ANTI-ABORTION ACTIVISM AND LEGISLATION: THE ORIGIN

(A "Final World Events . . .," 2013, entry, updated, revised, and expanded)

Legislation against abortion and birth control are proceeding at all levels of government in America, and particularly below the federal level where less attention is drawn to the activity. Stealth and deviousness are often a part of the legislative process:

Wisconsin Mandatory Ultrasound Bill Passes State Assembly, Heads To Scott Walker’s Desk  (June 13, 2013.)

Wisconsin’s Republican-led state Assembly passed a measure on Thursday to make it more difficult to get an abortion by requiring women first undergo an ultrasound.

The bill, which also requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, now heads for the desk of Republican Governor Scott Walker, who is expected to sign it into law.

Anti-abortion activists have increasingly turned toward enacting new restrictions at the state level to the procedure, which was made legal nationally by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. . .

The bill mandates results of the ultrasound including images, a description of the fetus and a visualization of the fetal heartbeat be provided to the woman. The woman can decline the results, according to the bill. . .

The bill also requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of their clinic.

According Planned Parenthood, its facility outside of Appleton, one of the state’s four abortion clinics, will be forced to close because doctors there do not have the required admitting privileges. . .

Mississippi’s only abortion clinic was granted a temporary reprieve in April when a federal judge blocked enforcement of a state law, similar to the one in Wisconsin, that required doctors to have local hospital admitting privileges.

In March, North Dakota adopted the nation’s most restrictive law, effectively banning most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or about six weeks into pregnancy.

Cf. Religious Groups Are Fighting To Defeat Albuquerque’s Proposed 20-Week Abortion Ban

On contraception:

The Strange Bedfellows of the Anti-Contraception Alliance (March 17, 2014)

Evangelicals and Catholics didn't always share the same views on contraception and abortion. A look at how their alliance came to be and how it's shaping crucial legal battles.

On March 25, lawyers representing the owners of a large purveyor of craft supplies and a much smaller cabinetry business will appear before the Supreme Court in what has become the cornerstone case for opponents of the Affordable Care Act’s “contraception mandate.” Under the mandate, all employers—with the exception of religious organizations like churches—must include free birth control under their insurance plans. Catholic schools, hospitals, and social service agencies immediately raised a ruckus. Dozens of Catholic nonprofits filed lawsuits against the government, arguing that because their tradition forbids them from using birth control, paying for it—even indirectly through insurance—would violate their religious liberty.

The cases that will appear before the highest court deal with a different question: whether the owners of corporations can claim religious liberty exemptions. But there’s a stranger and less remarked-upon twist. The owners of both companies aren’t Catholic at all; one is Mennonite, and the other is evangelical. While Catholic doctrine teaches that birth control undermines God by allowing couples to separate reproduction from sex, Protestants—whether they’re Presbyterian, Episcopalian, or Southern Baptist—have no such theological objection.

Strictly speaking, the Protestant entrepreneurs involved in the upcoming case aren’t trying to get an exemption for all 16 forms of contraception covered under the ACA. They claim—backed up by a growing multitude of pro-life activists—that Plan B and the IUD cause abortion by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Every year, more scientific evidence piles up to support the opposite conclusion: that contraceptives only work before the egg has been fertilized, not after. This won’t make a difference for the Supreme Court case, where the plaintiffs’ religious opposition to these so-called “abortifacients” is accepted as fact.

But some evangelical leaders, perhaps tired of explaining what happens in the murky hours between sex and conception, are no longer relying on this intricate biological argument to shoo their followers away from birth control. In a recent blog post, Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, declared that evangelical acceptance of oral contraceptives happened “without any adequate theological reflection.” Evangelicals today, he wrote, are “indeed reconsidering contraception.” In Mohler’s view, contraception isn’t just problematic because it might cause abortion. Any attempt to artificially regulate fertility is at odds with a “pro-life” ethos.

Fifteen years ago, this position would have been unthinkable. But an about-face on contraception isn’t unprecedented; in fact, evangelicals’ growing doubt about birth control echoes their theological U-turn on abortion four decades ago. . .

