The Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade was a major milestone for pro-life Christians who have been marching, organizing, lobbying, and praying for the past 50 years. These are the people who volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers, adopt children (at twice the national rate), and organize supply drives for expectant mothers.
These are also the people who have had to endure weeks of moral lectures from pro-abortion atheists who say overturning Roe is all about controlling women’s bodies, as well as “social justice” and NeverTrump evangelicals who criticize them for not being “pro-life from womb to tomb.” This includes writers like David French and Jemar Tisby as well as organizations like the AND Campaign, who have been very critical of white evangelicals for supporting President Trump and hate being associated with his voters in any way.
The irony is that these Christians have some holes in their pro-life activism. The womb-to-tomb wing of the pro-life movement talks more about health care, living wages, and child care than marriage, fatherhood, and family. They speak as if the primary responsibility for supporting women and children belongs to the government, not men.
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a womb-to-tomb Christian to mention the word “marriage” in any commentary related to sex and abortion.
That needs to change in a post-Roe world. If womb-to-tomb evangelicals think the mainstream pro-lifers need to do more than change laws, they should do more than chastise and lecture their peers. Now is the time for these Christians to bring a distinctive message to a watching world.
The Christian vision for society is so powerful because it rests on a logically consistent worldview. It holds that God created this world and that every human life has inherent worth because every person is created in His image. The Bible also teaches that God created marriage – the lifelong union between one man and one woman – and that sex is to be enjoyed within a marital relationship.
One of the most destructive phrases in modern history is “casual sex,” because it trivializes something that is central to the survival of the human species. One of the greatest contributions womb-to-tomb evangelicals can make to the abortion debate is to reject the notion that children are a “consequence” of sex. No one would call an apple tree a “consequence” of planting apple seeds in the ground. Both are the expected result of a reproductive act, not a punishment for one.
The culture doesn’t need any help convincing the masses that the government is the solution to every problem. The truth is that Uncle Sam is an unfaithful spouse and absent father because he has way too many households to support. This is where Christians have an opportunity to boldly declare why a biblical vision for sex, sexuality, marriage, and family brings God glory and works for our good.
There is nothing more embarrassing than Christians whose repertoire of political talking points is a mile wide but understanding of the “Five Eyes” of policy – intent, interests, incentives, implementation, and impact – is an inch deep. Christians who detach public policy from a biblical worldview in order to sound in step with whatever new political fad is popular at the moment run the risk of supporting ideas that make human flourishing very difficult. You would think people would have learned their lesson from the 1960s welfare expansion that provided financial incentives for women to have children out of wedlock and withheld benefits from women who had a man in the home.
The sad truth is that many Christians would see a young woman getting married at 19 as wasting the prime years of her life. They think the “Sex and the City” existence of 60-hour works weeks, antidepressants, Sunday brunch with bottomless mimosas, handbag dogs, random sexual encounters, and Soul Cycle as the epitome of a fulfilled life.
Feminism is an autocannibalistic ideology that attacks femininity in the name of fighting sexism. When feminists encounter a profession, club, or part of society reserved for men, they fight with tenacity to gain entry. When they think about the one thing they can do that men can’t – bear and birth children – they fight with ferocity to eliminate that distinction. Nothing makes a feminist more upset than being reminded that men and women are not the same.
These social justice evangelicals often have a low view of women, just like their secular counterparts. They have bought the lie that a woman managing a large, complex organization is empowering – unless it’s her own household – and that women who provide child care or teach are heroes – unless it’s for their own children.
The notion that pro-life Christians only care about life in the womb is the type of accusation you would expect from people who believe that intentionally ending the life of the unborn is a human right, not fellow believers who also say they believe in the sanctity of life.
The majority of women seeking abortions are unmarried. A post-Roe, pro-life agenda should be laser-focused on promoting marriage using the pen, purse, and pulpit. Any Christian organization that cannot or will not clearly state that men are responsible for providing for the women and children in their lives is doing themselves, fellow believers, and the broader culture a grave disservice.
Womb-to-tomb evangelicals can be “salt and light” by building their vision for a post-Roe world on the solid rock of scripture and situating sex and abortion within a larger biblical framework of marriage and family. Failing to do so will inevitably leave them with an assortment of cliches, buzz words, and euphemisms powered by emotional arguments. The logical inconsistencies are a feature, not a bug.
This is why the people who support bodily autonomy and private medical decision-making when it comes to abortion changed their tune when federal, state, and local governments wanted to force people to take COVID shots as a condition of employment. They say black lives matter but think more black children being born furthers white supremacy.
There is nothing wrong with a pro-life position that is solely focused on outlawing abortion. Some people are passionate about changing laws, and others are equipped to support expectant mothers in other ways. Neither group should feel any obligation to appear respectable to people who act as if not being able to kill the unborn is a form of torment.