Dear 'Whole-Life' Progressive Evangelicals, Did You Forget 'Pro-Life' and the Unborn?

Progressive evangelicals must speak into the abortion debate.


On Monday, the Senate voted on a bill—the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act—that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The ballots were cast and counted and ended in a vote of 51-46—an insufficient tally to end the Democratic filibuster for which 60 votes are required.

Pro-lifers across the country watched as their elected officials failed to acknowledge the reality that what grows inside a mother’s womb is life. At 20 weeks it should be obvious to all, the infant is no unrecognizable jumble of tissue; it is a baby. It has fingers, toes, ears, and all the normal features. It wakes, sleeps, and, as this bill tried to tell us, it also feels pain.

Those key receptors are often developed as early as eight weeks after conception.

Here’s the thing, though: if our nation really cared about the sanctity of life, we wouldn’t need to know that these infants have nerve development in order to offer them the most basic protections. From a Christian perspective, life matters not because of what it can do or accomplish at a particular stage, but because of an individual’s personhood—his or her status as a being created in the image of God.

What Is ‘Pro-Life’ Anyways?

In recent years, conversations in the evangelical community surrounding the meaning of the term ‘pro-life’ have significantly broadened. This, in most cases, is done at the hands of more progressive evangelical Christians who find the original motivations of the pro-life agenda to be ‘cliché’ or, rather, too overtly conservative.

Most Mainline Protestants would be pro-choice, so this ‘broadening’ was more of an evangelical (and perhaps Catholic) experience. ...

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