The Roman Catholic Perspective - Birth Control

The Seventh-day Adventist Perspective - Birth Control

An article with an anti-abortion bias; but very revealing of how the Roman Catholic Church has brainwashed Evangelicals. Sadly, many, many Seventh-day Adventists are also captivated by the misapplication of Bible texts to the abortion issue by brilliant Roman Catholic minds:

Roe v. Wade anniversary: How abortion became an evangelical issue

There is more to the story of course. One often overlooked dimension of the story is the intersection of evangelical and Roman Catholic concerns in the emergence of a pro-life coalition. While most evangelicals were either on the wrong side of the issue or politically disengaged, Roman Catholic leaders were on the front lines opposing abortion as a fundamental assault on human dignity. By the late 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church was fighting demands for the legalization of abortion nationally and state by state - opposition that preceded the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae.

By the time Roe was handed down, Catholic leaders had developed sophisticated arguments and growing organizations to fight for the pro-life cause. In 1967, six years before Roe, Catholics had led in the creation of the National Right to Life Committee. The Catholic tradition, drawn largely from the natural law, became the foundational intellectual contribution to the development of a united front against abortion. Nevertheless, for evangelicals to join the movement in a decisive way, arguments drawn directly from Scripture had to be formed and then preached from the pulpits of evangelical churches. . . (Underscored emphasis added.)

The Roman Catholic crusade against abortion is not, and has never been, based on any injunction or principle to be found in the Bible; but only on the papacy's philosophical system of Natural Law. It should come as no surprise therefore that the Evangelicals were not converted to Rome's position by any identifiable biblical principle. In fact the shocking reality is that they took up the cause of Rome as an appalling demonstration of delusional and corrupt Protestant "Christianity."

As stated above, "for evangelicals to join the movement in a decisive way, arguments drawn directly from Scripture had to be formed and then preached from the pulpits of evangelical churches;" but the scriptural arguments were formulated after the nefarious events during which the Evangelicals were convinced to cast their lot in with the Roman Catholics:

How Evangelicals Decided That Life Begins at Conception

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, evangelical Christians widely believed the Bible says life begins at birth and supported looser abortion policies.

That was my argument in an Oct. 31 op-ed for CNN, titled, “When evangelicals were pro-choice.” Understandably, not all evangelical leaders were pleased. Mark Galli at Christianity Today called the op-ed a “fake history” in the title of a response article, even while going on to say the facts in the article are actually true. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, issued a more honest response, conceding that many “evangelicals did hold to embarrassingly liberal positions on the abortion issue (including, I must admit, the Southern Baptist Convention).” But both said that the change in evangelical opinion was not driven by a late-1970s political mobilization effort. . .

In 1968, Christianity Today and the Christian Medical Society hosted a gathering of evangelical leaders from across the country for a symposium on birth control. The purpose was to set forth “the conservative or evangelical position within Protestantism” from scholars who “shared a common acceptance of the Bible as the final authority on moral issues.” The joint statement resulting from the conference, titled “A Protestant Affirmation on the Control of Human Reproduction,” included the consensus of attendees on abortion.

“Whether the performance of an induced abortion is sinful we are not agreed,” it declared, “but about the necessity of it and permissibility for it under certain circumstances we are in accord.” Circumstances justifying abortion included “family welfare, and social responsibility.” “When principles conflict,” they affirmed, “the preservation of fetal life ... may have to be abandoned to maintain full and secure family life.”

In 1971, the Southern Baptist Convention agreed, in a joint resolution: “We call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.”

Dallas Theological Seminary professors also supported the cause. Bruce Wakte, writing in Christianity Today, drew on Exodus 21:22-24 to argue that “God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed.” His colleague Norman Geisler concurred: “The embryo is not fully human — it is an undeveloped person.” . . .

In 1975, the Christian Action Coalition formed to mobilize lay evangelicals against abortion. Its founders quickly discovered that lay evangelicals weren’t interested: “We really thought it wouldn’t take much to get the general Christian community in the United States really upset about this issue. ... We thought, ‘Once people realize what’s going on, there will be spontaneous upheaval.’ That didn’t happen.” Moody Monthly, an evangelical magazine, complained as late as 1980 that “Evangelicalism as a whole has uttered no real outcry. We’ve organized no protest. ... The Catholics have called abortion ‘The Silent Holocaust.’ The deeper horror is the silence of the evangelical.”

And the founders of the evangelical right at the time, speaking of their movement’s emergence in the mid-1970s, lamented that the evangelical community was was stubbornly apathetic on abortion. Paul Weyrich, for example, noted that “what galvanized the Christian community was not abortion, school prayer, or the [equal rights amendment]. ... I was trying to get [evangelicals] interested in those issues and I utterly failed.” Ed Dobson, the right-hand man of Jerry Falwell, agreed: “The Religious New Right did not start because of a concern about abortion. ... I frankly do not remember abortion ever being mentioned as a reason why we ought to do something.”

