My Encounter with an Abortionist

Every day, at the crack of dawn, our sons Jonah and Elliot climb into our bed to snuggle together and sleep for a little longer. Today was different. While the house was quiet and the sun still hid behind the horizon, I laid awake thinking about last night’s debate. It became clear that my opponent, Dr. Fraser Fellows, had no coherent argument for abortion, nor did he rebut the pro-life case against abortion—more about this in a post on CCBR’s blog later. But an event like this also warrants personal reflection.

It is one thing to fight abortion on a daily basis; it is something entirely different to meet a man—a husband, father, and grandfather, pleasant to speak to in person—who has literally crushed the skulls of thousands of little children over the years. And so this morning, struggling to comprehend the depth and close proximity of this evil, I picked up “Real Christianity” by William Wilberforce, the British politician who tirelessly fought and ended the slave trade. Very fittingly, he writes the following:

“We need to see our true state as God sees it. Because of His perfect purity and His ability to know us better than we know ourselves, it is likely that He sees problems and failures we are barely conscious of—if we recognize them at all. God always operates in the now. Over time, our defense systems have the ability to dull the conviction of the acts and attitudes that violate God’s holiness. Remorse can turn to faint recognition. But God still knows those actions in the now.

Think of the implications of this observation for the person who has not had an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ or embraced His finished work on the cross as payment for all sin. What if this person had to appear before Christ at this very moment with the full impact and offensive nature of every sin he or she has ever committed revealed in His presence? When I imagine such a scene, it helps me come to grips with the true state of my spiritual life. It is always sobering.”

I shudder as I imagine Dr. Fellows appearing before the Judgment Seat, with the blood of thousands of God’s creatures dripping from his fingers. As much as I hate the “work” he does, I fervently hope that our encounter may serve to break his resolve to provide abortion, currently causing a bloody trail of destruction in our culture and his own soul. With this hope, I gifted Dr. Fellows the autobiography of John Newton—the slave trader who helped to bring over 20,000 African men, women, and children into slavery with his ship before being rescued by amazing grace.

However, with all the interest in a debate like yesterday’s, let us not forget ourselves. How will I stand before God? What will that day be like for each of us? As William Wilberforce aptly points out, that’s a sobering thought. If not covered by the blood of the Lamb, God’s eternal wrath will rest on me as it will on an unrepentant abortionist—though the Bible is clear that those who knew better will be punished all the more. Yet, the remedy for all sinners, from abortionists to outwardly moral people who miss the heart of the matter, can still be found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God who laid down His life for enemies.

In that, He provided the perfect example of what it means to love. True love means wanting the other’s good. It requires sacrifice. And it is manifested through our actions for those around us. Aside from His own life, the Lord Jesus illustrates that in many different stories and examples, perhaps most powerfully in the parable of the sheep and the goats.

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left” (Matthew 25:31-33).

The following verses make it very clear that, when weighing the lives and actions of those on the right and the left, Jesus counts service to the least as service to Himself. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (vs. 40). Whatever you did for the least of these, you have done it for me. The Saviour personally identifies with the hungry, thirsty, naked, marginalized, and oppressed. Would it be far-fetched to say pre-born children fit that description?

In his book “Love the Least (a Lot)”, Michael Spielman writes, “The God of the universe humbled himself not just to become a man, but to become a child, an infant, a fetus, and an embryo! To those on his left, to those cursed with eternal fire, Jesus says, ‘I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not (vs. 42, 43).’ Is it really such of a stretch to imagine him also saying, I was in the womb and you gave me no care, I was threatened by abortion and you did not intervene, I was an embryo and you said I didn’t matter, a fetus and you said there were more important things to do? The measuring stick of Christian love is not what we do for our friends. It’s not what we do for the healthy and put together. It’s what we do for the ‘least of these.'”

While the Bible is clear that good works will not merit us salvation but are rather to be done in obedience and thankfulness to God, this parable powerfully illustrates that our actions will be weighed in the balance. As Spielman notes, “We would do well to feel the weight of Christ’s warning to the goats.”

This is also true in light of my debate with Dr. Fellows. When confronted with those who willingly advocate and carry out a worldview that literally leaves little children in the trash, it is fitting to take inventory of our own lives. What matters at the end of the day is whether we are reconciled with God, but let’s not think that’s a spiritual question without practical implications. The Great Commission is to love the Lord above all and our neighbour as ourselves. And love, the Lord Jesus shows us, is a verb.

When God’s creatures are destroyed in our culture, loving Him and our neighbour—both born and pre-born—can mean nothing else than taking action. So march on we must, being a voice for the voiceless in the place we’ve been given in this life, but with the disposition of my 3-year old who remarked this morning,

“Let’s pray for that Doctor and for all the babies. Because the Lord can do everything.”

