Overturning Roe v. Wade: What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?
Keith Simon: Are you tired of tribalism?
Speaker 2: I think a lot of what the left supports is satanic.
Speaker 3: The only time religious freedom is invoked is in the name of bigotry and discrimination.
Keith Simon: Are you exhausted by the culture war?
Speaker 2: If they don't like it here, they can leave.
Speaker 4: You could put half of Trumps supporters into what I call the basket of deplorable.
Keith Simon: Are you suspicious to those who say Jesus endorses their political party?
Speaker 2: Is it possible to be a good Christian and also be a member of the Republican Party? And the answer is absolutely not.
Speaker 5: From certainly a biblical standpoint, Christians could not vote democratic.
Patrick Miller: We trust the lamb, not the donkey or the elephant.
Keith Simon: This is the podcast that's too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals.
Patrick Miller: I'm Patrick Miller.
Keith Simon: And I'm Keith Simon and we choose Truth Over Tribe.
Patrick Miller: Do you?
Keith Simon: One of the most contentious issues in America right now and has been true for several decades is the issue of abortion. And abortion is an issue that everybody is currently talking about because of a leaked draft opinion by Justice Alito that looks like is going to overturn Roe versus Wade. Now, a lot of Christians are celebrating and they're saying, " This is great news. It's something we've worked a long time for." Other Christians are much more concerned, cautious. They have reservations, unsure of what this will mean for the country, what this will mean for the church and unsure what the Bible really says on this issue. So today, we're going to try to look at the abortion issue through the lens of Scripture but also through the lens of the current cultural climate and ask what really happens if Roe versus Wade is overturned. Now, this is a really sensitive issue. It's not one that we can take lightly. Because if abortion really is the taking of a child's life, then we really need to be sobered by that. At the same time, some of the people that you and I know have had abortions and the last thing we want to do is heap shame and guilt on them. So this is a complicated issue. It's emotionally fraught.
Patrick Miller: Someone much wiser than me once said that where you stand depends on where you sit. And it's something that stuck with me for a long time and it's for sure true here. Your position, your opinion about abortion probably has a lot to do with where you sit. If you've had people in your life who have had abortions, if you've had an abortion yourself, that's going to impact. It's going to shade how you even experience a podcast like this. And so I think we want to be in just by caveating this in a few ways. The first way is saying that we aren't talking about all cases of abortion. We're not going to talk about rape. We're not going to talk about incest or ectopic pregnancies. Those only account for a very small, small, small percentage of total abortions. And we're not going to talk about those things because it often distracts from the larger conversation. The other thing we're not going to talk about is what you should do if you've had an abortion or someone you know has had an abortion. That's more of a counseling issue. And that's an important thing for you to go through. And again, we want to acknowledge the fact that you might be in a sensitive spot and hearing this might keep a lot of guilt on you that we aren't really intending to heap on anyone. This might not be the best podcast, frankly, for you personally to listen to.
Keith Simon: Yeah, Patrick, you're right, that we're not talking about all those what you might call hard cases. And yet, those hard cases are what everybody talks about.
Patrick Miller: I know.
Keith Simon: So it's this weird situation in which probably less than 2%, maybe less than 1% of abortions are due to rape, incest, ectopic pregnancies, things like that, and yet, it's what everybody fixates on. And I think it's because they don't want to wrestle with the bigger issue. And so it's easier to go to the fringe. They're really complicated things that we don't have easy answers and talk about those instead and use those very difficult emotionally complicated issues to cast doubt on more clear issues. So what we're trying to do is stay in the main area of the 98% of abortions that happen in America.
Patrick Miller: And so some of you might be asking, " Why even do this? Are you trying to make a political point? Are you trying to advocate for some policy?" and the answer to that is no. The reason why we're doing this because the Bible tells us to do it. God commands us to do and to love justice. Micah 6: 8 says, " Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God." Whichever side you're on, I think you would agree that this is an issue of justice, and thus as Christians, if God's calling us to do that, we have to consider this question, " Is abortion morally acceptable?"
Keith Simon: Biblical justice demands that we care for the vulnerable, and if the unborn child is a human being, if that unborn child has rights, if the unborn child is created in the image of God, then that unborn child is the most vulnerable human that we can imagine.
Patrick Miller: And on the flip side of that, if that unborn child is not, in fact, an unborn child, if that's just an embryo, if it's just a fetus and it's not a life in God's eyes, then we should be concerned about a woman's right to have a decision- making power over her healthcare, that the government isn't getting into her private matters the same way we would say with contraception or all kinds of other medical matters that the government isn't going to determine for you.
Keith Simon: And you're already getting right to the very heart of the debate, which is maybe good place to just start it and we can unpack it. And that is, what is being aborted? That's the question. Because if what is being aborted is not a human life, then it's not a big deal, right? And I don't have any reason to be against abortion, but if what is being aborted is a human life, then that changes everything.
Patrick Miller: Well, and I think this is also important to note right at this point that we are trying not to take a cynical take on either sides. If you talk to pro- lifers, they might give you the idea that people who are pro- choice hate babies. They want to murder children. That's their deep heart desire, " I want to kill children." And of course, that's absolutely ridiculous. Hopefully, I would certainly hope, they do not believe that the children who are being aborted or the fetus or the embryo is a baby, is a person. I would certainly hope that they wouldn't think that, they wouldn't be okay with that. On the flip side, there's a lot of pro- choice people who think that pro- life people are only pro- life because they want to control women. They're patriarchs. They want to control women's bodies, and again, absolutely ridiculous. I'm sure there's some people in both camps who do have outlandish views like that, but let's be fair to one another and let's try to discuss this without the political partisan lenses and shadings and get right to the heart of the issue. And let's start with this question. What does the Bible say about abortion?
Keith Simon: So what does the Bible say about abortion? Well, let's start with this. The Bible never mentioned the word abortion.
Patrick Miller: Okay, great. Let's move on. Next topic. That was so easy. Oh, gosh.
Keith Simon: Well, if you listen to some people, that's what they want to do, right? They want to say, " Well, the Bible never talks about abortion. So therefore, it doesn't really have any clear guidance on this issue." But there are a lot of words The Bible doesn't use. Take something like the Trinity which is a part of the Orthodox tradition of the Christian faith and you're not really a Christian if you don't believe in the Trinity. Well, guess what? The Bible never uses the word Trinity. " Oh, no." What happened is that people had to use theological reasoning to understand the Trinity. In other words, all the elements of the Trinity are clearly taught in the Bible, and yet, that word itself isn't. Or take a word like social media, that's never used in the Bible, and yet, I don't think any of us want to say that the Bible doesn't have anything to say about how we interact on social media.
Patrick Miller: Well, there's lots of other things. The Bible doesn't say anything about nuclear bombs. It doesn't say anything about guns. This is because the Bible is a document which was created in a time, it can't speak to all things and all times in all places. And because it was created at a time, there's going to be some things that will seem obvious to the writers and creators of the Bible and some things that will seem less obvious. And so the real question here is why the silence? Why would the Bible say nothing about abortion?
Keith Simon: I might tweak that a little bit. I think the Bible talks about the issue of abortion. It just doesn't use the word, but it talks about all the elements that go into an abortion. So let's say this, the Bible clearly condemns all murders. So for example, it does not explicitly say, " Hey, don't murder 30- year- olds." It just says, " Don't murder people," and you are supposed to assume that 30- year- olds are people. It doesn't say, " Don't murder French people." You're just to assume that a French people are human beings, they are not to be murdered. " Don't murder white people. Homeless people." It doesn't make all those distinctions. Instead, it just says, " Do not murder." So the Bible is pretty clear that murder is sin and it is wrong. So I think it'd be a little bit unusual if you found in the Bible where it says, " Don't murder an unborn child." It just doesn't seem to fit because the command to not murder covers the unborn child, if indeed it is a child.
Patrick Miller: Well, it's exactly right. If you believe that an unborn child is a child, you would never feel the need to say, " Don't murder an unborn child." Now I realize this is a tautology, right? It's a circular argument, it's hard to get out of and it's really interesting to me because let's just take our own culture. If I started feeling the need to say, " Don't murder black people. Don't murder Asian people. Don't murder," fill in the blank people, that might offend you if you're listening. It's like, " Why is he focusing in on those people? Why is he saying that?" Well, there'd be two reasons. One, if our culture had a serious problem, it had to be addressed like, " I need to be clear now, don't murder those kinds of people because everybody's doing it." That'd be the only reason I would do it. And so again, if it was common in Israel that people were having abortions, that they were murdering fetuses, then again you would expect the biblical authors to say something. But if it wasn't common, if it wasn't a normal thing, then you would expect nothing to be said. So why does the Bible never use the word abortion? Well, it might be because it's already covered under the broader command, " Don't murder." So the real question is, whether or not there was widespread agreement in Ancient Israel about whether or not children, unborn children were humans.
