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Episode 127 | December 6, 2023

Is Being Pro-Life Enough? with Abortion Abolitionist Bradley Pierce

What’s the difference between the pro-life and abolitionist movements?

Many Christians would claim to be pro-life. But a growing movement of Christians called abortion abolitionists believe that simply being pro-life isn’t enough, putting them at odds with the traditional, mainstream pro-life movement. So, what’s the difference between the pro-life and abolitionist movements? Today, Keith finds out when he talks with one of the best representatives of the abolitionist movement, Bradley Pierce. Bradley is a constitutional lawyer in Texas and part of the Foundation...

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Keith Simon 1:02  

There's a growing movement of Christians called abortion abolitionist. These Christians are pro life but not in the way that you typically think of what it means to be pro life. In fact, abortion abolitionist have some controversial views that have put them in conflict with traditional national pro life organizations. Today we're talking with Bradley Pierce, who I think is the best representative of abortion abolitionism that I'm familiar with. He's a constitutional lawyer in Texas and part of a group called the foundation to abolish abortion. I think you'll hear in the conversation that I am not ultimately convinced by his argument. But I learned a lot from talking with Bradley, and he will definitely leave you with a lot to think about.

Bradley Pierce, welcome to Truth overdrive. Thanks. It's good to be with you. Thanks for having me. We are talking abortion today, which is obviously a very controversial topic. And you're going to share with us a perspective that I think is going to be new to a lot of people who are listening. And I specifically wanted to talk to you about this topic, because I think you're the best representative of a position called abortion abolitionism at least the best one that I have heard. And so if you haven't heard of an abortion abolitionist, don't worry, Bradley is going to unpack and explain all that, in the course of our conversation. But Bradley, knowing that we're gonna talk about this controversial topic, I think it'd be good to get to know a little bit about you. Could you just introduce yourself to us? Who are you? What do you do? Why is the issue of abortion something you're passionate about? Yeah. So there's a lot there. I mean, the most important thing about me is that I'm a Christian. saved by the grace of God. That's my only hope. I'm a father, husband, my wife Cindy, we have we're actually expecting number 11 right now. So we have a very busy loving busy house. Yes. Yep. I have four and I thought that was a lot. You've almost tripled me one makes for visitors. That's true. They're all a handful. Right? But a handful of blessings. What are the age ranges? Our oldest is 12. And okay, and we have Yeah, I know you're doing the math. And you're

Bradley Pierce 3:17  

y'all are they're twins in here are adopted children. There are two sets of twins in there. No adopted children, although we certainly be open to that. But no, we have two sets of twins in there. So yeah, that's how we got to 11. So fast. So what's your job when you have time to work? I'm an attorney. I've been practicing law for less 15 years coming up on 16 years, actually. And do constitutional law, a lot of parental rights stuff. And then I also about seven years ago really got into the abolitionist movement and fighting for preborn children. So that's kind of what I do here. 

Keith Simon 3:53  

Is that with an organization, your work on behalf of children, is that with an organization or is that just something you do privately in your practice, or what 

Bradley Pierce 4:01  

is with a couple of organizations, so about seven years ago, some others and I launched organization called abolish abortion, Texas, to work right here in my home state. But then we also now we actually have a separate organization called the foundation to abolish abortion. And that's what we do. We work beyond Texas, all around the country, drafting legislation to abolish abortion, working with other groups and other states, other national organizations as well, just helping however we can kind of from a legal perspective, while at the same time not divorcing the legal from also the biblical and doing so as a Christian as well. So that's what we do around the country. 

Keith Simon 4:40  

How did you become so passionate about abortion? Like, is there a story that pulled you in? Or is it something that dates back as long as you can remember that you're passionate about this issue? Clearly, with legal practice, you've got plenty to do with your family and all. So why spend so much time on this? Why is this a big deal deal? 

Bradley Pierce 4:58  

I don't know if there's any one particular story, having maybe a few different stories along the way. But, you know, I was always raised pro life. Christian, my parents were pro life raised my Christian at home. And, you know, had lots of, you know, experiences and the more I looked into it, the more I kind of made it my own, that hey, yeah, I believe that life begins at conception that we should be protecting that life from there. I think that's what the Bible says, maybe a couple stories, I really kind of got more passionate about this. I saw in Texas, some bills that were going on, because of some pro life bills that I really felt like, compromised on when life begins and how we should protect that life and can see to some principles. And then I also my wife and I, we actually had four miscarriages, and just seeing that life loss is such an early age. I mean, that's human being right there. I mean, we were all right there. And then in 2016, some friends that I've decided, you know, what we need to kind of put our money where our mouth is our time where our mouth is, and not just be pro life in the sense that we believe something about life, but actually put action with that. And you know, of course, I'm an attorney, and so naturally, okay, well, it's a gifting that God's given me or the opportunity he's given me as an attorney. So I drafted some legislation, we started working here in the Republican Party in our state, and just kind of took off from there. And we've really tried to approach it. If the law were protecting lives in the womb the same way as our lives outside of the womb, what would the law look like? And that's the way we've tried to approach it. 