Practicing What We Preach on the Value of All People

She was a colourful woman, outspoken, honest, never mincing her words, and this only became more apparent as her Alzheimer’s progressed. I vividly remember visiting my mother’s aunt in a seniors’ home up to the last days of her life. She would beam as we sang psalms but soon snap back into her sharp and critical moods, sometimes saying the most painful things. Once, when hearing the names of two of my cousins, she sat up and remarked, “Those kids? Their parents paid a lot of money for them. They better be thankful for having such a good life!” She was referring to adoption, of course.

Many years have passed but the attitude of many remains similar to that of my mom’s aunt. In her regressing mental state, the dear woman shared a thought few may dare to express, but think all the same. She revealed a way of thinking in which we distinguish between children added to families in a natural way and children who came about differently. We secretly or subconsciously classify children into those who entered the world through conception and birth from a married father and mother, and those who don’t fit that standard. And with that, we create categories of human beings based on the decisions of their parents.

Let me be clear—the intention of this article is not to condone every way in which humans are created. God’s word gives clear direction and boundaries, also in terms of sexuality and procreation. This is why we are to oppose practices that violate the standard that not we, but God gave, with His honour and our best interest in mind. Yet, when adults ignore this and mess around instead, in God’s providence children may be conceived as a result. The intention of this article, therefore, is to highlight that the value of persons is based on the fact that they came about bearing the image, not only of sinful parents like myself, but in the first place of someone far greater than our minds can comprehend—of the Creator of heaven and earth.

The creation of humankind wasn’t an invention of people after all, but started with the Triune God. In Genesis 1, we read of the beginning of Adam and Eve, when the Holy Trinity proclaimed, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (vs. 26). Verse 27 confirms that God carried out His will, as He always does, and “created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them.” These verses leave no doubt as to the image and likeness human beings are created in—that of God! Genesis 5:1 and 9:6, among other texts, confirm this, but what does it really mean?

First, it means that humans are created to mirror and live in communion with their Creator. Every single human being therefore bears a dignity that cannot be erased or enhanced by one’s family history, personal achievements, or societal recognition—a dignity that is to exemplify and glorify God. As the apostle John exclaims in Revelations 4 verse 11, “Thou art worthy oh Lord, to receive honor and glory and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

Second, it means that each of us is created with a specific purpose. We learn in Genesis that God existed before the creation of the universe and the human race and that He made both out of nothing, but not without a cause. God was its cause. He willed to create and “it was.” This, precisely, is why the universe has meaning because it—and we!–were created purposefully. There are no words to express the significance this has for our understanding of the meaning of life.

Third, it means that we are all of one blood, of the same human race. There is therefore no Biblical foundation to hold superiority over any other human for we all go back to the same source, which is God. Francis A. Schaeffer sums it up as follows: “Unlike the evolutionary concept of an impersonal beginning plus time plus chance, the Bible gives an account of man’s origin as a finite person made in God’s image, that is, like God. We see then how man can have personality and dignity and value.”

But, someone might ask, what about Genesis 3? Didn’t the fall change everything? No question about it—we wouldn’t be discussing this topic if sin had not entered the world. The Bible tells us that we are flawed from our original design, though this has not destroyed our God-given uniqueness and dignity. Due to the evil Adam and Eve freely chose in Paradise, there is now a broken line when we look back to creation. Sin, in its deepest form, means that we no longer want to image God. In our sinful state, we either tear down our own dignity to the level of animals with no accountability or power other than one’s instinct, or we exalt ourselves to the level of gods and create images that resemble ourselves to give glory to (Romans 1). Either way, we refuse to acknowledge our Creator’s Lordship over our lives and our dependence on Him.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. To borrow John Calvin’s words, “In the gospel, God declares that he delights to adopt us as his children, and in doing so, he frees us from Satan’s snare and from the tyranny of sin.” The promise to provide a solution to our revolt against God was first given in Genesis 3 and fulfilled when Jesus Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem, as the embodiment of the invisible God, the Image we are patterned after.

That is why, when there is an assault on human beings, there is an assault on God Himself. To use an analogy—when someone purposely burns a picture of the person you love, it’s not just a piece of paper that is destroyed. Instead, it’s the image of your loved one, and that hurts. Much more so, when the dignity of human beings is denied and attacked, this is a denial of the Creator. Our minds understandably wander to rape, slavery, and abortion as examples, but what to think of when we define people by their origin or choices?

“Abortion is the result of a changed view on the value of humans,” B.J. Zijl wrote in 1982. This view is one we continually need to counter with the truth that all humans are created in the image of God. But we need to practice what we preach. If this is true for the children we need to save from abortion, it is equally true for their mothers and fathers. If it is true for the children in our churches born to happily married couples, it is also true for those fostered or adopted, created in labs, conceived during rape, born to teenage moms, or raised by single dads. It is true because “children are a heritage of the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3).

Finally, let’s not forget this applies to all people. It is therefore also true for straight and gay, handicapped and homeless, the terminally ill and all of those who are seen as a burden. It is true for anyone rejected by church or society, for any reason whatsoever. And it is mostly true because our value and dignity starts with Genesis 1.

