Pro-choice Irrationality

I recently had a conversation with a pro-choice activist outside Louisville’s abortion clinic that I shall not soon forget.

As I wrote previously, a group of us from my church go every week to the abortion clinic to persuade those entering the abortion clinic to choose life and to consider visiting “A Woman’s Choice Resource Center”–a crisis pregnancy center located just across the street from the abortion clinic. The abortion clinic has acquired “escorts” that try to keep the women from listening to us and to ensure that the women enter the clinic.

At the end of the morning, one of the clinic’s escorts engaged me in a conversation about the morality of abortion. You should know that my primary goal in these conversations is to steer the escorts towards the gospel, not to win an ethical debate. I want these folks to deal with Jesus. This is, after all, the heart of the issue. But since this is how she started the conversation, I went with it.

She asked me why I was there “harassing” the women trying to get an abortion. I explained to her that “harassment” was not our goal, but giving these women a life-saving choice was. This still did not allay her concerns, so she asked why I even cared. I replied, “Because these children are created in the image of God, and unborn babies are no less valuable and worthy of life than those that are already born.”

She objected arguing that the unborn babies are not persons (are not “ensouled”) until they take their first breath and are no longer connected to their mother. This caught my attention. She argued that as long as a baby is physically connected and thus dependent upon his mother for life, the baby can be aborted. So I asked her to play that principle out in some hypothetical scenarios.

I asked, “What if the entire baby has been delivered except for its head? Should a woman have a right to kill the baby then?”

She replied, “Yes” (indicating her support for partial birth abortion).

I pressed further, “What if the baby has been delivered completely but is still connected to the mother by the umbilical cord. Should a woman have a right to kill the baby then?”

She replied, “Yes.”

I pressed still further, “What if the baby has been delivered completely, is still connected to the mother by the umbilical cord, and remains outside the womb for an hour while still connected? Should a woman have a right to kill the baby then?”

She replied, “Yes. If it’s still connected to the mother, it’s still a part of her body, and she has a right to abort it.”

I was astonished and informed her, “That’s infanticide, and that’s illegal.”

It was at that point that I realized that this conversation wasn’t about logic. It wasn’t about what was reasonable or right. This was just blind passion, and this woman had no ears to hear the cold inhumanity of her own position.

The encounter brought home again how indefensible the pro-choice position is. There is no morally significant difference between a person inside the birth canal and one outside. One is here, and one is there. But there’s no basis for arguing that one is human outside but not human while only inches away inside the birth canal (or for that matter in the womb). The pro-choice position is indeed ethically bankrupt.

The encounter also brought home the fact that,

“Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

What I encountered in this woman was not mere irrationality, but spiritual darkness. She didn’t know Christ and needed desperately to be introduced to him. I tried to do just that by sharing the gospel with her, but as far as I know to no avail.

We will be back at it again next week, and we will be praying for a breakthrough–for the sake of the babies, for the sake of their mothers, for the sake of the escorts, and for the sake of the gospel.

[If you or your evangelical church is interested in getting involved with “Speak for the Unborn” ministry, please contact Dave and Stacey Hare of Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. We need more folks for the work.]

20 Responses to Pro-choice Irrationality

  1. David Burnett September 20, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    may we continue to fight for life.

  2. Jes September 20, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    Wow! I’m so surprised by the initial point of her argument!

    It leaves me wondering if she too grew up under the false teaching of Bob Theime?

    He taught from the pulpit that a baby was not a person until it took it’s first breath of life on it’s own.

    I truly am curious if that woman grew up under his lies.

    Praying for all of you, as you fight for life.

  3. Scott Buchanan September 20, 2010 at 12:55 am #

    All I can say Denny is thank you for writing this post. Very important.

  4. Andrew Walker September 20, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    Dr. Burk,

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Jim Hamilton September 20, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    Astonishing.

    May God open eyes, ears, and hearts,

    Jim

  6. Donald Johnson September 20, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    Denny,

    I think you MAY have an opening with her. From what I have seen, most pro-choice people simply decline to saw when they think a human life begins, taking this stance allows them to not think about it.

    But she was different, she made a “line in the sand” when the umbilical cord is cut. This means she is (at least) more intellectually honest that the decliners and shows she is thinking about it for herself and not marching in step with them. She has questions for which she has come up with a different answer. So my suggestion is to encourage her questioning, get her to keep asking questions about her position.

  7. Denny Burk September 20, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Donald,

    Thanks for that. I agree. Many of the activists can’t bring themselves to talk about the personhood of the unborn. They deal only in bromides about the right of a woman not to be pregnant. It’s really sad.

    Thanks again,
    Denny

  8. MatthewS September 20, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    Donald,

    I think there may be something there, too. In an emotional battle, most people (myself included) don’t like to let the other person see they’ve made an impact. It may stick with her and bug her that her line of reasoning actually ends up defending infanticide. It may become a drip that erodes the stone in her thinking.

  9. Donald Johnson September 20, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    Let’s pray for her that the Holy Spirit convicts her.

    I now fondly recall the HS “messing with my mind” when I was an agnostic and showing me I did not have it all together and needed help.

  10. Anonymous September 21, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    Denny, thank you for taking the time to reach out to these women at the abortion center.

    I had two abortions when I was an unbeliever (at the age of 18 and the age of 20) and it wasn’t until I heard the gospel at the age of 21 that I realized the value of life.