Keith Simon 6:35  

Last year, Roe was overturned, and I think when that happened in the Supreme Court made that decision in the issue of abortion went back to the States, most of us at least me thought that what was going to play out is that the blue states, were going to codify a more progressive or liberal abortion laws and more red states would either make abortion more and more restrictive or outlawed being it altogether. And to some extent, that's happened. But whenever abortion has gone on the ballot, even if states like Kentucky or Kansas that are traditionally red states, what we found is that the people at the ballot box, well, they haven't gone with the more restrictive abortion laws, I think we expected. Is that a surprise to you that that's the way it's played out since Roe was overturned. Why is it that states like Kansas, Kentucky, and others haven't come up with more restrictive abortion laws when it's been on the ballot?

Bradley Pierce 7:29  

Like Kansas was right after the dogs case, the dogs case overturn Roe vs. Wade next to our organization, we got to lead 20 Other organizations 20 state legislators we filed a brief in that case, we were calling for the Court to overturn Roe, which they did. We're grateful for that. But we're also calling for them to go further. And not just leave it to the States or the court actually put it in the people's representatives. So it can be the states or Congress. But they actually find under the 14th amendment that a fetus is a person, therefore they're entitled to equal protection of the laws. So that's what we're arguing the court didn't go that far yet. Hopefully they will at some point. There's certainly plenty of blue states that are codifying ROE or worsen roe into their constitutions and laws within their states like Kansas and Kentucky and others that it's not as much that the codifying roe necessarily Kansas had their Supreme Court had kind of found a right to an abortion in their own constitution. And so this would have overturned that. So a lot of it's just kind of the status quo, people just kind of stick with the status quo and trying to override the status quo is difficult. The stuff that you in Kentucky didn't pass, but at the same time, it didn't really change the status quo there. So I think that the Kansas thing a lot of people were caught flat footed on that it was very quickly after the jobs and a lot of the pro abortion movement, they mobilized quickly, and they acted quickly. Whereas I think a lot of the pro life movement was still just kind of celebrating Dobbs and perhaps resting on their laurels a little too much. But you know, there's a lot of factors at play. 

Keith Simon 9:01  

Well, I consider myself pro life. And that won't be a surprise to anyone who's listened to some of our episodes where we've talked about abortion. And I was surprised, I thought that states like Kentucky, no need to pick on that particular state because it's been true in other places as well. But when given the opportunity, the people of Kentucky or these red states would make abortion harder to get, if not eliminate it altogether, and it hasn't happened. And I'm wondering if that means that people who were saying they were pro life, you know, when the telephone rang, and they picked it up, and they answered the poll questions and said, I'm pro life if they really meant it or not, because they wouldn't have the chance to vote on it. It seems like they're voting different now. I don't know what's in anybody's mind or heart when they fill out these polls. It just maybe the polls were inaccurate and there's not as many pro life people as we thought they were. Do you think I'm wrong and wondering about that? 

Bradley Pierce 9:57  

I mean, it's possible he knows one thing, whatever the spring. The court says, Hey, this is what according to them, the law of the land is and so in some ways people don't really have formulated opinions because they feel like their opinions don't really matter anyway. And so it's only once the your opinion matters that I think people start thinking about it a lot more. I think there's also that's after Dobbs, the pro abortion movement is way more activated. They just saw a major defeat, and they just saw something major happen, whereas the pro life movement is much more hey, we won, right? This is what we've been fighting for for 50 years. And so I think maybe it's gone to sleep a little bit. And I'm talking about like the average pro live voter, I think the average voter feels like, hey, we already won here. What else do we need to do? So I think the pro abortion side is able to turn out their voters a lot more right now. 

Keith Simon 10:47  

Well, you're right, we're in a moment where when you feel like you're in the losing end, then your voters get all ginned up to go to the ballot box. And if you feel like you're are, you know, maybe in the driver's seat now, then maybe you're not as activated. Probably a lot of people didn't understand what overturning Roe v Wade met. I think a lot of people thought that meant abortion was going to be outlawed, which obviously, as you've already alluded to, that's not at all what happened. Okay, so I promise we're going to get to abortion abolitionism in just a second, but first, I want to throw out a thought experiment to you. Okay, so you've probably come across this before I came across it through a woman named Kate Greasley, who is an Oxford law professor and specializes in legal and moral philosophy of abortion. So let me see if I can explain it and get your take on it. The idea is, imagine you're walking by a clinic and there's a fire a hospital, let's say and you run inside the clinic, and you have the opportunity to save either one baby or five fetuses, five embryos fertilized eggs, what we would call you and I human beings, and you don't know anyone in this clinic, right? You're just walking by when this fire? What would you do? If you were in that situation? Do you think you would go save the six month old? That's probably crying? Or do you think you'd go save those five embryos? Those five fetuses? Those five preborn children? 