Abortion: A Practical Outlook

Part 3 of 3 of the Abortion Series, originally published in the NRC youth magazine Insight Into in 2008-2009. Reprinted with permission from the authors.

In the first article of this series, Sarah described abortion as the “silent holocaust” and explained what it does to pre-born babies. In the second article, Bruce gave biblical reasons for respecting all life and asked what we do to protect the pre-born. This time, we will take a practical look at how women and men are touched by abortion, and what we are to do about it.

“It hurt my heart so bad. My heart and my body and my spirit were broken in a matter of minutes. I regret what I did so much. I have not smiled truthfully since then.”

These are the words of a young woman who thought an abortion would be better than a baby. As most people in our society, she was made to believe that her pre-born child was not yet human, but soon after the abortion, she intuitively knew that it had been. Another woman explained, “They told us it would be better since we didn’t have money for yet another baby but instead, my husband and I are troubled daily by feelings of guilt and thoughts of the child we could’ve had.” Abortion clearly has negative physical consequences, but also leaves countless women and men with profound pain, guilt and regret.

Sadly, research shows that Christians also have abortions, including some from our churches. A young woman who became pregnant because of a sinful lifestyle wrote, “I had always believed that I was pro-life until the day I was faced with the decision myself. I grew up in a very strict religious family and was truly afraid that telling my parents that I was pregnant would get me disowned. I’m 27, it’s now almost nine years later, and I still cry about it.” In addition, a young man explained that he was so worried about disappointing his parents that he pressured his girlfriend into having an abortion.

These examples show us that abortions happen because we do not follow the Lord and His commandments. When a pregnancy results from premarital intercourse, abortion can be used to cover up sin. When we do not accept that children are a blessing, we may use abortion as an illegitimate way to plan, instead of trust God’s design for our lives. Or when we altogether ignore what God has to say to us, or that He even exists, we will do whatever we think is right. In other words, there is so much pain because we do not let the Lord’s wise decrees be our guide.

Do you wonder what can be done to stop this evil? It is not enough to refrain from having an abortion! James 1 verse 27 tells us that “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” That is a combination of doing and being.

First of all, get up. Get out. Do something about the suffering in the lives of those around you. That also applies to all the pain and suffering resulting from abortion. People need to know what abortion does to pre-born babies and their parents and why it is wrong. The second part says be sanctified and keep yourself unstained from the world. In other words, it isn’t enough to just help those in need. Your life needs to be to God’s honour. We need to know Him personally for time and eternity. What a wonder it would be if the Lord would bind that upon our hearts and work true conversion within us.

But what about those who have had an abortion? Our nation is in desperate need of repentance, restoration, and healing. Maybe you know someone who has had an abortion, or maybe you have had one yourself. A young woman wrote, “I couldn’t forgive myself. If not for the forgiveness of Christ, I would still be suffering from alcoholism, depression and undefeatable guilt and mourning.”

Since God cannot leave sin unpunished, we are condemned to these feelings of guilt but especially are condemned to eternal death. There is only one path to true restoration. Not by forgiving yourself, but by the gracious forgiveness of God through Christ, who was the only One to pay the death we owe. And that is the only true foundation of doing and being, of meeting needs and walking in purity.

Reaching Out
Finally, we are to show compassion to those who have had abortions and are now struggling with feelings of guilt and depression. Of course, that is not an easy task. It needs much love and wisdom. It needs, above all, the Lord’s help. Without Him we can do nothing. But He is able to bless a simple word, a cup of cold water, or even an arm around the shoulder.

Are All Sins Equal?

Doing pro-life work is often met with resistance, sometimes from where we least expect it. Whether we make the Biblical case for public pro-life action or for a boycott of companies that support Planned Parenthood, Christians have responded that there are too many societal sins to justify a focus on fighting abortion. And when we point out the urgency of God’s command to do all we can to save “those that are ready to be slain,” others defend their inaction by saying something along these lines: “Remember, all sins are equal!”

It is not my intention to vilify those people. Some have asked genuine questions about prioritizing pro-life work, and perhaps for others, the intent behind proclaiming all sins as equal is to assure fellow sinners that God is willing to forgive, regardless of the heinousness of sin. But for many, “all sins are equal” has become an all too familiar mantra, unfortunately used to excuse unbiblical behaviour.

It is because of such claims that we examine our own position. Is it fair to reject the call to save pre-born children from death because there are other, just as pressing evils to fight? To find the answer, our Reformed heritage suggests none else but the Scriptures as our starting point. What does the Word of God say? Are all sins really equal?

First of all, it is true that every sin deserves God’s wrath, both in this life and in the one to come, as we can find in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.” The Bible is clear that our Creator’s perfect holiness demands justice for even the slightest transgression. “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). This means we need the righteousness of another, of the Mediator, to escape God’s wrath and be counted righteous in the sight of the Lord.

But since one sin is enough to condemn us to hell, does that mean that all sins are evil to the same degree and that the consequences are all the same? And does that mean we have an obligation to fight every sin equally? The Bible shows the contrary.

