Tennessee state senate unexpectedly pushed through a pro-life fetal heartbeat bill on June 19th which is being touted as a “6 Week Abortion Ban” and one of the most restrictive abortion regulation laws in the nation. I have many pro-life friends who are rejoicing at this news and thanking God that we have taken a step in the right direction.
Why, you ask, am I not joining them? It’s a good and reasonable question.
I ask in response: How do we evaluate if our steps are going in the right direction?
We cannot discern the answer to that in a vacuum. It isn’t a relative question. Either you are moving toward your destination or away from it, not to mention the fact that there is also a moral component to choosing a good destination in the first place. In order to legitimately say we took a step in the right direction we need some markers to judge by. The good news is that we have those markers available to us if only we will look for them.
If we want to know if our steps are going in the right direction, we need:
- an understanding of our current location
- a specific destination to aim for
- a map so we don’t get lost
1. An understanding of our current location.
In the fight against abortion our current location is smack dab in the middle of a legalized holocaust. The shedding of innocent blood is so common that according to Guttmacher Institute, approximately one in four women will have an abortion by age 45. That means everyone knows someone who’s had an abortion. Most likely you know multiple post-abortive woman or perhaps you are one yourself. Abortion isn’t something that happens on the fringes of society. It’s normal. Women are considerably more likely to have aborted one or more children during their reproductive years than they are to have red hair or to be left handed.
The deaths of hundreds of thousands of babies by abortion are recorded each year in the US (862,320 in 2017). Many thousands more are never recorded since not all states report their numbers and women are increasingly choosing to acquire their chemical abortion pills online rather than at clinics. They simply flush their children away in the privacy of their own homes with no one counting.
Abortions are overwhelmingly committed during the first trimester, with two thirds of all reported abortions being committed at or before 8 weeks and 88% within the first 12 weeks.
Abortions are legal in all 50 states, with most states legalizing the practice up to the 20-24 week range in compliance with Roe (and later for many exceptions). Less than 2% of all recorded abortions are committed after 20 weeks.
None of the bills you have seen in pro-life headlines touted as Heartbeat Bills, 6 Week Bans, Near Total Abortion Bans, etc. have ever gone into force—not a single one. They have all been blocked by the courts right out of the gate before one single baby was ever saved by them. In Tennessee, the lawsuit is already drawn up.
States are waiting for SCOTUS to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in order to enforce the legislation their own lawmakers have passed, or they are using these court opinions as justification for doing nothing.
The SCOTUS was populated by a majority of conservative nominees when the Roe decision was issued in 1973 and has maintained a conservative appointed majority ever since. Pro-life activists continue to call for conservative nominees to the court as the answer to abortion despite the track record.
That, my friends, is our current location. This is where 47 years of pro-life activity has brought us.
2. A specific destination we are aiming for.
Our location at the moment isn’t good, agreed? So where are we trying to go?
If you’ve been around the pro-life movement for more than three minutes you’ve probably heard some buzz words and phrases:
We don’t want abortion to just be illegal we want it to be unthinkable.
We need to save as many babies as we can along the way.
We want to promote a culture of life.
These statements are not necessarily wrong (depending on how they are applied), but they are poor guides for choosing our destination in the arena of lawmaking.
Why do we make laws? If we make ‘em someone is gonna break ‘em right? The pro-abort crowd crows about this endlessly as they tell us that making abortion illegal won’t end abortion it will just push women into back alleys for unsafe illegal abortions. They are right about that. If abortion is made illegal, some women will still break the law and abort their babies. People break laws every day, they rape, murder, and steal. Yet, we still make laws against those things. We don’t equivocate, we aren’t ashamed to say that we are 100% anti-rape without exception. Why?
Because law isn’t about erasing all evil from society, it is about establishing justice for victims and restraining evil as much as is possible.
Justice, that’s our destination.
Those of us who believe the God of the Bible and name the name of Jesus Christ should be especially adamant about this. Our God is a God who loves justice and commands us to establish it.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice… (Micah 6:8)
Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate. (Amos 5:15)
Vindicate the weak and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. (Psalm 82:3)
To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3)
Learn to do good;
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)
Woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (Luke 11:42)
I could go on, but you get the picture. Justice is deeply important to God. We are in very dangerous territory when we neglect it. Our primary concern, when establishing law should be justice. God has given our civil magistrates to us as ministers of God to do justice.
Rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. (Romans 13:3-4)
Our goal, our destination if you will, should always be to call our magistrates to do their duty as ministers of God and establish justice.
3. A map to show us how to get there.
If you’re going to travel from point A to point B and arrive safely, you need a map. Glory be to God, we have one! The Judge of all the universe, not only commanded us to establish justice, He gave us a Book to instruct us how to do it. If we want to arrive at justice, we must follow the map.
When it comes to killing innocent humans, God didn’t complicate the law on what to do about it. No 40 page bill detailing all the circumstances in which killing innocent humans is okay and which it is not, what papers must be filed about it, or what kind of signs must be posted by the killers. He kept it pretty simple. He said, “You shall not murder.” He said, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed.” On top of these crystal clear instructions, He gave us case law in Exodus 21:22-23 explaining that if someone strikes a woman and the child she is carrying is delivered early and harmed in any way, the one who struck her must pay eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. We can deduce from this that God demands justice for the child in the womb, the child He fearfully and wonderfully made in His own image.