Bradley Pierce 12:10  

Yeah, well, you know, I mean, before getting to this specific what I would do in that situation? I don't think it's a helpful hypothetical. I've heard it before. I've heard this one before. I expect I think like anything, right? If you're going into a burning building to save people, you're automatically triaging, you know, who can I help? The quickest? You know, you're triaging in your mind, what's going to be the best situation? And who can I help the fastest and the most? And all of that? So it's not really a question of Do I consider these human beings and these not human beings, right? If I save a four year old instead of a 40 year old, it doesn't mean that I don't think the 40 year old is a human being, it means that, hey, I think it's gonna be a little bit easier to save the four year old because they're a little easier to carry, or what have you, right, you go through whatever reasons. So I just don't think it's a helpful hypothetical, I think probably most people are going to save the born child, right? Because that's easier in a sense, that child doesn't need any kind of extra ordinary care, that there's more guarantee that if you save that child that that child's going to continue to live, whereas the embryos, then you have to find people who are willing to adopt them and implant them. And even their implantation, there's a low likelihood of success and things like that. So I think all of those things can go through your mind, and you can make the decision to choose to save the born child. But that doesn't in any way, dehumanize the children who are not yet born, or that doesn't mean that they're any less valuable. 

Keith Simon 13:32  

I think those are good answers. I asked this at our family dinner table, my kids range from 21 to 28. And they have spouses and significant others and all sitting around. So there's usually 10 of us when we sit around and I asked this question, and I think it's safe to say that everybody at that table considers themselves pro life. And yet you find this instinct in you to save the one child instead of the embryos, the fetuses, but I'm pretty sure that the Bible teaches that those are children. And it makes me wonder why is there that tug? In my heart? Do I not really believe what I say I believe and I think, like you said, What I like most about what you said there is when you said Just could you say the four year old instead of the 40 year old, it doesn't mean that you don't think the 40 year olds a person, but your instincts take over and you do whatever you think is best in the moment. Let's get into what abortion abolitionism is. Exactly. So can you just like what are the basic just lay it out for us assume we know nothing? Because I don't think many of us do. So just walk us through it. 

Bradley Pierce 14:35  

Yeah, well, I mean, everybody's familiar with the pro life movement, right? Especially since Roe versus Wade 50 years ago, the pro life movement have been fighting for life, right? That's what pro life means for life. So kind of your average, pro life voter pro life person would say I'm for life, right? That's what pro life means to me. And that's literally what it means. What happens though, is that, you know, we may say we're for life and. A lot of us would have the same definition of that. That means that I want to see abortion abolished, I want to see it made, not that it's going to be completely eradicated on Earth, right? We're, people have sinful natures, we have laws against murdering people, but people still murder each other. But it is illegal to murder other at least born human beings. So that's what we mean by abolish, just like slavery is abolished in this country. But there's still some people who are enslaved even in our country, but but it is illegal to do that. So that's what we mean by abolishing abortion. And I think most pro life people would say, Yeah, I want to see abortion abolished, I don't want to see babies killed before they're born or after they're born. However, the issue is, and kind of the difference between what I would call the pro life lobby, that is the pro life, those who are writing the bills, those who are pushing the bills, those who are advocating litigating the bills, kind of the legal end of the pro life movement. The end goal has been I would say not to abolish abortion. I know this may surprise a lot of people, but it's not been to abolish abortion. It's been to close all the clinics and abolish abortionist performing abortions. Because every single law, virtually every single all the product movements passed since 1973. have all had exceptions written into them. This says this law does not apply to the mother, which means that a mother performing an unassisted abortion, she has no legal either civil or criminal liability whatsoever, which for a long time, you know, that may have not have been a major deal, since it wasn't a big option. I mean, I think it was a big deal principally, but as far as practically speaking, it may not have been. But today we have abortion pills that people can order online and get them delivered to their home and have a do your own abortion at home. And it's very easy and simple to do. And there's no liability for that. So now today, we have 14 or 15 states that after Dobbs claimed to be abortion free. And yet, mothers in those states can still order these pills and do these abortions at home and the pro life laws allow for it. So I'm kind of getting ahead of myself. But that's one of the reasons why as an abolitionist, I say no, abortion needs to be illegal for everybody. Right? I gotta say that. I'm an abolitionist. And one thing that that means is that I believe that murdering anyone should be illegal for everyone. And that's not something that's pro life movement. And by that I mean, the pro life lobby can say their bills do not make murdering anyone illegal for everyone. So that's called equal protection, right? The same laws to protect my life should protect a life in the womb. So that's what abolitionists believe, abolitionists, we also seek to come at this as Christians using God's word using the Christian ethic, and approaches as Christians for the gospel as well for the glory of God. So yes, we believe in using science, we believe in using reason we believe in appealing to those things. But fundamentally, we have to be appealing to the only absolute perfect inherent authority, and that's God's word. And that's God Himself. And that's something that, generally speaking, the pro life organizations that is a pro life, establishment of lobbying organizations are unwilling to do many of them are Christians who are running those organizations, but they're not using Christianity as the basis for their arguments. In fact, whenever people accused them, well, wait a second, you're just making a religious argument. They're all like, what? Oh, no, I'm not No, no, no, I'm not. I'm making a secular scientific argument. 

Keith Simon 18:36  

So let me jump in there and ask your question about that. Because my guess is that the prolife lobbying organizations and the leadership of national right to life or these other big groups would say the reason they're doing that is they're trying to build a consensus. They're trying to build a coalition and they would love Christians be a part of it. But they're also trying to make a case that people who aren't Christians can enthusiastically get on because, well, probably most pro life people in America identify with Christianity to some extent, there are people who aren't Christians who are pro life, they're atheists who are pro life. So are you saying that something specific to the abortion abolition movement is that it's only for Christians, and that you're not trying to build an argument that can draw in people who don't profess faith in Christ? 