Keith Simon: Exactly. If you look at the Hebrew Scriptures, what is clear is that children are a gift from God. The ability to have children was seen as something that God has blessed people with. And if people were unable to have children, that was seen as a curse. So the first chapter of the Bible, there's this command to be fruitful and multiply. And that multiplication of children was seen as God's blessing. Or you find verses in Psalm 1: 27 that clearly say, " Children are a gift from God," and bear in this what you see in the Old Testament. Think of Abraham and Sarah or Jacob and Rachel, that that was a sign that God had turned against them. Hannah, the mother of Samuel. She was pleading your case before God because she couldn't have children. Children were seen as something that you wanted, that were valued, that were a sign of God's blessing. It was God's gift to you which I've always thought is crazy how we think about children. Because God says, " Children are a gift," and that's one gift from God that a lot of people don't want, right? Like, " I've had too many gifts, God. I don't want any more gifts."
Patrick Miller: Well, it is really interesting. What I'm hearing you say is that Ancient Israelite culture was much more pro- child, much more pro having lots of kids than even contemporary culture was. And so it's a little bit hard to imagine them being pro- abortion because, in that culture, everybody just wanted to have more kids. Here's what I find really interesting. Greco- Roman culture was actually fairly okay with the idea of abortion. It was a common practice, both in Greece and in Rome. So what's fascinating to me is that when Jews begin to interact with Greco- Roman culture, that's the point at which they have to actually articulate, " Hey, what we all already believed, abortion is wrong." And this is the case with all things, right? For example, no one had to articulate Jesus is both fully divine and fully human until you had some wonky Christians come along who tried to claim he wasn't fully divine. You don't have to say something until someone challenges it. Why is there silence in the Old Testament? Well, part of it's because no one was challenging the idea that abortion was wrong. But let's look at some of this first and second century examples of Jews articulating what Jews before them believed.
Keith Simon: Yeah, so let me go back and say that your right, Roman culture was completely fine with even infanticide.
Patrick Miller: Yes.
Keith Simon: That child would be born and then could be thrown on a trash heap if the child wasn't wanted and that could have been because it was a baby girl which is fairly common or because it had some sort of disability. So Roman culture treated life very differently than Jewish culture did. So like you said, the Jews of that day then started clearly articulating their view on this issue, the view that had been assumed from the very beginning of the Jewish people. So you find this, I hope I'm pronouncing this right, it sounds like a disease, but it's the sentences of Pseudo- Phocylides.
Patrick Miller: That's Case favorite STD.
Keith Simon: It was written somewhere between 50 BC and 50 AD. It said this, " A woman should not destroy the unborn babe in her belly nor after its birth, throw it before the dogs and the vultures."
Patrick Miller: Or here's another quote from the Sibylline Oracles which was a very, very, very widely read Jewish text from this time period. It says that among the wicked are those who" produce abortions" and unlawfully cast their offspring away. Now, I just want to point something here. It's put two ideas together. In our culture, no one's okay with infanticide. No one's okay with, " My baby's born. You can go kill it." However, in Jewish culture, they saw infanticide as an extension of abortion. They put those two things together because they didn't see any difference between the two.
Keith Simon: First Enoch, another very widely reliable source, this is the first or second century BC, says that, " Evil angel taught humans how to smash the embryo in the womb."
Patrick Miller: Josephus, who's one of the only other major Jewish authors from the time of the New Testament wrote this, " The law orders all the offspring be brought up and forbids women either to cause abortion or to make away with a fetus." And a woman who did so, again, was considered to have committed infanticide, which very, very clearly highlights the fact that these were seen the same way.
Keith Simon: So what's the point here? Well, the point is that when the Jewish people needed to articulate that abortion was wrong, they spoke with one unified voice. When abortion became something that was common in the culture around them, they said, " No, this is not how God's people do it. We've always valued children as a gift from God. We've always wanted more children." Now, that's important to get because abortion is not mentioned in the New Testament either. And so people will go, " Why is that now?" We'll think about who the authors of the New Testament are. They are primarily Jewish. They're part of this Jewish worldview formed in the Hebrew Scriptures that is expressed in the quotes from first and second century sources that we just read. So the New Testament authors would have been of the same mindset. They would have never even considered anyone could even possibly think that abortion had God's sanction or approval.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, I think someone wants to pushback and say, " The New Testament is a document from the time of this Greco- Roman culture. It doesn't mention anything about abortion," hey, that's a really fair pushback, but I will do a pushback to that pushback. It also never says the opposite. It never says anything that's pro- choice, never says anything about, " Hey, it's fine if you do this," which it would feel like it should say if all of a sudden that rule had changed. In fact, here's what's interesting. There are at least two ancient documents that were in serious consideration for being considered as biblical back in the day when they're figuring out, " Hey, what's really the canon?" And that was the Epistle of Barnabas and the Didache, highly, highly, widely, widely read texts that describe the early church's practice. And again, they speak with one voice about this topic and it's probably worth mentioning, these texts were written around the exact same time that our New Testament was written.
Keith Simon: So the Epistle of Barnabas says that we must love our unborn child just like any other human being. It says, " You shall love your neighbor more than your own life. You shall not slay a child by abortion. You shall not kill that which has already been generated." So notice that they think that life begins at conception, or here's the Didache that Patrick already referred to, this was something that was used to catechize new Christians. It says, " Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant." So this is the waters that the New Testament authors swam in. This is the worldview that all Jewish Christians and all Greek Christians, Gentile Christians held at the time.
Patrick Miller: And just to reiterate this, Keith just had a big word catechize. In other words, this is something that virtually every Christian memorized in the first century. And this continues forward. Tertullian, he calls abortion murder. Basil the Great who comes along later, again, compares it to murder, Jerome, Augustine, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. You can go through all of church history and we continually reaffirm the idea that abortion is murder. And so here's the point, you can say, "You know what? I don't care what Christian tradition says. I don't care what Jews in the time of Jesus thought. I don't care what the assumed worldview and ethic was at the time. I don't care about any of that. None of that matters to me because I know better and I'm pro- choice," but you have to be willing to throw out the practice of the early church. You have to be willing to throw out the practice of early Jews. You have to be able to throw out the cultural assumptions that they came to the text with, which explains why maybe the Bible was silent on this. Keith, can I just add one more thing really quick?
Keith Simon: Yeah, of course. It's your podcast.
Patrick Miller: Okay, so one thing I saw circulating around Twitter... The amount of misinformation on what the New Testament and Old Testament say about abortion on social media was atrocious.
Keith Simon: Well, can I tell you something that I tell my kids? It just clears up a lot of things in life. So I just tell them, I just say, " Hey, think about how dumb the average person is," and they all think in their head. " All right, just think of people you run into, people who are driving on the road, things you read, think how dumb the average person is. Now realize that half the world is dumber than that." You just get it. That clears up a lot of things that you find on Twitter. Man, pretentious cynicism right here on Truth Over Tribe. I say that in jest-
Patrick Miller: Because you're on the dumber half of-
Keith Simon: Right, because I'm sure our family's on that. Because when you say you read something dumb on Twitter, I'm like, " Well, of course, it's where all dumb things go to live."
Patrick Miller: Okay. Well, this particular one was actually tweeted by a blue check mark, congresswoman.
Keith Simon: Ooh, ooh, we're impressed.
Patrick Miller: Who said, I won't name her for the sake of whatever, and this is what she said, " I'm a Christian, and because I'm a Christian, I'm pro- choice because I agree with Jesus who, like all first century Jews, believed that life began at birth." Now we have shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that that is definably a dumb statement.
Keith Simon: Did she cite her sources?
Patrick Miller: No, she had nothing to say, but she's got the blue check mark, she's a congressperson, and so apparently, you can say whatever you want to say without reproach, but I've seen it go around Twitter. In fact, as I've talked to people who are here in Columbia, I've had that same comment come up, was like, " Hey, why don't you believe what Jesus believed?" I'm like, " No, no, no. That came from the Babylonian Talmud, okay? That was written almost 200 years after the time of Jesus by Jews who lived in the period after the temple was destroyed. It is not a reflection of what Jews believed at the time of Jesus." It's a development of later Judaism and it's worth noting, even in that text, it's actually not making the point people think it's making. It goes through the various parts of the development of an embryo all the way to a human and it's trying to carefully distinguish what's this part in terms of its human life and its humanity and it's distinguishing at different stages. It's not talking about abortion. And I have to imagine that the authors that they realized they were being used to defend a pro- choice decision, will go, " Whoa, whoa, whoa. I thought we were doing metaphysics. I didn't know that we were talking about whether or not you could kill this embryo or this fetus."