The first piece of relevant evidence is a series of events in which God brings judgment on groups of people in Old Testament times. Consider the Flood (Genesis 6–9), the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19), the Exodus (Exodus 7-12), the Assyrian captivity (2 Kings 17), and the Babylonian exile (2 Kings 24-25). God bore with sin, oppression, and rebellion only to a point, until the measure was full. When the line was crossed, whether in degree or frequency, God treated the people, previously blessed with His grace, in a vastly different way. If all sins were equal, why the distinction?

Furthermore, when individuals sinned there were different sacrifices prescribed for each situation and different punishments required for certain sins. For example, a thief paid restitution but those who committed adultery or premeditated murder were put to death (Exodus 22, Leviticus 1-6, 16-17, 20). Thus, God provided a system of jurisprudence that reflected His will in taking all sin seriously but also showed that some were worse than others.

There is at least one more telling example in the Old Testament: Numbers 15. The chapter describes two different kinds of sin: the unwitting or accidental sin, which has an offering prescribed for it (vs. 22-29) and the defiant, premeditated, or haughty sin, which cannot be forgiven and therefore has no prescribed sacrifice.  This sin is persistent and goes beyond the breaking of a specific commandment to the point of a deliberate rejection of Word of the Lord (vs. 30, 31). Evidently, in the Law of Moses, not all sin is the same.

What about the New Testament? We see the same trend under the new dispensation, which becomes especially clear in the words of the Saviour Himself. For instance, in Luke 12, the Lord Jesus explains that those who know the revealed will of God but do not act accordingly “shall be beaten with many stripes” and that “it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for [Capernaum]” (Matthew 11:23, 24) because of its unbelief and refusal to repent. He also said to Pilate, “He that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin” (John 19:11). Hence, there are degrees of punishment, which implies degrees of guiltiness, which means that some sins are more blameworthy than others.

In summary, all sins are equal in that they all deserve God’s wrath, no matter how trivial they seem. No sins are small when committed against a great and generous God but beyond this, the gravity of each transgression depends on varying factors, as observed in both the Old and New Testament. It makes a difference whether those committing the sin know better, are in the public eye or objects of public trust, and whether one commits or omits deliberately (1 Kings 11:9-10, 2 Samuel 12:7-10, Romans 2:17-23, Romans 1:32, Matthew 18:15-17). The severity of sin is further determined by the persons offended or harmed, in particular the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but also any fellow Christians or those who ought to be aided or protected by virtue of their vulnerability (Hebrews 10:28-29, Matthew 18:6, Proverbs 24:11-12). A consideration of these and many more texts shows that the Bible’s answer to our question is very clear. In the words of The Shorter Westminster Catechism, “Some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.”

To deny these distinctions trivializes sin and may even serve as an excuse for one’s own behaviour. When the clear teaching of Scripture is rejected in favour of feel-good theology, the playing field is dangerously leveled. Murdering a child can then be belittled as no more sinful than stealing a cookie and as a result, lack of action in response to either of these wrongs hardly makes a difference. After all, all sins are equal, right?

Wrong. Not only do the Scriptures tell us that some sins are worse than others, it also tells us in no uncertain terms that God hates a certain practice: child sacrifice, also known as abortion (Leviticus 18, 20, Jeremiah 19). Considering the factors that aggravate sin, this means that the procedure that intentionally destroys the crown jewel of creation—a small child knitted in the mother’s womb, is the greatest evil of our time. As John Calvin said, “If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.”

But before you point fingers at those who perform or undergo abortions, listen to the words of the Lord in Proverbs 24:11-12.If thou forebear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? Doth he not know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?”

The implication? Once again considering the factors that aggravate sin, this means that failing to do anything about abortion is perhaps worse yet, especially when we know better and ought to be the salt and light of this world, but omit to save those who are being slaughtered. It also means that if innocent human beings are in danger, we are to come to their rescue in every possible way. That’s why, when it comes to abortion, we are confident that it should be a matter of priority, and that the Christian church bears the greatest burden of responsibility in fighting this evil.

As Martin Luther once wrote, “If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that point which the world and the devil are that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proven, and to be steady on all the battle fronts besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”

As long as the blood of precious pre-born children is being shed in our own backyard, this is the evil we must face with the greatest urgency. Why? Because not all sins are equal.

Graphic Images Save Lives

“You’re making me feel bad,” she said. “I went along with two of my friends when they had their abortions because I wanted to support their choice. One of them was my brother’s girlfriend too.” I expressed my sympathy. “I’m so sorry to hear that. I didn’t come here to make you feel bad, yet I’m glad you now know what happened during the abortion. The truth often hurts but also sets free.” I offered her information about post-abortion help, which she eagerly accepted, then looked at the pictures again. “That would’ve been my niece or nephew, but I didn’t know.”