Bradley Pierce 19:24  

It's certainly something that people who don't profess faith can agree with us on. But as abolitionist Yeah, we will say it is a movement of Christians. And the reason is, yes, we want to save babies. We want to save children and we want to see abortion abolished. But we believe that's in some ways, a secondary goal. Right? The primary goal is preaching Christ, preaching the gospel, glorifying God, and we believe by that then hearts will be led to true repentance and then led to abolish abortion. So we see the kind of the abolition of abortion the. Saving of babies really secondary to the goal of proclaiming the gospel and glorifying God. That's how God works from the inside out. God changes people's hearts by preaching repentance by exposing sin. And we recognize our need for a Savior. And by the grace of God, he's provided a savior for everyone who's murdered their child, or had anything to do with that at all, God's merciful and all who come to him in repentance, he saves. And so that's what we believe needs to be at the heart of our message, because we can win the whole world and save the whole world. But if people's souls are lost, what have we accomplished? 

Keith Simon 20:35  

So my understanding is that one of the distinctives of the abortion abolition movement is that you believe or whoever holds to this believes that a mother who has the abortion should be prosecuted under the law, just like the doctor or the father, or anybody else who has an accessory to that abortion. 

Bradley Pierce 20:57  

I might state it a little bit differently. You know, we believe that constitutionally I'll say, kind of the biblical term and unconstitutional but constitutionally, we believe the 14th Amendment says No State shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction, the equal protection of the laws. All right, well, you know, pretty much every pro life person should say, Well, yeah, I believe a fetus is a person from fertilization, what laws you have to have equal protection on? Well, the 14th amendment makes it clear earlier, at the very least laws protecting life, liberty and property, obviously, the printing life here, so every state is required for its laws protecting life to provide equal protection to every single person in the state. So what are our laws protecting life, those are called homicide laws protecting life from criminally being taken. Well, those laws need to provide equal protection to all persons. So for example, in Texas, we have just the way in a lot of states is actually we have life is defined a person is defined as beginning at the moment of fertilization in Texas law. But then we have an exception written into our murder law that says this does not apply to an unborn child by conduct committed by the mother of that unborn child that's written right into our homicide chapter. And that's to prevent any kind of prosecution of any mother for any kind of involvement, her own abortion. So we believe in getting rid of that right. We believe in taking away the discrimination against preborn children preborn persons, and for all homicide laws to apply to everybody equally, then yes, that would make mothers and everybody else subject to prosecution for any kind of homicide of a preborn child. And then it would be up to the justice system to decide on a case by case basis. All right, should this person be prosecuted? What should the charges be? And then you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there's a presumption of innocence you have to overcome the government has overcome that and then a jury of your peers decide whether to indict decide whether to sentence then you have all the courts and appellate courts and even the governors or boards of parole and pardons can choose to pardon people, right, that entire justice system would then come into play. But the first step is removing discrimination in our laws. 

Keith Simon 23:10  

So takes me back to the 2016 campaign, when Donald Trump is on the set with Chris Matthews. And he's interviewing him. And I think Chris Matthews asks him about abortion asks him if he's pro life, and Donald Trump says that there should be some form of punishment for women, the mothers who have these abortions. And immediately afterwards, you know, everybody starts spinning that statement, because it was clear that Donald Trump was out of step with a pro life movement as largely defined right as what we think of as the pro life movement, because all these national organizations came out and said, No, that's not what we believe. We do not think that mothers should be prosecuted for murder. So help me understand the differences between your position in the larger pro life movement. At first, when I heard abortion abolition, I thought maybe you're a subset of the pro life movement, like you were the navy seals of the pro life movement. But I don't think that's true, right? You don't consider yourself a part of that organization, that movement. I mean, you consider yourself pro life in a general way that you're for life. But you have some sharp disagreements with the pro life leadership. Can you help us understand those? Like, what are the debates over? What are the disagreements over you have with him? 

Bradley Pierce 24:30  

Yeah. So you know, whenever Trump came out and said that during the primary, I think the reason that he said that is because he was kind of new to being pro life and the pro life movement. So he just kind of said, Whatever seemed logical to him at the time, which is that yeah, of course, if you're truly going to end abortion, there has to be some kind of penalty for the mother otherwise, can't she just do it? You know, unassisted, right. Can she just continue to do. Do it without there being a penalty. So I think that was his kind of there's logical assumption. And then instantly, like you said, we saw the the pro life movement came out and they said, That's not pro life. And to me, that was a big moment. You know, he quickly retracted what he said, you know, he said, Well, I've been informed otherwise, you know, that didn't mean that. But I think the what happened there when the pro life movement, by which we mean the pro life lobby, you know, really came out and said, like, Hey, that's not pro life. To me, that was kind of a moment like, Wait, it's not pro life to make it illegal to kill your own child. Isn't it illegal to kill your one year old? Why not illegal to kill your child a month before the child's born? And so, to me, that is a big difference between you know, pro life and abolitionist that you saw right there pro life movement, saying that's not pro life to make it illegal for mothers to kill their preborn children. It's like, well, no, I do think it should be illegal for mothers to kill their preborn children. And I think a lot of people who call themselves pro life would agree.