Keith Simon: So just to make sure that I'm tracking and everybody else with me, you're saying that the verify, the blue check mark who said that Jesus, like every other Jew in the first century, believed that abortion was okay because life began at birth. You're saying that that's all rooted in something that came hundreds of years after Jesus and even then is being misinterpreted and used in a way that the people who wrote the Babylonian Talmud would be shocked by.
Patrick Miller: It would be like someone 2, 000 years from now saying, " The framers of the Constitution believed in transgender activism and we know this because of what was written 250 years later."
Keith Simon: Yeah. Okay.
Patrick Miller: So that's where we're at in our discourse. Okay, let's go back to the Bible verse again. So is there a biblical argument against abortion? What we've been doing thus far is just admitting, " Hey, the Bible doesn't use the word abortion. Why is it silent and what if people around these various times that the Bible is written, what did they think about the topic of abortion?" We've shown, I think, convincingly that everybody agreed abortion is murder, abortion is wrong and it's only murder because the unborn child was viewed as a human life, but is there anything in the Bible that might guide us?
Keith Simon: So it's not really a complicated argument. It's pretty simple and straightforward, that you start in Genesis chapter one where you see that every human being is created in the image of God and therefore has value. And you see that repeated at different points in the Old and New Testaments. For example, in the New Testament in James 3, one reason we're not supposed to gossip and slander against each other is because every human being is created in the image of God. So there's the sense in which every human being has value before God. Second, second easy step, is that unjustly killing human beings is morally wrong. Now, that's found in The 10 Commandments, " Do not murder." It's also found in Proverbs 6 where there are things that are detestable to God and one of them is taking an innocent life. So I don't think I have much argument of either of those two assertions. One, every human being has value, and two, unjustly taking the life of a human being is wrong.
Patrick Miller: Okay, Keith, and thanks for saying something that everybody already knew.
Keith Simon: Well, that's for sure true, but let me just point out something, that we take these truths for granted, but when these were originally written in the Ancient Near East, no one took it for granted. Every human being didn't have value. Only the pharaoh had value. Only the kings had value. And so the Bible is a revolutionary document when it says that every human life has value. In the Greco- Roman world when you discarded infant a newborn, that's because they didn't have value. So what was revolutionary about Christianity is it said, " It doesn't matter your skin color, it doesn't matter if you're abled or disabled, it doesn't matter If you're male or female, you have value and you can't take someone else's life." Even the king, the king has to submit to the rule of law. You don't just get to take vengeance in your own hands and have vigilante justice. That's not the way it works. And so we take these for granted that all human beings have value and it's morally wrong to take a life, but that's only because our culture has been so shaped by Christianity. So we now take for value that which was revolutionary.
Patrick Miller: In fact, the Bible values human life so much that it not only condemns murder, which would be the willful killing of someone else, it also condemns manslaughter which is the accidental killing of someone else. And so throughout the law, if you accidentally kill someone, there are consequences for that accidental death. That's how valuable life is. Now I say that because it takes us to one passage, which is in my opinion somewhat bizarrely used to argue that an unborn life is not a fully human life. This is Exodus 21: 22. If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely, but there's no serious injury, the offender must be fine, whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. So logic here is normally in the Bible, when you murder someone, you get the death penalty, you die, but in this case, when it sounds like perhaps an unborn baby dies, that person doesn't get the death penalty. Now they just get a fine.
Keith Simon: Well, I think little bit more is happening here, right? In other words, there is a fight in which a woman is accidentally injured and her baby is injured or her fetus is injured. It's more of a manslaughter- y- type feel than murder.
Patrick Miller: Well, though, that's exactly right. And in fact, the context that it comes in is around passages that have to do with things like manslaughter. So to name what's happening, the woman's not having a fight.
Keith Simon: Right.
Patrick Miller: Someone else is. She's accidentally struck, this causes her to miscarry the baby. In fact, it's not clear whether or not the baby dies. It says that the baby goes out through the woman. That could mean the baby was alive or the baby was dead. The point was the people who struck her did it by accident. They weren't trying to abort a baby.
Keith Simon: So you're saying that this doesn't have any application to the abortion discussion because what people are saying is, again, back to Twitter, where all the smart people live, people are saying that if the woman's life is valued more than the fetus' life.
Patrick Miller: Yeah. Here's why that's wrong, Because this comes in a set of passages that are talking about manslaughter. If, if, if, if that man had intentionally tried to kill the baby, now we don't have a passage like that, like if a man punched a woman in her pregnant belly in order to abort the baby, we don't have that in the Old Testament, I think you would have had a different law. It would have probably been the death penalty, but that's not what it is. This is in a set of passages that talk about manslaughter and they all apply the exact same penalty. So let me give some examples. Let's say this is from the Old Testament, this is from this section. Let's say you've got an axe and you swing it backwards and the axe head comes flying off and it hits a dude behind you and it kills him. Do you get put to death for accidentally killing him? No, you have to pay a penalty. Does that mean that he's not a human because you weren't put to death? Well, no, it's because it was an accident. Or different examples, let's say you've got an ox gored someone. You might say, " Hey, that's your responsibility. You should know that your ox gores people, whatever else." If your ox gores someone, are you put to death? No, you have to pay a penalty and you have to put the ox down as a result. So I'm using examples, but let's use the last one, it's a little bit controversial, the accidental killing of a slave. So in this story, it's an abusive taskmaster- y- type person who hits his slave, not trying to kill a slave, but kills a slave in the process. Well, that person ends up paying a penalty for killing the slave. Why? Now it's a dark, bad thing that they did. They shouldn't have slaves in my opinion. They shouldn't be striking them, but this is part of the Old Testament law. It was an accidental killing and so they only pay a penalty. Does that mean that the slave isn't a human? No, it doesn't mean the slave is not a human. Now, why would the Bible have these laws? Well, it makes perfect sense. If you accidentally kill someone, you would feel bad, but you'd probably also want to escape retribution. You wouldn't want to pay the cost, " Hey, I did this by accident." Or on the flip side, let's say you kill someone else's dad by accident. What do you think they'll try to do to you? Well, they'll probably try to seek vengeance and kill you. And so this also protects you if you did it by accident. And so in all these cases, the reason why these fees exist is precisely because the person killed has value, is precisely because the person has life. If the unborn child wasn't a human life, there would be no fee, we wouldn't have this passage about an accidental killing of an unborn child.
Keith Simon: So it turns out that these passages that require a price, something to be paid a penalty for killing an unborn child or a fetus, if you will, really show that that fetus is a human being and therefore has value. So I think there are a lot of passages in the Bible that affirm what you're saying, which is that an unborn fetus is a human life, is a child. So here is Jeremiah chapter one, verse five, " God says,'Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart.'" So think about this, God is saying to an adult prophet, " Back when you were in the womb, I had a relationship with you. I had formed you. I set you apart and appointed you to this job that you're doing." So he's interacting with this child in the womb, as if it is a real person.
Patrick Miller: It's just hard to imagine God appointing and setting apart fetal tissue.
Keith Simon: Yes. So how about this, Job chapter 10? " Your hands shaped me and made me Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay? Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews. You gave me life and showed me kindness and in your providence watched over my spirit." So here, Job is arguing with God and he's saying, " God, you formed me in the womb, you gave me skin, you gave me flesh, you gave me life," and all those references back to happen in the womb. He says, " So why now turn against me?" Because if you know Job's story, he had all these trials and difficulties, " So God, you're the one who gave me life in the womb and made me and formed me, why are you turning against me now?"
Patrick Miller: One of my favorite ones comes from Psalm 1: 39, very famous passage. This is what David says, " For you created my inmost being," catch this, " You knit me together in my mother's womb." Just pause there for a second. When did David become David? Did he become David once he exited the birth canal, that's when he became? First of all, according to David, David became David when he was in his mother's womb. That's when God started to know who he was. So he was a person, he was David all the way back there and it gets really personal, " You knit me together." And then he goes on, he says, " My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Now obviously, this is all... In all these passages, this is all poetical language and that's how some people try to get around this particular ones, " Oh, it's all just poetry. They don't mean what they're saying." And yet, does a metaphor make sense? Does a metaphor make sense if you try to claim that none of these people were humans until they left the birth canal, that none of these people were themselves, Job, Jeremiah, David until they left the birth canal. I don't think the metaphor makes sense. And in each one, they described God intimately involved in the process of weaving them from conception all the way to birth. We'll get back to the episode in just a second, but I want to tell you how we are changing the newsletter.
