God and the Pro-Life Movement

One of the local pro-life protesters—nicknamed the Dicktator—has a public Facebook page that he only uses to preach gospel and speak out against abortion, usually the two being one and the same. He almost always posts on when they’ll be demonstrating down at the local women’s clinic, which they always do every other Wednesday when the clinic is open. “Today, we will be at the women’s clinic pleading for women to not murder their own child and to share the Gospel with those who do not know God.” (Despite the fact the clinic doesn’t offer abortion services or medical referrals.)

Sometimes he posts about his experience involving the anti-abortion demonstration. These posts pique my interest on days when I had been across the street at the library as, at times, he claimed to have positive reactions all day while I had observed frustrated female patients, unhappy faces, and the occasional shouting match or driver giving a one-fingered salute.

What interests me even more is how he starts almost every one of these posts: “God was again glorified today!”

Well, it’s certainly not unusual for Christian pro-lifers to believe that their God is being glorified through their efforts to “save lives”. After all, the Bible instructs Christians to “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” (Proverbs 24:11) and pro-life advocates believe embryos are people.

Still, I wonder if their God is truly being glorified by the actions of the pro-life movement. This curiosity was stemmed by a statement listed on the protesters’ anti-abortion cards: “The Bible says that murderers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. It also says that liars, thieves, drunkards, sexually immoral, and those who take God’s name in vain won’t inherit the Kingdom of God.” When you consider the protesters’ involvement in the pro-life movement, it’s easy to see that they themselves actually fit into one of these categories.

The reason we have protesters outside my women’s clinic, despite not performing abortions, is due to the wide spread belief among local pro-lifers that the hospital the clinic is affiliated with performs elective abortions under the radar. Supposedly, an employee at Gundersen found a policy that stated they do elective abortions and decided to go forward with it. However, this employee did not show a physical copy of this “abortion policy”. In fact, none of the protesters have seen the policy this employee spoke of. Yet they spread around the belief that the hospital performs elective abortions in secret as if it were factual. This has caused both the protesters and their supporters to spread lies about the clinic: that they do abortion referrals, that they send women wanting abortions to Gundersen, they have to include abortion information in their all-options pregnancy counseling because the clinic makes money when Gundersen performs an abortion, they’re funded by Planned Parenthood, etc. Meanwhile, the only indication of an “abortion policy” is found in their online handbook, which states, “Abortions when necessary to protect the health or life of the patient or when the pregnancy was the result of sexual assault or incest.” I’ve attempted to correct the group leader on this and they’re still spreading the lie that women can simply waltz into Gundersen as she pleases to get an abortion. They seriously believe doctors give out medically necessary abortion on demand without a real medical reason and they can be performed right up to the day you’re supposed to give birth!

Like many pro-life protesters, this group has anti-abortion reading materials that they try to hand out to as many women as possible. Their cards contain false information and misleading resources. One of the resources was so deceptive that I initially believed it was a pro-choice website that was connected with pro-choice or neutral health care centers like my women’s clinic. Later, I found it was purposely set up this way to lead women to crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), the ultimate weapon of the pro-life movement. Not surprisingly, the protesters have cards for a nearby crisis pregnancy center that they hand out and leave at the library across the street.

The protester leading this group is the chairperson for the Jackson County chapter for the Wisconsin Right to Life. In October 2016, he invited me to a Christian seminar they had for teenagers to teach them about sex. Not only did it not contain any comprehensive sex education, the speaker and the pamphlets provided had stated some falsehoods about abortion and birth control.

If you ask me, there is an awful amount of lying, spreading of falsehoods, and supporting of those that deceive just within this tiny group of Christian protesters. Remember what their cards said about liars? Liars are one of the groups of people that won’t inherit the Kingdom of God. This is in reference to the Bible’s Book of Revelations, which states the groups of people mentioned on the card are doomed to the fiery lake of burning sulfur in Hell. The irony in all this being that the cards themselves contain outright lies and deceptive resources. Even more ironic is that they’re being handed out by Christians that believe they are saved because they’re standing up for the unborn, but don’t realize that their salvation is probably in jeopardy for spreading lies and supporting pro-life groups and crisis pregnancy centers that are deceitful. Christian teachings explain that God has a great hatred for liars and deceivers.

Proverbs, the same book that tells Christians to stop those being led to death, contains several verses concerning lying and deception: “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful” (12:22), “The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace” (13:5), and “A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies” (14:5). It also explains one of the six things the Lord hates is “a lying tongue”. Other verses about lying include “Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another. (Leviticus 19:11)”, “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:16)”, and “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. (Exodus 23:1).

