Christianity,  Politics

Why Abortion Is the Most Important Issue in This Election

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — On Nov. 6, America will go to the polls and elect the next president as well as members of the House and Senate. In advance of this vote, most Americans believe that the chief issue facing the country is the ailing economy. I want to make the case that this thinking is wrong-headed and that the transcendent issue of this election is abortion.

The current law of our land excludes from the human community a whole class of human beings — the unborn. Right now, under the regime of Roe v. Wade, it is legal in our country to kill unborn human beings at any stage of development from zero to nine months’ gestation — for any reason. In other words, our nation’s laws do not recognize an intrinsic right to life for the unborn. In some cases, animals have more protection under the law than do unborn people.

The Roe v. Wade decision has presided over the deaths of more than 50 million innocent human babies since 1973, and it stands as the singular legal obstacle to passing laws restricting abortion in our country. The only way for the unborn to be protected in law is for Roe to be overturned. It will take a five-person majority on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe. Absent such a majority, it will continue to be legal for unborn babies to be killed.

As of now, it appears there is a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court in favor of Roe. The candidate who wins the presidency will appoint justices who will either bolster the current majority in favor of Roe or will make a new majority against Roe. In effect, this election is a referendum on the legality of abortion.

Neither of the presidential candidates is perfect, but they are nevertheless very different concerning the issue of abortion. On the one hand, Barack Obama has pledged his unqualified support for Roe v. Wade. His unswerving commitment to Roe even led him once to oppose a law that would have protected survivors of botched abortions. On the other hand, Mitt Romney has said that Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned.

With more than 50 million babies already dead in America, is it not clear that abortion-on-demand is the greatest human rights crisis of our time? The only reason that people do not feel the weight of this horror is that abortion is largely out of their view. The cries of aborted babies do not escape their mother’s womb, and citizens don’t hear the screams that would otherwise provoke the repugnance of any decent person.

Proverbs 24:11-12 talks about the responsibility that we all share to protect innocent human life: “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?'”

How does this text inform Christians about how they should vote this November? I would argue that it informs your conscience in at least four ways, each of which I urge you to consider prayerfully.

First, you are commanded to “rescue” innocent human life from being unjustly snuffed out. This command issues from the same God who said “thou shalt not kill” and “thou shalt not bear false witness,” and it has the same authority over our consciences. How do we “rescue” the unborn? In America today, we cannot reduce the protection of the unborn to a matter of electoral politics. Supporting adoption alternatives and crisis pregnancy centers, for instance, are a part of rescuing the innocents being led to slaughter. That being said, while we certainly should not reduce our defense of the unborn to electoral politics, we dare not exclude electoral politics from our concern. Thus you should use your democratic privileges to press for the defense of the unborn. If we were in China or Saudi Arabia, you wouldn’t have a say in the matter. But in America you do. Why wouldn’t you vote to protect life?

Second, at the last judgment you will not be able to claim ignorance about your duty to defend innocent human life. Remember, more than 50 million innocent human lives have been snuffed out legally since 1973. If somehow you were unaware of this fact before reading this essay, you now know better. You are accountable for this knowledge, and your vote should reflect it.

Third, the Lord “weighs your heart” and will hold you accountable for the way you think about the unborn. Are you more concerned about your economic interests than you are about protecting the unborn? Are you more interested in not being associated with the religious right than you are in protecting the unborn? Are you more dedicated to your partisan loyalties than you are to protecting the unborn? The Lord knows the answer to these questions. Do you?

Fourth, do not be deceived. God will hold you accountable for how you vote. The Proverb says that God will “repay” each person according to what he has done. There are many “works” that we will have to give an answer for at the last judgment, and our voting will be one of them. Do you think a vote against protecting the unborn will be mitigated at the judgment by arguments like, “Abortion is only one issue among many,” “Single-issue voting is small-minded” and “The pro-abortion candidate agrees with me on other important issues”?

Beware of such arguments. God has said over and over that He is ardently interested in protecting the innocent (e.g., Deuteronomy 10:18; 14:29; Psalm 146:9; Isaiah 1:17, 23; Zechariah 7:10; Malachi 3:5; James 1:27). At the last judgment, protecting innocent human life will be seen for the transcendent value that it is. Will your vote reflect that?