Keith Simon: It needed to be changed. So thank goodness.
Patrick Miller: So you might not realize this, we do a lot with Truth Over Tribe. We've got a YouTube channel where we're posting videos. We write blogs and articles. We have this podcast. And so the newsletter is the one stop shop where once a week we will send you what we think is the best piece of content that you should check out, go listen to watch, read, whatever. So make sure that you're signed up for our newsletter. Go to choosetruthovertribe.com and sign up for the newsletter today.
Keith Simon: So keep that question that Patrick asked, " When did David become David? When did Jeremiah become Jeremiah?" and think about Jesus. So here is Luke chapter one, " But the angel said to Mary, 'You will be with child. With child, so you have a child in you, Mary, and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus. The Holy Spirit will come upon you. The power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God." When did Jesus become a person? Well, it wasn't when he left the birth canal. It wasn't when he entered into the world or took his first breath. It was at the very beginning at conception. That's when God gave him life, when the Son of God became flesh.
Patrick Miller: Right after this is one of my favorite passages. I won't read it. So Mary goes to visit her cousin, Elizabeth. And when Mary walks, pregnant Mary walks into the presence of pregnant Elizabeth, so Elizabeth has got John the Baptist in her womb, Mary's got Jesus in her womb and when this happens, Elizabeth says that, " The child in my womb, John the Baptist, had leapt for joy when he saw you." Now is John the Baptist just fetal tissue leaping for joy? Is John the Baptist, John the Baptist in the womb? Someone's going to hear me be mean or snarky or unkind in this, but this is a serious, serious ethical issue. And I just don't know what to do with the fact that the spirit was at work in John the Baptist before he left his mother's womb and obviously the same being the case for Jesus. How would the Holy Spirit feel if Elizabeth came along and aborted John the Baptist? How would the Holy Spirit feel after he had already moved in John the Baptist's heart?
Keith Simon: You hear Mary and Elizabeth talking and you could think of two women today who are pregnant, having a conversation and they sound very similar, " I'm excited about having this baby," or, " My baby kicked today and I felt it," or, " My baby's hungry and so my baby wants ice cream," or, " I'm having my baby listen to Mozart," the kinds of things that parents stand around and talk about about this baby inside of them. But nobody stands around and says that, " Well, how's my fetal tissue doing today?" Nobody says, " I felt my fetal tissue vibrate inside of me." So I guess my point is that Mary and Elizabeth, when they talked about pregnancy, they're talking about a child within them, which conforms to the way that we talk about it too because we instinctively, intuitively know that there's a child inside.
Patrick Miller: There's a distinct difference between the way a nurse who is operating a sonogram for an excited mom who's going to have her first child. There's a distinct difference between the way she talks and the way a nurse in an abortion clinic is going to talk. And you have to ask yourself the question, " Which one is more honest?" not just honest in terms of ethics and what the Bible says like, " Which one's actually more honest to experience? And how do you have to sear your conscience? How do you have to see or what you know to be true to speak in the way that the abortion nurse speaks?" And I'm not saying this to be mean, I'm not saying this to pile on guilt because I know there are women who have had abortions that regret it. I know there are women who don't regret it and yet they still feel deep pain and hurt over the action. And I think it's because whether or not you read the Bible, whether or not you believe what we're saying, we know deep down what's true, that's a baby, that's a child.
Keith Simon: And all we're trying to do right now is just answer the question, thus far, at least is, what does the Bible have to say? And I think the Bible is pretty clear, but I think it's worth asking if there's something we can learn from science. And I do think there is, that science confirms, I think, what we've been saying and that is that the unborn child is a distinct person. In other words, the unborn child does not like your leg. If you wanted to get her leg amputated, you could. That is part of your body, right? So people say, " My body, my choice," well, that would be true of you're a leg. If you want to get your leg amputated, I guess you can. But an unborn child, the fetus is very different than your leg because it has its own set of genetic material that causes it to grow and develop on its own. So it's not the same as your body. There now is another life there that every scientist would agree with.
Patrick Miller: Just only making sure I'm tracking what you're saying.
Keith Simon: That's Patrick's nice way of saying, " That was confusing."
Patrick Miller: Well, it's starting to sound gruesome.
Keith Simon: Fair enough.
Patrick Miller: But your point is, if a mother said, " I would like to chop off my hand," she's only destroyed a part of herself.
Keith Simon: Which is the argument, right? " It's my body, my choice and I can do what I want to do."
Patrick Miller: But if she destroys an embryo, she's destroyed something that's not herself. She's destroyed something that has its own unique genetic code, that is its own unique person that is not her genetic code.
Keith Simon: That will grow and develop a new life. And therefore the issue comes down to, " Is there one life or two lives? One set of rights or two set of rights? One person created in the image of God or two people created in the image of God?"
Patrick Miller: Yeah, we're showing how difficult this is. And let's ask a different question that shows how challenging this is. Where do you draw the line, okay? So since Roe versus Wade, we've drawn the line at viability, the point at which the-
Keith Simon: Roe v. Wade set it at trimesters. Planned Parenthood versus Casey set it at viability.
Patrick Miller: You are correct. See-
Keith Simon: I get something right every once in a while.
Patrick Miller: That's good. Casey restricted it in some sense.
Keith Simon: And that's a really interesting story that we probably shouldn't go into, but I'm just going to say a little something right now, it applies to our current situation because a lot of people thought that in Casey, it was going to overturn Roe and it didn't because literally the morning of the announced decision, Justice Souter talked Justice O'Connor and Justice Kennedy into affirming Roe and making some mild restrictions on abortion. And so I guess my point is-
Patrick Miller: Which could happen in this case by the way.
Keith Simon: Right. That's why it's not like out of left field or a complete tangent because you don't know until you know and there have been situations where even the day of the decision has been changed, because there's all kinds of conversations happening behind the scenes and we don't know how this is going to play out, at least not at the time that we're recording this.
Patrick Miller: We really don't. It might come out on Monday. There's supposed to be some big news on Monday. So if you're listening to this on Wednesday or later when it comes out, just give us a break if we've gotten something wrong here. But let's get back to the basic question. What the court was trying to sort out in Casey was, " What's the point at which this child goes from being a fetus to a person with rights?" and the answer again was around viability. In other words, if that child could live outside of the womb, then it would be considered a child.
Keith Simon: Which I think was 23 weeks at that point, what they were saying.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, yeah. Well, and see, this actually highlights the point. The point at which a child can live outside of the womb is based on technology. That is all it's based on. As our technology gets better, that timeline starts going further and further and further and further back, right? So I have a buddy who says, " Hey, I'm pro- choice up to the point of viability," and I'll press him on this and say, " Why does technology get to decide for you when a person becomes a human? Don't you think that's a bizarre way of letting that decision happen?"
Keith Simon: And I guess, if you were to hold his position consistently, then his view of when that fetus became a person five years from now would be different than today because, five years from now, a child maybe at 15 weeks would be viable. I don't know, but-
Patrick Miller: So for him, the question comes down to dependency. He's like, " Well, up until that point, it's totally dependent on the mother." Now, that argument doesn't work because I'll tell you what, if you take a 23, 24, 25, 30, 35, 39- week- old infant out of a mother's womb and you don't do anything to it, it will die.
Keith Simon: Well, think about somebody who's paralyzed. They're dependent, right? Let's say I'm a quadriplegic. I'm dependent. Does my life not have value now? Let's say I'm in a coma. I'm dependent. Does that mean my life doesn't have value? So you can't make it about dependency.
Patrick Miller: Dependency is a terrible way to determine whether or not someone is a human. It doesn't work right after birth. It doesn't work at 22 weeks, 23 weeks. And here's the bigger problem, you just have to draw a line somewhere. For you, if you're going to stay in the pro- choice position or if you're wrestling with the pro- choice position, you have to answer the question, " At what point does this become a human life?" Because at that point, I think we would all agree, it's a human made in the image of God with inalienable rights that should not be murdered. And so how do you know? Is it 15 weeks? Is it 14 weeks? 13, 12, 10? And how do you make the case for that particular week being the week where it happens? Again, not trying to be mean here, I'm just pointing out that you have to draw the line and you have to have a case for making that line.