Keith Simon 26:01  

Traditionally, the pro life movement has said that they've wanted punishment against the doctors. And so that's the way they've criminalized is to say, let's target doctors but not mothers. Because, again, the traditional arguments that you're pushing back against have said that the mothers are second victims in this and so we're not going to punish a victim. What's wrong with that? What are people missing? who think that way? 

Bradley Pierce 26:28  

I mean, the biggest problem is it's overgeneralization that is that there certainly are mothers who are victims. But the laws that deprive women rights says that all mothers are victims, um, you can have the president of Planned Parenthood herself get an abortion. And the pro life law says you can't prosecute her, or you can have an abortionist abort their own child. And the pro life law says she can't be prosecuted for that. Right. People who are clearly not victims still can't be prosecuted because of her life laws. You know, that's not the case. And again, I think also saying that writing laws that say all women are victims, because that's what they say. I think it's insulting to women, I think it treats all women as if they are not free moral agents, that they're not strong enough or smart enough to be making their own decisions. I think it treats them as if they're not just as much human beings with the same nature as anybody else. So I think it's insulting to women, whenever the pro life movement does that product women says all women are victims, right? abolitionists say some women are victims. Some women are not victims, just like homicide have born children. Right? Some women are some women are not. How do we figure out who is? Well, we have a justice system. Right? We presume that everyone is a victim, right, that they are innocent? And then you have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they're not our saying is that same thing should apply here. 

Keith Simon 27:49  

So in abortion, abolition legislation that you've advanced or that you've advocated for, are there any exceptions? I wouldn't call them exceptions. 

Bradley Pierce 27:58  

Yeah, I wouldn't call them exceptions. 

Keith Simon 27:59  

But what about the life of the mother? 

Bradley Pierce 28:01  

If a mother is forced into it, then she has not intentionally done something and she's not a criminal? She's under what the law calls duress, well, then, yeah, she shouldn't be prosecuted. And our laws say that our bills say that, or if a mother's medical emergency, right, and doctors have to treat them both, like patients try to save as many as possible, but then they do what they need to do that may result in the death of a child, but it's not intentional. They're just trying to save as many patients as they can. Well, yeah, clearly no crime has been committed there either. And our bills say that as well. Again, I would not call those exceptions, those are trying to save lives. And those are not abortion. In that case, I would say.  

Keith Simon 28:36  

One of the other differences between your movement and the general pro life movement, at least if I got it right, is that you're against incrementalism, I think, and the pro life movement has generally been for it. So let me see if I can say what I think I've always believed, and then you helped me understand where I might be wrong, is I've always said that we'd love to live in a world where there's no abortions. But we're not there. We don't have the votes for that. We don't have the court system to declare that. Therefore, whatever steps we can do to eliminate as many abortions as possible, that's awesome. So if one state has a 20 week ban, and they are willing to lower it to 10 weeks, then great, let's take that if they're willing to learn to six weeks Great, if we have a waiting periods for abortion, or if you know some of the legislation calls for doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital and those kind of slow down the number of abortions and limit the number of abortion clinics that can be out there. Great. I'm for that. But my understanding is that your movement doesn't believe in incremental ism, it kind of believes in an all or nothing approach. What do I have wrong there? 

Bradley Pierce 29:48  

Well, I wouldn't call it an all or nothing. But really what it comes down to is a couple things. First of all, what does God say? Right, we've got to do what God says we currently can't do something God tells us not to do well thing that God says throughout Scripture is when he's talking to civil officials, when he's talking to judges when talking to people who are enforcing laws. He says you should not be partial in judgment or you shall not show partiality and judgment. What does that mean? What is partiality? Well, the Hebrew word there is you should not regard faces. And a lot of films has seen, like statues of Lady Justice, holding the scales of justice, and maybe a sword as well. And she's got this blindfold on. And the reason why justice has a blindfold on is because justice is supposed to be blind, right? You're not supposed to be making a decision based upon Well, is this a man? Or is this a woman? Is this person wide? Or is this person black? Because this person, strong or weak? Or ugly or beautiful? or what have you, right? We're supposed to be deciding whether someone's guilty or not guilty of a crime, based upon the facts of the case? What did they do? And what was their mental state? Right? What what was their intent? Whenever they did that? That's how we decide cases. And the problem with a lot of these bills is that they say no, no, you have to remove the blindfold. And you have to say, is this victim born yet or not? Okay, well, that's gonna change justice, or is this perpetrator? Is this the Father? Or is this a mother? Or is this this person or that person, they have this identity or that identity? Right now we're judging the case not based on the facts of the case or Jason it on the identity of the perpetrator and the victim in the case? God says, Don't do that. God says you shall not do that. He says he hates unequal weights and measures, we should not be doing that. And the problem is that's what we're codified in the pro life laws and for live bills that we passed. We say, oh, no, no, no, you should, because you should prosecute all these people are prohibited from doing it. Oh, but not the mom if the victim is not yet born. So now we're judging, not based on the facts, but upon that God says, Don't do that. The other problem with a lot of these bills, is they end up conceding principles. And we think that we're advancing the cause here for life and advancing the cause of saving children. But we're actually conceding arguments, we're conceding principles. And we're actually kind of taking one step forward and two steps back, and maybe we get a short term victory, but it ends up being a long term defeat, because we end up conceding the humanity of these children. Whenever we pass a 20 week bill, for example, a bill says, Hey, you cannot afford a child after 20 weeks, probably doesn't save any children really, because people just get their abortion is a little bit faster. You know, and we still say every child could still be legally killed by their mother or by an abortionist, that just has to be done faster. Well, I mean, that does not further, our primary argument, which is that a fetus is a human being with human rights, entitled to the same human rights as another human being. Instead, what that looks like, and what the pro abortion movement calls the pro life movement out on, is that looks like you're just regulating healthcare. Right? That doesn't look like you're treating this, like a human being that just looks like you're regulating healthcare. And you're just trying to control women. That's a problem. And South Carolina, actually, I think they just had an opinion. But they were hearing a heartbeat case last year, about a heartbeat bill, and they actually overturned it. The Supreme Court there returned it, because they said it violated the right to privacy there. But one of the justices it was a three to decision. So one justice who could have flipped it basically said I would have ruled the other way. If this were a law that actually treated a fetus as a human being well, then, yeah, obviously, you know, your right to life as a human being Trump's a right to privacy. But this law is just regulating healthcare. It's just saying when you can get this procedure done, it's not treating a fetus like a human being. So I think by conceding arguments like we do, and a lot of these bills conceding that humanity the child, conceding that it's okay to kill them at some point, by some people, ultimately, we're losing ground. 