She had no idea. She didn’t know that her friend’s “choice” tore apart the tiny body of a pre-born child. She didn’t know that supporting such a choice allowed her brother’s baby to be decapitated, dismembered and disembowelled. She now knows the ugly truth because a graphic image of abortion conveyed just that. Had she seen the pictures a few weeks or months earlier, this young woman would have done everything in her power to prevent the abortions from taking place. Instead, two babies are now dead.

Another young woman we spoke with was opposed to abortion with the exception of pregnancies resulting from rape. Needless to say, she also wouldn’t impose her beliefs upon anyone else, not upon her friend scheduled for an abortion next week either. I pointed to my baby and asked whether she would have the responsibility to take action if I was planning to kill him next week. “Of course,” she exclaimed. “That would be terrible.” Pointing to a picture of a first-trimester aborted fetus I gently asked, “Do you think it’s any different with your friend’s child who, if you don’t do anything, will soon look like that?”

She had no idea either. She believed that being pro-life was merely a personal preference, not an objective truth that compels us to respect the lives of all people, including the pre-born. The abortion images changed it all. Instantly aware of her responsibility she asked for pamphlets and contact information for her friend. Perhaps, because pro-lifers showed her the truth, a small child will live. Many others have certainly survived for that very reason.

Far too often we’ve heard pro-lifers object to showing graphic abortion images. We agree that they are disturbing. They keep us from sleeping soundly, as they should, but more importantly, they change minds and save lives. Postcards, posters, signs, and trucks with graphic abortion images continually convict and convince of the pro-life truth, and the aforementioned are only two of many instances that prove this. But the converse is true as well. Babies die when we censor the truth, preventing women from knowing what abortion does and allowing pre-born children to be killed in their mother’s womb. Every child that is killed due to the mother’s ignorance is an indictment upon Christians and pro-lifers who have the knowledge and means necessary to save those lives.

Each of us has a responsibility to speak truth and show compassion, especially to the very least (Matthew 25:40). Additionally, the Bible makes it clear that the sins of our nation are our own (e.g. Proverbs 29:12) and that no one can wash their hands of innocent blood. What makes it worse, however, is when Christians without any Biblical reason whatsoever and in contravention of our Reformed heritage actively oppose a pro-life strategy that is truthful and hugely effective in saving lives, simply because it makes them uncomfortable. Our hands already drip with the blood of pre-born children by virtue of the fact that our tax dollars pay for every single abortion. And yet, even conservative church leaders who take it upon themselves to speak out on behalf of the voiceless and support the actions of those who seek to stop abortion are slandered and mocked by some in an extremely unbiblical way.

There are those in the Christian communities in North America who feel that it is a positive thing that they can sleep well at night, unburdened by the blood of thousands of children who were butchered during the day, bought and paid for by the tax dollars of our labour. There are those in the Christian community who seem to be more passionate about opposing the efforts of the largest pro-life educational movement in Canada than they are in ending the killing.

Ask yourselves a question: If you are at peace with a culture that murders its own children, is that staying true to Christianity and as close to our Reformed background as possible?

If you can consider yourself “personally pro-life” (much like Pontius Pilate was) but pass the blame for abortion onto others and do not fight it, are you not also to blame?

If you are fighting pro-life activists more actively then abortion, how much does abortion actually concern you? Have you written more letters complaining about graphic images, or abortion?

The EndtheKilling youth movement swells by the week, with Reformed people of all denominations flocking to get involved, make a difference, and save the lives of Canadian children. If you cannot support their efforts, at the very least do not oppose it. We have met too many women who had abortions because we were too late in exposing it to them. Dozens have told us they would not have had abortions if we had gotten to them earlier. For the sake of their children and thousands who are being “drawn unto death” every day, we ask for your support. We fully and completely respect all those who seek to fight abortion in their own ways, and are uncomfortable with the activism we have chosen. But let us not condemn each other’s efforts.

For as Abraham Lincoln once said, a house divided against itself cannot stand.

The Economic Boycott: How to Fight Planned Parenthood

Imagine there is a knock at your door from a small boy who asks if you want to buy candy so he can go to camp this summer. You do not object and while spotting your favourite candy you casually ask which camp he plans to attend. The boy answers, “The Hitler Youth Program.” You are now faced with a moral dilemma. While you would love to support the child and buy the candy, you obviously cannot support the immoral agenda of the Hitler Youth and so you cannot buy the candy.

Now imagine that one of your favourite stores publicly announces its support for an organization that provides abortions. Once again you are faced with a moral dilemma. The company’s goods mean much to you and it would be very inconvenient to do without, yet remaining a loyal customer would imply consent for their decision and actually fund abortions.

It is very likely that the second scenario is true for at least some of the stores you shop at; they are just not telling you. Brands or stores such as Nike, Johnson&Johnson, Staples, and Red Lobster, to name a few, financially support Planned Parenthood, thereby directly paying for the decapitation, dismemberment and disembowelment of small children. Do we have an obligation to take action?

What is Planned Parenthood?

