Abortion: New York Law Sparks More Controversy
Some are celebrating the recent updated abortion law in New York, while others are deeply troubled by it. What’s behind the abortion issue?
The state of New York passed a new abortion law Jan. 22, 2019, called the Reproductive Health Act. When the bill passed, the state assembly spontaneously erupted with a standing ovation. To celebrate the event even further, One World Trade Center was lit up in pink to honor the landmark law. The new bill was signed on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade (the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared abortion a constitutional right). What exactly about this law were they celebrating?
Here is the relevant text of the law: “A health care practitioner licensed, certified, or authorized under title eight of the education law, acting within his or her lawful scope of practice, may perform an abortion when, according to the practitioner’s reasonable and good faith professional judgment based on the facts of the patient’s case: the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”
The most controversial aspect of this law is that it makes it legal to have an abortion in New York State at any time past 24 weeks if a medical practitioner deems it necessary for the safety or health of the mother. This has led to concern over how “health” can be interpreted and applied. Could a pregnant woman claim in her third trimester that the anxiety of motherhood is a danger to her mental health and seek out a doctor who will support her aborting her child?
The abortion issue is highly politicized, and its morality has been debated for many years—and likely will be for years to come. Why is there such confusion?
Cloaked in confusion
The language and discourse about abortion and when life begins shows how confused the Western world has become. Is it a baby or a fetus? Is it ending a life or ending a pregnancy? Is abortion a health procedure or murder? Is it “my body” or an unborn human? Is it a clump of tissue or a human being?
Life, Hope & Truth’s job is to offer God’s view. God views the unborn as distinct individuals and abortion as a sin—breaking the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder.” For deeper insight on when human life begins and the sanctity of life, read our article “Is Abortion Wrong?”
Why do people get abortions?
The recent New York law is controversial because it allows for abortion past the 24-week mark if a doctor considers it necessary for the life or health of the mother. In response to that law, experienced doctors have spoken up. For instance, Omar L. Hamada, who served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Army Special Forces and is also a physician who has delivered over 2,500 babies, said this about the New York abortion bill:
Most abortions are performed because the parent or parents do not want, or feel they can care for, the child.“There’s absolutely no reason to kill a baby before delivery in the third trimester. Not a fetal or maternal indication—what we say in medicine. If there’s a problem, and there are problems in the third trimester, both with the babies and with the mom that require delivery, just deliver the baby. We don’t have to kill it.”
In the overwhelming majority of situations, pregnancy issues after 24 weeks can be dealt with by an emergency C-section.
Abortion is often framed by pro-choice proponents as a health need. But if we dig deeper, abortion really is a symptom of a much larger issue. In 2010 a study was done on why women seek abortions in the U.S. Here’s what that study found:
- 40 percent of women stated that finances were a reason (in other words, they felt they couldn’t afford to care for the child).
- 36 percent stated that it was bad timing to have a baby.
- 31 percent stated issues with their partner precipitated the abortion.
- 29 percent said they were terminating the pregnancy because they needed to focus on their other children.
- 19 percent said they were not emotionally or mentally prepared to be a parent.
- 12 percent said they couldn’t provide a suitable life for a baby.
- 12 percent cited health-related issues.
- 7 percent said they were not mature or independent enough to have a baby.
- 5 percent said they were pressured by family or had the abortion to hide the pregnancy from family or friends.
- 4 percent said they didn’t want a baby.
A similar study done in 2004 by Guttmacher Institute found that the most frequently cited reason for having an abortion—given by 74 percent of the women—was that having a child would interfere with her education, work or ability to care for dependents. The bottom line is that the vast majority of abortions are performed for reasons totally unrelated to the health of the mother or the fetus. Most abortions are performed because the parent or parents do not want, or feel they can care for, the child.
A deeper problem
Abortion is a serious issue, but we must understand that it is a symptom of much deeper societal and moral problems. The sad truth looming behind the above statistics is the poor state of families in the Western world. Consider these three issues that are the root causes of the sin of abortion:
- Sex outside of marriage. Our culture promotes a “try before you buy” attitude about sex. But the Bible is clear that sex was designed to be only between a husband and wife for the purpose of bringing oneness within marriage and producing children (Genesis 1:28; 2:24). Statistics reveal that it’s mainly unmarried women who have abortions. Far too often the men who impregnate women abandon them or push them to get an abortion. Obeying God’s law to have sex only within the marital union would solve most of the issues that lead to abortion. Having sex and children within marriage is one key to building strong families, healthy children and a strong society.
Abortion is a serious issue, but we must understand that it is a symptom of much deeper societal and moral problems.Sex-saturated culture. Our culture promotes sexual promiscuity, pornography and lust-based entertainment as normal. Today’s children are rarely taught about the sacredness of sex within the marriage union. Instead, God’s standards are ignored and replaced by human methods of avoiding the consequences of unwanted pregnancies. Our world desperately needs to hear and understand the message of 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.”
- The Bible is considered “outdated.” The Bible is often attacked and marginalized in our culture. Without God’s Word as a moral guide, our society has more and more “cast off restraint” (Proverbs 29:18). The main reason people reject the Bible is because they want to live in a sinful way that contradicts it (John 3:19-20; Romans 1:28).
The prophet Jeremiah delivered God’s words of warning to ancient Judah: “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush” (Jeremiah 6:15).
The Western nations are going down the same path Israel and Judah went down thousands of years ago. We are not ashamed of our sins, but instead celebrate them. After making the above statement, Jeremiah continued: “‘Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be cast down,’ says the LORD” (verse 15).
There is a punishment coming on us for our sins.
That is the bad news. But the good news is that God still offers hope. Every individual can repent and change his or her ways. If you are guilty of sex outside of marriage or have had an abortion, there is still hope for you. God is willing to show mercy and forgive you if you repent and change. He revealed through the prophet Ezekiel that this is His will: “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).
The United States and other Western nations are going further and further into sin, but you can be an exception.
Turn from your way and live.