the image of God, should be equally protected under the laws from the time of fertilization to natural death.” That is an inherently theological statement. Humanity being created in God’s image takes us back to Genesis 1:26-27 and is the reason why the death penalty is instituted by God for murder (Genesis 9:6). Based upon the preceding reasons, the purpose of the bill is plainly stated:
“The intent of this act is to add protections for unborn children, allow appropriate prosecution when a person causes the death of an unborn child, and repeal provisions that may allow a person to solicit, advise, encourage, or coerce a pregnant woman to abort her unborn child.”
Putting it in plain English, the unborn child would be given equal protection under the law just as any other human being. Anyone involved in the murder of that child will be justly held accountable to the government for that reprehensible crime. My friends, this is consistency. If a five-year-old were brutally murdered we should want justice in such a situation to be instituted by the state. The laws are in place to do just that. Should not the same thing be done for a human being of any age whether in the womb or outside of it? Beyond the shadow of a doubt, we are obligated before God to see to it that human life is valued. Formerly, Arkansas legislation such as found in criminal code 5-1-102 (subdivision 13B) states that there would be no prosecution for:
“An act that is committed in the course of medical research, experimental medicine, or an act deemed necessary to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.”4
If the baby dies in the name of “medical research” then there is no legal response, however, if a 30-year-old was killed in the name of “medical research” the entire state would be outraged! This misconstrued value of the baby demonstrates “perverted justice” in the land (Habakkuk 1:4). We see that this bill removes inconsistencies from Arkansas law bringing a stable foundation for the sanctity of life.
There are a couple of points of clarification the bill makes which are important as well. It specifically states that a woman could not be prosecuted for an “accidental miscarriage” because obviously in a tragedy such as a woman losing her child in this way, no crime has been committed. Rightly, the bill also “does not apply to conduct committed before the effective date of this act.” Ultimately, this is a piece of legislation that Christians thinking biblically should support. It rightly applies justice as we see in the Word of God recognizing the sanctity of ALL human life.
Even while being consistent and clear this bill shall be the center point of much controversy. Many will decry the fact it would cause everyone involved in an abortion to be prosecuted under law. Dear friend, let me ask you a question, if a mother took her 10-year-old son to be murdered by a hitman should she not be held accountable by the law in addition to the man who performed the crime? I think the answer is an absolute yes and the laws are in place for justice to be carried out. Well then, why should we change our view if a woman takes her 10-week-old, or 10-day-old, or 10-hour-old, or 10-millisecond-old son to be murdered? The only reason is if we do not really believe that a baby is equally just as sacred of a life as the one outside of the womb. Scripture plainly protected the life of the baby inside the womb just as equally as the woman outside of it (Exodus 21:22-25). Once it is accepted that a child is made in God’s image just as every other human, then it must also be accepted that to murder that child should be viewed just the same by law as any other human, Scripture explicitly teaches this point. Some will also object to the bill citing the very rare case of a woman being coerced into committing an abortion. A scenario such as where a woman is forced into sex slavery also being forced to commit an abortion. Someone saying that this bill would penalize such women is frankly either grossly uninformed of the current legal system or is intentionally misrepresenting reality. In fact, this bill would cause the tyrant coercing the woman to be held accountable for murder as the guilty party. Arkansas law already takes into account instances of coercion as a statute on the books which would be applied should this bill be passed.4 Therefore, this objection is entirely mute and void.
It is time for Christians to arise and lead the charge in this effort to end abortion immediately. Let us follow in the course of those like Wilberforce who sought to abolish the evil of their own day. There is a vast army of them over the ages and we carry the torch they have passed on in our own day. Indeed, Charles Spurgeon said of Wilberforce:
“I have been amused with what Wilberforce said the day after they passed the Act of Emancipation. He merrily said to a friend when it was all done, ‘Is there not something else we can abolish?’ That was said playfully, but it shows the spirit of the Church of God! She lives in conflict and victory—her mission is to destroy everything that is bad in the land!”5
Abortion shall not end apart from the proclamation of the Gospel and all of Christ’s commands. It shall take the power of divine truth by the strength of the Holy Spirit to end this great evil. May we not crumble but instead let us love our preborn neighbors enough to stand up for justice in their name. Let us be active in our churches and in the public square proclaiming God’s truth. Message your representatives and remind them of their duty before God to uphold justice in the land. Applying God’s Word will give us the right understanding from which we must view this issue. Overflowing with confidence in Christ’s power to put this enemy under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25) let us be seen charging forward boldly against evils such as abortion. No compromise . . . no incrementalism . . . but total abolition!
6 The full text of the abolition bill can be read here: https://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/Bills/Detail?id=HB1174&chamber=House&ddBienniumSession=2023%2F2023R