In 1980, Falwell used his unparalleled platform to change all that. Declaring that “[t]he Bible clearly teaches that life begins at conception,” he allied with like-minded evangelicals to disseminate that interpretation across America. Falwell’s assertion that this position was the obvious one in Scripture necessarily implied that the host of intelligent, pious evangelicals who came before him just didn’t read their Bibles closely enough. It also made the Bible say the same thing his Catholic political allies believed (though Catholics believed it for other reasons). . .

Why does it matter that what evangelical leaders say is “the biblical view on abortion” was not a widespread interpretation until about 30 years ago? For one thing, it’s harder to argue the Bible clearly teaches something when the overwhelming majority of its past interpreters didn’t read the Bible that way. . .

Although he had associates, Paul Weyrich was essentially the evil genius behind the Moral Majority alliance between Roman Catholics and Evangelicals for political purposes. The Moral Majority is long defunct, but the impact of its union of Roman Catholics and "Protestant" Evangelicals is still roiling the waters of politics and legislation in the United States, growing steadily stronger and threatening, if they have their way, to elect a man of frightful character as President:

Abortion: How it became the issue that will sink Clinton for evangelicals

Evangelicals – and white evangelicals in particular – are planning to vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in droves. . .

For most US evangelicals and Roman Catholics, life begins at conception. This is not a view evangelicals have always held – the Southern Baptist Convention in 1971 called for legislation to allow abortion under conditions such as rape, incest, severe foetal deformity, or damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother. It later expressed regret for its stance. After the crucial Roe v Wade ruling in 1973 that legalised abortion, even such a doughty conservative as Walter Criswell welcomed it, saying: "I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person," he said, "and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed."

Neither is it the case that abortion has always been a political dealbreaker for evangelicals, or decided along party lines. Republican president Ronald Reagan was personally pro-life but when he was governor of California he signed into law the Therapeutic Abortion Act to reduce the number of back-street abortions.

But abortion became a key political battleground with the rise of the religious right and its ideological identification with the Republican party. And according to Randall Balmer, a Columbia University professor and author of Thy Kingdom Come, this was a deliberate policy rather than a spontaeous revulsion at the consequences of Roe v Wade.

In his book, subtitled An Evangelical's Lament, Balmer says most evangelical leaders did not respond to Roe v Wade. He recalls a meeting at which one of the founders of the Moral Majority movement, Paul Weyrich, spoke animatedly about the formation of the Religious Right in the late 1970s. It came about, he said, as a result of efforts by Jimmy Carter to deny segregationist colleges tax-exempt status. Weyrich, corroborated by others, told Balmer conservatives held a conference call to discuss their strategy and find a unifying issue. "Several callers made suggestions, and then, according to Weyrich, a voice on the end of one of the lines said, 'How about abortion?' And that is how abortion was cobbled into the political agenda of the Religious Right," says Balmer.

There are two issues here. One is whether abortion was cynically used by the right as a way of getting evangelical Christians onside in a struggle for political influence. On Balmer's evidence, it was.

But the other issue is about the thing itself. Whatever the origins of the abortion lobby, most evangelicals have been convinced by the argument that life begins at conception and that abortion is, to one degree or another, profoundly wrong. . .

As reprehensible as the foregoing reports of the political nature of the Pro-Life movement are, even more shocking facts are exposed in the following article by Randall Balmer about the real reason for this alliance between Roman Catholics and Evangelicals:

The Real Origins of the Religious Right

They’ll tell you it was abortion. Sorry, the historical record’s clear: It was segregation.

One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.

This myth of origins is oft repeated by the movement’s leaders. In his 2005 book, Jerry Falwell, the firebrand fundamentalist preacher, recounts his distress upon reading about the ruling in the Jan. 23, 1973, edition of the Lynchburg News: “I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wade story,” Falwell writes, “growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it.” Evangelicals, he decided, needed to organize.

Some of these anti- Roe crusaders even went so far as to call themselves “new abolitionists,” invoking their antebellum predecessors who had fought to eradicate slavery.

But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism. . .

So what then were the real origins of the religious right? It turns out that the movement can trace its political roots back to a court ruling, but not Roe v. Wade.

