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Statement on the New York State Abortion Law of 2019

There has been a dramatic expansion of the abortion regime in New York State. A law passed by the state legislature, the so-called Reproductive Health Act, allows for late-term abortions, even up to the moment of a child’s birth, limited only by vaguely-defined conditions. The bill allows nurses, midwives, and physician assistants to provide abortions, thereby making the tragic procedure much easier to obtain. This appalling law is expected to expand the number of abortions that take place in New York State. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a baptized Catholic, not only endorsed this bill, he celebrated its passage, directing One World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan to be lit in pink the day the bill passed. As Evangelicals and Catholics together, we wish to condemn this radical and extremist law in the strongest possible terms. We endorse the letter of the Catholic bishop of Albany, Edward Scharfenberger, who wrote,
Although in your recent State of the State address you [Gov. Cuomo] cited your Catholic faith and said we should “stand with Pope Francis,” your advocacy of extreme abortion legislation is completely contrary to the teachings of our pope and our Church. Once truth is separated from fiction and people come to realize the impact of the bill, they will be shocked to their core. By that time, however, it may be too late to save the countless lives that will be lost or spare countless women lifelong regret.
As Christians, we affirm that every person, both born and in the womb, is made in the image and likeness of God. There is no justification whatsoever for killing those who are unwanted or deemed to be a burden. We recall the Evangelicals and Catholics Together statement of 2006, “That They May Have Life,” in which we said,
There are today legal protections for the disabled and elderly, but the unborn are totally dependent and totally vulnerable to the will of others. Once fully born, they are deemed to have rights that are protected in law, even though they are at that point no more human beings and no less dependent than they were hours, weeks, or months before. Yet before birth, and even in the very process of being born, they are now deemed not to have rights that society is obliged to respect. This perverse view of human rights is irrational and incoherent. Its result is the unjust killing of many millions of those who are indisputably human beings and the undoing of the very concept of human rights.
The recently passed New York law will result in the tragic and unnecessary deaths of countless persons. We wish to state clearly that no follower of Jesus Christ can be complicit in the abortion regime. No follower of Jesus Christ can stand on the side of death and destruction. We appeal to our fellow Christians, and to all Americans, to join with us in decrying this legislation and in upholding and honoring the dignity of every human being. For the Lord Jesus came that “they may have life and have it abundantly.” ENDORSED BY: Dr. Bruce Ashford Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Dr. Mark Bauerlein First Things Dr. Hans Boersma Regent College Dr. Dale Coulter School of Divinity Regent University Dr. Eduardo Echeverria Graduate School of Theology Sacred Heart Major Seminary The Rev. Joel Elowsky Concordia Seminary Dr. Douglas Farrow Faculty of Religious Studies McGill University Dr. Angela Franks Dr. Timothy George Beeson Divinity School Samford University Father Thomas Guarino Department of Theology Seton Hall University Dr. James Keating Department of Theology Providence College Rev. Peter Leithart Dr. Matthew Levering Mundelein Seminary Bishop James Massa Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn Dr. Gerald McDermott Beeson Divinity School Mr. Peter Mommsen Plough Publishing House Dr. Jessica M. Murdoch Department of Theology Villanova University Dr. Francesca Murphy University of Notre Dame Department of Theology Dr. Charles Raith Vice President of Mission and Ethics Mercy Health Care Dr. Russell Reno First Things Dr. Laura Smit Calvin College Mr. John Stonestreet Colson Center Mr. George Weigel Ethics and Public Policy Center Dr. Robert Wilken Dr. John Woodbridge Trinity Evangelical Divinity School   This originally appeared in First Things. Used with permission. You can go there here.

02/1/19

John Stonestreet

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