On January 23, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed the Reproductive Health Act into law. The new law removes all barriers to abortion all the way to birth. In a statement the governor said:
“Today we are taking a giant step forward in the hard-fought battle to ensure a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her own personal health, including the ability to access an abortion… With the signing of this bill, we are sending a clear message that whatever happens in Washington, women in New York will always have the fundamental right to control their own body.”huffpost.com
Governor Cuomo’s statement, as well as those from others supportive of the measure, sheds light on what abortion is really all about.
- Pursuing freedom from consequences.
Gov. Cuomo stated that the bill was intended to guarantee a woman’s “right to control [her] own body.” However, every woman already has the right to control her own body. The Constitution of the United States allows every citizen the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Certainly “liberty” would include the freedom to “control” one’s own body. And, the “pursuit of happiness” it seems, would also include this freedom of control.
The fact that a woman has control over her own body is evident. In the overwhelming majority of instances, it was the control of her own body that led to the woman’s current situation (carrying an unborn person). What abortion is really about is pursuing a freedom from the consequences of a control that has already been exercised, not freedom to control one’s own body.
- Exalting the rights of some citizens above the rights of others.
An unborn child in the womb is not part of the woman’s body. It is medically verifiable that the unborn child does not constitute a part of a woman’s body. Obviously, the woman’s body provides the nourishing environment for the child to grow and develop. However, it is hardly correct to suggest that just because a woman’s body naturally acts as that nourishing environment that what is contained within that environment is part of her. It just isn’t. The fetus has its own body.
Through abortion, a woman isn’t simply making a decision about her body; she is making a decision about the body (and life) of another: her unborn child. Therefore, abortion is really about giving preference to one kind of citizen above another kind of citizen. It is about guaranteeing the right of one citizen to snuff out the life of another. What about the unborn citizen’s right to life? It is not protected. From a Constitutional standpoint, that kind of preference is abhorrent. Scale that to any other area of American politics today and you would face crucifixion.
- Pushing an agenda.
In the Reproductive Health Act, as is frequently the case, the issue of a mother’s health is used as support for unfettered access to abortion services. However, the term “health” is so broad that it includes stress associated with the pregnancy and psychological and financial hardships (per Roe v. Wade, 1973). These aspects of “health” seem more in line with the elimination of consequences than actual medical necessities.
No doubt there are legitimate health issues that can arise with a pregnancy. I remember my mother’s own emergency with toxemia, and the necessity of a premature C-section to save both her life and my brother’s. But that brings up an interesting question: in instances where a mother’s actual physical health is at risk, why not promote a culture of life that encourages the medical advances of our day to work at saving both mother and child? It is because abortion is not about “personal health” decisions at all: it is about pushing an agenda.
The Bible is clear that the unborn are persons. In the face of this continued battle for their lives, Christians must continue to spread the good news of God’s forgiveness through Jesus, and promote a culture of life whenever, wherever, and however they can.