    Sharing the love of Christ in a tender and loving way will soften the hearts of the women seeking to “deal” with their problem. Most of the girls that I knew that sought abortions (and we were all young) were dealing with fear. The fear of telling their parents, the fear of shame, the fear of raising a child. I don’t remember any of us thinking, “this is my body and I am making a choice to end this pregnancy.” I truly believe that older women take this stand to support abortion but those of us that were young never even thought about this mantra. We were just trying to figure out what to do “next” before our parents found out what was really going on in our lives.

    I’m sure people have many reasons for why they have an abortion I just thought I would offer what I believe is possibly a common thought process for a very young girl so that you can try and minister the gospel to them.

    I have been a Christian for 20 years now and I’m in my 40’s and I have two children of my own (both adopted). I never struggled with my abortions after becomming a believer because I knew that Christ had forgiven me. I pray that others will know His love and mercy in this way.

  11. Denny Burk September 21, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    Anonymous,

    Thank you for your comment. We appreciate your prayers as we try to do exactly as you suggest.

    One of the sad things that I’ve already seen a lot of is mothers bringing their teenage daughters in for the abortion. Some parents are complicit in this, and it’s really sad.

    So grateful to hear your testimony. Thanks again.

    Denny

  12. Anonymous September 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    Denny, thank you for your response to my previous post. I also wanted to mention that one of the main reasons that I came to Christ was because there was a Christian girl that knew that I was about to have the abortion (my second one) and she loved me enough to talk to me about options including adoption. I rejected her advice but will always remember the love that she displayed towards me by not judging me (even after I had the abortion). She loved me unconditionally and I knew that there was something different about Christians; this was my initial exposure to Christ (i.e. seed planted).

    I believe she was instrumental in my conversion and I will never forget the love that she had for me.

    I sometimes find it ironic that I have adopted children and am now on the receiving end of another girl’s choice.

    Blessings to you brother. May God enlarge your heart for the lost as you seek to honor Him in going to these centers every week.

    He truly is an amazing and merciful God to stoop to love one such as I.

    Ok, I’m crying now (joyful tears). Thanks for reminding me of things that I haven’t thought about for a long time.

  13. Brian Current September 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm #

    Denny, I look forward to your future posts on this. thank you for what you are doing.

    Anonymous, thank you for your comment. I hope we all can continue to find ways to help address these fears before young women head over to get an abortion.

    I wonder – how can young women be engaged *before* they end up in front of an abortion clinic?

  14. Ian September 22, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    Hello Mr. Burk,

    Thanks for the post; keep up the good work!

    I have done my fair share of Pro-Life work. I find it hard, but I know that it has to be done if people are going to learn the truth that abortion kills not a mere organism of the human kind, but a person; a person who is made in God’s image (cc. Gen. 1:26). As such I have had my fair-share debates with members of the Pro-Choice community that were just as insane.

  15. Anoetos September 22, 2010 at 6:33 am #

    What is amazing is that this abortion clinic would employ volunteers who are so ignorant of the current pro-abortion rhetoric. I am not aware of any significant spokesperson for “a woman’s right to choose” who still maintains that a fetus is not an individual human person. They have all almost unanimously given up that argument.

  16. Phil Brown September 23, 2010 at 6:05 am #

    I’m pleased you’ve written this arcitle. My first child is now 12 weeks old and it saddens me terribly to think about abortion.

    I have one question – why do you only invite evangelical churches to get involved in helping you? Why aren’t other denomimations, or indeed no denominational churches invited? Surely if we are worshipping the same God and our values are based on His word, then it shouldn’t matter?

  17. Denny Burk September 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Phil,

    There are lots of non-evangelicals who come out to the clinic to support life–Roman Catholics probably being the biggest contingent–and I am grateful that they are there. We have a friendly rapport with them, and we share the goal of defending life every week.

    I issued an invitation to evangelical churches because I want more people out there who will not only take a pro-life stance but a gospel stance. Proclaiming the gospel is our preeminent concern, and I would like to see other pro-lifers out there who share that priority.

    Thanks,
    Denny

  18. Phil Brown September 24, 2010 at 4:23 am #

    Denny,

    I wasn’t knocking you or what you do – was jsut curious. Thank you for your response. I attend a church that is affiliated to the Evangelical Alliance over in London – I agree that the gospel message is more effective than the “damnation” message.

  19. Anonymous September 27, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    “I wonder – how can young women be engaged *before* they end up in front of an abortion clinic?”

    Engaging in conversations at the high school/college level would probably be more effective (i.e. spend time with students and love them and this issue will come up naturally in their lives).

    Additionally, the largest need that I had was not to stop my abortion but to have someone someone show me the love of Christ and to share the good news with me (the abortion was not the problem; my heart was the problem). The girl that reached out to me didn’t judge me even after I made a poor choice; she still spent time with me and that kind of faithfulness blew me away. I knew that the love that she had for me was supernatural because my choice went against everything that she believed in. She actually loved me despite my choice. I knew that was how God loved me in the end and He drew me to Himself and I fell in love with Him.

  20. Shane November 10, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    Unfortunately, things aren’t as clear cut as that. It’s a nice literary trick you pulled by the way, and one that most people here seem to have fallen for.

    You took an extremely obviously black&white wrong view (an hour later?) and applied that to all pro-choice thought. as if it actually applied. pretty sneaky.

    I’m not sure whether I support abortion or not, but I do believe that it’s an important decision that should be left up to the individual to decide and not the church.

    And people who confront others like that? Still a jerk move and something that illustrates dogma over compassion.

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