Let us first consider what the organization being funded actually stands for. Planned Parenthood was founded in 1916 by Margaret Sanger, a woman who advocated for eugenics through birth control in order to limit the number of people she considered inferior. Today, Planned Parenthoodstill celebrates her legacy, even comparing her to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It promotes the ‘sexual liberation’ of children and youth in collaboration with UNFPA, aides and abets human traffickers by performing abortions on their victims without offering help or contacting police, and condones rape and incest by failing to report when a woman comes in for an abortion after having been sexually abused.

As if it couldn’t get worse, Planned Parenthood is also the single largest abortion provider in the world. In 2010, the so-called reproductive health care provider was responsible for nearly 330,000 abortions, each of which brutally ended the life of a small, preborn child. Planned Parenthood reports having distributed approximately 1.5 million emergency birth control kits in the same year, and while birth control pills occasionally cause an abortion, emergency birth control (also known as the morning-after pill) usually does so. That makes no difference to Planned Parenthood since, in their own words, everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child” regardless of how this comes about.

Annually Planned Parenthood reaches 1.1 million people with programs that encourage sexual experimentation, leave out abstinence education, and deny parental rights and responsibilities, thereby perpetuating a cycle of sexual immorality that leaves behind a trail of death and destruction among born and preborn people alike.

Public ignorance of Planned Parenthood’s activities, goals and philosophy is its greatest ally because the greater the public education about the organization, the far less support there is for it. In fact, the more knowledge people gain about Planned Parenthood’s agenda and actions, the more likely they are to actively oppose them as well. It is therefore imperative that we educate ourselves and others, and follow up with appropriate action.

Funding and Financial Stewardship

Almost half of Planned Parenthood’s revenue comes from government grants and reimbursements and particularly in the U.S. pro-life efforts are constantly made to curb this through legislation. At the same time, more than 20% of the enterprise’s annual income is derived from donations, largely from corporations that thus lend support and legitimacy to Planned Parenthood through their philanthropic programs. And that is precisely where we must take an honest look at our own involvement. After all, by buying from companies that support the biggest abortion provider in the world, are we not funding the slaughter of the innocents as well?

Proverbs 3:9-10 tells us to “Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Wise stewardship of the resources we receive means that we purposely seek God’s glory and the advancement of His kingdom, also in our financial interactions. It is therefore impossible to honour the Lord with the wealth He has given us if our purchases pay for an agenda and activities that areharmful and ungodly.

It is true that the corporations’ decision-makers who support the abortion industry are ultimately responsible for the funding of Planned Parenthood, but that is irrelevant for us. In order to refrain from participating in evil, we ought to withhold our financial support for these corporations as much as possible. This is also known as boycotting.

Economic Boycott

The Albert Einstein Institute’s defines an economic boycott as “the withdrawal or withholding of economic cooperation in the form of buying, selling, or handling of goods or services, often accompanied by efforts to induce others to do likewise.” Utilizing this tactic in the case of Planned Parenthood not only disassociates us from its agenda, it also exposes the group’s evil deeds and brings about change. How? By economically boycotting these companies, informed pro-lifers make a conscious choice to use an effective tactic that raises the issue to a level where it gets appropriate attention.

While some question their effectiveness, boycotts that are carefully planned and faithfully executed actually have a long tradition of bringing about the desired change. Just recently, Pepsi stopped using aborted fetal cell lines as flavour enhancers after months of pro-life protest and a boycott of the company’s products. A famous example from history is the boycott of sugar that was slave-grown, organized by William Wilberforce in order to call attention for the inhumane treatment of African slaves. Combined with other efforts, this boycott successfully ended the 18th century slave trade in the British colonies. Since that time, many have joined in effective boycott efforts at some point in history.Today, while we know about the evil of Planned Parenthood and the fact that our money is often used to fund it, should we not do the same?

The Boycott List

One may wonder how to go about such a boycott but this has been made easy by Life Decisions International, an organization that “is dedicated to challenging the Culture of Death. LDI concentrates on exposing and opposing the agenda of Planned Parenthood,” one of its projects being the Corporate Funding Project which educates companies about Planned Parenthood to convince them to stop their financial support. LDI provides a list of corporations that refuse to deny support to Planned Parenthoodand encourages those who care about life and God’s commandments to boycott them. The Boycott List includes corporate names, subsidiaries, products, services and how to contact each company, and can be ordered at


In Ephesians 5:11 the Lord instructs us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” In his commentary, Matthew Henry writes that having fellowship with the deeds of darkness is done not only by committing a sin but also by “commendation, counsel, consent, or concealment” of the sins of others. He points out that the second part of the text shows we must not only refrain from but also reprove sin in order to not have fellowship with them, and this should be done by witnessing “seasonably and pertinently, in our words; but especially by the holiness of our lives, and a religious conversation.”

