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In Wake of Roe’s Possible Overturn, Differing Visions Within Pro-Life Movement Come Into Focus

“The mainstream of the pro-life movement has always held that both mother and unborn baby are precious human beings created in the image of Almighty God (Gen. 1:26-28),” the article says in reference to the SBC resolution’s contention that there are no moral exceptions for abortion. “As such, both mother and baby have inherent dignity and inestimable value and worth.”

“But Christian ethics has long wrestled with the very rare but very real scenarios in which a medical condition threatens the life of both mother and baby,” the article continues, going on to describe cases where human embryos implant outside the uterus. “There is no way for the developing fetus to survive if left in place, nor is there any way for it to survive removal. Nevertheless, the aim in such removal is not to destroy life but to save the one life that can be saved—the life of the mother.”

“There are other aspects of this resolution that give us pause. For example, it seems to hint at prosecution of post-abortive women. Traditionally, pro-life advocates have wanted to prosecute the abortionist, not the women,” the article later says. “Also, the resolution makes no hint at the moral complicity of the men fathering the aborted children, and thus could suggest a misogynistic edge.”

Regarding the resolution’s rejection of “incrementalism,” Oklahoma pastor and founding member of the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) Ronnie Rogers argued in an article that an all-or-nothing approach to eliminating abortion can hinder the pro-life movement from making meaningful progress in the interim. 

“[S]ome pro-lifers add rape and incest as exceptions, but that was never the main thrust of the movement. For the record, I oppose both exceptions and the logic behind them,” Rogers says. “But if those were the only allowable reasons for abortion, it would reduce every 1 million abortions to just about 3000. And that is a victory I would take while still fighting to eliminate all abortions.”

“I will fight with every means available, whether by incremental steps or the final death blow to legalized abortion on demand. I will fight and speak to save them all, but if I can only save some, I will save some; if I can only save one, I will save one. I will not be held captive to the all-or-nothing mindset,” Rogers goes on to write. 

Adding to the complexity of the pro-life movement’s divergent visions are the constellation of other legislative questions aimed at reducing abortion that remain points of disagreement among pro-lifers. For example, the United States remains the only industrialized nation without a federally guaranteed paid family leave program. The most recent attempt to pass family leave legislation was struck down by Republicans in Congress in November 2021. 

Republican legislators and political candidates have also historically been reticent about expanding government-sponsored affordable healthcare, seeing it as a drain on resources that will inevitably lead to higher taxes and lower quality care for those paying for it. Nevertheless, availability of care is a contributing factor in abortion rates. 

RELATED: John Cooper: Christian Left Is ‘Remarkably Silent’ on Good News About Possible Roe Reversal

Attempting to stand in the gap are organizations like Democrats for Life of America, whose mission is to “end the influence of systems of pervasive injustice, particularly the mass lethal injustice of abortion, and other human rights abuses, and to build a life-affirming culture within our Party, in our communities, and in our nation.”

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Dale Chamberlain (M.Div) is the Content Manager for ChurchLeaders.com. He is also a blogger and podcaster who is passionate about helping people tackle ancient truths in everyday settings. He lives in Southern California with his wife Tamara and their two sons.