- Eldon Peterson
Sanctity of Life
Our nation encountered changes with the Roe vs. Wade decision on January 22, 1973 that few could have anticipated. The Supreme Court decision resulted in abortion becoming a common experience in our country. According to the Guttmacher Institute, at current rates, about one in three American women will have had an abortion by the time she reaches age 45. The implications of this statistic is staggering.
It is estimated that in the US there have been 54 million abortions since 1973. I don’t know about you, but such numbers are difficult for me to conceptualize. To put it into perspective, it equals the populations of California, Washington, Oregon, Utah and Alaska combined. This helps me to realize the impact!
Women who have chosen to terminate their pregnancy with an abortion come from a broad cross section of the U.S. While 85% of the women having abortions are unmarried and 58% and are in their 20s, 73% claim a religious affiliation.
In 2011, there were 6 million pregnancies to the 63 million women of reproductive age (15-44) in the United States. Sixty-seven percent of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 18% in abortions; the remaining 15% ended in miscarriage. By comparison, in Utah, 65,100 of the 611,461 women of reproductive age became pregnant in 2011. Of these pregnancies, 79% resulted in live births while 5% were terminated by induced abortions.
Looking closer to home, according to the recently released 2014 Utah Vital Statistics, to women who list Cache County as their place of residence there were 2,337 live births and 92 abortions. Of those having abortions, 20 were to women 15 to 19 while the remainder were to women 20-44. What’s the point? The point is that abortion effects the lives of not only the unborn but also the families in our community as well. Rather than ignoring these numbers, or being comforted that they are below national averages, we must not only recognize the importance of life but also do more to support women facing an unwanted pregnancy.
From the very beginning of the “pro-choice” movement, little thought was given to the choice of the unborn. Mother Teresa observed, “It is a poverty that a child must die, so that you may live as you wish.” 16th century reformer John Calvin wrote in his commentary on Exodus 21, “The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.”
Many will argue that these are merely the words of those living in “ivory towers” seeking to force their views on others and should have no bearing on the individual’s right to choose. However, possibly the most poignant words come from Norma McCorvey, Jane Roe in the Roe vs. Wade decision, “Father God, we just ask you to open your wide, wide arms… and lead us, and let us know what we should do to stop this terrible, terrible holocaust.”
It is important for us to realize that in God’s eyes every life has value. Starting here allows us to not only see value in the unborn but every human life. Whenever society deems some to be more valuable than others, we should take great offense. All the great atrocities in history have started with the false assumption that some have greater value than others do. This is why it is so important for us to be a voice for those who do not have a voice.
Every year the Christian community marks the Roe vs. Wade decision with the Sanctity of Human Life Day. This year there will be a prayer walk in Logan on Friday January 22 starting at 6:30 p.m. at the free speech zone on the Main Street side of the Logan Library and continuing to the Cache County courthouse steps. Here Pastor Josh Heimbuck will lead a time of prayer. I pray that you will be able to join those walking and that you will continue to voice your concerns. You might also consider volunteering and supporting the work of local and statewide non-profits like The Center For Pregnancy Choices that offer free and confidential life affirming counsel.