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A Bridge Disaster and a Supreme Court Case Remind Us: Human Life Is Frail and Sacred

Jim Denison | Denison Forum | Published: Mar 27, 2024
A Bridge Disaster and a Supreme Court Case Remind Us: Human Life Is Frail and Sacred

A Bridge Disaster and a Supreme Court Case Remind Us: Human Life Is Frail and Sacred


A container ship rammed into Baltimore’s largest bridge early yesterday morning, causing it to snap and plunge into the river below. Six people are presumed dead as of this morning. The dramatic video of the collapse underscores the uncertainty and frailty of life. The rescuers who immediately began searching for survivors in the frigid waters underscored its value.

Later in the morning, the US Supreme Court heard arguments in the first major abortion case since Roe v. Wade was overturned in 2022. At stake is access to the abortion pill mifepristone in a time when pharmaceutical abortions account for more than half of all abortions in the US (63 percent last year).

Proponents claim that mifepristone has proven “extremely safe” for women who take it, while opponents warn that under the FDA’s protocols, women who take it are at far greater risk of a deadly ectopic pregnancy (when an embryo implants outside the uterus).

Here’s what neither side is arguing: that the life of the mother is irrelevant to the case. Or that medication abortions are not intended to end the life of her preborn child. The difference is that the former was given the opportunity to live by her mother while the latter is not.

Ronald Reagan stated: “I’ve noticed that everybody who is for abortion has already been born.”

If the pharmaceutical under consideration were given to her child the moment after birth, it would be considered infanticide. Because her baby has not yet moved from inside her body to outside it, the drug is legal.

Roe v. Wade “deformed a great nation”

Since seven Supreme Court justices discovered a right to abortion in the Fourteenth Amendment in 1973 (a decision the Court rightly overturned in 2022 due to its foundational legal flaws), no moral issue has divided Americans more deeply. The reason is simple: life itself is at stake. As Mother Teresa powerfully noted, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

She also stated in an amicus brief filed before the US Supreme Court in February 1994:

America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.

It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society.

It has portrayed the greatest of gifts—a child—as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered domination over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.

And in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners.

Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign.

Her eloquence and example contributed greatly to the pro-life movement that eventually led to overturning Roe. However, until preborn children are granted the same “inalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as all other Americans, our task is not finished.

Applying “a brilliant legal mind” to crucial issues

I believe that God is calling all Christians to use our gifts and influence to promote life as Mother Teresa did. To this end, I commend to you the example of Erin Hawley, who argued yesterday’s Supreme Court case on behalf of medical professionals opposed to the FDA’s actions on mifepristone access.

The Wall Street Journal reports that she applies “a brilliant legal mind to issues dear to Christian conservatives.” Even though her husband, Sen. Josh Hawley, is much better known, sources in the article called her the “more highly regarded legal mind” of the two. The New York Times quotes a law professor and historian who says, “I think it may be more accurate to say that he’s Erin Hawley’s husband. I think people are just beginning to see how influential she is.”

How can we follow her example?

Philosophers tell us there are three ways we know everything we know: the rational, the practical, and the intuitive. We do math rationally, we start a car practically, and we like people intuitively. Let’s use all three to advocate for life:

  • Rationally: become equipped to defend the sanctity of life on biblical, scientific, biological, and moral grounds (my website article, “What does the Bible say about abortion?” is intended to help in this regard).
  • Practically: serve pro-life ministries with our time and resources, minister personally to women with at-risk pregnancies, and consider adopting their children.
  • Intuitively: pray fervently as we seek and share God’s heart for every precious child.

Max Lucado wrote:

“God sanctifies human life. Every beating heart matters to God. Whether that life is in the womb of a mother, the cell of a prison, the hallway of a convalescent home, or the corner office of a Wall Street high rise, that life is holy to God.”

Is it holy to you?

Image credit: ©Getty Images / Win McNamee / Staff

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of CrosswalkHeadlines.

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A Bridge Disaster and a Supreme Court Case Remind Us: Human Life Is Frail and Sacred