The world is broken, and at the end of the day, we do not put our hope in our government to fix it (Psalm 20:7). Our hope is in a sovereign and just God who will one day make all things new (Revelation 21:5). But our hope in God’s perfect justice in the future should never be used as an excuse to be indifferent about injustice in the present. My hope and prayer is that more people will be convinced of that truth as they go to the polls this November. And that is my hope and prayer for you. Don’t use your vote to exclude a whole class of persons from the human community. Choose life.


  • Mark

    A Repblican appointed judge presided over Roe vs. Wade and since then theres been a handful of Republicans in iffice. Am I cynical in think Romney won’t act?

    Also does protecting the innocent also apply to Romney’s desire to increase support despotic, brutal, and anti-Christian regimes such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc.?

    To me the abortion issue is enough to persuade me not to vote Obama but not enough to get me to support Romney. He isnt pro life in foreign policy and not consistently pro life on abortion (incest doesnt justify murder)

    • Jim Wallace


      I think the contention that abortion is the transcendent issue in this election hinges on when life begins. If you believe that life begins at conception then that abortion *MAYBE* is the transcendent issue…(b/cs there are more effective ways at reducing abortion than criminalizing it).

      But there is simply no Biblical foundation for the contention that life begins at conception. That is 100% entirely an extra-Biblical view. If anything OT scriptures suggest that life DOES NOT begin at conception. Its fine to believe that life begins at conception as a personal view, but we shouldn’t confuse our personal view with the Word of God. I personally don’t think a spirit inhabits the womb until at least viability is reached. But if we’re to make abortion a transcendental issue the Bible–not our personal views–must be the final Word on the matter.

      • Chris Hill

        This is incorrect, there are a couple of biblical references, here are two:,

        Jer. 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

        Psalm 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

      • Janine Long

        there are those in the scientific community, both secular and Christians have said life begins at conception. where does God say otherwise in His word …..what about “I knew you before you were born, I formed you in your mother’s womb?”

  • Aaron O'Kelley

    My guess is that the current makeup of the court is more like 6-3 in favor of Roe. We can count on Scalia, Thomas, and Alito to vote to overturn it, but I doubt that Roberts is a reliable vote against it. He has already made it clear that he cares way too much about the court’s reputation in the media to make any waves.

  • James Stanton

    I think my main point of contention with this piece is that Mitt Romney had very different rhetoric in his previous campaigns for political office on the issue of abortion. He has already been unprincipled regarding how he personally would deal with abortion legislation in his first term.

    Really you are saying that abortion has been the transcendent issue in every election since Roe v Wade and yet here we are decades later with the same dominant conservative majority on the Supreme Court and yet no progress on this front. I think the Republican party elite has no real problem with this as it keeps social conservatives reliably voting for them.

    I found it very interesting that Rick Santorum came out the other day and said gay marriage was even more important of an issue than abortion.

    I’d also wager that the Lord will have something to say about the innocent life taken through an immoral war of choice.

    Other than that… spot on.

    • Denny Burk

      James, I would invite you to consider what pro-life presidents and legislators have done in the last 10 years on abortion. President Bush nominated and the senate confirmed two justices to the Supreme Court that would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade when it comes before the court again. The congress passed a bill banning partial birth abortion, and President Bush signed it into law in 2007. President Bush also issued an executive order instituting the Mexico City Policy, which says no US foreign aid money may be used to fund abortions (which Pres. Obama promptly rescinded when he took office).

      Your statement that prolife politicians have done nothing for the prolife cause is just false on its face.

      • James Stanton

        I made no such statement that pro-life politicians have done nothing for the pro-life cause. I’m not sure why you took an issue with Romney and Supreme Court and made it a blanket statement to all prolife politicans. Do I think that the party establishment takes advantage of social conservatives? Yes.

        It’s actually very clear that the social conservative politicians elected during the 2010 midterms have done a lot in this area in the state level.

        Romney will likely choose pro-life nominees to the Court but don’t pretend he’s been consistent on the issue. He hasn’t.

        • Denny Burk

          I’m not pretending he’s got a perfect record. Do a search for Romney on this blog. You’ll see that I have been very critical of him and have questioned repeatedly the sincerity of his conversion to the prolife cause.

    • Janine Long

      Janine Long….Mitt Romney admittedly talks openly and candidly about his change of heart on abortion. I had a similar experience in my life. Innocent life is taken everyday. The world is fallen and filled with sin. War, that is neccessary to preserve a way of life , liberty and freedom when neccessary and when those things are threatened and attacked. Believe me, it will happen again and again and again…..

