New York State introduces Molech-honouring law legalizing abortions up to birth
In ancient Canaan, the inhabitants of the land had a particularly horrific practice of worshiping a false god named Molech by burning their infant children alive. Sacrificing a precious child was supposed to ensure this god’s favor. When God brought the Israelites into the Promised Land, He specifically told them not to participate in this murderous ritual:
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. I myself will set my face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death, then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after Molech” (Leviticus 20:1–5).
Israel failed to follow this command, and the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed God’s judgment against Israel for their sin:
They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin (Jeremiah 32:35).
In Scripture, God seems to reserve special anger for idolatrous worship practices that destroy innocent infant life. The unnatural act of a parent sacrificing the helpless baby for something deemed more valuable is so abhorrent that in ancient Israel, anyone caught doing it was supposed to have received the death penalty without mercy.
Modern day Molech worship
Today, there is a growing trend of not just being reluctantly pro-choice—characterized by the wish for abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare”—but actively pro-abortion, celebrating the right of a woman to murder her child for any reason and at any stage of the pregnancy. People who object to a child being poisoned, burned with saline, or dismembered in the womb are said to be “anti-choice”, opponents of women’s health care, and religious fundamentalists.
New York has recently rushed legislation through that makes it legal to abort a child at any point in the pregnancy, for any reason, up to birth, changing the previous law that banned abortion after 24 weeks, when a child is considered viable outside the womb. This is a far more radical policy than exists at most places in the world. At a time when state-of-the-art medical care makes the survival of ‘micro-preemies’ more and more common, with fewer lasting effects or disabilities, in New York it is legal to abort a child that could exist outside the womb.
Late term abortion is not better for a woman’s health
Given that a child can routinely survive as early as 22 weeks into the pregnancy, and late-term abortion is very risky and hard on the mother’s body (though not as damaging as it is to the baby’s), if ending a pregnancy in the third trimester is done for a medical reason, by far the fastest and safest option for the mother is delivering the baby prematurely. This also means that the baby is preserved alive.
But abortion requires the baby to be killed inside the mother’s body. This is most often done by injecting the child with poison into his abdomen or head, causing a very painful death. Then the woman must deliver her dead baby, either in a hospital, or often into the toilet at home. Think of the horrific irony that a state that has banned lethal injection of criminals has allowed the lethal injection of unborn babies.
Abortion is never a safe ‘procedure’ for the mother in that even first-trimester abortions can have negative effects. But it becomes more and more medically risky as the pregnancy goes on. And it is difficult to see how someone who cares about the mother’s health would recommend going through labor to deliver a dead child after having him or her killed via lethal injection, rather than safely delivering a live baby, who could then be adopted by parents, if the birth mother feels unable or unwilling to raise the baby.
Late term abortion law threatens women’s safety
Pregnant women are often targets of violence, particularly of men in their lives who do not respect their choice to carry a child the man wants her to kill. Many states have laws that recognize the unique evil of violence against a pregnant woman to kill her wanted child—if a pregnant woman is killed, the perpetrator can be charged with two murders. If violence results in her baby dying, the perpetrator can be charged with murder.
New York’s new law removes protections for pregnant women who are victims of domestic or other violence. A case in point is the sad story of Livia Abreu, who was stabbed by her ex-boyfriend and left for dead. She survived, but she lost her unborn daughter. Because of New York’s new law, the ex-boyfriend may face a significantly lighter prison sentence, because the state will no longer recognize the murder of her daughter as a separate crime.1
Don’t buy the hype: abortion is not women’s health care
Women do face some unique health care needs because of our sex-specific biology, just like men have some unique needs because of theirs. Women’s reproductive health is also an important concern, and preserving access to genuine health care should be something everyone can agree about. But the question is: does abortion fall under the category of women’s health care?
First, there is no instance in which abortion is the best treatment to preserve a woman’s physical or mental health.2 In fact, abortion at all stages of pregnancy is dangerous for a woman’s physical and mental health.
When an abortion advocate talks about women’s health care, challenge them as to what they mean by this. Do they mean that we need further research to explore the ways in which women respond to medication differently than men? Do they mean that we need to challenge the assumptions some doctors make that mean they may sometimes treat women’s pain less seriously than men’s? Do they mean we need to make sure women receive affordable prenatal screenings, meaning that women do not face purely economic pressure to abort their children? Do they mean we need to investigate why black women in America face perinatal complications at a much higher rate than other populations?
In fact, they mean none of that. They mean only that abortion should be made as available as possible to anyone who wants one for any reason, disregarding the most common-sense restrictions based on parental consent for their underage daughters, informed consent including the option to see an ultrasound of the baby, counseling with a waiting period, and ability of the baby to survive outside the womb. This seems less like a policy based on concern for women, and more like fanatical baby slaughtering.
Legislation is not going to solve the problem—but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to legislate
For decades, political conservatives have been trying to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that overturned state-level laws outlawing abortion. But nominating conservative judges to the bench has not yet reversed that horrific 1973 decision. Fighting the legislative battle at the state level to chip away at this abomination, though achieving some incremental gains, is also not likely to remedy the problem without an accompanying heart-change on the part of the American people.
In ancient Rome, it was common practice to expose unwanted babies—leaving them to die from the elements or wild animals. One letter from a Roman man to his pregnant wife explicitly told her that if their baby was a boy, she was to let it live; but if it was a girl, she was to expose it. This was an accepted and celebrated part of their culture.
But as Christianity spread, there was immediate opposition to this practice. Converts to Christianity recognized that the murder of infants was antithetical to their profession of faith in Christ, and they even went as far as to adopt children they found exposed—even though this was illegal. Their care and concern for the weakest and most vulnerable distinguished them, and eventually led to transforming the culture’s view of the value of infant life.
Just like the early Christians were willing to face sanctions and ridicule for the value they placed on ‘worthless’ infants, today one of the clearest contrasts we can make with the culture is to vocally oppose the slaughter of infants.
Every Christian should be pro-life
We should be very careful about what we demand that every Christian believe. We cannot add to Scripture and require things that God does not require. However, the prohibition on murder, and the special emphasis on the abomination of child murder, means that we can include being pro-life and anti-abortion as a requirement for all Christians. Some Christians are not yet pro-life because they are immature, they have not yet learned about this issue, or for other reasons—just like the Trinity is a required Christian belief that some Christians do not yet understand correctly, and we make allowances for this. But no Christian can reject pro-life teaching and remain consistent.
Likely some will think this is too harsh, or unloving to women who may be in hard circumstances. While acknowledging women may face hard circumstances, we must also have compassion for the helpless child who is the victim of abortion. At the same time, we should confidently proclaim the Gospel of God’s grace to all people, including women who have had abortions.