Recently in Cleveland, Ohio, a group of 15 religious leaders and 30 staff members and former patients gathered outside of an abortion clinic to pray. It’s not unusual to find the faithful praying outside an abortion clinic, but the prayers on this particular day, according to Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, were not what you might expect.
Reverend Tracey Lind and a group of pastors and rabbis prayed that God would “bless this building.” She continued, “May its walls stand strong against the onslaught of shame thrown at it.… May it be a beacon of hope for those who need its services.”
Lind and the crew praying were there on behalf of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The group tweeted using #GodBlessTheClinics, stating “God’s love is constant when a woman decides to have an abortion. God’s love is unlimited…God is with us when we walk into a clinic and remains with us the entire time.” A sidewalk chalk mantra added “Jesus never shamed women” to the group’s physical presence that day.
Will Jesus honor these prayers?
Would a modern-day Jesus be, as the group suggests, “escorting” women in droves to end the lives of their unborn children in abortion clinics?
It is true, “Jesus never shamed women.” However, the story does not end there. Multiple accounts in the New Testament show Jesus interacting with women of ill repute. In John chapter 4 Jesus spoke with a woman who had been married five times and was currently living with a man who was not her husband. By Jewish teachings, this woman was guilty of breaking the law and was an adulterer. He could have brought her offenses to someone who would carry out the punishment the law said she deserved for her actions. Instead, he offered her hope through the gospel. He told her how to change her life through the hope that he offered. He didn’t not condone her sin or encourage her to continue in what she thought was the best decision, but instead offered her a life change.
In John 8, Jesus is brought to a woman caught in the act of adultery. By Jewish law, she was to be killed for her disobedience. Jesus could have given a new understanding to the law (as He often did) or he could have told the Pharisees it was no big deal and to move on. Instead, he invited those without sin to cast the first stone. One by one they swallowed their pride and walked away. Jesus then told her to “Go and sin no more.”
In another encounter with an adulterous woman, Jesus shocked the religious leaders of the day by letting her touch him. No respectable teacher of that era would let such a terrible and unclean sinner touch him, but Jesus let this woman anoint Him. She poured out her most expensive perfume and washed his feet with her hair. Jesus silenced the critics by telling them this woman loved him more than the religious leaders because she had been forgiven of much more than they had.
Did Jesus shame these women? No way. Did Jesus condone their sin? No way. But consistently, without fail, Jesus told women caught in sin to turn from their sinful ways.
So, will Jesus bless the abortion clinic’s building? Will He let “its walls stand strong against the onslaught of shame thrown at it”?
Let’s talk about exactly what happens in that building, behind those walls.
This particular abortion clinic, Preterm, lists the services offered on its website. The first listed is “Surgical abortion from 4 through 22 weeks.” What happens during these abortions? First, the cervix must be dilated (caused to open). When a woman carries a pregnancy to term, her body usually does this process on it’s own. When a woman is between four and twenty-two weeks pregnant, the cervix must be opened manually using dilators (metal rods that get progressively bigger to open the cervix enough for the suction device to fit in). Then a suction device is used to suck away the baby (here is a demonstration of the power of this machine when used on a paint thinner can). The baby will not come out all in one piece, so a staff member is assigned the task of piecing together the aborted baby to ensure no body parts were left inside of mom (which would lead to further complications). Planned Parenthood describes this process as “gently [emptying] your uterus,” but “sucking out a live baby, piece by piece” is a more adequate description
The next service listed on Preterm’s website is dispensing of the medication abortion pill, RU-486. The FDA has approved use of these hormones for women who are between four and seven weeks pregnant. While often called “the abortion pill,” RU-486 is actually two pills. The first hormone used is called Mifepristone. This hormone tells a woman’s body to stop supporting the pregnancy, which will cause the baby to die. Obviously, the dead baby cannot remain inside of a mom indefinitely because that would cause infection and put the mother’s life at risk. Hence, the need for a second pill. This second hormone is called Misoprostol. This hormone induces labor to expel the dead baby from the mother’s uterus. This process has been known to fail, a complication which requires surgery to complete the abortion. It can also lead to such extreme bleeding that surgery is required.
Any way you look at it, these abortions end life. Life that was created in the image of God—something any pastor or rabbi who has read the first page of the Bible should be well aware of. At the moment of conception, a baby’s gender, eye and hair color, and the building blocks for his personality and intelligence have all been determined, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If these 15 pastors and rabbis truly want women to find a “beacon of hope,” they should be praying they will go anywhere but the abortion clinic. Behind the walls of the abortion clinic women will find little more than death and deception, two things from which Jesus came to redeem believers.
Can God really bless the destruction of innocent lives that is done behind those walls? Would Jesus really be assisting women as they obtain abortions? Is death for the unborn a way to find hope? Jesus’ tender love towards women caught in sin leaves no doubt about what his answer would be to each of these questions.