As many of you know, I am honored to serve as a panelist on the Washington Post’s On Faith blog. I thought I would share this week’s contribution with you.
Here is the question that was posed to me:
The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides abortions, along with a variety of health care services for women. The Virginia General Assembly last week approved legislation that requires abortion clinics to be regulated as hospitals, and providers say the stricter regulations will force many of them out of business. Both measures were pushed by anti-abortion activists. Should personal and religious views be allowed to prevent women from having access to a legal medical procedure?
This question is a red herring; the issue is not about accessibility but accountability and oversight.
Why wouldn’t anyone be in favor of holding abortion clinics to the same medical standards as we do hospitals?
We have a moral obligation to do so. What’s unfolding within the Virginia legislature has nothing to do with limiting abortion, but instead putting in some minimum safeguards. There is a difference, and regardless of one’s religious perspective (or none at all), one would think that on this matter our humanity would demand that we find common ground.
In recent days it’s become more and more apparent that abuse within the abortion industry is rampant and likely rising, which is saying something given its long and sordid history. From cooperating with individuals posing as underage sex traffickers to performing illegal abortions on minors, corruption is escalating. To be clear, abortion is no simple medical procedure. It is tragic beyond words and deeply troubling to many, including me.
Supporters of abortion rights often argue that those of us who frame our objections in moral terms do so subjectively, suggesting that our personal morality is no basis for law. The reality, of course, is that all laws are, at root, based in morality. As a Christian, I believe the same moral considerations that make murder illegal ought to make abortion illegal. Justifying killing based on locale — inside or outside the womb — is both illogical and immoral to me.
But one doesn’t have to share my convictions about the immorality of abortion to view the Virginia legislation as a way to reduce the possibility of abuse by doctors toward women. The horror found inside Kermit Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion clinic is but one heartbreaking example of the many rogue abortionists who operate facilities in clear violation of the law.
When babies are murdered with scissors after birth, and women die as a result of botched abortions, as allegedly occurred inside Gosnell’s clinic, justice demands that we act in response to such evil. If it were any other medical “procedure,” everyone would be clamoring for regulation.