In a new video titled, “What About Abortion? Should this one issue determine how Christians vote?” pastor and author Skye Jethani explored whether or not abortion should be the main issue Christians vote on.
Jethani, who co-hosts the Holy Post podcast with VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer, observed that in the past 5 decades, Christians have become ‘single-issue voters,’ as they are “willing to overlook everything else about a candidate as long as they’re against abortion.”
The typical argument that pro-life Christians have, says Jethani, is that “my vote determines the president, the president nominates justices to the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court can overturn Roe v. Wade and overturning Roe will make abortion illegal and save babies.”
He then went on to challenge that notion in explaining that “your vote for president might not impact abortion the way you think.”
According to The Christian Post, Jethani addressed three common assumptions that pro-life Christian voters ascribe to, the first one being that a “Republican president will appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court to end abortion.”
He noted that in the last 50 years, 11 justices were appointed by Republican presidents to the Supreme Court – that number may soon become 12 if Justice Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. Meanwhile, Democratic presidents have only appointed 4 justices.
Even with a Republican majority Court, “it hasn’t overturned Roe,” Jethani said.
He explained that the 7-2 Roe v. Wade decision was made when six out of nine justices were appointed by a Republican president. One of the two justices who dissented was Justice Byron White, who was appointed by Democratic president John F. Kennedy.
Byron also dissented in the 1992 decision of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, when 5 of the 8 Republican justices reaffirmed Roe.
In 2020, Jethani noted that Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, struck down a Louisiana abortion restriction law because of stare decisis, the legal principle “that the court should abide by its own previous rulings.”
“And if Chief Justice Robert says the court should abide by its previous rulings, it’s looking less and less likely the court will overturn Roe—no matter how many conservatives are on it.”
Secondly, Jethani argued against the assumption that “overturning Roe is key in ending abortion” as Roe “did not legalize abortion” nor would it be made illegal if Roe was reversed.
He cited a summary by the CDC that there were nearly 600,000 legal abortions in the U.S. in 1972, a year before Roe was passed. Jethani added that abortion “was legal everywhere” in the U.S. in 1976 and that it later became widespread in the 19th century.
While states implemented abortion restriction laws in the late 19th and 20th centuries, Jethani noted that “doctors still performed an estimated 800,000 abortions every year.”
“That’s about the same number that’s happening today,” he added.
Even if Roe was overturned, Jethani says it would not be a “decisive win” as it would only be a return to “the state-by-state patchwork of laws that existed before 1973.” Additionally, he argued, women living in states with restrictive abortion laws would only travel to another state to find a doctor to perform the procedure or they would “order an abortion-inducing drug” online.
In his third and final point, Jethani challenged the assumption that “the policies of Republican presidents reduce abortions and those of Democrats increase them.”
While he noted that both parties clearly differ on the abortion issue, Jethani claimed that abortions “have fallen under every president, both Republican and Democrat, for four decades,” even before Roe.
He also noted that under President Obama, the abortion rate had dropped to the lowest it has ever been while under President Trump, Planned Parenthood broke its taxpayer funding record.
However, Jethani clarified that this does not mean that either president affected each outcome.
“Like so much about this issue, things are more complicated than that. But this much is clear—the person sitting in the Oval Office is not what matters when it comes to reducing abortions,” he argued. “Their Supreme Court appointments haven’t mattered. Their party platforms haven’t mattered. And their rhetoric hasn’t mattered.”
According to Jethani, there are other effective ways in reducing abortions including “better adoption laws, waiting periods, crisis pregnancy centers, churches and support groups who are actually on the ground helping women and walking with them through their pregnancies.”
“If we really care about solving this problem, then we need to stop being manipulated by parties and candidates and get our focus off the presidential election. Instead, we should focus on what’s happening right in front of us, in our states, our communities and in our neighborhoods,” he contended.
Photo courtesy: Element5digital/Pexels
Video courtesy: Phil Vischer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.