An Open Letter Regarding the “Abolition of Abortion in Missouri Act” SB 391

I am specifically writing this letter in response to statements released by certain prominent and historically pro-life organizations and individuals. As a citizen of the state of Missouri, a daughter and sister, a friend, and a nurse involved in maternal-neonatal healthcare, I find their opposition deeply grieving. Not only do I believe that the reasoning employed to come to such conclusions was misguided and faulty, but I see cracks forming in the very foundations of efforts to save unborn baby boys and girls in our state.

In order to properly grapple with the issue of abortion, and be able to apply a solid ethical standard to it, we should clearly define the terms and recognize just what we are at war with. A Biblical perspective on human life, supported by authentic science, marks the moment of conception as the creation of a new human being, made in the image of God. As sperm and egg unite, a completely unique person comes into existence. With the exception of identical twins, no other person has – or ever will have – the same DNA. While identical twins start out as the same united cell, development soon reveals two completely unique individuals, each endowed with their own personality and life. As God gives existence and life to each of us in this mysterious way – helpless and formless in the womb of our mother – so He also sets His love upon each of us as His image-bearers.

It is out of this context that we receive the command to “do no murder”, but rather, “love our neighbor as ourself”. Reverence for God Himself inculcates a deep respect for our fellow humankind, requiring not only that we refrain from sinful and selfish violence against one another, but also that we actively go about everything in life so as to protect the innocent from intentional or unintentional harm.

While it may be easy to extend this type of respect to those who look like us and live like us, it is equally important in the eyes of our Creator to extend it to those who may have little or no way to return the favor; the young and the old, the disabled, the impoverished – those among us most vulnerable to the depravity of evil people.

Abortion may be defined as intentionally causing the death of a child developing in the womb [1]. The modern world has invented, perfected, and now purposes to defend their various means of accomplishing this vile act of hardened brutality toward the most innocent and vulnerable
among us. While surgical abortion is the method most frequently brought to mind when discussing the issue, drug-induced abortions make up a significant and increasing proportion of [1] abortions nationwide. Additionally, “emergency contraceptives” and many common birth control
methods are known to be abortifacient; these drugs or devices create a hostile environment in the womb and prevent a newly-conceived baby from implanting [2,3].

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, 1,471 surgical or medical abortions were reported in the State in 2019 [4]. Statistics from 2020 were not available. It is unknown how many newly-conceived children lose their lives to the effects of abortifacient contraceptives, but projections from data available on their use is staggering. Estimates suggest that for every single baby killed by surgical abortion, 5 to 9 die from abortifacients [5].

We must not harden our hearts to this evil, just because it is hidden and easy to avoid seeing. As Psalm 94 says, “He Who formed the eye, does He not see? He Who disciplines the nations, does He not rebuke?”. Yes, He does. I urge you to recognize the taking of unborn children’s lives for
the evil that it is, and treat it with the hatred it rightly deserves.
“O you who love the Lord, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10a)

In light of the above perspective, I offer the following specific responses to the objections that were raised:

Objection 1: Repealing previously enacted pro-life laws is reckless and should not be included in the language of SB 391.

Repealing previous laws intended to decrease abortions and encourage mothers to choose life does seem to be an odd, non-progressive tactic. Why do this? I would first like to point out that this statement could be misleading. SB 391, if enacted in its current form, would repeal some
previous legislation. There are several reasons why this is necessary, as detailed in the bullet points below. Other sections of state law would be modified so that the language cannot be construed to permit abortion. The full text of SB 391 is available on the Senate website [6].

Pro-life laws enacted in Missouri and other States have been appreciated in reducing reported abortions and increasing the difficulty of obtaining an abortion. However, these regulations inadvertently sanction abortion as “legal” under the right conditions. Essentially, if the abortion is carried out in a specific way, in a specific time-frame, by a duly licensed physician at a duly licensed facility, it is considered permissible. Please note that these physicians and facilities are literally licensed by the State; look that word up in the dictionary.

Both the United States and Missouri Constitutions include provisions recognizing every person’s rights to life and equal protection under the law [7,8]. Therefore, any court opinion (including Roe v. Wade) or legislative action which fails to uphold those rights ought to be repudiated as unconstitutional, fallacious, null, and void. A failure to consistently uphold these rights has led to a dehumanization of the unborn, allowing the hiring of a physician to kill an “unwanted”child in the womb. Meanwhile, cases of criminal assault leading to the death of an unborn baby may result in homicide charges for the perpetrator [9,10].