  • Joe Blankenship


    I agree wholeheartedly with your passion for this issue and up until this election I have been a ‘one issue” voter. No matter how hard I tried to see the benefits of an african american president – it was massively overwhelmed by God’s love for life.

    I continue to struggle with whether this election might be an exception to that one great civil rights issue that is killing 50 million babies. How does the compare with a mainstreaming of a cult religion that will damn to hell millions who believe the false gospel that it proclaims? Isn’t it hard for you to imagine that a Romney presidency wouldn’t make more palatable to the masses the mormon pablum?

    The prosperity gospel has a mainline cultural acceptance in Tulsa because of the political and economic influence of Oral Roberts and Rhema that has led to hundreds of thousands in our city being led astray to a damned eternity.

    It seems a horrible dilemna that Christian voters are placed this election. Either you support a candidate whose leadership may result in the murder of millions of innocent lives or you support a candidate whose presidency may result in the damnation of millions of deceived creatures of God.

    Joe Blankenship

    • Denny Burk

      Thanks for the comment, Joe. Here’s my take. I don’t think the Bible in any way tells us to have any expectation that our secular leaders will be Christian. The assumption seems to be that they are pagan. The New Testament, therefore, would not have us rely on such leaders to embody our mission for us.

      Also, it’s not just Romney who “mainstreams” unbelief. The President’s theological liberalism is a form of godliness that denies its power. It’s every bit as poisonous as Mormonism.

      I’m looking for the candidate who will best support and promote the common good, whether or not he’s a Christian.

    • Phyllis Robinson

      I have been praying about this issue for a year . I have believed that voting for the “lesser of two evils” is still voting for evil. However, these are human candidates, so there will be evil/sin someplace under the best of circumstances. We surely do not have those “best of circumstances” here.

      I do not trust Mitt Romney at all, and agree he is indeed that “etch-a-sketch” politician. No doubt Paul Ryan was chosen for his right-to-life commitment, besides the financial savvy he has. The abortion issue draws in many Christians who feel helpless against the tsunami of dead babies.

      I was going to write in Ron Paul to keep my conscience clear.

      I would not be at all surprised if Obama already has the votes in place (with absentee ballots held back from many in the military, illegals voting, people voting in more than one state, “dead people” and pets voting, and the new FOREIGN owner of the electronic voting machines that is a very big contributor to our current Prez).

      In my extended family at large, there have been three abortions that I know of. Could easily have been more that I do not know about.

      Your article has given me pause, and I guess I will throw in my vote for the innocent children who are going to be butchered. Yes, Romney will lead many astray, but God knows the hearts of everyone, and if a person really wants to know the truth, the Lord will make sure that happens. That was my first prayer…a desperate prayer to the God I did NOT believe in to prove to me He lives by healing my dying child. He did!!!! Instantly!!!! She is grown up and saved now, all to the glory of God (just ask our Jewish doctor who said “I did not heal her, it is a miracle”.

      I hate the position we are in. If Romney does get elected, the command to “pray for our leaders” is very much urgent, as it is if “O” wins again. We should have been doing that all along, and sadly I have not prayed as often for them as I should have.

      We are going into a terrifying time, and we need to be girded up, and prayed up.

      I forwarded this article to several Christian friends, and read it to one over the phone. She asked for the link, and she is forwarding it also.

      Thank you so much.


  • Joe Blankenship

    Do you think there is a difference between an “unbeliever” and a “false prophet”? I am not nearly as astute on the political side as you are and value your thoughts but as I understand it – Romney has actually been or is a Mormon elder. I agree totally with your assessment “I don’t think the Bible in any way tells us to have any expectation that our secular leaders will be Christian.” I cringe at the amount of hope that is placed in political leaders to turn things around in our country. I just wonder if the political ideology of conservative Christians causes us to turn the light on the issues we see as critical and turning our eyes away from an issue that is every bit as strongly spoken against in the bible. Does God love life? – YES! Does God love His Son? YES
    Can God accomplish His plan and purposes for our nation with a pagan president who embraces some form of unbiblical Christianity? Yes. Can God accomplish His plan and purposes for our nation with a false prophet promoting president? Yes

    You say, “I’m looking for the candidate who will best support and promote the common good, whether or not he’s a Christian.”

    I think that is wise counsel – I am not extremely involved politically but have always voted. This time figuring out who promotes the common good the most – is pretty unclear to me. I don’t see how I can vote for either one but I am trying to dialogue a little on it in hopes of getting some clarity from the Lord.