In the case of abortion, refraining from having one isn’t good enough. In the case of Planned Parenthood, not to use its services doesn’t quite meet biblical standards. We must neither engage in the organization’s works of darkness, nor give consent to them with our financial interactions. At the same time, we are called to reprove in love, in order to hinder the triumph of evil, to seek our neighbor’s welfare, and to bring glory to God’s great name.”For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).


According to Life Decisions International, at least 283 corporations have already ceased their funding, resulting in a 40 million dollar loss for Planned Parenthood. Clearly, just as Wilberforce engaged in a boycott to end the injustice of his time, those who boycott corporate supporters of Planned Parenthood today attempt to eliminate the greatest human rights abuse of our day.

People often ask what they can do to help make a difference for life. While there is no single way to restore respect for the sanctity of life in our society, one thing is true. The pro-life movement will only succeed to the extent that pro-life people are willing to be inconvenienced. After all, if we say abortion is a terrible injustice but do not act accordingly to save precious children from being killed, why should anyone believe us?”

Why We Protest

Feeling tired and drained because of ongoing criticism from both pro-lifers and abortion advocates, I was not looking forward to another “Choice” Chain. I wondered if our efforts were making a difference and whether students would come to see the signs, let alone talk with us in -30 degree weather. However, being the “Choice” Chain coordinator I had no other choice but to bundle up and head over to the high school to meet our faithful volunteers. On my way there I silently prayed for guidance. I asked that if this is a way through which God wants to move to reach our culture (as I had previously believed), that today’s “Choice” Chain would be a clear sign.

It was quiet at the high school. We saw students walking around inside, some of them glancing at the signs but none caring enough to come out. Then we noticed groups of students exiting through another door in order to get to the public library, situated right beside the school. And so we moved, positioning ourselves in between the school door and the library entrance.

I approached the first student who walked by. What do you think about abortion?” He must have been 12 or 13 years old, took a close look at the sign I was holding and said, “That’s pretty gross.” I agreed with him, adding that is precisely what happens to pre-born children every single day. His response: “Oh, you mean abortion? Yeah, that’s pretty bad but it’s still a woman’s choice.”

In the ten to fifteen minutes that followed we engaged in a discussion that gently challenged his notion that just because abortion is a woman’s choice, it must be right. I was able to explain that human life begins at fertilization, and that all of us -both born and pre-born- have value, regardless of the circumstances in which one is conceived. The teen seemed open to these ideas, then thoughtfully brought up abortion in case of rape. “What about that, though?” After expressing my sympathy for victims of such a horrible crime I asked him whether that would change the fact that abortion ends the life of a child, as depicted on the sign. “I’ve never thought about it like that before,” he said. “I guess human life starts right at the beginning. That makes a lot of sense. So, I’m not sure why we say it’s okay to kill them.”

In the mean time, not far from the building, a group of smokers had noticed us as well and started shouting colourful names and phrases at us. They responded to a volunteer’s invitation to come talk by yelling, “No! You come here!” and so she did. Since the group was big another volunteer soon joined her. After fielding the usual arguments for awhile, one tall young man turned to them and said, “I’m sorry for yelling at you guys earlier. What you’re saying makes a lot of sense. You’ve completely changed my mind.” We were amazed by the students’ honesty and maturity. It doesn’t happen often that we talk to people who are mature enough to openly admit it when we’ve given them something to think about!

After about an hour we went into the library to warm up and were soon approached by next door’s principal. So far educators have either ignored or opposed “Choice” Chain, some going as far as physically preventing students from seeing the signs. But this principal was different. He shook our hands, asked how the conversations were, and expressed his appreciation. “I couldn’t show these pictures in my school.” He chuckled. “Could you imagine the response from parents? But I think students should see both sides of the issue and so I’m glad you guys are here!”

When we ordered coffee, the lady behind the counter also thanked us for coming. “I’m a new Christian, I’m pro-life, and I think it’s really great that students get to see this and talk with you.” At the same time several students approached us and asked for pamphlets. And as we sought for a place to sit down, a young man asked us to come over to his table because he had some questions.

A long discussion ensued in which he argued that consciousness should be the point when human beings receive the right to life. When this was hard to maintain, he switched his position and said morality should not be imposed on others and that we just cannot be sure when life begins. When a volunteer kindly pointed out that this conviction was inconsistent with science, he admitted, “I guess so, but that’s what I believe.”

Several students followed this dialogue and interjected here and there. A young woman asked if we think that those who have abortions after rape are murderers. We explained that we judge the action of abortion because it ends the life of a child. She responded, “Well, ’cause that’s what you’d call me then.” I expressed how sorry I was that this happened to her but someone else fired a question at us, and the conversation went on from there.

When we wrapped up, one of our volunteers stayed behind and asked the girl, “Are you okay? May I give you a hug?” With her permission, the volunteer held her and told her how brave she was. The young woman then shared her account of this awful experience with someone whom she had never met before but simply showed she cared. Perhaps she didn’t become pro-life that day, but the volunteer recognized and affirmed her value and dignity as a human person. And hopefully, one day, this hurting young woman will also recognize the value and dignity of pre-born people.