In May 1969, a group of African-American parents in Holmes County, Mississippi, sued the Treasury Department to prevent three new whites-only K-12 private academies from securing full tax-exempt status, arguing that their discriminatory policies prevented them from being considered “charitable” institutions. The schools had been founded in the mid-1960s in response to the desegregation of public schools set in motion by the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. In 1969, the first year of desegregation, the number of white students enrolled in public schools in Holmes County dropped from 771 to 28; the following year, that number fell to zero.

In Green v. Kennedy (David Kennedy was secretary of the treasury at the time), decided in January 1970, the plaintiffs won a preliminary injunction, which denied the “segregation academies” tax-exempt status until further review. In the meantime, the government was solidifying its position on such schools. Later that year, President Richard Nixon ordered the Internal Revenue Service to enact a new policy denying tax exemptions to all segregated schools in the United States. Under the provisions of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which forbade racial segregation and discrimination, discriminatory schools were not—by definition—“charitable” educational organizations, and therefore they had no claims to tax-exempt status; similarly, donations to such organizations would no longer qualify as tax-deductible contributions.

On June 30, 1971, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued its ruling in the case, now Green v. Connally (John Connally had replaced David Kennedy as secretary of the Treasury). The decision upheld the new IRS policy: “Under the Internal Revenue Code, properly construed, racially discriminatory private schools are not entitled to the Federal tax exemption provided for charitable, educational institutions, and persons making gifts to such schools are not entitled to the deductions provided in case of gifts to charitable, educational institutions.”

Paul Weyrich, the late religious conservative political activist and co-founder of the Heritage Foundation, saw his opening.

In the decades following World War II, evangelicals, especially white evangelicals in the North, had drifted toward the Republican Party—inclined in that direction by general Cold War anxieties, vestigial suspicions of Catholicism and well-known evangelist Billy Graham’s very public friendship with Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. Despite these predilections, though, evangelicals had largely stayed out of the political arena, at least in any organized way. If he could change that, Weyrich reasoned, their large numbers would constitute a formidable voting bloc—one that he could easily marshal behind conservative causes.

“The new political philosophy must be defined by us [conservatives] in moral terms, packaged in non-religious language, and propagated throughout the country by our new coalition,” Weyrich wrote in the mid-1970s.“ When political power is achieved, the moral majority will have the opportunity to re-create this great nation.” Weyrich believed that the political possibilities of such a coalition were unlimited.“ The leadership, moral philosophy, and workable vehicle are at hand just waiting to be blended and activated,” he wrote. “If the moral majority acts, results could well exceed our wildest dreams.”

But this hypothetical “moral majority” needed a catalyst—a standard around which to rally. For nearly two decades, Weyrich, by his own account, had been trying out different issues, hoping one might pique evangelical interest: pornography, prayer in schools, the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, even abortion. “I was trying to get these people interested in those issues and I utterly failed,” Weyrich recalled at a conference in 1990.

The Green v. Connally ruling provided a necessary first step: It captured the attention of evangelical leaders , especially as the IRS began sending questionnaires to church-related “segregation academies,” including Falwell’s own Lynchburg Christian School, inquiring about their racial policies. Falwell was furious. “In some states,” he famously complained, “It’s easier to open a massage parlor than a Christian school.”

One such school, Bob Jones University—a fundamentalist college in Greenville, South Carolina—was especially obdurate. The IRS had sent its first letter to Bob Jones University in November 1970 to ascertain whether or not it discriminated on the basis of race. The school responded defiantly: It did not admit African Americans. . . (Underscored emphasis added) [The entire article is highly educational, and provides insight into continuing current events bearing on the fulfillment of prophecy.]

There are Seventh-day Adventists who will neither be convinced by the foregoing facts of history nor by the significance of the fact that "life begins at conception" is central to the anti-abortion movement. It is glaringly obvious that in the Pro-Life movement we are confronted by the dogma of the Immortality of the Soul. This is an inescapable fact! Ellen G. White has coupled the Immortality of the Soul with Sunday sacredness as allied means by which "Satan will bring the people under his deceptions." Even secular scholarship recognizes that the dogma of the immortality of the soul is the obvious foundation of the teaching that "life begins at conception." To be seduced into supporting the anti-abortion crusade is to assent to the dogma.

"There Are None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See":

According to the ‘Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings’ this proverb has been traced back to 1546 (John Heywood), and resembles the Biblical verse Jeremiah 5:21 (‘Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not’). In 1738 it was used by Jonathan Swift in his ‘Polite Conversation’ and is first attested in the United States in the 1713 ‘Works of Thomas Chalkley’. The full saying is: ‘There are none so blind as those who will not see. The most deluded people are those who choose to ignore what they already know’.