The New Testament tells the story of Ananias and how he and his wife met their demise because they chose to lie to the apostles. Ananias sold a plot of land with the intention of giving all the proceeds to the apostles, but he secretly kept a portion of it for himself with his wife’s full knowledge. When he presented the remainder of the money to the apostles, Peter saw through his deception on how much the land had really sold for. Ananias died on the spot after Peter declared he had not lied to the apostles, but to God. The same fate met his wife hours later when Peter questioned her about how much the land sold for and she lied.

There are a couple examples of lying that could be taken as exceptions to the rules. The Hebrew midwives lied to the Pharaoh of why they weren’t killing the male babies as ordered and Rahab lied about harboring Israelite spies. God approved of the midwives saving the children and Rahab welcoming the Israelite spies, but it’s not explicitly stated that God actually approved of them lying about it. The act of lying committed by the midwives and Rahab were also one-time thing done in an extreme situation unlike the protesters that continue to lie on an average Wednesday even when corrected on their “facts”. To me, lying to truly wicked men is a lot different than lying to potentially vulnerable female patients seeking help at a place that doesn’t even offer the abortions they’re fighting against. Regardless, these two instances are stacked against an overwhelming amount of Biblical evidence that God despises lying and deceivers while valuing honesty and integrity.

Honestly, I think the zealots outside my clinic are going straight to Hell. Yet these actions aren’t isolated to a tiny group of ignorant protesters demonstrating a small town family planning clinic. They’re actively participating in a movement that is built upon lies, deception, and denying the truth in order to further their goals. Not to say that my own side of the fight hasn’t spread its own falsehoods, but pro-life claims to be “pro-truth”—and even that is a lie.

The ultimate weapons of the pro-life movement are the crisis pregnancy centers, pro-life ministries designed to counsel women out of getting an abortion. How they accomplish this is dishonest.  At first glance, they appear to be women’s clinics or even abortion providers as their advertisements and official websites have been stripped of any religious affiliation and replaced with pro-choice rhetoric. Many are set up near abortion providers or family planning centers and use similar names or outer décor in hopes that women wander into the wrong place by accident. CPC’s have been largely criticized for not only being deceptive, but also providing inaccurate or unreliable information and greatly exaggerating the effects of abortion. By using dishonest tactics to exploit vulnerable women facing an unplanned pregnancy, the people involved with crisis pregnancy centers seem to have become the kind of person their God despises.

As I researched several pro-life groups, I found similar narratives across their mission statements. They believe human life is sacred and valuable and that it’s their duty to save, protect, and defend life. You would think with so much of the pro-life movement being steeped in Christian beliefs that pro-life activists would be emulating the charitable behavior of Jesus in order to help those in need. Being a prophet and the Son of God, he did a lot of educating about the word of the Lord, but an equally large portion of his work was his acts of charity. He didn’t come across the needy and think that their troubles could be solved by preaching gospel. He fixed issues head on by feeding the hungry, healing the sick, etc. He commanded followers of Christ to do the same. Surprisingly, you don’t see this in the grand scheme of the pro-life movement.

Instead, most of their work goes into educating (which is laced with untruths), just as Jesus educated the people about the Lord. None of their major efforts includes ensuring that the children they save from being aborted are taken care of and have a stable future. They’re quick to disagree with abortion and tell others that adoption is the better choice, but rarely do you see them rallying for assistance to give needy parents the means to provide for their children. There aren’t missions to provide food, clothes, shelter, healthcare, or education to the babies they save or to anyone in need of those things. The extent of such charitable works can be found within the lying, deceptive crisis pregnancy centers as many do offer a minimal amount of baby items to mothers, but women more than likely have to run the gauntlet through an “Earn While You Learn” program in order to obtain “Mommy money” to “buy” items stocked at the CPC. I will admit that maybe it’s just me, but I don’t seem to recall instances where Jesus instructed people to help others only if they met certain requirements.

If you need proof that pro-life groups only educate while doing nothing to serve the needs of the people they want to help, take a look at the Wisconsin Right to Life. They list all of their pro-life accomplishments on their website. They give exact numbers on things like how many educational/fundraising events they held, how many grants were awarded so college students could start or continue pro-life groups on campus, how many teenagers and college students were trained at pro-life summer leadership camps, how many media interviews and press conferences were conducted, how many emails and action alerts were sent out, how many unique visitors visited their website, how many right-to-life laws they had involvement with getting passed, etc. But how many emergency grants did they provide to pregnant women in need of immediate financial assistance the previous year? “Several”. (By definition, several means more than two, but not very many.) I’m far more interested in practical help like this emergency grant than their anti-abortion propaganda, but there’s only a vague indication on how many they’ve given out (“dozens” over the years and “several” last year) and there’s only a sentence worth of information on it buried within a mountain of anti-abortion education with falsehoods and specific accomplishments.

