The discussions have not really centered on whether or not abortion is morally right or wrong persay, but more on whether the consequences of making abortion illegal will be acceptable to those who are against abortion, and whether those consequences will be viewed the same way as conservatives view the abortion issue itself.
Some of the consequences that are often brought up are:
- Hundreds of women who cannot get legal abortions will find ways to get them anyway, endangering their own lives in the process and often dying trying to have illegal abortions.
- The unwanted children that are born into the world will be forced into a system that is already overburdened and cannot help those in it now. A system that produces far more failures than successes, and often causes far more trauma than it helps.
- The ultimate rise in crime, poverty and homelessness that will be the result of inadequately raised children and overburdened families. (note the drastic drop in crime rate in our country beginning 18 years after RvW was instituted)
All of these issues are legitimate concerns, especially those dealing with the health of women, especially those who are pregnant due to rape and incest.
However, this sermon by John Piper helps to illustrate that this is not a one or the other issue.
There is not a single person, at least I hope, who feels that abortion should be stopped and as a result we should allow women to die in back alley clinics. I think the main issue for those who believe in the Sanctity of Life is that they believe ALL life is sacred, and that the unborn child should receive as much concern as the women whose health is at risk, and certainly as much concern as those women who use abortion as birth control.
As Piper's sermon points out from the parable of the good Samaritan, we are to treat all these people with compassion, godly compassion, and that all parties deserve it equally. The mother and the child, both before and after birth. The ideal would be that everyone would be cared for; the child with adequate foster care; the mothers with adequate counseling, etc. etc..
But, of course, these things get messy because we live in a sinful world where nothing works out how it should and all the best laid plans usually end up hurting someone somewhere along the line. Doing the right thing in one area can often produce wrong things elsewhere, especially in a broken world. But that messiness is not a free pass or an excuse to disobey God and take the easy or convenient way out. Ending abortion may have many negative side effects in our society, but that is not justification to continue to turn a blind eye to blatant sin.
Just as ending slavery caused a huge influx to the north which caused economic backlash, homelessness, poverty and the death of many freed slaves, it would seem foolish looking back to say that those side effects were bad enough to continue the moral aberration that slavery was. And as bad as slavery is, I don't think it can be compared to the world wide genocide that takes place through abortions. As Piper points out, there have been over 46 million abortions in our country since Roe Vs Wade was upheld - but that same number of abortions occurs every year on a global scale. 46 million a year world-wide.
So, no. Ending legalized abortion would not be clean. Ending legalized abortion does not change the hearts and minds of fathers who sexually abuse their daughters, or men and women and teens who make bad sexual decisions, or rapists, or rape victims. Ending abortion probably won't change the way people think or act, the way they behave sexually, or the choices they make in the heat of the moment. But it will do one thing. It will end the murder of millions of real live human beings, and it will be pleasing to God.
But it doesn't end there. Because the aftermath WILL be messy. And the WILL be lots of negative side effects in our society - but the Gospel that says these babies should live is the very same gospel that says that they should be cared for, that their mothers, willing or otherwise, should also be cared for in all the ways appropriate to their situations. And my friends, this is not the job of the government - it is the job of the church.
"Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
I obviously have not said everything there is to say on the issue, but I encourage you to read Piper's sermon for some reasoning on why abortion is wrong and how we should approaching it. Of course, that is not exhaustive either.