Keith Simon 34:12  

If we were to criminalize if abortion was to be criminalized in the way that you advocate for so that mothers would be prosecuted along with other people who are accessory to that crime. They just don't know how practically it works. Let me put it that way. Right, because now all of a sudden, we're going to have to have the government monitoring who's pregnant. And if that pregnancy comes to an end, was that natural, you know, a miscarriage? Or was that something that was terminated through an abortion? What are the circumstances behind that? It didn't seem practical, how would that work? It wouldn't up just concede a lot of power to the government to be involved in people's lives. I mean, I know I'm starting to sound like a pro choice advocate by saying that I get it. It's messy. I can hear it in my own words, and yet to criminalize it. Abortion this way. I mean, the government is gonna have a lot of power? 

Bradley Pierce 35:03  

Well, I don't think so I kind of get it to the last point first and then backing up as far as the government having power. If the government does not have authority to prosecute murder, then what's the reason they even have a government? Right? I mean, that is the primary function of government. We even see biblically in Genesis nine when God I believe, first delegates, this kind of authority to human government, it's for the protection of innocent life, for justice for homicide. So I mean, that is the government's primary role. So I'm not an anarchist, I think government should have limited powers, but at the very least, government should be providing justice for homicide. But backing up a little bit, I think that you talked about like, well, the government's gonna be monitoring all these people and that sort of thing. Two things about that, you know, first of all, there's kind of three functions of the law. You know, the first is to serve as a tutor, right as didactic is to teach people something and what an abolition bill does, it teaches people that, hey, a fetus is a person, deserving as the same rights as anybody else. Right now, we don't have any laws that do that, that teach people that. So that's what the law would do first. Secondly, the law is to serve as a deterrent. Right, it's to deter people from committing conduct that we've deemed criminal. In this case that God has deemed criminal, that is murder. A lot of people are going to think about abolishing abortion and wait a second, mothers could be subject to prosecution if they abort their children. And they're thinking about all the friends and family and people that they know who have had something to do with an abortion, and they're like, wait, I can't imagine my sister in law, or my mother or sister in Christ at church being prosecuted for an abortion, I think we have to remember that no one's talking about going backwards from it and prosecute people who've had abortions in the past. Now, that would be unjust and wrong and unconstitutional. We're talking about going forward. So that means that there will be a law on the books that would have pretty serious penalties if enforced all the way that would deter most of these people from ever having an abortion in the first place. That's why there's many abolitionist women who are post abortive, they have a board of their own children in the past, they've repented to have forgiveness from God, but they say I wish it had been a crime, because then I never would have done it. There's no way I would have ever guessed that I would have figured something else out. And I never would have done it. Right. That's what we want. We don't want to go prosecuting mothers or anybody else for doing this. What we want to see is people not getting abortions, not aborting their own children, then the third function of the law is injustice. That is, okay. Someone's not been taught by the law, or, you know, that wasn't good enough. They still want to go through with it. All right. Now, they haven't been deterred by the potential penalties there. And they've gone ahead, and they've gone through with this. Alright, well, then, yeah, this child is entitled to justice. What does that Justice look like? We have an entire justice system to figure that out. You know, so what would it look like the government monitoring everybody? No, it would just simply be life, we continue to as it is. Now, if someone suspected someone else, that someone else had a word of their child, then they would report that to law enforcement, law enforcement could then do some investigating, but they couldn't really do anything intrusive, because you have to have a warrant for that. Yeah, they couldn't like see someone's phone or go look at their app history or what have you, they'd have to have a warrant for that. They have to go to a judge and get a warrant from a judge to then do those kinds of intrusive things. But if there's probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, a judge will give them that, then they can go do that more investigation. And if they get enough evidence, I think there's enough if the prosecutor agrees, I can take it to a grand jury of our peers, who will then look at the evidence and decide is there a case here, there are probable cause to believe crime has been committed, then that goes on, you don't have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Right, kind of what I talked about earlier. So I think the whole idea that this is going to turn into some, you know, nanny state, you know, with the government that has to monitor all of our devices and everything, and all of our period, tracking apps, and all that sort of thing, I think is really just a farce. That's not the way things happen now, and our justice system wouldn't allow for that. 