Keith Simon: Well, it gets back to what I said, it was the root of the issue, and that is, what is being aborted? If you answer that question, you'll have answered all these questions. If you think you're aborting a child, it's clearly wrong. You wouldn't abort a one- year- old. You wouldn't abort a one- day- old, but if it's one day before birth, is it okay, if it's one month? Like you said, it's just hard to draw that line. Now on the other hand, if it's not a child that you're aborting, then I don't think any of us should have moral qualms to it. We have to ask a question and maybe we're going to get to this later, I'm not sure, but why has abortion remained in such a divided topic in America? So let's take something like gay marriage. Gay marriage was very, very unpopular, like unthinkable. And then over time, more and more people became okay with it. It became a law of the land, Obergefell, and now we've seen the percentage of Americans, all Americans, including evangelicals, embrace gay marriage.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, so 2002, 12% of evangelicals said that they supported gay marriage. Today, 54%, and by the way, that's the most conservative group out there. So you're just making the point that actually we've started to come to a consensus around gay marriage. Even if you're not for people having homosexual relationship, you're going to probably still be pro- gay marriage.
Keith Simon: Well, yeah-
Patrick Miller: I don't want a law that forbids it.
Keith Simon: And my point here doesn't depend on whether it's evangelical Christians or not, Americans have gotten more comfortable with gay marriage, but that has not happened with abortion. Abortion still remains around a 50/50 issue, 55/ 45. It all depends how you define it. Now why? Why is it that it is an issue that remains so divided? And I think some of it has to do with medical technology because, as our technology has improved, what you're able to do is see that child in the womb at earlier and earlier stages and you just can't deny that that fetal clump of tissues looks an awful lot like a baby. And people take that sonogram and they put it on the refrigerator and they share it with their friends and family, they post it on social media and they get excited about it. And they have these gender reveal parties, " Here's my baby's going to be. Is it going to be a little boy or little girl?" And I think medical technology works to keep that pro- life position alive because it keeps in front of all of us what is happening inside that womb.
Patrick Miller: And of course, the opposite of that is also really tragically true. Emily and I had a miscarriage and I remember going to the sonogram to see our baby and the sonogram not picking anything up and the nurse not quite knowing what to say and us looking at the screen and realizing what was happening. And I have a different friend who had a miscarriage and the nurse tried to sue this friend by saying, " Oh, well, it was only X weeks along, so it wasn't really a baby yet. And so you guys are going to be okay." And I was like, " Wow, you are so, so, so wrong. Not to mention totally out of touch with your emotional intelligence." Thankfully, our nurse wasn't like that. She saw I started crying and it makes me emotional talking about it right now and she soothed us and she walked out the room and let us be alone the way we need to be because it was a baby, right? And that's what it comes down to is that's a baby. So whichever side you've been on, again common sense actually points you in a direction.
Keith Simon: When you mourn a miscarriage, Christine had a miscarriage as well, you're acknowledging that that is a human being. I listened to a podcast a long time ago, I didn't think that podcast exists anymore called Slate Political Gabfest and you had three people, I don't know they are spiritually, but at least two of them were for sure not Christians. And one of their episodes, they asked, " What's something that 20, 30, 40, 100 years from now people will look back on us and judge us for? And then what were they thinking at that time?" And it was interesting to hear them process it and I remember one of the things people said, " Eating animals, that at some point, we're going to recognize that animals are more aware and more cognizant of their surroundings and us and blah, blah, blah and we're going to regret ever eating animals." And okay, maybe I don't know, where we'll be 100 years from now, but I couldn't help but think when I was listening to it is I think abortion. Because as medical technology improves and we're able to see more and more of what is inside the mother's womb, the more people are going to look back and say, " Hang on a second, how did you deny that that was a child? What were you thinking?" Now, I don't know if that's really true because our culture is going we're dehumanizing everything, but I wouldn't be surprised if people both in the past and in the future judge our current moment for being so cavalier with life.
Patrick Miller: So let me try to sum up what we've done thus far. We've been trying to talk about what the Bible says about abortion. We've been very honest, the Bible doesn't use the word abortion, but we've shown why the Bible was silent about it because it was always assumed that it was wrong to kill a child in the womb the same way that you'd assume it's wrong to kill a homeless person or a white person or a 30- year-old. It just doesn't need to be stated. And then we showed using the Bible all kinds of passages which very, very strongly support the idea that in that time period they did see children inside of the womb as children. And so if you want to be a pro- choice position, you have to strongly wrestle with the fact that there is nothing, there's absolutely nothing in the Bible which fits with your position. There's nothing that seems to condone it and there's nothing that seems to suggest that a baby in the womb is less than human. Now, you have to wrestle through that in your own way in your own time, but I do think that's a challenge that you personally have to face. And one more reminder here, we've bracketed out the complicated issues, abortion is caused because of rape or incest. Remember, that is 1 or 2% of total abortions. We are talking about the vast majority. And please also remember, while I know we're speaking strongly, as I think anyone should by the way if you're talking about protecting innocent, vulnerable life, it's not because we're trying to heap shame on people. It's because we want people to walk in guilt. There's forgiveness. There's forgiveness for abortion. There's forgiveness for every sin. And I praise God every day because I am no better than someone who has had an abortion
Keith Simon: All right, so let's talk about Roe versus Wade and see if we can't clear up some misconceptions about what happens if indeed this is overturned.
Patrick Miller: Okay, Keith, so remember, we're recording this on Friday, the 13th of May.
Keith Simon: Well, I just read a tweet by the Associated Press right before we started recording that the Supreme Court met, I don't know exactly when, but the judges met for the first time in private since the leaked draft opinion and they didn't say much about what they talked about. But from what I could tell, they did say that a court decision is going to be released on Monday. Now, we don't know what decision that is. In other words, is it Dobbs, Mississippi case? And We don't know what the decision is going to be. So we're in the dark a little bit.
Patrick Miller: And we should say there is a chance, maybe a smaller chance that this case won't end up overturning Roe versus Wade. They might end up just supporting the law in Mississippi which bans all abortions after 15 weeks. They can support that law and actually not overturn Roe versus Wade. I'm just saying that like that's a possibility of what could happen, but let's go forward and just ask the question because it could still happen in the future, no matter what's happening now. What would happen if Roe versus Wade was overturned?
Keith Simon: Well, I do think this is really important to discuss whether it happens now or not because I think that a lot of people have misconceptions and therefore they're against Roe versus Wade being overturned for reasons that don't quite make sense. So let's just say this, if Roe versus Wade is overturned, does that make abortion illegal? No, no, not at all. It has nothing to do with it. So all these people out there saying, " If Roe's overturned that all these abortions are going to become illegal." No, not at all.
Patrick Miller: It just means that there's no longer, according to the Supreme Court, a constitutional right to have an abortion.
Keith Simon: Exactly. So that means that the abortion decision goes to the legislative branch. Now, that's the real issue here. Who should control the abortion laws? Who should write those laws? And what the court would be saying, if they overturn Roe, is that question needs to go to Congress. So it could go to the Federal Congress or it could go to State Congresses, which is more likely what is going to happen. This issue of abortion is going to be pushed down to the states, just like it was before 1973. When the Supreme Court made the Roe versus Wade decision in 1973, they overturned, I believe it's 49 states abortion laws.
Patrick Miller: As those weren't all laws prohibiting abortion, they were laws, some of them prohibited abortion, some had more strict restrictions on abortion but overturned, 49 states laws.
Keith Simon: What this is going to do is push the issue of abortion back to all the states and each state gets to make its own decisions.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, so some people might be surprised to know that there were a lot of abortions before Roe versus Wade, before supposedly we gave people the right to have abortion in some people's minds. For example, in the 1930s, there were, on average, 800, 000 abortions per year. This is from Abortion in America: The Origins and evolution of National Policy published by Oxford University Press. I know you're going to tell me that I'm wrong and-
Keith Simon: Well, I don't agree with that. This doesn't make any logical sense given the population growth. The numbers don't quite add up, but Oxford University Press, I'm sure they have a fact checker smarter than me., but here's the big point-
Patrick Miller: Of course. Can I say something? Of course, there were less women back then. There was also probably more child having in general, no forms of contraception like we have today, so things might even out in a different fashion.
Keith Simon: Well, fair enough, but the big point you're trying to make is that there were abortions before Roe, there are abortions after Roe, that Roe didn't launch the abortion movement. Abortion has been around a long time.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, I won't read it, but I've got a quote right here from a 19th century doctor in Sedalia, Missouri near where we're doing this podcast where he is condemning the world, the state around him for the amount of abortions that were happening at the time. So if, if, if, if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, that means it will probably become illegal to have an abortion in 13 states. The rest of the states, it will remain legal though the restrictions will vary widely depending on the state.
