A Response to New York’s Abortion Law

  • Text: Amos 1:13, NKJV
  • Series: N/A
  • Date: Sunday, January 27, 2019
  • Venue: Trinity Baptist Church — Seminole, Oklahoma
  • Speaker: Jared Byrns

So we’re collecting for the House of Hope in Ada, and we’re doing that because it’s Sanctity of Life Month. On that note, I wanted to share something with you. I would say I’d bring it to your attention, but if you’ve been watching the news at all, you’ve probably seen it—with the Empire State Building being lit up pink this week. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about the sanctity of life. I know I spent some time talking about that last week, but I wanted to talk with you a little bit about the law that was just passed in New York. 

You know Wednesday was the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, and everybody commemorated it in a different way. Churches like ours around the country participated in Sanctity of Life Sunday; we talked about the issue of life; we collected things for pregnancy centers and that sort of thing. The state of New York commemorated it in a different way. On Wednesday, they passed a law called the Reproductive Health Act, and you’ve probably all heard about it—if not, I’m not sure where you’ve been because I don’t even watch the TV news, and I can’t get away from it. But this law was Senate bill 240, it took effect immediately, and it allows abortion up to birth for essentially any reason. 

The reason I’m bringing this up is that on my Facebook feed, I have both Republican and Democrat friends who are outraged by this law and are talking about it. Yet when we say things about this law allowing abortion for any reason up to birth—up to birth!—people are saying that we’re lying. People are saying we misunderstand, or we haven’t read the bill. So I’ve sat down and read the bill. I sat down and read it this morning. I’ve got a copy of it that I’ll put out there as well. You can look at that if you’d like to read the bill. 

The text of the law starts by narrowing the definition of personhood in the state of New York. Remember, in last week’s sermon, I said it all comes down to personhood and when personhood begins? They’ve narrowed down the definition of personhood in New York state law to refer to anybody “who has been born and is alive.” With this law, they crossed out two other sections of the law that used to apply to the unborn in certain circumstances, and they narrowed the definition of personhood without any scientific or philosophical basis for doing it. Then they said in the text of the law that you are guaranteed the right to an abortion in the state of New York if “the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy”—so any time up to 24 weeks—or “there is an absence of fetal viability”—so if the baby can’t live outside the womb—or if “the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.” 

And that’s where some people will say, See? There have to be reasons! It’s not just abortion on demand! Y’all are confused! You’re lying!

Well, that would be true if there weren’t a Supreme Court case that came out the same day as Roe v. Wade called Doe v. Bolton. In Doe v. Bolton, seven members of the Supreme Court defined the health and welfare of the mother this way: 

Medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the wellbeing of the patient. All these factors may relate to health. 

US Supreme Court, Doe v. Bolton (1973)

So health and welfare cover basically anything we want it to in the state of New York. If you go in and say you’re stressed about the pregnancy, if you can convince the doctor to give you the abortion, you can have the abortion today. If you’ve got a headache or the sniffles, and you can convince the doctor, then you can legally take the life of the child in New York State. I’ll let you read these things for yourself; I’ll put them out there on the bulletin board. Don’t let people tell you that you don’t know what the bill says. If you take it in the context of what the Supreme Court says about that phrase, health and welfare of the mother—that means something in court precedent. And what this is, it’s a radical proposal that gives unborn babies even less protection here than they have in any country of Europe. It’s easier to get an abortion in the United States of America than it is in Europe—and not just in New York but in many of our states. 

When I read this bill this morning, one of the questions I came away asking is: What about what we call the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, where a woman is attacked, she’s pregnant, the baby dies, and the perpetrator can be charged with murder? It looks like that’s gone! So I did a little more research, and sure enough, it was so completely stripped out of the bill that there’s no protection anymore for any unborn child who’s a victim of violence—even if the mother wants them. It’s so serious that there’s a state senator in New York named Catharine Young who released a statement calling for a new bill to reinsert those protections into state law because they’re no longer there. They just sweepingly took away any protections for any unborn children, and my concern is that other states are going to follow. I don’t believe Oklahoma will, but my concern is that other states are going to follow. 

And as I said last week, this is symptomatic of our culture’s blatant disregard for the value of human life. Now I’m not telling you this as a political thing: this is a right-and-wrong issue, and it always has been. Obviously, I think we all feel sympathy for women who find themselves in circumstances where they just don’t know what to do. And there needs to be care and help available for them. But this is the wrong tactic. It comes down to a matter of personhood, and if you believe—as I think I showed you philosophically, scientifically, and scripturally last week—that an unborn baby is a person, then this is the taking of a person’s life, and it’s murder. And it makes me worry about God’s judgment on our country. 

I look at Amos 1:13, and I see how God was prepared to judge and wipe out the Ammonites.

Thus says the Lord: ‘For three transgressions of the people of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they ripped open the women with child in Gilead, That they might enlarge their territory.

Amos 1:13, NKJV

In that scripture, we read that the Ammonites attacked pregnant women for the purpose of killing their unborn babies because they were afraid those babies would grow up and have a claim to their land. So what they were doing was killing unborn babies out of convenience. And God said he was going to smite the Ammonites for that reason! Can God’s judgment on America be very far behind? Folks, we need to pray. I’m telling you this not to get you stirred up about politics, not to get you to go out and argue with your friends and neighbors, but because we need to pray. We need to pray. First of all, the churches in this country need to repent for letting what is a right-and-wrong issue, a life-and-death issue, be recast as a political issue, and letting that convince us and intimidate us into staying silent. We need to repent of that, and we need to pray for revival in this country! We need to pray for revival in our churches, an awakening throughout the country, and we need to pray that hearts are won to Jesus Christ because that’s the only way to turn this country around. 

I saw something this week that said abortion is the inversion of the Gospel; in the Gospel Jesus said, I’ll die for you; abortion says, You die for me. Folks, if we’re ever going to put a stop to this, it doesn’t start coming to an end through legislation. That’s important, but it starts when people come to terms with a Savior Who says, No, I’ll die for you. And that’s what we need to pray for. We need to pray for hearts and minds to be changed in this country. would you join me in prayer as we get started this morning? 

Our gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for the day that you’ve given us and for the opportunity—and the life and the breath that we have—to be here, for Your Word tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from above. So we thank you for our very existence and we thank you for the freedom that we have to worship you together, for the freedom that we have to proclaim your truth even when it may not be a popular message. Lord, I pray that You would stir in our hearts a zeal and a passion for Your truth, a sense of right and wrong that stands against the evil of our culture. Lord, I pray, give us hearts of compassion to reach out to our most vulnerable neighbors. Lord, whether it’s the unborn, whether it’s the single mothers who’re in difficult circumstances where they feel like this is their only hope or that there’s so much need around us. And I pray God that You’d let us stop treating this as a political issue and Lord let us just focus on what Your Word says and let us what do you call us to do. God that has to be our only concern. I pray that you’d send revival in this country; I pray that it would begin with us; I pray that it would begin with Your people getting a vision of Your holiness and a realization of our sin and falling to our knees in repentance once again, begging for Your forgiveness and inviting Your blessing God. and I pray that you would prepare the hearts of people in this country for an awakening of the Holy Spirit, Lord, that we might share the Gospel with boldness, with compassion, and with conviction. And Lord that You might prepare those who will hear it to receive that message and receive salvation through Jesus Christ—Who’s the only hope for changing anybody or anything in this sin-sick world. We pray your blessings on our services today; we pray that we would be challenged and changed by Your Word through Your Holy Spirit. We ask all these things in Jesus’ name.