“After years of fighting for the passage of this essential protection for women, our moment has finally arrived. The New York State Assembly has kept the torch lit for years, and we are extremely excited to be able to pass the torch to a Senate dedicated to the respect of women and the protection of their basic right to make healthcare decisions. I am grateful for the governor’s support.” -New York State Assembly member Deborah Glick.
When New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed the New York’s Reproductive Health Act on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, the polarizing worldviews of the American people were never put more on display. Among the pro-choice camp, there were raucous cheers, thunderous applause, and gleeful expressions that seemed downright sinister to the pro-life camp who were shocked at how late within a pregnancy that the state would now allow abortions.
Under New York’s Reproductive Health Act, abortions can be performed by people other than a medical doctor after 24 weeks if the fetus is not viable or when necessary to protect the life of the mother.
The “when necessary” clause is intentionally vague and can be interpreted in numerous ways. The new law legalizes abortion until literally the day of birth for the mother’s “health,” which is not defined and has been interpreted to include essentially any reason.
- In some ways, this act is the most blatantly disturbing declaration of the pro-choice party’s worldview.
- In other ways, nothing has really changed due to it.
What Really Changed?
As a card-carrying disciple of Jesus who bases my worldview on the teachings of the Bible, you might be surprised to read that I don’t think anything changed. Shouldn’t this move alarm me? Of course, it does. I am appalled more at the joyful celebration than the law itself. But it shows more of our inconsistencies as a nation.
- To realize that if a drunk driver killed a pregnant woman on the way to an abortion clinic that the driver would be charged with double homicide shows the absurdity of our standards.
- To realize that, as a pastor, if I failed to report a pregnant mother abusing illegal substances due to the health of the child, I could be fined and imprisoned shows our hypocrisy.
- To realize the differing levels of protection provided for a child only separated by a few mere centimeters of survival inside the womb or outside the womb is purely astounding.
But why this isn’t shocking to me is nothing changed. Abortion didn’t become wicked on Tuesday. It has been wicked since its origin. Maybe it was more blatantly obvious to how far it goes, but abortion has always been abortion.
Whether a child has been sacrificed in the burning hands of the idol Molech or the trash cans of the New York alleys, a beating heart and an active soul has been extinguished and it is nothing less than a tragedy.
One state changed how long they will permit abortion. It’s awful, but can I tell you something very important for you pro-lifers out there? Nothing changed. We cannot become more outraged because a child can be aborted at 24 weeks as if it is morally acceptable at 23 weeks.
Abortion at 40 weeks is no more heinous than when performed at 40 days. A life is a life.
A [Little] Woman’s Right
At 40 days, that baby is about the size of a pea. And yet at that 1 cm size of existence, the heart is transforming into a four chamber organ able to pump blood for life. The kidneys, lungs, liver, and brain are in place and developing by the hour. The tiny arm buds and leg buds are forming. The brain is already so active that you could actually record the brain waves.
That’s at 40 days. So while a child can live outside at 40 weeks, it doesn’t make the 40-day child any less a human being.
You can call it a fetus all you want, but that fetus looks similar to you. Did you know that around day 49 the “fetus” begins to develop sexual organs? That means in a mere 7 weeks after fertilization, that child has been predetermined as a male or female.
The New York act attempts to pit pro-life people against pro-choice. As I person who is unashamedly pro-life, can I let you in on a secret? I’m also pro-choice. I think that women’s rights should be protected.
By the work of Planned Parenthood alone in 2016, 398,721 babies were aborted. That averages out to 1,120 babies every single day. 47 per hour. 1 child every 76 seconds. If you divide that number by 2 to get an estimate of how many boys and girls that represents 199,361 girls aborted in the womb.
I am for women’s rights. I desire to give those 199,361 little women in the womb who are annually aborted the right to make their own choice for life.
As I quoted New York State Assembly member Deborah Glick in the beginning, I agree with her in part as I am “dedicated to the respect of women and the protection of their basic right to make healthcare decisions.” I just want to protect some of the tiniest women in our country as they reside in what seems to be one of the most dangerous environments of all – the womb. Let them be protected so they can make their own healthcare decisions.
While many are celebrating the rights given to women, I am mourning for the women whose rights were taken away.
Due to the act signed in New York, more abortions will inevitably take place. And for those in the fight to give those little women (and those little men) a right to live and choose and breathe and thrive, we will continue because God formed that child inside the womb (Ps. 139:13). And if He says she is a life, we will fight for her right to live it.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.