The New York Times columnist Nick Kristof begs a number of questions in his new pro-abortion column, “Er, Can I Ask a Few Questions about Abortion?” I’ll leave Christians to debunk his more tendentious theological assertions. It is quite odd, however, to read enlightened secular pundits attempting to appropriate biblical text to argue that Jesus would have been completely cool with ending life for the sake of convenience.
What would Jesus do? Avoid injecting potassium chloride into the beating heart of the unborn child, I suspect.
Again, I’m no theologian, but I also strongly suspect that the “Jesus says nothing about abortion!” argument isn’t dispositive of anything. The Sermon on the Mount wasn’t about nationalized health-insurance schemes, after all. Yet progressives demand that Christians adopt a narrow, hyperliteral interpretation of the Bible on abortion while also demanding that they take a broad, malleably metaphoric approach to the text when it comes to things like socializing medicine or open immigration.
These are often the same people who sincerely believe that the Constitution was written to protect the deliberate termination of a pregnancy but not the principled right to self-defense or free expression — because, well, those old white guys and their parchment paper and muskets.
Kristof points to the views of Baptists in the 1970s as proof of the Christian regression on abortion rights. Many secularists have convinced themselves that actual Christians are just as incurious and stultified as the Christians of their imagination. The Christians I know, and I happen to know many, often grapple with how scientific advances affect faith. When it comes to abortion, it’s the progressives who act like fundamentalists.
Just today, I ran across a story about a boy named Logan Ray — born at 23 weeks, weighing just 1.5 pounds and measuring twelve inches long — celebrating his first birthday. One day soon, there will be babies celebrating birthdays who were born at 21 weeks. And then 20. And those who treat abortion as both rite and right will continue to make arbitrary distinctions between “fetal life” and life itself, just as Kristof does. For those who believe in actual science, the concept of life isn’t contingent on a mother’s decision, the public’s perception, or a pundit’s policy arguments.
On that note, Kristof makes this assertion:
Partly because Obamacare covers contraception, the number of abortions in the United States has plunged to its lowest level since Roe v. Wade, including in states that support a woman’s right to an abortion. If you’re troubled by abortions, shouldn’t you thank President Barack Obama for reducing them?
First of all, had it not been for a few now-extinct Blue Dog Democrats, Barack Obama’s signature legislation would already be forcing taxpayers to fund not merely abortifacient drugs but in-person late-term abortions. More than any president in history, Obama helped radicalize Democrats on the issue. They’ve been transformed from the party that advocated for “safe, legal, and rare” to one that filibusters bills that would protect babies who survive abortion attempts from negligent homicide.
Moreover, there is no evidence that Obamacare did anything to lower abortion rates, which, for a host of reasons, had been dropping steadily for decades before the ACA was passed. Contrary to Kristof’s claim, the trajectory shows no perceptible impact from passage of the law. Why would it? The notion that birth control was unavailable to women before 2010 is simply a myth.
One could just as easily argue, in fact, that restrictions pushed by state-level Republicans, many of whom came into office beginning in 2010, helped decrease overall abortions. After all, I am constantly told there is an unprecedented and dangerous attack on “reproductive rights” — for progressives, that euphemism never gets old — as we speak.
What isn’t mentioned in Kristof’s column — or in most of the pieces attempting to convince social conservatives that abortion is a nonissue in 2020 — is that the Democratic Party nominee supports overturning the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the mother. Which is to say, Democrats want to compel taxpayers to participate in funding abortion up through the ninth month of pregnancy.
Now, again, I don’t claim to speak for Christians or anyone other than myself. But perhaps Kristof should ask one of the nuns Biden says he plans to sue if he wins the presidency about the theological implications of compelling the faithful (or anyone else) to support abortion — since he’s curious.