Arguments citing abortion statistics tend to assume the accuracy and completeness of reported data. Besides the possibility of dishonest reporting, these statistics fail to take into account abortions produced by abortifacient contraceptives.

We should genuinely appreciate the work accomplished by pro-life advocates, legislators, counselors, and clinics. But, as in the legend of St. George and the Dragon, we must fight until this murderous monster is lying dead on the ground. If our sense of accomplishment stops us from completing the job, we should question what our goals actually are – and if our progress is actually progress. All that being said, I believe this objection deserves further debate and serious consideration.

Objection 2: SB 391 would wrongly subject mothers to prosecution for murder.

The rights of every human being must be recognized and protected under the law, if that law would be just. God strictly prohibits “respect of persons” in judgment. Therefore, murder must be prosecuted as murder; regardless of who the perpetrator or co-conspirators are, and whether the victim was an unborn baby, a newborn, a 1 year old, teenager, adult, or an elderly person. We are not to come up with arbitrary ethical standards based on what is palatable to the humanist mind.

It has been brought up that many women and girls are coerced, or even forced, into having an abortion. This is a tragic reality, and a failure on the part of those who should be acting in their defense and protection; whether that be the parents, boyfriend, husband, clinicians, or the civil authorities. Adjudication of these cases would recognize this, and deal appropriately with both the victim(s) and the perpetrators(s).

It is unnecessary and unrealistic for the Missouri Congress to act as judge, lawyer, and jury in all these cases. Furthermore, lying about the nature of abortion only makes the problem greater, as it gives a woman or girl considering abortion reason to rationalize why it might be acceptable in their situation. If the law dealt honestly with abortion as criminal murder, think about the effect that would have on societal thinking. The law is a teacher. I think we should be wondering just what kind of woman would still seek an abortion if it was legally considered murder, and conviction could lead to a death penalty.

Objection 3: An exception for the “life of the mother” must be included in SB 391.

That is a positively bad idea. For one thing, no one should ever, ever be given permission to intentionally kill one innocent person “to save another”. Why is it that this seems so much clearer ethically if we think about it in terms of adults? Would you give EMS personnel at a car wreck
permission to stab the victim in the front seat to save the person behind them? No, I hope not! Would it be okay to administer a deadly drug to an elderly patient so their medical supplies could be used for other patients?

Both of those scenarios should seem like ridiculous examples of gross
criminal activity. Yet we want to add an exception for abortion to be performed “to save the life of the mother”. Beyond the fact that even the best doctors are capable of being wrong in their assessment of a case, I have no doubt that this exception would be abused and twisted beyond recognition by abortionists “saving the lives of their patients”.

To be clear, I take no issue with healthcare professionals in difficult situations who strive to save both patients, and end up losing one. That’s just a sad reality of medicine. We are not God. We do the best we can with what we have; in the end, He is the One Who saves and brings healing. Losing a patient to a pathological condition is one thing, but it is quite another to intentionally bring about their death.

Healthcare professionals involved in the care of women and the preborn have, in fact, insisted that abortion is never truly necessary to save the life of the mother [11,12]. Even doctors defending abortion have admitted that this reason “probably doesn’t exist” [13]. The article foot-noted under number 11 offers an informative discussion on abortion, and the ethical
considerations of such topics as ectopic pregnancies, life-threatening illness in the mother, and cases of rape or incest.

One more interesting thought here. How does a “give up and abort” mindset ever lead to advances in life-saving medical technology and treatments? Should we be surprised that it is the Judeo-Christian ethic, which calls for the preservation of innocent human life, that has led to these developments in medicine? [14]

Let us fight evil as we ought, beginning by examining our hearts before God. We must repent of a lack of commitment – even in our own homes and churches – to the protection and preservation of innocent human life. I am urging a unified and whole-hearted effort to completely abolish the
legalized slaughter of unborn children, and I believe SB 391 should be returned to the table as a means to accomplish this goal.

Submitted by Lily Stephens


*Disclaimer: inclusion of these resources is not intended as an endorsement of all content or ideas contained therein.