    • Denny Burk

      The issue is not which sin is more grave (abortion vs. false teaching). The issue is what God has ordained government to do. According to Romans 13, God ordains governments to wield the sword for the punishment of wrongdoers and for the praise of those who do the good. The government is supposed to use coercive deadly force to protect innocent human life. When governments fail to do that, they are failing the baseline competency that re scripture says the government should have. In voting, I think we should keep the biblical role of government in mind and which candidate would move us closer to that ideal.

      • David P. Graf

        This same government (i.e., Roman Empire) that you are talking about in Romans 13 did permit both abortion and infanticide and also slavery. And so, it’s a bit of a interpretive stretch to say that this means that governments today should do more than that required for law and order. As the direct descendant of a rape and the father of an adopted daughter, I have every reason to be pro-life. However, I think it wrongheaded to try to address this episode through the law.

        First – because it’s impractical. Are we going to have “pregnancy police” on the scene whenever a woman has a miscarriage? Plus, the “abortion in a pill” is already available for women in the early weeks of pregnancy. Considering how open our borders are, it’s hard to believe they could keep this from getting through to women.

        Second – it ignores the fact that women are going to get abortions. In the “good, old days” when abortion was banned, it was common for both the mother and unborn child to die. Two deaths for the price of one is not exactly a desirable outcome in my opinion.

        Third – even overturning Roe v. Wade would still keep abortions legal in much of the nation. States like California would still permit it. All you will have accomplished is to make it harder for women to get abortions which leads to the second point I raised above.

        Fourth – it could lead to a backlash which would not only restore the legality of abortion within the nation but also tar the pro-life movement with a stain that would eviscerate it. I don’t know how old you are but fascism and nazi ideology received a body blow when the truth of the holocaust came out after the second world war. Given the increase of deaths thanks to the banning of abortion and the increasing percentage of citizens who do not want religion dictating public policy, I could see pro-choice forces triumphing in a few years. Is that what we want?

        Fifth – it would be hypocritical of us to ban abortion considering that there is no real difference between the rates of abortion between believers and non-believers. I will not mention the name of a prominent evangelical school but it was common knowledge that abortion was the choice if you were a minister in training. Few churches would hire a minister who had conceived a child out of wedlock but that wasn’t a problem if there was an early abortion. It just gives outsiders one more reason to shun both us and the Gospel. Are we to be like the Pharisees who made others do things that they themselves were unwilling to do?

        Sixth, the attempt to write our religious faith into law is 180 degrees in the wrong direction. If anything, the history of the Old Testament should have made it clear that the attempt to create a godly nation is doomed to failure. That’s why we are not called in the New Testament to convert nations but to convert people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The way the early Christians fought the pro-life battle was to rescue the babies put out to die. They took them into their homes and raised them. In the same way, we ought to be creating practical and available alternatives to abortion. Let’s give women considering abortion a real choice for a change. If we are really concerned about abortion, then we should be funding research to develop contraceptives that can prevent with a 99% success rate the fertilization of the egg during the act of sex.

        Lastly – I can’t help but think that if we had put all that money, time and effort devoted to banning abortion after Roe v. Wade into creating alternatives to abortion and in creating a society where single women could raise children without risking a life of poverty, that we would not even be discussing this issue today.

        • Denny Burk

          You err in thinking that Rome’s failures are somehow normative for all other governments. That is a strange hermeneutic indeed. The norm is the ordinance of God as it is described in Romans 13.

          • David P. Graf

            If governments have the power to punish those who are wrongdoers according to the ordinance of God, then can the government punish those who:

            * take God’s name in vain
            * have abortions
            * divorce
            * commit adultery
            * promote heresy
            * work on Sundays
            * and so forth…

            Once you open the door to the state enforcing Christian standards and not just maintaining law and order, where does it end?

  • Karen White

    What you have said here is very true, and a reminder for all of us who call ourselves followers of Christ, to properly prioritize issues in elections like these. It is breathtaking to me that Christians would abstain from voting because they are black and don’t think Romney is “friendly” enough to blacks, or that they would abstain for really any other reason when the lives of millions of babies are at stake. Abstention is something I have tried to have an open mind about – and failed. Abortion really is the biggest issue of our time – say what you will about foreign policy, false religions becoming “mainstream” – or anything else. If you aren’t allowed to even be born, none of those other issues even begin to matter. Birth and a chance at life has to be our first priority.

