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Let's Draw Lines on Abortion That Protect All Life

god creator of all life overseas image in stained glass

God, the Creator of all life, detail of stained glass window by Sieger Koder in The Church of Saint John: Piflas, Germany. (Zatletic/

Frank Pavone By Wednesday, 03 April 2024 09:49 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Democratic politicians and the abortion lobby are fond of saying that "the government should not be involved in abortion."

They don’t know how right they are.

The government did get too "involved" with abortion the moment it presumed to be able to authorize it, emanating from the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

According to the Declaration of Independence, governments exist to secure the right to life, not to take it away. The position of anti-abortion advocates, consistent with that Founding American document, is that government does not have the authority to permit the ending of a baby’s life.

The abortion politics of 2024 involves a lot of disputes about "where the line should be drawn" in public policy. States draw different lines — some at conception, some at six weeks, others at 15 weeks or another point, and the debate rages as to what the national limit should be.

But the anti-abortion position is that we don’t get to draw any lines about which human beings qualify for the protection of their lives.

Drawing a line about the protection of life in the abortion context is tantamount to drawing a line that says your life will be protected only up to a certain age, or only in certain states.

A human being has a right to life and to its protection as soon as that person’s life begins, and not one moment later.

That said, it is equally important to point out that there are two different kinds of "line-drawing."

Take the battle that has been playing out in Arkansas, a state where the unborn are protected throughout pregnancy.

Pro-abortion rights advocates want to change that but disagree as to where they should "draw the line" in a proposed ballot initiative.

Should they try to match public consensus and settle, for instance, on a 12-week limit, or should they push for legal abortion beyond that, out of a conviction that abortion itself is a fundamental right?

It’s an interesting argument they’re having, which mirrors strategic policy debates on the pro-life side of the debate.

But the "line drawing" is qualitatively and morally different between the two sides.

If, as in Arkansas, (practically) all the babies already enjoy legal protection, then no line-drawing is morally permitted.


Because neither government, nor any majorities of the people, can transgress God-given human rights, first among which is life.

In short, you cannot draw any lines to deprive human beings of the protection of their lives.

But if, as in many other states, and in federal policy, the babies are not already protected, one may certainly draw lines in public policy to extend that protection.

Now because the right to have one’s life protected is a God-given (not government-given) right, this "line-drawing" is not subject to arbitrary whim.

We are obliged to provide the maximum legal protection that we can.

In a system of lawmaking like we have, how much legal protection we can provide — or, in other words, where we draw that line — depends on whether we have a majority (or perhaps super-majority) of the votes in a legislative body — which in turn depends on the level of consensus among the people as to how much protection these babies have.

In other words, the "line-drawing" is not so much a matter of deciding as it is of discerning where the lawmakers and the public are on the question.

It is altogether appropriate — indeed it is essential — for a politician to assess public opinion on the matter, and to assess legislative opinion (i.e. count the votes).

This is not to say that the right to life depends on majority vote or opinion polls.

It doesn’t. It’s God-given and it’s absolute.

But what does depend on public opinion and vote counting is whether a specific protective law is going to pass. I can say what laws I like and what policies best match the moral law, but the question of politics and lawmaking is a different one: what is our current ability to secure that protection by law where it doesn’t already exist?

When I hear, therefore, a politician saying he or she supports a bill that would protect babies starting at 15 weeks into pregnancy, I don’t hear moral compromise. I hear, rather, the wheels of policy-making in motion.

If babies aren’t protected at all, and you’re trying to ascertain what the maximum level of protection is that you can provide right now, that is quite morally legitimate.

Moreover, if a legislative body is ready to expand protection beyond what it is now, even though it doesn’t reach all the babies or even most of them, the moral law requires that I do all I can to provide that protection.

What percentage of babies that consensus would or would not protect is not the relevant question. What is relevant is the right to life of the babies we can protect. I can’t say to babies beyond 15 weeks, "Sorry, I’m not going to protect you because I can’t protect those younger than you."

On the contrary, if I have the opportunity to protect those older babies right now, I’m obliged to do so, no matter how many or few they are.

My inability to protect the babies who are younger is not my fault.

I am not obliged to do the impossible, or to act on a legislative consensus that simply does not exist. Should I encourage that consensus?

Yes. In fact, creating that consensus is the job of the entire anti-abortion movement, well beyond the politicians.

But to recognize the limits of that consensus right now does not constitute moral compromise; nor does it indicate that I am less anti-abortion.

It simply means I understand how laws are made.

Again, the babies are already lacking protection.

I am not taking protection away from them, as I would be doing if I draw a line in Arkansas for a pro-abortion rights measure.

But to admit I can only provide some protection to babies who don’t currently have it, and to indicate where I discern that line of possibility is — well, that is completely consistent with being a fully dedicated anti-abortion politician.

May God give us more of them.

Frank Pavone is one of the most prominent anti-abortion leaders globally. Read Frank Pavone Reports — More Here.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Drawing a line about the protection of life in the abortion context is tantamount to drawing a line that says your life will protected only up to a certain age, or only in certain states. A human being has a right to life and to its protection as soon as that person’s life begins.
abortion, arkansas, supreme, court
Wednesday, 03 April 2024 09:49 AM
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