Keith Simon: And since a lot of the states that are more permissive, have more permissive abortion laws are the more populous states and since women will best guess is be able to travel to states to have abortion if they live in a state that makes it illegal and they want an abortion, they can travel across state lines to get it, it doesn't seem like overturning Roe is going to reduce the number of abortions that much. I've seen estimates, what? 12 to 14%, somewhere in that range. It's hard to know for sure.
Patrick Miller: So nationally, the abortion rate will reduce by about 12 to 14%. Now, you and I both can look at that and celebrate. That is a lot of lives. That's great news, but it's probably a lot less than most people think. The other reason why it won't have a giant effect is that the states that will likely outlaw abortion already have fairly restrictive abortion laws on the books, they also tend to have less abortion clinics. So those are already states where there are fewer abortions happening. So what does this mean? I think it means that the entire pro- life movement is about to go very, very local.
Keith Simon: And I think that's good, right?
Patrick Miller: Yes.
Keith Simon: Each state can make its own decisions about how it wants to handle it and there's not one uniform policy pushed on all 50 states. All of America has to follow one particular perspective and I think it's healthy. And it might mean that the temperature gets lowered a little bit. Because instead of the Supreme Court, nine unelected people sitting in black robes, making this decision, finding this somehow in the Constitution that even the best legal scholars say, " Well, it's not really there. Even pro- choice scholars say, "It's not there. They've invented this." Now it goes to the state representatives that are elected by the people and so each state can have its own set of abortion laws, be they restrictive or permissive.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, that's absolutely right. And I think it will also turn on the temperature on our presidential politics. The pro- life thing has been the nuclear option for the right. That's not going to be the case anymore. This is taking it out of the courts. Now, of course, new justices can be appointed and another case could come up that maybe overturns this overturn thing, but what people have to understand is that it is far harder to overturn a case than it is to establish a new president.
Keith Simon: It's interesting that the number of abortions that take place in America doesn't really follow the president of a party. In other words, if you have a Republican in office, it's not as if now we have less abortions. If you have a Democrat in office, we have more abortions.
Patrick Miller: That's exactly right. In fact, it's really helpful when we start thinking about what's next for the pro- life movement to get a few of our facts straight, just what we already know. The first thing is to know this. There are fewer abortions happening today than they were before Roe versus Wade. That might surprise people to learn.
Keith Simon: It surprises me.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, fewer today than that. Now, there's different reasons for this. One, birth rates are down overall. So people are having less kids which also seems to mean less abortions. There's the sex recession. People are having less sex. There's greater access to contraception today and there's also greater access to healthcare. And people stress that all those things combined mean that there are fewer unwanted pregnancies.
Keith Simon: So what that shows is that presidential politics really doesn't have that much to do with the rate of abortion, at least not in proportion to the amount of political coverage and heat that it causes each election.
Patrick Miller: Keith, do you want to take a guess? Under which president did abortions decrease the most? Because by the way, abortions have been decreasing since 1980 steadily, but which president?
Keith Simon: Well, you already know. Well, I do know, but it's Barack Obama. Yeah, it's Brock Obama and maybe one of our most proabortion, maybe Joe Biden is, but he's for sure one of the most pro- choice presidents we've ever had, right? And yet they decreased because of all the factor you just said, sex procession, increased access to contraceptives, all that.
Patrick Miller: Well, it's that, and interestingly, during Obama's presidency, that was the period during which states passed the most abortion restrictions. So it was actually state laws, local laws were impacted. Here's another interesting fact and do want take a wild guess? Under whose presidency did Planned Parenthood get the most federal dollars?
Keith Simon: Well, I would say Barack Obama, but I think I'm wrong.
Patrick Miller: It's Donald Trump. The high watermark was in 2019. Now, it wasn't because Trump was trying to get money to Planned Parenthood. It was because there was a particular Congress in place that was giving money to Planned Parenthood. What we're trying to say is that interestingly, the person who voted for president has not had an impact on the total number of abortions. It just hasn't had a major impact at all. They've gone down historically over time.
Keith Simon: Well, yeah, let's just throw in a caveat. I know people are screaming at us right now because it sounds like we're saying that who the president is doesn't matter when it comes to the number of abortions. And to some extent, we are saying that, but those presidents appoint judges and those judges might end up overturning Roe versus Wade.
Patrick Miller: That's absolutely right.
Keith Simon: So it does have it in that route, but that's not what we're talking about now.
Patrick Miller: If you're screaming now, you misunderstood the point. The point is abortions have gone down under every president. Now, this is not the first time that we have had a Supreme Court that had more conservative judges than more progressive judges nor is this the first time we had a Supreme Court that had mostly justices who were appointed by Republican presidents. This is far from the first time this has happened. And yet now is the first time that we're seeing Roe versus Wade turned over while a Democrat is a president.
Keith Simon: I think in 1973, I hope I'm right, in which Roe versus Wade was established by the court. There were nine justices and eight of them were Republican appointees.
Patrick Miller: I was going to say, " That's exactly right."
Keith Simon: That's right, isn't it?
Patrick Miller: Yeah, it is. What's the point that I'm making here? Who's the president right now? Joe Biden is. So just to do the thought experiment, if someone said, " Hey, if you vote for Joe Biden, Roe versus Wade will never be overturned." Well, that turns out to be wrong. No, I didn't vote for Joe Biden. That's not my point. My point is that presidential politics have way less of a bearing and the good news with this court case getting overturned is that it will now go to the legislative branch, which guess what? The president will still have no bearing on. So I do hope this demilitarizes some of our presidential debates. Let's keep talking about some facts that we know about abortion because it will help us think about what's the future of abortion. The next thing that's really, really important to know is this. The amount of people who are firmly pro- life, so we're talking very, very strongly pro- life, " I want abortion to be banned," and including people that say, " Hey, I'll give exceptions to rape and incest," and then on the other side, pro- choice, people who say, " Hey, I think that women have a right to abortion. The current standard is great. That's what I want," that makes up a very, very small proportion of the population.
Keith Simon: Most people are in the middle.
Patrick Miller: Yes, 75% of Americans are in the middle and they all agree, it's kind of the old Clintonism, right? Safe, legal and rare. That's where most Americans stand which tells us that Americans are actually relatively open maybe to having their mind change or to having a debate about what the law should be in a particular state.
Keith Simon: Right. We're not saying this is what it should be.
Patrick Miller: No.
Keith Simon: We're not saying-
Patrick Miller: Well, I don't know how someone could think that after the beginning of this podcast.
Keith Simon: Right. We're just saying this is where it is and so some of these polls are hard to discern because people seem confused. They seem a bit hazy on it. First, they don't know what Roe versus Wade does. And so if you ask them if they wanted overturn, it's not really a great question because people don't know what it means. But if you ask, like you said, about abortion in these situations, I think you get a little bit of a more accurate read. And where it seems like the American public is is they want abortion to be legal with some significant restrictions. In other words, they want to be a bit more like Europe.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, this is one of my favorite facts, this is when I talk to progressives. It was like, " Would you like the abortion laws of Europe? I could settle for the abortion laws of Europe across the country," and they're like, " You would?" I go, " Yeah. You want to know why? Because the vast majority of European countries and some of the most progressive countries, we're talking about France, we're talking about Sweden and Norway, they ban abortions after 12 weeks."
Keith Simon: Yeah, here it is right here. You can have abortions pretty freely in Sweden up to 18 weeks, Italy 90 days. How about this? Germany, Denmark, Belgium 12 weeks, Poland 10 weeks. After that, you can still get abortion in these European countries, but there are a lot more restrictions that really slows you down and prevents most abortions from happening. Now remember, the Mississippi law that sits before the Supreme Court right now would ban it at 15 weeks. So that would still be pretty liberal according-
Patrick Miller: The vast majority of European countries are 12 weeks to be-
Keith Simon: Yeah.
Patrick Miller: So Mississippi is more progressive than Sweden.
Keith Simon: I got to let that sink in for just a moment, but the way Europe has done it, of course, as they're all independent nations, is that each country can have its own abortion laws. And that's essentially what would happen in the United States with each state being able to have its own laws.
Patrick Miller: So again, we're talking about what is the future of the pro- life movement and we're just trying to establish some baseline things which is that presidential politics aren't going to be the issue. The thing that has actually reduced abortions over time are changes in state laws. That's why they reduced a bunch during Obama's reign. Between 2011 and 2014, Texas established a large number of abortion restriction laws and that reduced abortions by 28% in that state. Here's interesting, the state reduced abortions the most during this period was Delaware. That's interesting because it's a pro- choice state. It's a blue state. But between 2014 and 2017, they increased access to healthcare for their poorest residents and that decreased abortion by 37%.
Keith Simon: What's the goal of the pro- life movement? And it might be obvious, but I don't think it is because, if you listen to a lot of pro- lifers, the goal is to overturn Roe versus Wade.
