For fifteen years I have been preaching a Pro-Life Sermon on the third Sunday in January in an attempt to raise awareness to the awful plight abortion has wrought on our nation. On January 23, 1973, seven of the nine black-robed judges on the United States Supreme Court voted to make abortion legal. The Supreme Court Chief Justice Harry Blackmun said the court found the right to abortion in the 14th and 9th amendments. What they didn’t find was a definition of when life begins. In fact, they didn’t even look for it.
I never look at the Old Court House in St. Louis, which sits in the shadow of the Arch, without thinking about the Dred Scott Case. Although it took 250 years, slavery had become a divisive issue in the United States in the late 1800’s. The high court met in the St. Louis Court House to decide the future of a slave named Dred Scott. The court made an unprecedented decision to once and for all settle the issue of slavery. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney determined, in the 1857 Dred Scott case, that African Americans were “regarded as beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far unfit that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”[i]
How unspeakable that this court invoked such an odious and maliciously cruel law, but they did. Nine years later and 600,000 dead soldiers later, the hideous law was thrown away with the establishment of the 14th amendment. The Fourteenth Amendment declares, “No State shall ... deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
What the Taney court did to African Americans, the Blackmun court did to the unborn—determine that they were not persons. Roe v. Wade diminishes the unborn by referring to the unborn child as “potential life” and says “meaningful life” may arise later in pregnancy. The arrogance of this court was beyond comprehension to deny personhood to the defenseless unborn child.
We have seen how odious this law is when compared to an attempt to protect the innocent from murder by anyone besides the mother. In 2003, the murder case that dominated the air waves was the Scott Peterson case. A late-term male fetus washed up on the shore of the San Francisco Bay, and shortly after, the body of his mother washed up. Scott Peterson was not only charged with the murder of his wife, but also with the murder of this unborn child. Ironically, it was murder for Scott to kill his baby, but Laci, his wife, could have aborted the same child, and it would have been perfectly legal.[ii]
Does that make any sense at all? That the value of a child is determined by who commits the act of murder? When does the child have value because it is a life—a life that belongs to God? I would like to ask you a question if you believe abortion is wrong—what are you doing to help in this great struggle for life? Are you reaching out to young single moms who are struggling with the idea of raising a child? Do you support your local crisis pregnancy center? Are you praying for God to help us in this fight for life? Since 1973 fifty-five million little innocent lives have been lost in this war. May God help us.