Abortion advocates often argue that laws prohibiting abortion will lead to women seeking dangerous black-market abortion services in a “back alley”. Not only will babies still be aborted, they argue, but desperate pre-abortive mothers will be placed at great risk because they are no longer allowed to procure abortions from reputable, licensed, and professional service providers. A Back Alley Argument is typically stated as follows:
Pro-life laws are anything but. Laws prohibiting abortion won’t eliminate abortions. Women will continue to procure abortions, only from dangerous “back alley” practitioners. Rather than risk the health of abortive mothers, it’s best to keep abortion legal and make sure it’s safe and rare.
A Christian Response
So-called “pro-life” laws are not just about preserving life, but also doing justice. As a matter of justice, the killing of an innocent human being should be against the law. It is true that laws which crimialize abortions won’t entirely eliminate abortions. Neither have laws against theft and manslaughter eliminated stealing and killing. Yet, laws against theft and manslaughter are on the books in every stable society and are entirely uncontroversial.
Those who break the law are criminals and the government rightly punishes them as a matter of justice. Consider the Apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans 13:1-8:
Criminals do what is evil and therefore seek to hide from the minister of justice. This is why crimes are committed in back alleys. That’s exactly where criminal abortions would take place. When abortions are committed in public clinics, by licensed doctors, murder is done out in the open. This is not justice, this is wickedness. The Lord demands justice. Consider Micah 6:8:
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
God does not look favorably on abortion being kept legal so those who would otherwise be criminals, as a matter of safety, don’t have to murder innocent babies in back alleys. Furthermore no abortion should be considered “safe” because the intent of an abortion is to kill an unborn baby. Pro-life legal regulation will ultimately save many lives but, more importantly, laws protecting innocent babies are just.
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*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.