Justin Taylor|10:26 pm CT

Attacks on Incremental Pro-Life Legislation: Unfair and Dangerous

I strongly believe that abortion is the greatest civil rights and social justice issue of our day. Tragically, many of us have become numb to its effect (namely, the murder of an innocent, defenseless life) as well as its prevalence. As Al Mohler recently pointed out, “Abortion is now one of America’s most common surgical procedures performed on adults. As many as one out of three women will have at least one abortion. In some American neighborhoods, the number of abortions far exceeds the number of live births.”

In response to this, many conservative Christians have become absolutists in terms of pro-life legislation. They view any form of realism, pragmatism, or incrementalism to be indicative of moral compromise. The result is that in their supposed moral purity, they accomplish practically nothing. And they sometimes attack the moral integrity of those who think that given the choice between having no abortions (impossible in our current culture and political system) and reducing abortions (which is possible), we should only stand for the former option.

In response to this sort of thinking and these attacks, it’s encouraging to see the clear thinking of  Scott Klusendorf (author of the excellent The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture) and Jay Watts—both of prolifetraining.com—who offer these five arguments:

  1. It doesn’t follow that because we can’t save all children we shouldn’t try to save some.
  2. We should reject the premise that pro-lifers who support incremental legislation are deciding who lives and who dies.
  3. Because the court-mandated abortion license is already extensive, the only thing state and local laws can do is limit that license around the edges—which they do quite effectively—while educating the public on the humanity of the unborn and the inhumanity of abortion.
  4. Personhood advocates should be careful about making claims about pro-lifers compromising the cause.
  5. Incrementalists have good reasons for shying away from outright bans on abortion.

You can read their explanations here.

For more on this, see Clarke Forsythe’s Politics for the Greatest Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square.

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