BreakPoint: Making Abortion Unthinkable

Even More Important than Making It Illegal

To quote a friend: The goal of the pro-life movement should be to make abortion unthinkable–not just illegal. Let me explain why.

Ever since Roe v. Wade, and especially in recent years, pro-lifers are making dramatic legislative gains in restricting abortion. Thank God for that. But we should never lose sight of the fact that the ultimate goal is to change hearts and minds, not just laws.

Why this distinction matters was illustrated in a recent op-ed in the New York Times. As you might guess, especially from the title, “What Happens When Abortion is Banned,” the piece was not a ringing endorsement of the pro-life position.

Still, the author, law professor Michelle Oberman, made some points we need to hear.  She points to Latin America as a harbinger for what might happen if abortion becomes illegal in parts of the United States. Specifically she cited two countries, El Salvador, where abortion is banned without exception, and Chile, where the same was true until just last year.

As Oberman wrote, when she visited Chile in 2008, she “expected to find hospitals overflowing with dying women,” victims of back-alley doctors and self-inflicted abortion attempts. But she found no such thing.

The reason was the ready availability of abortifacients, what Oberman called a “revolution that has replaced back alleys with blister packs ordered online.” She continues, “Abortifacient drugs have become so readily available in places like Chile and El Salvador that today it is impossible to enforce abortion bans.”

They’re “readily available” because they “cost pennies to make” and the most commonly-used one, misoprostol, is also used to treat stomach ulcers. While misoprostol alone is “less effective” (i.e., less lethal to the unborn child) than the combination used in the United States, when used in the first trimester it induces an abortion ninety-percent of the time. Thus, in Brazil, where abortion is illegal in most instances, these drugs are estimated to result in half a million abortions every year.

Oberman’s right about one very important thing: Legally banning abortion is not the same thing as ending it. Which means: if and when—Please God!—Roe v. Wade is overturned, the battle will be far from over.

For starters, legally speaking, the issue of abortion most likely will be returned to the states. That’s when the political battle will begin in earnest as states debate whether if and/or under what circumstances abortion will be legal within their boundaries. Some large states, such as California and New York, will probably preserve something akin to the status quo. Others likely will not.

But complicating all of this will be the increased use of abortifacients in place of surgery. By some estimates, the number of drug-induced abortions nearly matches the number of surgical abortions in the United States. And that number will likely continue to grow.

This means that two of the most potent tools we possess—protesting at abortion clinics and stigmatizing abortionists—will become less relevant as surgery is replaced by a prescription.

So the battle to protect unborn human life will not be won, at least primarily, in the courts or legislatures. It will be won, as Chuck Colson used to say, over the backyard fence and at barbecues. Through pregnancy care centers, pro-life student groups, trained conversationalists, good books, and raising our own children to respect life.

That is, it will be won when Christians all join in to persuade others that each and every human life, from conception to natural death, is worthy of our protection. Persuade them of this and we’re well on the way to making abortion unthinkable, and whatever you can purchase online irrelevant.


Making Abortion Unthinkable: Even More Important than Making It Illegal

While the trend in abortion procedures is moving away from surgery and toward prescription drugs, our goal as believers remains the same: persuading our culture that the taking of innocent human life is wrong, no matter how it is done. Join your local pro-life organization in working toward the goal of making abortion unthinkable.



Abortion by prescription now rivals surgery for U.S. women
  • Jilian Mincer | | October 31, 2016
The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture
  • Scott Klusendorf | Crossway Publishers | 2009

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  • gladys1071

    Of course you will never get rid of abortion, just like you will never get rid of guns, we live in a fallen world and people like sex. Now if their was a way to suppress the sex drive, and people stopped wanting to have sex, then you might be able to get rid of abortion, but their is no such thing.

    The sex drive is too powerful and primal, as long as men and women are in proximity to each other, sex will occur, just like getting the flu or a cold, you cannot eradicate it, you cannot turn off the sex drive in men and women.

    Their will always be women that will get pregnant and don’t want to be, so women will find a way to terminate pregnancies.

    Yes the abortion pill is here now and it will not go away. In truth is it better and safer to have an abortion at the earliest for less complications to the woman and faster recovery time.

    Christians also have abortions too, why? because Christians have unplanned pregnancies too

    This is reality that i think Christians just need to accept, just like sickness and disease and death.

    • Just One Voice

      Heh, believe it or not, I actually agree with your comment on this subject.

      I know we’re at polar opposites as to whether or not abortion is right. But, I’m too much of a realist I guess, to think that everyone will come to agreement on a topic like this.

