Question: How should a pro-life Christian answer frequent objections about Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court?
The remainder of the month of October's frequent and often heated debates about Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s proposed elevation to the highest court in the land will compete with the looming presidential election race for airtime on the nation’s myriad broadcast and internet news outlets.
The American public will be subjected to a barrage of faux outrage and hysterical emotional eruptions as it becomes increasingly apparent that Judge Barrett (ACB) will be confirmed as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. As the liberal-progressive cabal that has been imposing its will on the American people by imperial judicial edicts ever since the Earl Warren Court in the mid-1950s feels its stranglehold on the nation’s legal structure being pried loose by the result of the electoral decisions of the American people (elections have consequences), increasingly irrational rants disguised as arguments will assault the nation’s visual and auditory senses.
We have already heard the Senate Minority Leader and others proclaiming, “What an outrage that the revered Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s (RBG) seat on the Supreme Court will be filled by an 'anti-choice, anti-feminist judge.'” Really? There is no Ruth Bader Ginsberg seat or anyone else’s seat on the Supreme Court. First, these seats all belong to the people (“government of the people, by the people, for the people” — Abraham Lincoln, 1863). The people elect the president (who nominates) and the senators (who confirm or reject) those privileged to be confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice. The people did that in 2016 with 26% of voters stating that the main reason they voted for President Trump was his promise concerning the judges he would nominate.
Second, when we ask the question of who RBG was nominated to replace, we find a very intriguing answer. She replaced Justice Byron White, nominated in 1962 by JFK and who served until 1993. In 1973, Justice White was one of two dissenting votes in the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that struck down the laws restricting abortion in all 50 states. So, using the pro-abortionist logic, you could say ACB replacing RBG is “really ‘restoring’ Justice White’s pro-life seat on the Court.” Who says there isn’t “poetic justice” in America?
Then, the progressives put on their faux legal scholar hat and argue that the legal doctrine of “precedent and settled law” (The legal term is stare decisis), which means that Roe has been “settled in law” and must not be overturned.
What if the Supreme Court made a huge and tragic mistake in 1973? Does the mere passage of time then make it the right decision or one we must continue to live with in perpetuity?
Fortunately, we need only to look to history to find the answer to that question. In 1896 the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate, but equal” was constitutional, thus condemning the Southern United States, black and white, to the purgatory of another half century of Jim Crow segregation.
Then, in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court reversed itself completely, thus sealing the doom of Jim Crow de jure, legal segregation by race.
Plessy had been the “settled law” of the land for 58 years. If the court were to reverse itself and overturn Roe in 2021, after only 48 years, it would be a decade sooner than it took for the Court to reverse themselves on Plessy and racial segregation. Another “argument” used to question ACB’s election to the Supreme Court is that if Roe is overturned, then we will have virtually no legal abortions in the U.S. This is simply not true. If and when the Supreme Court acknowledges its mistake and repeals Roe, then the resulting reality will be the status quo ante (the situation as it was before Jan. 22, 1973). In other words, abortion would fully re-enter the political process, and you would reach a political equilibrium in each state. So, very quickly, the most liberal states (California, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, etc.) would reinstate or uphold very permissive, liberal abortion laws and more conservative states (Utah, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, etc.) would pass much more restrictive laws in those states.
That would not satisfy the most ardent pro-life proponents, like myself, who believe that we need to build the political consensus to pass a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which would extend the full protections of the law to our unborn fellow citizens. Unfortunately, at present we have not yet forged such a political consensus. Finally, I am surprised that God has not already judged us as a nation more harshly than He has for our rampant child-sacrifice of our unborn children because too many of us consider them to be too embarrassing, too expensive, too ill, or merely too inconvenient. However, these restrictive abortion laws in the majority of the states would save tens of thousands of unborn Americans’ lives and would outlaw the overwhelming majority of abortions in our country that have nothing to do with any of the troubling exceptions like rape, incest, or fatal deformity in the unborn child.
I was having a discussion-debate with a pro-abortion advocate last weekend, and she said, “America has always been about expanding rights in this country to an ever-growing number of people. Pro-lifers like you want to do the opposite and take away again the right of women to control their own bodies.” I replied by asking the question, “expanding rights for whom, and to do what?” Are you arguing for the right to expand the rights of mothers to kill their unborn children? The answer is yes, you are. You are certainly not expanding the rights of our unborn children to live and to be legally protected prior to birth from having their lives extinguished solely at the discretion of their mothers.
If you follow this pro-abortion advocate’s logic, it would be analogous to arguing that the Civil Rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s, by recognizing the rights of black people, the Court restricted the “right” of segregationists like George Wallace and other segregationists to deny blacks their constitutional right to be served in restaurants and to sit where they want to in that restaurant, to sit where they want in public transportation, to attend schools where they want to matriculate, and live in whatever neighborhood they desire to live.
And let us all be crystal clear. Pro-abortion legislation and judicial decisions in their favor do not expand the most basic rights of the most innocent and defenseless among us, our unborn citizens — and that is a moral outrage. It is well past time to rectify this monumental injustice. It is never too late to do the right thing.
Lastly, my pro-abortion advocate trotted out the old, familiar tune, “you just want to deny women control over their own bodies!” Nothing could be further from the truth. I respect a woman’s right over her own body. However, when she voluntarily engages in an activity that she is fully aware may result in a pregnancy, she should not have the “right” to arbitrarily kill the resulting human being whose life begins the moment the sperm enters the egg and the unique, never to be duplicated precise DNA combination of that person is determined.
The pro-abortionists overwhelmingly pledge allegiance to the Democrat Party, the so-called “science” party. So, let’s look at the science. The unborn baby’s heart begins to beat 24-26 days after conception. So, every abortion stops a beating human heart. The baby has measurable brainwaves on an EKG at six weeks. Slightly more than half of human babies conceived are male babies, so they have male sex chromosomes. I don’t know any woman’s bodies that have either a second heart or male sex chromosomes.
Science tells us the baby with his or her own DNA combination — and a beating heart— is plugged in to the mother’s body until he or she can survive without their mother as a life-support system. Both science and human decency beckon us at this moment of decision to embrace a future that welcomes our unborn children into our lives as the unmatched blessings they are, rather than dismissing them as meaningless tissue to be harvested as body parts for ill-gotten financial gain.
There is much at stake in this debate. Since 1973 we have killed at least 68 million of our unborn citizens. We have legally and deliberately allowed 68 million beating hearts to be silenced — a number equal to 20.5% of our current population. How long will a righteous God allow such horrific slaughter to continue without visiting upon our nation a righteous and devastating judgment beyond the terrible damage already done in de-magnetizing our nation’s corporate moral compass? I truly fear, the answer is “not much longer.” We are already presuming greatly on His grace and mercy. As the Hebrew prophet Habakkuk solemnly warned us, the repentant can only cry out, “In wrath, remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2).
Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches. He is the author of The Divided States of America, Imagine! A God Blessed America, Real Homeland Security, For Faith & Family and Send a Message to Mickey.