    However, as I mature and grow in Christ, I am coming to understand how false of an idea it is that we can feel like we are pro-life simply by casting a vote for the most pro-life electable candidate. I definitely should be doing more to help prevent abortions and to help convince women to give up their children for adoption. I am determined to put my time and money where my voting mouth is and to be intentional about fighting abortion by loving my neighbor, donating money and volunteering time at orphanages and crisis pregnancy centers and by adopting babies from these women if I have the opportunity. We should vote for Romney because we care about babies. but we should resolve to do more than that as well. Let’s encourage each other this season to find new ways to be pro-life as well as voting for Romney.

  • Shaun DuFault

    Yes, abortion is very important. Yet, both candidates do hold to a pro-abortion position where one is for the status quo, while the other would allow innocent children be murdered because of the type of conception. Either way, it would seem that it is a vote for abortion. Knowing Romney’s position, does not a vote for him also give tacit approval of his exception clause?

    We do not have any guarantee about a SC appointment. It has been pointed out, a majority of judges picked have been done so by presidents who are “pro-life”, and yet we still have Roe-vs-Wade.

    The other dangerous aspect is the “caving” of evangelicals in their endorsements of Romney. Billy Graham endorses Romney and the BGEA website is scrubbed of its FAQ on cults.

  • Alex Morris

    Even if Romney wins the election and is able to appoint a sufficient number of justices to make the SC majority pro-life, the SC can’t just wake up in the morning and decide to overturn a previous ruling. They would need to have a case presented to them, which means that either congress or (more likely) some state legislature would have to get some legislation passed that either banned or restricted abortion, and assuming that this legislature made it through all the necessary state and Federal appeals without being overturned first, only then would the SC be able to make a ruling.
    And even if the SC did overturn RvW, the pro-choice element aren’t going to just throw up their hands and say,”Okay, we lost. Let’s move on to the next issue.” There would be an inevitable (and massive) backlash as the Democrats rallied around the issue and did whatever they could to get abortion re-legalized either at the state or federal level, and the battle would continue.
    I’m forced to agree with a previous commenter that the best way to address this issue is to get involved with pro-life resource centers that provide alternatives to abortion (if possible, in a gospel-centered environment). The only way to reduce abortions is to reduce the demand. Supply can be obtained whether it’s legal or not.
    I’m also forced to disagree both with the idea that this is the single most important issue of this election and with the implication that any Christian who doesn’t vote Republican is going to have unborn blood on their hands at the judgment seat of Christ. I think there are more effective ways to advocate for and help the unborn than waging a political battle that probably can’t be won and probably wouldn’t stay won for very long.

  • Phyllis Robinson

    After I read this article, I thought there is no choice but to vote for Mitt…to save babies. However, my heart has found no peace over this choice. I am still going to pray. I remain unconvinced what to do. So little time left. God’s justice on this nation for our not having stopped this bloodshed in the beginning (I remember “women’s liberation” when it was gaining credibility), and for our unwillingness to go against “politically correct” in public and witness for the Lord and for life.

    I have really appreciated this subject, article, and input from folks. I have had no one to discuss it with, as even Christians that I know often cut the subject off when I bring it up.

  • julie barnes

    Abortion is not the fault of Christians. I say it again: Abortion is not our fault. It isn’t because of who we did or didnt vote for. It isn’t because we “haven’t done enough.” It isn’t because we haven’t been in a pro-life march, or because we didn’t ___________. Abortion is a terrible, terrible sin. It is murder. Murder happens each and every day in this country. Unborn babies are murdered and already born people are murdered. Thankfully our society still calls murder of the born what it is. Yet we still have murder, even though it is illegal. Abortion has always existed and will always exist because it is a sin and people are sinners. Sometimes I think it is an ugly sort of pride in Americans as if we can’t believe our nation is so sinful that it kills infants and calls it legal. We are sinners, just like the rest of humanity. if you want to work toward ending abortion – please do so. Do all you can, according to your convictions. But don’t tell godly, sincere Christians that it is our fault that sin still exists. Sin is going to exist until Christ returns and settles it all, or when we die and are given glorified bodies with no more sin. Jesus Christ changes the hearts of sinners to understand and hate sin. Until then, people are going to sin and they are going to kill their infants in order to cover their sin of fornication. One sin leads to another and abortion is no exception.

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