A Look at Tennessee’s SB2196.
Pragmatic Problems with the Tennessee Heartbeat Bill
SB2196 leaves heartbeat detection to the abortionist and his/her staff, the very people who stand to profit from the baby’s death.
Abortionists are not going to find heartbeats at 6 weeks. Current ultrasound technology used to detect a baby’s heartbeat in utero can sometimes find a heartbeat as early as six weeks of pregnancy. This is if the ultrasound tech wants to find a heartbeat and searches for it diligently, even then it’s not always possible. This bill even states that early heartbeats can be detected in a 6-8 week range. Remember that a full two thirds of all reported abortions are committed by 8 weeks of pregnancy.
Ultrasound technology is operator dependent, meaning the technician can work hard at finding a heartbeat very early or can deliberately work to not find a heartbeat while still legally fulfilling the ultrasound requirement. See this video from an experienced ultrasound tech for more on this problem with heartbeat bills.
The abortionists are left on the honor system. All this bill requires is that the abortionist note in the woman’s medical record that an ultrasound was done and no heartbeat was detected. No one is checking up on this. There is no enforcement mechanism. Abortionists and their staff kill people for a living. Do we really think that they will maintain a high level of honesty about heartbeat detection in a medical record that no one is ever going to see or question them about?
SB2196 bans abortions if the doctor is aware that the mother is aborting because of the child’s sex, race, or a diagnosis of Downs syndrome.
A woman can still abort because baby belly is gross and she wants to wear a bikini on her upcoming vacay. She can abort because she decided that the guy who got her pregnant is a jerk and she doesn’t want to be connected to him. She can abort because she has a dance competition coming up and wants to win. These aren’t imaginary reasons, these are reasons real woman give for getting abortions. SB2196 allows women to abort for literally any reason besides race, sex, or Downs syndrome diagnosis, or for no reason at all. Women are not stupid. If they want to abort their children for any of these off-limits reasons, they will lie about it.
We are extremely naïve to think that abortionists are going to ask their patients why they are aborting when ignorance on this question means they may legally take the payment and kill with impunity. Abortionists won’t be asking, they aren’t even required to, and again, there is no enforcement mechanism for this ban.
Justice Problems with the Tennessee Heartbeat Bill
SB2196 treats abortion like healthcare rather than murder.
Throughout this bill categorizes abortion as healthcare, regulates it like healthcare, discusses the health effects on women and the state’s interest in whether or not the fetus feels pain during the procedure. This is a regulatory bill on how something may be done, not the criminalization of a murderous practice.
SB2196 willfully submits itself to unconstitutional (not to mention wicked and immoral) court opinions.
Tennessee lawmakers are in full cooperation with SCOTUS in its opinion that Tennessee must allow the killing of innocent pre-born human beings to continue within their jurisdictions unless the court says otherwise. They acknowledge that fetuses are human beings from the moment of conception and are still submitting to the opinion of the court no matter how wicked that opinion is.
Practically speaking, this means that SB2196 is dead on arrival. In some sense the situation of SB2196 is much like the pre-born babies it fails to protect after their mothers have consumed the first handful of abortion pills, it may not be exactly dead yet, but it will be very soon. The lawsuits were already lined up before the Governor even put his pen to the document. Similar legislation has been consistently aborted by the courts in every state in which it has passed.
States are consistently abdicating their duty to uphold the US constitution and the constitutions of their state to protect the lives of those within their jurisdiction. Instead of defying and nullifying wicked and unconstitutional court opinions, they choose to submit to and enforce them, making them active participants in the evil.
SB2196 ensures that there will be no justice for abortion victims.
Penalties for doctors are weak. They can be prosecuted as a class C felony. A murder charge could never be brought on behalf of the innocent victim of the abortion: the baby.
Penalties for women are prohibited. SB2196 prohibits the prosecution of women for their involvement in killing their children even when they are doing so in defiance of this law. They cannot be prosecuted as perpetrators, accomplices, or conspirators. This is complete nonsense and utterly unjust.
Murder is defined as the unjust killing of an innocent human being with malice or aforethought. When a woman calls an abortion clinic, makes an appointment, receives the state mandated counselling, waits the legally mandated 48 hours, returns to the clinic with her pre-born child (who is unable to escape), pays the fee, signs the consent forms, fully cooperates with the clinic staff, voluntarily positions her body to allow the abortionist to surgically dismember or vacuum her son or daughter to death…she is not a victim. Additionally, it often isn’t even the abortionist directly doing the killing anymore. Surgical abortions are decreasing and medical pill abortions are rising. Increasingly, the woman is taking the pills by her own hand, deliberately “medicating” her child to death and then taking more pills later to expel her child’s dead body at home, usually into the toilet. This is the definition of premeditated murder.
All in all, this bill is not going to save one single baby. It will be blocked by the courts before it ever goes into force. The magistrates of Tennessee have no intention of defying the courts for the sake of the lives of pre-born Tennesseeans. The bill is so riddled with holes in application and enforcement as to render it entirely ineffective anyway.
So friends, when you say a heartbeat bill is a step in the right direction, I simply ask, what direction are you going? Please take a look around you because it is quite possible you have already arrived at your destination.