This seems odd to me. We’re talking about a movement dedicated to “saving lives” under the belief that fertilized eggs are people. Yet they practically have zero efforts in those who are already born. It’s not as if they lack the means to do these things. While I was unable to determine how much pro-life groups and the crisis pregnancy centers rake in through donations as a whole, we can recognize the fruits of their labors through billboards, advertising, professionally printed protest signs, anti-abortion propaganda reading materials, lobby for anti-abortion laws and lobbying against “anti-life” laws, etc. According to Pro-Life Across America, their anti-abortion billboards average monthly costs are $500-$3000 (not including artwork and production costs). In 2010 and 2011, they had 6,500 billboards. By their monthly estimates, it would have cost at least 39 MILLION DOLLARS to keep the billboards up for a full year. The CPC supported by the local protesters, APPLE Pregnancy Care Center, raised $20,380 last year with its annual Walk for Life event. With the average costs of a baby in the first year averaging nearly $10,000, that sort of money could have “sponsored” two babies for an entire year and still have a little bit left over.

With many pro-life groups stating that much of their donations go into their work instead of administration costs, there’s really no excuse as to why these pro-life groups cannot put at least some of the donations they receive towards helping people obtain basic necessities to live, especially with goals to “save lives”. Jesus and his disciples were able to feed a group with 5,000 men (not including women and children), a task initially seen as impossible as they only had five loaves of bread and two fish yet managed to pull it off despite what little they had (Matthew 14:13-21). Imagine what these pro-life groups could do if they stopped investing so much in scare tactics and abortion lies and started working towards helping people in need.

These groups and activists are so focused on attempting to “save” the unborn from “slaughter” through sinful deception and lies that they are ignoring an even greater number of people in need of help. According to their interpretation of what a person is, how many lives are lost to abortion yearly? 3,000 lives a day so this would roughly figure to at least 1,095,000 lives lost to abortion every year. Guttmacher estimates that about 926,000 abortions were performed in 2014.

What about other at-risk children?

How many children live in poverty? 14.5 million.

How many children live in food insecure households? 13.1 million.

How many children are homeless? 2.5 million (in 2014). 

As you can see, these numbers are much greater than any abortion statistic regardless of who put them. The pro-life movement considers the unborn at every stage as much of a person as these children who need help. Issues like poverty, hunger, and homelessness are also some reasons why women get abortions. A woman that feels she needs to get an abortion because she’s not in the best situation might be less likely to terminate her pregnancy if there was help to be able to take care of herself and her child after birth. So why isn’t the pro-life movement, which claims to want to save lives, not doing anything to help these people (which are supposedly equal to the unborn)? It’s hard to ignore the needy that are hungry as hunger statistics are routinely plastered in newspapers, television ads, and even packages of food. “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered (Proverbs 21:23)”. “If anyone has materials possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (1 John 3: 17)”.

The overall narrative of the pro-life movement argues that every life is valuable and deserves to be protected and defended, but despite this many still pick and choose what lives are valuable and deserving of such protection. I’m not convinced that the pro-life movement is truly about valuing life and protecting the vulnerable when a lot of those same people that are part of and support the movement are quick to discriminate, judge, mock, and exclude certain groups of people and justify it with Christianity. When certain groups consistently face discrimination, bullying, and exclusion doesn’t that make them vulnerable and in need of protection? Where are the pamphlets saying it’s wrong to look down on someone just because they don’t follow your religion or their skin is not white? Where are the protests in support of gays and women being treated equally and fairly? How about billboards with statistics on suicide rates among trans-gender people, the number of children in the foster system and the number of children who age out of the system having no life skills to make it in the world, or how many women die at the hands of their abusers and that these people are in need of our help?

They even place value on the women and children they claim they want to help. Any woman instantly becomes worthless if she goes through with an abortion and she’s branded as a murderer as she exits her appointment. She’s only considered of value again if she ends up being a part of the 5% of women that regrets her abortion because pro-life advocates need examples of remorseful women to sell the myth that abortion traumatizes the majority of women. If her abortion was medically necessary to protect her own health or life, she’s judged for not seeking second opinions until she got a more “pro-life” answer. If a conservative pro-life protester convinces a woman not to abort she becomes more valuable because she “chose life” and the child is a “blessing”, but if her child grows up to be gay, transgender, Muslim, atheist, a pro-choice activist, or anything that your average pro-life Christian disagrees with then that same protester might say the parents failed this child that is now immoral and worthless.