Patrick Miller: It's not the goal.
Keith Simon: The goal should be to eliminate abortion, right?
Patrick Miller: That's the goal.
Keith Simon: That's the goal. And if we can reduce abortions by providing benefits or healthcare or childcare, whatever it is to women who need it, that reduces abortions, so we should celebrate that. So we should celebrate the way that Delaware did it, even though it was by social policy, just like we should celebrate the way the Texas did it.
Patrick Miller: Yup, both, and, I want both.
Keith Simon: Because we want both, right?
Patrick Miller: Yeah.
Keith Simon: But sometimes the conservative side, like the politically conservative side of the pro- life movement, doesn't want to extend those social benefits. And I understand there's a lot of issues there and a lot of unintended consequences and it's messy and I get all that.
Patrick Miller: But let's just be utilitarian for a second. If extending those meant that you reduced abortions by 40%, would you do it? And for me, I'm like, " Okay, whatever the cost, that's a lot of lies. I'll take it."
Keith Simon: Yeah, and everybody can have their own opinion on that because, like I said, a lot of unintended consequence.
Patrick Miller: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Keith Simon: The taxes are going to go up, all kinds of stuff, maybe inaudible lose jobs.
Patrick Miller: It's easier in a small state like Delaware.
Keith Simon: I'm just saying, what's the goal? Not overturning Roe versus Wade, it's eliminating abortion and eliminating the need to ever have abortions.
Patrick Miller: Keith, you're absolutely right. And as he read various people who thought a lot about how can we reduce abortion in America beyond just overturning Roe versus Wade, they're all pro overturning Roe versus Wade, so don't get that impression, the advice that they give is pretty straightforward. We have to locally create a society, a community where abortion is unappealing. If you want to be pro- life, try to create a community where abortion is increasingly unappealing. We actually asked our listeners, you guys for smart people, because we asked you, " What should the church be doing after Roe versus Wade is overturned?" And the things you said are what people in this movement would say, " We need to support and encourage and give time and money to crisis pregnancy centers where they're providing free or very inexpensive healthcare to pregnant moms who couldn't get it otherwise, but they are not providing abortions. We need to embrace adoption." And guess what, good news, evangelicals are really, really good at adoption. I'm not super worried on that front. We adopt children about five times the rate of the average American.
Keith Simon: Whoa, I think sometimes the evangelical wing of the pro- life movement gets a bum rap because people act as if, " Well, you just care about birth and you're not really going to support these women," and that's not true at all. You find pro- lifers and evangelicals, mainly, working in crisis pregnancy centers, having homes for unwed mothers, doing all kinds of things, adopting children, all kinds of things, both financially with their time, making sacrifices to come alongside women. So it's not just on the legal front where this battle is being fought. It's being fought to make abortion something that isn't needed or wanted in our world, at least doing everything we can to make that happen.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, and part of that does happen after the baby is born. This is why we should consider advocating for policies that help people support families, is why we should support single moms. I could be wrong with the statement I'm about to make, but I feel very confident about it, so I'll say it. My guess is, if you're a single mom in our city, one of the best places you could go if you needed support and care is our church. You come here, you're going to be shocked by the amount of care and support. I'm not saying it's perfect. And I think if you talk to single moms that, " Gosh, I could use more," and I would say, " Exactly." So let's people in our church give more time and energy and money. But you know what you're not going to find it? At the local atheist society. You know where you're not going to find it? Going knocking downtown at city hall. That's not where you're going to find it. You're going to find it amongst the people of God.
Keith Simon: I think all this is important to reiterate because overturning Roe versus Wade has unified the pro- life movement. And if Roe versus Wade is overturned, then what I think we're going to see is the pro- life movement is going to splinter and there are going to be all kinds of different groups out there with their own agenda. And those groups are going to have a big voice and they're going to speak loudly. Let's make sure that we are in the group that is compassionate, that comes alongside women and give them the support that they want and need before and after birth. And don't be crazy. Don't be doing like I've seen some proposed legislation in the state of Louisiana that suggests that we should jail women who have abortions. Don't be crazy. Whoever should be sanctioned criminally in abortion is the doctor who performed an illegal abortion, not the woman. That's not pro- life at all.
Patrick Miller: I appreciate that. And you know what? By answering that question, you're going into how I want to spend the last 10 minutes of this podcast, just doing a little lightning round because there's still so many other questions for us to discuss around this topic and so let's just flip flop and let's ask each other a few quick questions around the issue of Roe versus Wade, abortion and human life.
Keith Simon: Okay, so a lightning round, that's dangerous when it comes to abortion because we've already said it's a very sensitive, complicated topic, but there's so much to discuss and we just want to throw some things out there on the table. So how about let's start with this. Patrick, I've heard a lot of evangelicals say, " Hey, look, I held my nose and voted for Trump and now my vote is justified because he's appointed three Supreme Court justices. They look like they're going to overturn Roe, and therefore, yeah, Trump, he was what he was, but my vote's justified." What do you say?
Patrick Miller: First, I've never had a problem with you. I held my nose and voted for Trump, people. The people I've had a problem with are the, " My nose was wide open and I love this dude. He smells awesome," right? And I will be honest and candid, I didn't think that electing him was probably going to be the thing that overturned Roe versus Wade and I was wrong. And you know what? I am so happy to be right. I'm thrilled to be wrong. This is great news. So you plugged your nose, you did the vote, you did the work, you can make fun of me later.
Keith Simon: So you didn't vote for Trump, correct?
Patrick Miller: No.
Keith Simon: Let's say you knew in hindsight he was going to be able to appoint three justices if you won and that it would lead to the overturning of Roe. In other words, you could see the end from the beginning. Would you have voted for him?
Patrick Miller: No, I probably wouldn't have simply because, if I have hindsight, I also know that my vote won't change.
Keith Simon: Well, dufus.
Patrick Miller: So let me change the question. Let's say-
Keith Simon: Well, it comes down to your vote.
Patrick Miller: Let's say it comes down to my vote?
Keith Simon: It comes down to your vote, would you have voted for him?
Patrick Miller: Yes, 100%.
Keith Simon: Okay, I'm not sure I can say it as easily-
Patrick Miller: If it was that much like it literally came down to my vote...
Keith Simon: Right.
Patrick Miller: Yes, I would vote for him.
Keith Simon: So here's my problem.
Patrick Miller: I've never had a problem with a pinch your nose and vote for Trump.
Keith Simon: Yeah, same for me, I don't have any problem with him either. Here's my fear. My fear is that Trump, who is a very divisive person and has a lot of baggage that you and I are far from excited about, very much against, that he and the pro- life movement are becoming joined together and that a lot of people who would lean pro- life are being driven away because of Trump. And if what we take is a divisive polarizing president with a lot of problems and merge him with the pro- life movement, we are going to lose in the long haul. So I'm afraid that we're going to get a short- term win for a long- term loss, but who knows? I'm not saying I'm right. I'm just saying that's my fear.
Patrick Miller: If we're playing a hindsight game and that's what ends up being is short- term win for long- term loss, remember long- term loss would equal there are more abortions as a result, then I would rescind my vote, right? I would say go to the bottom line here. The bottom line is how many abortions? If Roe versus Wade is overturned, we are saving 112, 000 lives every year.
Keith Simon: Okay. Yes. Amen. Great. Wonderful. Here's my concern, maybe I'm able to articulate a little bit more, is I wish that the pro- life movement could stay out of the culture war and the political tribalism and I wish that we could build common ground with anybody, independents, people who lean left. There are people on the left, I agree, not many anymore, but there are people on the left who can be persuaded to be pro- life.
Patrick Miller: I agree.
Keith Simon: And once we politically tribalize it and make pro- life a Republican thing or a conservative thing or a Trump thing, we're going to lose people. I want pro- life to be around a long time and I want a culture of life, not just Roe versus Wade to be overturned.
Patrick Miller: Well, yeah. Let's just go ahead and say I agree with everything you just said and move on to our next question which is how did this become partisan?
Keith Simon: Well, it's interesting because back in the'70s, you've got people who liked the Southern Baptist Convention, Ronald Reagan, who are pro- choice, W. A. Criswell at the Flagship Southern Baptist Church in Dallas.
Patrick Miller: Well, we showed extensively in an earlier podcast, we can link to that in our show notes, that evangelicals were not aligned on abortion, even at the time of Roe versus Wade. Catholics got it. Evangelicals relate to it. So perhaps it's no, and by the way, evangelicals and Republicans weren't really merged and this caused a merge until the end of the'70s anyways, right? We're living in a new moment.