      But someone will say, “Jesus is real.” Indeed he is. And well, just looking at Revelation 9:20 reveals that all these mind-boggling plagues will be unleashed and yet, many people will STILL not repent from their wicked ways.

      In a more broad response to the article, I like John’s passion and striving for what’s right. (Fits very well with 1 Cor 9:24-27 and Acts 20) We definitely should never give up on these things (Galatians 6:9-10). But in my mind, that’s balanced out when I think of the Revelation passage I mentioned, Isaiah 9:8-10:4 no repentance despite increased punishment), and finally, Jesus’ words to not waste our efforts casting pearls before swine, as well as shaking the dust off your feet of a town that rejects what you have to say. (Matthew 7:6 and 10:14)

      • gladys1071

        i await a time when their is no more sin or death, that is what i look forward to, when all things are restored.

      • gladys1071

        what part do you actually agree with? i am afraid you did not make that clear?

        • Just One Voice

          No specific part. Just the comment in general, at large, the main thought, etc.

          Still unclear?

    • Elsie

      You’re right that, in this fallen world, there will always be lying, theft, illicit sex, hatred, murder, etc. But that’s why we’re under God’s wrath and need to repent of our wicked ways. Once we surrender our life to Christ and are born again, NO ONE who is filled with the Holy Spirit will think it’s okay to kill their unborn child.

      One who is genuinely saved will know that God is the sovereign Creator of that precious life, which is made in His image, that we’re commanded not to murder, and that no murderer has eternal life in him. If God doesn’t just accept our sin, “just like sickness and disease and death,” we cannot either. He has provided the solution to them all: He commands us to repent.

  • Sam Benito

    Though I know where you’re coming from, the title, “Making Abortion Unthinkable, EVEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN MAKING IT ILLEGAL”, reminds me of something Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once keenly observed:

    “It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me.”

    The same is true in connection with the ‘unwanted’ preborn: the law can’t make his/her parents love him/her, but it can keep them from putting him/her to death, whether by the hand of an abortionist, or a do-it-yourself pill.

    The point: yes, we need to make abortion unthinkable. But first we need to make it (i.e., abortion itself) illegal, with penalties appropriate to the degree of aggravation – just like we already do with every other kind of murder. The savings in lives would be immediate and innumerable. Because if abortion itself is outlawed, then abortifacients like misoprostol would be illegal, too.

    [BTW, misoprostol, a/k/a Cytotec, is an OTC drug in Brazil. Not so in the US where it is obtainable only by prescription. That’s an important factor in why there are so many abortions in Brazil where abortion is “illegal”.]

  • Scott

    “That is, it will be won when Christians all join in to persuade others that each and every human life, from conception to natural death, is worthy of our protection. Persuade them of this and we’re well on the way to making abortion unthinkable, and whatever you can purchase online irrelevant.”

    I have found that no matter how persuasive your argument (even if you have all the facts on your side), if a person does not want to change their mind they won’t. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to do this. All Christians must proclaim God’s truth in love… when I do this I constantly pray for the Holy Spirit to pick-up where I fall short. If it is God’s will to change a person’s heart, then it will happen. Thankfully He does the heavy lifting.

    • Elsie

      One incredibly effective tool God had used to change people’s hearts is the free online movie “180” ( Actually, it’s the simple line of reasoning presented in the movie that changes hearts and minds about the issue. VERY, very powerful!

      Please watch it (only 33 minutes) and share:

  • gladys1071

    I have one more thing to add, you outlaw abortion, the availability of the abortion pill will skyrocket, just like prohibition, alchohol still flowed in the cities at speak eys.

    Since abortion has been legal for over 40 years and all of sudden you outlaw it, you just create a black market that goes underground.

    We women will find a way to end an unwanted pregnancy, i can assure you that.

    Just like men and women still were able to find booze during prohibition.

    Chile and El Salvador are not good examples because abortion has always been illegal there, and yet per this article the abortion pill is very easy to find.

    • Timothy D Padgett

      Setting aside for the moment the question of the correctness of your view, contrary to popular belief, Prohibition did not result in an increase of alcohol consumption. Drinking took a nosedive during that period and did not return to its pre-Prohibition level until the 1970s.

      For the record, I’m not here arguing for teetotalism (I’m a Jack Daniels guy myself,) merely that your analogy is not accurate.

      The lesson of Prohibition is actually the opposite; legal sanctions drastically curtail the prohibited activity. In the case of abortion, it had been on the rise before 1973 but spiked dramatically afterwards, plateauing in the late 1990s, and dropping in the time since. It’s been dropping due to a number of factors: greater access to birth control, greater prosperity, and the growth of the pro-life movement among individuals and as increased legal restrictions.