When I pointed this lack of help towards other vulnerable groups, the responses were quick to defend the unborn while ignoring needs of others who clearly are in need of help. One letter suggested if such things are so important to me then why don’t I put up billboards while downplaying the statistics I listed about those in need by claiming the government inflates numbers. How ironic that a pro-life person, who deeply cares about the unborn, would attempt to push the responsibility of caring for others onto someone else. Another letter tried to convince that there will always be issues like hunger and homelessness and that there’s nothing anybody can do to fix it. Remember the story of Jesus and his apostles feeding 5,000? That was deemed as impossible and yet they still accomplished it. Jesus teaches to help the needy and I believe this story teaches to do just that even when the odds are stacked against you. Pro-life Christians do just that when they stand outside abortion providers and women’s health clinics. I think picketing pro-lifers realize that most women won’t listen to them, but they still go out anyways because even if they only convince one woman not to abort its considered a life saved. They’ll put in the effort and tout the word of the Lord when it comes to the unborn, but suddenly forget the teachings of Jesus when confronted with the idea that they’re not doing enough to help those in need and make excuses for why they can’t or don’t help. Are people that have already been born somehow less of a person than their embryonic counterparts or are Christians silently admitting that they don’t want to serve the poor and needy like their Christ instructs them to? How can anyone be passionate about saving unborn lives, but be indifferent towards the suffering of post-born lives?

Over all, the movement gives the impression that not every life is as inherently valuable as they claim and some restrictions may apply when it comes to the right to life. A bit hypocritical, don’t you think?

Matthew 23 talks about hypocrisy in leaders. From what I understand, it refers to a group of highly regarded preachers that were known as the Pharisees. While they appeared righteous, Jesus pointed out that they were hypocritical, indifferent, and had too much pride and thus did not know the Lord. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like white washed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to the people as righteous, but on the inside are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (Matthew 23:27-28)

On the surface, the pro-life movement appears to be righteous and good through its claims of valuing all lives and putting efforts to saving lives, but its inner workings is full of lies and deception and the only people they’re trying to save are the unborn. They speak of their cause being honorable and moral, but what they actually do to achieve their goals is despicable.

Jesus also warned his disciples about bogus ministers who would present themselves as Christians that would exploit people for their own purposes. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) Of course, Jesus was likely speaking about religious leaders within the faith and not leaders of the pro-life movement. However, there are church leaders that actively participate in the pro-life movement. In fact, the person leading the demonstration outside the women’s clinic in town is a pastor himself. He should be examining what the pro-life groups he’s associated with does to determine if it truly aligns with the Christian faith and, ultimately, convince others not to contribute to a cause that continues to be incredibly dishonest. I’m not saying he should change his view on abortion, but rather consider the actions these pro-life groups are doing in response to abortion. As a Christian leader, he should know better as he’s studied the scripture probably more than your average Christian. He knows he shouldn’t lie or deceive. He knows he shouldn’t follow the crowd in wrong doing (Exodus 23:2). He knows anyone that says “I know God” yet doesn’t keep his commands is a liar and does not know God (1 John 2:4). He knows that every Christian, including himself, should examine themselves to see if they are in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5).  Instead, he participates in the sinful dishonesty while doing nothing that would actually benefit the women he claims to want to help and encourages others to join him while claiming this is God’s will. He’s not any better than the pious Pharisees: righteous on the surface, but corrupt within.

The more I study the scripture, the more I believe the pro-life movement is not glorifying God. If the scripture has taught me anything it’s that Christians cannot glorify their God through sin because whoever commits sin is of the devil. While there is no such thing as a sinless Christian, the good ones don’t make a habit of sinning and are remorseful when they do. However, the pro-life movement either believes their lies and deception is for a greater good or they truly believe the lies they spread. One way or another, they don’t believe they are doing any wrong doing and, therefore, won’t ask for forgiveness for the sins they are committing. Remember that Revelations stated all liars will have their place in the fiery pit. Not just those with ill intent or makes exceptions for those that habitually lie for a good cause. Just through their lies alone, they’re not obeying the Lord. They disobey even further by remembering Christ’s teachings of helping others when its convenient for them and make excuses as to why they cannot help when faced with issues of human suffering they don’t want to tackle.

Pro-life advocates might be in for a surprise when they find themselves in Hell with the women they screamed at outside abortion providers (assuming that God finds abortion to be equal to murdering a person outside the womb). It seems the pro-life movement is not only anti-abortion and anti-woman, but also anti-Christ.