Keith Simon 39:08  

The traditional pro life movement has tried to figure out why do women have abortions? And you know, there's all kinds of reasons from the shout your abortion type, all the way down to people under great duress and manipulation and pressure. And there's all kinds of reasons, but I think most people would say that at least one big reason not the only reason is economic, you know that there's a sense in which kids are expensive. I mean, you know, better than any of us, right? Kids are expensive. And so there's been proposals like Elizabeth Breunig, who's at the Atlantic now, pro life Catholic has said let's make giving birth free or Mitt Romney, Senator Romney from Utah had a whole plan of starting aid to the child before the child was born, in a sense, recognizing the humanity of the child. Does the abortion abolition movement, get excited and advocate for those kinds of measures yours that would make abortion less appealing or attractive or necessary, however you want to frame it. 

Bradley Pierce 40:06  

I think ultimately, when we say what is the primary cause of abortion, and yes, certainly there are people under duress and things like that, but Right, the primary cause for people who are not under duress, it's ultimately sin. It's ultimately sin. We were willing to engage in something that we know is sinful because of selfish reasons, right? Or prideful reasons, saying that something is because of economic reasons. Ultimately, this gets materialistic, especially in a country like ours, right? In a country like ours, where there's so many safety nets, and there's so many people ready to adopt. I know people talk about the number of children in foster care, and that they're not adopted. But no, no, we're talking about infants, right? The number of people that are on waiting lists to adopt infants right now is enormous. And many people wait years for that. So the number of people that are ready, willing and able to adopt infant children and provide for them is more than enough, I believe, to cover the extra bursts, if you will. And what I am a big believer in is fathers need to be accountable for providing for their offspring, right and for caring for the women that they impregnate and caring for their offspring. Absolutely. For fathers having more accountability to do that, and not getting away with not fulfilling their responsibilities. They're also for the church doing more, I think the church needs to do more, to care for people to reach out to people to provide practical help to people. I'm not for more government programs, more kind of impersonal entitlement programs, and things like that. I don't think they're ultimately the most helpful. And I think they create a lot of problems. But I think there are a lot of solutions that are out there, though. 

Keith Simon 41:45  

So what's the goal of the abortion abolition movement? Am I right in saying that there would be no abortions? Or is it something else? Like what's the goal, you guys know you have succeeded, you're aiming for what? 

Bradley Pierce 42:01  

don't mean to sound trite. But I mean, ultimately, the goal is to glorify God. And I believe this is what God tells us to do. God says that in Leviticus, that if the people of the land, close their eyes to someone who is sacrificing their own children, that God will judge that person to sacrifice their children, and he'll judge the people of the land who are ignoring it. God says, to rescue those who are being carried to the slaughter. So I believe we have a duty as Christians, and it kind of gets back to the basic love God. And Jesus says, Love your neighbor, how do you love your neighbor? As yourself? Okay, well, then, if I were being led to slaughter, what would I want people to do? And if the laws allowed for my mother to kill me, or for someone else to tell me, what would I want? Jesus says, Love your neighbor, how as yourself, okay, well, what are the laws protecting my life, those are the laws I want protecting these babies lives as well. So ultimately, that's what it's about, it's about being obedient to God, it's about loving our neighbor as ourselves, both the mothers, because again, there's nothing loving about telling mothers, that it's legal to kill your children, there's nothing loving about that at all. It's loving to tell them, No, it's illegal to do that, that's gonna be bad for you, it's gonna be bad for your child. That's not good. And it's certainly loving for that child to say that. So that's ultimately what it's all about. 

Keith Simon 43:17  

You know, as I talk to you, I knew this was gonna happen. There's a lot of what you say that I find logical and consistent and consistent with human nature consistent with scripture. There's something about it that's appealing and attractive. But here's where I come down. And I'm just going to kind of verbalize it and get your input, because I'm open to try to figure this issue out and to change my mind if that's necessary. But my fear is that because of the broken world we live in, and because the United States culture right now is where it is that what you're advocating is actually unintentionally going to lead to more permissive abortion laws? Because I think what people hear is they hear this what they deem, no, you don't think of it this way. And I don't have to necessarily think of it this way. But they hear this extreme movement. And it's painted as both fairly and unfairly as not providing basic exceptions that the vast majority of Americans in the electorate want, whether it's Raven, incest, or prosecuting the mother sounds just they just can't even picture doing that, taking this woman who just been through an abortion, and then putting her in jail. I mean, there's not a category for that. And so what happens is people go, okay, abortion abolitionists, they're going to take power. I've got to prevent that. And so we ended up having more permissive abortion laws. And actually more abortions again, I know that's the last thing you want. But I feel like if we played a more moderate hand, if we just said like, I don't want this I'd love there to be zero abortions, and someday when Christ sets up His kingdom here, that's what it'll be. But for now, I can't get that and so I just live in this broken world and I just got to work for less abortions, the fewer abortions as possible. And if I play a more moderate hand realizing what's possible right now, then there actually could be fewer abortions. Now, I won't be as logically consistent, which I think your position is very logically consistent. I'll give you that my position isn't as logically consistent. But I think in the end, there are fewer abortions. And I think in your position is more logically consistent. But unfortunately, and again, unintentionally, there are actually gonna be more abortions. I'm sure you've heard this before. I mean, I'm not coming up with something new. 

