I understand why pro-life groups want to disassociate themselves from Donald Trump’s convoluted thoughts about women who seek abortions needing to be penalized. But doesn’t Russell Moore go too far when he says these women are victims of a culture and industry that is pro-choice?
One of the worst misconceptions about pro-life Americans is that we are pro-baby and anti-women. Unfortunately, the pro-life movement hasn’t always done a good job of defeating this notion. It’s true that some rhetoric on our side has lacked compassion and holistic concern for the well-being of mothers, especially unwed moms. But despite our imperfections, the pro-life movement has indeed been remarkably consistent about our desire not only to tear down abortion culture but to build a culture of life and human flourishing in its stead. This is the conviction that has built thousands of crisis pregnancy centers, funded hundreds of adoptions., and come alongside countless numbers of women, and men, with practical acts of mercy and love.
If abortion were illegal, if it were a form of murder, why does Moore assume the mother is innocent or not responsible for her involvement in the procedure? Does Moore think this is true for wealthy professional women as much as it may be for the poor mothers who can’t afford to have a child? And would he be so forgiving of any number of harmful activities that take place in poor urban neighborhoods?
I get it that the public relations of the pro-life movement needs to avoid looking punitive. But think about it. If a woman in a Southern Baptist Convention congregation had an abortion procedure, would her deacons come along side her and grant forgiveness and offer consolation apart from an admission of guilt and an expression of repentance?
This is not 2k. Two kingdoms theology recognizes that the church’s role is forgiveness (in response to faith and repentance) and that the state’s role is to punish the wicked and reward the good. But a blanket public policy that says mothers walk away scot-free from an activity that has drawn and quartered the United States for the last four decades seems a tad cynical. If something is illegal and someone engages in an activity that breaks the law, law enforcement doesn’t assume that law breakers are victims.