The passage of the Southern Baptist Resolution on Abolishing Abortion at the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Annual Meeting two weeks ago has sparked a slew of articles from pro-life SBC leaders opposing it. This article is the third installment in a series of articles here on the FTS blog responding to the anti-abolitionist pieces of these pro-lifers.
In Public Discourse, eight particularly accredited writers – eight SBC seminary professors/executives, one of whom is a former president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) – signed their name to an article entitled “Why We Opposed an Anti-Abortion Resolution at the Southern Baptist Convention.” With those theological bona fides, you might think that the article mounted a serious, sustained Biblical critique of abolitionism; but you would be incorrect. Exactly one Bible verse was cited as a supposed anti-abolitionist proof text, and, as will be demonstrated, the verse is actually a distinctly abolitionist verse.
The authors primarily take issue with two aspects of the resolution:
- Its call for “the immediate abolition of abortion without exception or compromise,” which, in their view, doesn’t adequately deal with ectopic pregnancies and other life-threatening complications.
- Its rejection of pro-life gradualism.
The resolution does not address the issue of ectopic pregnancies. The reason for this is not an ignorance of the existence of ectopic pregnancies, nor an opposition to the treatment thereof. The authors did not explicitly address ectopic pregnancies because the treatment of ectopic pregnancies is not properly defined as abortion.
Most babies who implant somewhere other than the uterus die before any action to treat an ectopic pregnancy is even taken. Removing a child who has already died is not an abortion. In the case of those who do survive, it is important that we do not equivocate between preterm delivery of the baby (which will lead to the unintended and inevitable death of the baby) and the intentional destruction of the baby by D&E or D&C abortion. The former is an appropriate treatment of an ectopic pregnancy if the baby has no chance of survival. The latter is not.
This conflation of preterm delivery with intentional destruction also impugns grieving parents who are forced to deliver the child early. For these reasons, it is crucial that we do not define the treatment of ectopic pregnancy as an abortion.
Though doing so was unnecessary, abolitionists in Nashville did intend to address the issue to preempt any other such effort which would have made the exception too broad or defined abortion wrongly. Lacey Adamson, an abolitionist nurse and messenger from Ekklesia Muskogee in Muskogee, OK, was prepared to offer the following amendment which would have gone in between articles 13 and 14.
Three things to do!
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