Bradley Pierce 45:29  

Well, I mean, it's certainly something that I've wrestled with. And ultimately, here's why come down, there are a number of things that you said there that I would have said myself in the past. And that is, you know, that we just can't get there. It's not possible, right? If we do this, then this is going to happen in the future. You know, I don't mean to go back and make this too simplistic or to say that you don't have faith or anything like that. But sure, you know, I think ultimately, as Christians, we need to stop trying to predict the future. And we need to stop talking about what's possible and what's not possible with my God, and with yours, too. And I know, you know, this too, and you would say the same thing. With God, all things are possible. You know, when the children of Israel came up to the Jordan River to go in the Promised Land, they send in 12 spies, and 10 of the spies came back and said, Hey, listen, there are giants in that land. And we're like grasshoppers, you know, basically say, like, they're gonna squash us like bugs, okay? You know, like, every practical measure, we're going to lose here. But two spies came back, Caleb and Joshua. And they said, God is with us. God is with us. He's promised us this land. And I'm paraphrasing, of course, he's promised us this land. He says, he's going to give it to us. So let's go in, let's go in and do it. They're going to be our bread, which means they're not going to consume us, we're gonna consume them. And so I would say the same thing here. What does God tell us to do? Right, he tells us don't show partiality. He says, rescue those. He says, Love your neighbor as yourself. And we look around and we see, yeah, God, I get, that's what you're saying. But that just doesn't seem realistic. You know, what my God is in control of reality, okay, he's in control of the future. And it's not my job as a Christian to predict the future, and to try to adjust or compromise how I approach things based upon my own predictions, you know, many of which are wrong, but certainly they're all denying that, ultimately, God's sovereign over the future. And so that's where I come down on this issue that I could see this doing exactly what you're saying that ultimately people end up using our positions to twist what we're doing and to make the entire anti abortion movement extreme. And that that then pushes the more nominal Christians or the non Christian parts of society away from this and more towards killing children, or, you know, the opposite has happened, it could be that the consistency is seen, and people really see what they're doing. And they begin repenting, and we see a natural revival, because of our consistency, right? That could also happen. Both of those things are possibilities. And there's an infinite number of possibilities between and beyond those things. I say duty is ours, results are gods. And so I think we need to do what we're called to do. We're called to do God's will God's ways. The ends don't justify the means we have to have both biblical and righteous methods and ends and then we trust God for the results. 

Keith Simon 48:32  

One thing I appreciate about you Bradley is that you're fair you're compassionate, you are sincere. You're trying to be faithful to what God has called you to do. I don't know if I'm convinced right now but you've given me I'm sure a lot of other people a lot to think about. Where would people go to find out more about abortion? abolitionism what are some resources that you would recommend? 

Bradley Pierce 48:53  

Yeah, they can go to our website FAA dot Life Foundation to abolish abortion FAA dot life. They can follow us on Twitter abolitionist FAA or follow me on Twitter Bradley W. Piers,

Keith Simon 49:06  

 would you mind closing by just praying for women and children and whatever else you think God has put on your heart? 

Bradley Pierce 49:13  

Yeah, I'd love to. Thanks. Let's pray. Father, God, we thank You that You are merciful. Lord, we are all sinners. We've all rebelled against you and hated your law and hated you. And, Lord, You've been so merciful to us. You sent Your own Son to come and to pay the penalty for us, to save us from our sins. God and I pray that everyone listening to this God has has followed you and has surrendered their lives to you and anybody who hasn't Lord that they would repent and believe in for follow you Lord Jesus, God, for anyone who's listening to this who may have had an abortion or been involved with an abortion or helps with an abortion, Lord, that they would know that. There's there's hope, that if they confess their sin, or would you say that you are just to forgive that that sin has been paid for the artist I pray that they would come to you in repentance and that you would forgive their sins and free them from the bondage of that sin and from the guilt of that sin, Lord and and show them that they are clean and their sins have been washed away and separated. As far as the east is from the west, in your eyes. Lord, You are the answer to abortion, you are the answer to every problem in this world. God, I pray that You would help us to understand what our duties are. And that we would surrender to you and submit to you and obey you and love you and love our neighbors as ourselves. We pray that You would help each and every one of us to know how to do that better. And Lord, that we would do it all for you. And gosh, thank you for this conversation you've allowed us to have here and I pray it would be a blessing to many. In Jesus name, amen. 

Keith Simon 51:01  

Amen. Thanks so much, Bradley.

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