On my way home I phoned one of my friends and asked what she thought about today’s “Choice” Chain. She shared with me that she too had felt worn-down, even nervous, but had hoped and prayed that we would be used to change minds and to bring a message of truth and love to these teens. “And that’s what happened,” she said. That’s when it suddenly hit me: God answered our prayers!

From the conversation with the principal and the lady at the cafeteria, to students asking for information and changing their minds, to the young woman confiding in a volunteer about her pain, “Choice” Chain had clearly been blessed in a way that we couldn’t have imagined. And God was gracious to show it to us too.

That’s why I continue to do “Choice” Chain, despite criticism, cold, or discomfort. It may not always be easy, but let us then remember what is at stake for pre-born children and their mothers. And let us be humbled by the fact that ordinary people are often used to bring about great change.

Corrie ten Boom once said, “In darkness God’s truth shines most clear.” So today, in the darkness of a society that legally and systematically kills its own offspring, let us courageously and compassionately show forth the truth, a truth that will eventually set free.”

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged

In a culture saturated with relativism, the concept that there is no objective right and wrong, it is quite common to be reminded that the Bible forbids us to judge. After all, being ‘judgmental’ or accusing someone of wrongdoing is about as bad as it can get and it seems that many Christians have accepted this notion as well.

As a result, many are opposed to passing, or at least hesitant to pass, judgement on other people’s choices, including the choice of abortion. This begs an important question: what did Jesus really mean when he said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”?

As with any text we must first look at its context to discern the meaning. Using only Matthew 7:1 or Luke 6:37a gives an incomplete picture. The context shows that this passage is not an absolute prohibition from judging but instead is intended to address unfair and hypocritical judgment. “Judge not” warns against backbiting, slandering, and being overly critical, while “that ye may not be judged” indicates what will happen to those who follow Christ’s command; generally, they will be treated kindly and spared unjust judgement as well. John Calvin remarks about these texts in his commentary, “It is not necessary that believers should become blind, and perceive nothing, but only that they should refrain from an undue eagerness to judge” (p. 346).

Additionally, we ought to take into account the entire Bible message rather than interpret a verse in isolation. If the explanation of a passage contradicts the overall Gospel this should tell us something is wrong. In the case of Matthew 7:1, it is important to note that the word ‘judge’ in its various forms is found over 700 times in God’s Word so to base our entire approach to judging on one verse would be foolish. Psalm 119:13, Proverbs 3:21, Jeremiah 22:3, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, and Philippians 1:10, to name a few, show we are not only allowed but even bound to judge. We must speak and act in accordance with the revealed will of God and therefore condemn sin. In fact, failing to do so would be rebellion by reversing God’s will through our actions or lack of them.

At the same time, the Lord gives guidelines for how to judge. We must always begin with examining ourselves, lest we ignore the ‘beam’ in our own eye (Matthew 7:4-5). Moreover, we read in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” There Jesus tells us to judge but to do so righteously, using God’s Word to discern sin and not by appearances or our own standards. We must do so lovingly and modestly, with God’s honour and our neighbour’s welfare in mind, realizing that God is the only Lawgiver and Judge (Isaiah 33:22).

What does this mean regarding life issues? J.C. Ryle, when warning against dealing deceitfully with the Word of God, points out that we corrupt the truth when we make a wrong application of it or avoid speaking about it when it may give offence. In the case of abortion, we corrupt the truth and misapply God’s Word when we do not condemn a procedure that intentionally and directly ends the life of a preborn child.

Our Reformed heritage has much to say about this as well. Christian apologist Francis A. Schaeffer, when describing the Reformers, explains that they took seriously the Bible’s own claims for itself: that it is the only final authority. They believed that we need the answers given by God in the Bible not only for how to be in a relationship with Him but also for how we must live and distinguish between right and wrong. Thus, when God’s Word tells us that each individual has unique value and that ending an innocent life is wrong, we consistently ought to live according to and lovingly act upon that truth.

This can be difficult, even painful at times, but there can be no compassion without truth. When we refrain from judging a behaviour that is harmful to our neighbour, we are actually negligent and disobey the commandment to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Telling a loved one that their choices are wrong can be upsetting but not doing so would be much more uncompassionate. Since we know that abortion disobeys God’s law, ends a child’s life, as well as harms people spiritually, emotionally and even physically, speaking out against it is both truthful and compassionate.

So what must we do? On the basis of an unweakened Bible, with the aid of properly conducted science and strategies, we should teach and act to influence society as much as we can. We are not excused from being the salt of the earth, just because the culture no longer rests as much as it once did on Christian thinking. We are not excused from speaking the truth, just because our society holds the belief that there is no absolute truth.

If we have compassion for those around us we must not compromise the truth or hide behind a faulty interpretation of a text about judging, whether to spare people’s feelings or our own reputation. Instead, we must do all that we can to stand against the loss of humanness in all its forms and to help people see the truth that, with God’s blessing, will set them free.