• Daniel Baker
Posted in Pro-life
Brothers and sisters, this in some ways is a part 2 to John’s post from yesterday. It has some additional information but ends with the same call to prayer.
Why to Pray
First let’s go over why we should be praying today and in the months to come.
Al Mohler opened his podcast this morning by saying,
“Today is going to be historic, because at 10 o’clock today at Supreme Court of the United States, oral arguments are going to be held in the most important abortion case in a generation—a case that genuinely presents a direct threat to the Roe v. Wade decision as precedent, that infamous decision that was handed down in 1973 legalizing abortion.”
He is referring to oral arguments being presented today, December 1st, at 10am, in what is officially called “Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.” The Supreme Court’s website says that the issue being weighed is “Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.”
The background of the case is that the state of Mississippi passed a law in 2018 saying abortions were considered illegal if held after 15 weeks gestation. The law itself provides the rationale for why 15 weeks is decided as the red line for abortions. It mentions that at five weeks the baby has a heartbeat, movement at eight weeks, teeth and eyes at nine weeks, And then at twelve weeks it mentions this: “At twelve (12) weeks' gestation, an unborn human being can open and close his or her fingers, starts to make sucking motions, and senses stimulation from the world outside the womb. Importantly, he or she has taken on 'the human form' in all relevant aspects.” Fifteen weeks, then, seems to have been chosen because these medically and legally acknowledged signs of development are present.
As someone who believes what Psalm 139:13–16 says, the Mississippi law is a great step forward if not at all far enough. Listen to what our God has said about what’s true not just at fifteen weeks but from the moment of conception—essentially that everything that makes you you and me me is there from the first moments:
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Ps 139:13–16)
If all that makes a person a person is settled in the womb from conception then it matters how we treat such persons. God’s commandments speak to how we can and cannot treat them. With respect to abortion, then, the sixth commandment is the most relevant: “You shall not murder” (Exod 20:13).
We applaud the state of Mississippi doing something to offset the roughly one million abortions performed annually in the United States. Fifteen weeks doesn’t go far enough, but it’s a step. In some ways the key success of the statute is that it provides a legal mechanism to now bring a case before the Supreme Court where Roe v. Wade might potentially be examined anew.
The oral arguments this morning are the next step in a long process. The court has received briefs and will use the oral arguments to ask questions and allow the lawyers on both sides to underscore certain points. After these arguments it’ll likely be months before an opinion is handed down. That opinion might be sweeping or limited, narrow or broad. Either way it'll be historic.
As Christians, we’re hoping and praying for a sweeping opinion that essentially removes Roe v. Wade as the governing precedent on abortions. The Roberts court has been unpredictable on these and many issues, but as one Planned Parenthood site indicated, “With the appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, the Court’s balance has shifted—posing a real threat to the constitutional right to abortion care.” We agree those appointments are significant even if we passionately disagree with their worldview.
In light of this and as John indicated, consider setting aside time today to pray for SCOTUS. Perhaps you could pray at 10am when the arguments are being presented or at 1:22 in honor of Roe v. Wade passing on Jan 22, 1973. John mentioned fasting, which always helps keep a prayer burden on our minds and thus before the Lord.
In addition to the prayer items John listed yesterday, consider adding these:
- Pray for the influence of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas to be felt with this case before the court. His voice on pro-life matters has been quite strong over the years even if it hasn't been the majority one in certain opinions. Pray that his influence comes through in the court's majority opinion.
- Pray for Christians to have an accurate view of love and compassion. Since love "rejoices with the truth" (1 Cor 13:6), we know that true love and true compassion must operate within the understanding of personhood taught in Psalm 139 and the treatment of persons taught in the sixth commandment (and all the commandments of the Bible). Of course, when people have committed sinful acts and experience the devastation and regret that accompanies them, we can come alongside them with the same love and compassion and point them to a forgiveness and new life in Jesus Christ that is available no matter what they've done.
"Nothing Will Be Impossible with God"
We know that salvation doesn’t lie in court cases and government institutions, but the book of Acts (as just one example) reminds us that even ancient secular Roman courts can be used to establish legal precedents that benefit Christians and advance Christian morality in a land. Joseph with Pharaoh, Moses with Pharaoh, Daniel with Nebuchadnezzar, and Nehemiah with Artaxerxes remind us of the same truth. May God do a great thing over the next months through the Supreme Court. May it profoundly alter the way the unborn are treated in the United States. It's good at such times to remember what Gabriel told Mary when another baby was about to be conceived: “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37).