Keith Simon: Well, we used to have pro- life Democrats, so here's some names who changed their position from pro- life to pro- choice, Jesse Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Richard Gephardt, Al Gore. You have some big names who went from pro- life to pro- choice and you have some names like the Southern Baptist Convention or George H. W. Bush or Ronald Reagan that went from pro- choice to pro- life.
Patrick Miller: Donald Trump.
Keith Simon: Yeah, Donald Trump. Today, there are no real pro- life Democrats that I'm aware of. There are still a few pro- choice Republicans. So Susan Collins in Maine, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska are two senators who consider themselves pro- choice. So what happens is that this becomes an issue. Abortion becomes an issue that is used by the political parties to develop a coalition. Specifically, the Republicans used it to develop their three- legged coalition which was defense, family values and economic conservatives. And once it became a Republican issue, then all of a sudden, it became more partisan. Now I'm not saying the Republicans were wrong to do that, they supported the human life amendment and the Democratic party didn't. So I get why it happened. I'm not criticizing anybody from happening. I'm just saying that if what you really care about is pro- life movement, you don't want it to be sucked into this political tribalism.
Patrick Miller: That's great. I agree.
Keith Simon: What do we think about the Shout Your Abortion stuff, where it went from safe, legal, rare to Shout Your Abortion?
Patrick Miller: Yeah, you just hit the nail on the head, right? You can go back to Bill Clinton, a Democrat who was pro- choice and his line was safe, legal, and rare. That's what he wanted abortion to be. And as we already said, this aligns with a lot of Americans. Many Americans are going to agree with that. And so now we have this movement, Shout Your Abortion, where you're supposed to get on social media and you're supposed to say proudly that you had an abortion, that you don't regret it, that it was a wonderful, great thing in your life. There was a skit on SNL where a character dressed up like a clown and talked about having her abortion. And again, it's this Shout Your Abortion moment actually helped these people continue because it is the most emotionally unintelligent, out- of- touch movement I have ever seen. Progressives have gotten to a point now where it's like they have no idea what the average person is thinking because no one sees Shout Your Abortion amongst average Americans and thinks, " Oh, that's great. I'm proabortion. Abortions are awesome. We should have more abortions. I love it. Yeah, Shout Your Abortion, that's great." You are only appealing to the 5% of people who already agree with you and you are grossing out the rest of people. The rest of you are saying, " Whoa, I think maybe you should be able to have an abortion, but man, I don't think it's something to celebrate. I think it's something that sad and I wish it didn't have to happen."
Keith Simon: Yeah. If you don't treat it as an emotionally and complicated issue, you're a fool. I think the same thing has happened with the Hyde Amendment and the Hyde Amendment was named after a congressman from Illinois named Henry Hyde. And what he suggested back after Roe versus Wade have been passed is that we shouldn't use federal dollars to spend on such a controversial issue like abortion. And so the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal dollars from being spent on abortion. And Joe Biden was one who was a staunch supporter of the Hyde Amendment until he ran for office and then the Democratic caucus that shows up to vote in primaries required of all the nominees that they abandon the Hyde Amendment. And so he abandoned it after decades of supporting it. So what's my point? Is all these are becoming more extremes like we mentioned Louisiana law of somebody suggesting that women should be put in jail for having abortion all the way down to people who supported the Hyde Amendment, abandoning it. Each party is becoming more strident in its views.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, I agree. Okay, next question, what about this argument, " I'm personally uncomfortable with abortion. I even think it's wrong, but I don't think there should be a law"?
Keith Simon: Man, there's a lot of people who are saying.
Patrick Miller: "I'm a libertarian. Let's just let people be people and make their free choices."
Keith Simon: I hear that all the time. Somebody said it to me in the hallway just the other Sunday at church and I think it comes down to, " What do you think is being aborted?" We're coming back to that question, but that's the ultimate question, " Why are you uncomfortable with it?"
Patrick Miller: Let me make this issue really clear, change fetus for two- year- old. I'm against murdering two- year- old, but gosh, darn it, if a parent wants to do it, I don't like it, but there shouldn't be a law against it. Well, if you think that that unborn baby is a baby, if you believe that, then all of a sudden, I think your tune is going to change. And this is a biblical way of thinking, Romans 13 talks about the government's responsibility to protect its citizens. This is part of what the government is supposed to do. So yes, there's some things we shouldn't have laws about, but we all agree we should have laws against murder, we should have laws against theft, we should have laws against tax fraud, even though I'm sure we'd all love to do a little bit of tax fraud. We agree that these are basic laws that protect basic inalienable rights and it's no different for an unborn child.
Keith Simon: I think my favorite thing to do is when somebody says they're personally uncomfortable, that don't want to make laws, just ask why they're uncomfortable. Like, " If you're personally pro- life, why are you personally pro- life, but you don't want to make a law? Why is it so hard for you?" So what I'm trying to get them to do is to articulate what it is that they think about abortion is wrong. And ultimately, it's because they think that fetus is a life created by God, known by God, loved by God, that has the rights to dignity that comes from being made in the image of God. And if you believe that, then you have to protect that. That's what government is intended to do, is to protect life. So I think that's an untenable position. I'm against it. I think it's wrong. I think it's murder, but I guess it's okay if you want to do it.
Patrick Miller: Yeah, I think that we are a society which value self- expression above almost everything else and we have a strong sense that all people should be free to express themselves however they want to. While this often happens in the sexual or gender or whatever else arena, I've already talked in the past about how I think violent self- expression falls right into the same category. This would be an example of that. I think the reason why we don't want to make a law is that, on the one hand, it's a life, but on the other hand, I want people to be able to express themselves.
Keith Simon: So let's wrap this up. I just want to be aware that there are people who are listening to this who have had abortions or someone you care about has had an abortion or you've pressured someone to have an abortion and you have come to the conclusion that this is wrong, I just want to say that God has grace and mercy on you just like he has grace and mercy on me and Patrick.
Patrick Miller: That's absolutely correct. And I almost hate that we even have to do an episode like this because if we lived in a culture that acknowledged that abortion wasn't something to be debated over, if we didn't have to debate or make the point that that was a human life, then we wouldn't have to have this podcast where we have to be very direct and use a tone that might be hurtful or painful to you because you feel like we're piling on shame. And so here's what I want you to hear. The tone was not to shame people who've had an abortion. The tone was to convince people to say, " Hey, we need to advocate for justice and do what's right." But for you, again like Keith just said, if you've had an abortion, you've pressured someone into abortion, I want you to know, like he just said, God loves you, God is gracious, God forgives you and you are no worse than anyone else that he's extended that love to.
Keith Simon: And remember, we were not talking about the emotionally complicated cases like rape and incest, we were not talking about ectopic pregnancy, so don't walk away from this and draw conclusions about those. We can come back and talk about those in a different episode. This one is long enough. If you're pro- life, this is the time to step up, to speak kindly, to speak truthfully but also to give your money to a pro- life organization that's coming alongside women and aiding them to volunteer your time, to try to walk alongside women who are in difficult situations. So this is not about overturning Roe. This is not about a legal issue. This is about us working toward a culture of justice and life and that requires our investment. Be a foster parent. Adopt a child that has a disability. Be a respite parent for foster parents. The list goes on and on, the things that you can do to create a culture of life in your community. Thanks for listening. If you found this podcast helpful, make sure to subscribe and leave a review.
Patrick Miller: And make sure it's at least five stars.
Keith Simon: Stop, no. Just be honest. Reviews help other people find us.
Patrick Miller: Okay, okay, at the very least, you can share today's episode. Maybe put it on your social, your favorite text chain.
Keith Simon: And if you didn't like this episode, awesome, tell us why you disagree on Twitter @ truthovertribe_. We might even share your thoughts in an upcoming newsletter.
With the potential overturning of Roe v. Wade on the horizon, it's likely you've been hearing a lot about abortion lately. In today's bonus episode, Keith and Patrick sit down to discuss this complicated and sensitive issue through the lens of scripture and in light of our current cultural moment. What does the Bible say about abortion? What will happen if Roe v. Wade is overturned? And what does all of this mean for the future of the pro-life and pro-choice movements? Listen now as Keith and Patrick navigate these very questions.
Ok, truth time... Did you like this episode? Tell us by leaving a rating or review! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 If you did, you won't want to miss what's next (so subscribe now!). And help a friend by sharing this with them. Thank you! 🙏
Plus, the conversation is just beginning! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to join in on the dialogue! If you disagree with anything in this episode, we'd love to hear your thoughts here. Want to learn more about Truth Over Tribe? Visit our website and subscribe to our weekly newsletter.