Gloucester Daily Times Debate on Abortion (5), November 25, 1985

In response to the November 18 article on the Stroll-a-thon, I wrote a letter that was published on November 25, 1985.


Clarifying a Wrong Impression

[The Times titled it “Come On, New England, Choose Life”]

Having been in journalism myself, I appreciate the difficulty of reconstructing accurate quotes from hastily written notes. So our thanks to Jane Fosberry for her article on the Stroll-a-thon in last Monday’s paper, but there is an important mistake in the middle of the article which says: “Nor does the group picket abortion clinics, he said, because it is now a woman’s legal right to have an abortion.

That sentence is the convergence of two separate thoughts, and put together they carry a wrong impression.

First, we haven’t yet picketed abortion clinics, in part due to organizational preparedness. Second, once we do picket, out ethics of behavior will be closely defined. And we will picket, for although abortion is a “legal right,” it is a moral evil, just as slavery was once “legal.” We oppose it firmly.

The thought I was seeking to convey in the second part of the article (the the sentence that follows) relates to how we picket. It is our conviction that in seeking to persuade a woman not to abort, we will offer information about the reality of abortion, and alternatives available. But if a woman refuses to accept our information or services, we will not then press her further. We disagree wholeheartedly with legalized abortion. But since we at present are legally bound from preventing it, we will honor her choice to kill her unborn child. She is accountable to God for that, not us. And only when people face the results of their choices, are they then able to deal with them, and prayerfully from our perspective, to repent, believe in Jesus Christi, and embrace his forgiveness.

For those who are biblically literate, our basis is rooted in Genesis 2-3, where Yahweh honored the choice of Adam and Eve to choose disobedience and death. And in a powerful sense, God is “pro-choice.” He did not create us as puppets. But, by the same token, his “pro-choice” ethic carries with it accountability, something totally foreign in the pro-abortion “choice” rationale today. Moses put it this way: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deut. 30:19). Abortion is a choice for death, and those who remain in their choice of death choose it eternally. The purpose of the New England Christian Action Council is to encourage people to choose life, to choose Life.

John C. Rankin, executive director, New England Christian Action Council, 11 Pleasant St.