Thursday, August 11, 2016

Why Rachel Held Evans is Wrong to Tell Christians to Vote for Hillary Clinton, Part III [Seth Gruber]

(This is the third part in a three-part series responding to an article by Rachel Held Evans, which you can read here. This series is a joint effort between Seth Gruber and Clinton Wilcox. For part one in this series, go here. For part two in this series, go here.)

In our previous article, we responded to Evans' first two points. In this article, we'll respond to her last two points and wrap up with some concluding thoughts. The two points we'll be responding to are as follows:

3. Pro-life advocates should support, rather than oppose, efforts to help low-income families care for their children.
4. If we want to dramatically reduce the abortion rate in this country, we must support efforts to make contraception more accessible and affordable.

3.  Pro-life advocates should support, rather than oppose, efforts to help low-income families care for their children

Besides saying that “many” conservatives have opposed such bills, highlighting conservative opposition to Obama’s “initiative aimed at improving the distribution of free or low-cost diapers to poor families struggling to care for their babies”, Evans provides no proof or evidence that pro-life advocates oppose efforts to help low-income families care for their children. If she is going to make such a claim, she needs to provide proof that such a dubious claim is in fact true.

Evans has often written about the importance of being consistently pro-life in all areas and living a life that reflects our belief in the importance and sacredness of all life! Evans, it seems, is working to expand the culturally accepted term “pro-life” from its “anti-abortion” meaning to include affordable health care, poverty alleviation, paid family and medical leave, helping families of special needs children, racial reconciliation, etc., but she does so at the expense of pro-lifers' central conviction. Jay Hobbs, editor in chief of, writes in his article responding to Rachel Evans entitled “No, Rachel Held Evans, voting for Hillary Clinton is not Pro-Life” that:

A pro-life conviction comes from recognizing the inherent value and dignity of every human life. That is why we oppose abortion in all cases. We can argue a bigger tent, but never at the expense of that central conviction. Here’s where Held Evans gets in the weeds, and it’s where she stays. In trying to expand the definition of “pro-life,” she’s doing the very opposite, redefining the term to exclude the one issue on which we “pro-lifers” unanimously agree.

By refocusing the issue on the importance of poverty, health-care, racial issues, etc., Evans compromises the very central conviction that unites pro-lifers (that abortion is an indefensible act of violence which takes the life of a defenseless unborn human person). She does this by encouraging us to vote for Hillary, who has shown her commitment to such issues. “Hillary Clinton has devoted much of her life to tackling these very issues, and she’s made them a centerpiece of her campaign” Evans says. The message Evans is sending to the Church is this:

If you are truly and consistently pro-life, you should vote for Hillary Clinton because she is committed to addressing issues that will enable us to care for families and children once they are born. Such a vote will help our country address the underlying causes that lead to unwanted pregnancies so that we can continue to decrease the abortion rate in America.

And our message for Rachel Held Evans and her like-minded friends is this:

Pro-lifers CAN’T support efforts to help low-income families care for their (born) children when it comes at the cost of electing a candidate to the highest office in the land who has also promised to fight for the “rights” of low-income families to take their unborn children to a clinic where a “doctor” will slaughter that child through dismemberment and use your tax-dollars to help pay for it.

Would we consider voting for Hillary Clinton if, while retaining all of her good policies to help low-income families, provide affordable health care, alleviate poverty, and bring racial reconciliation, she also promised to work tirelessly to secure and defend the rights of men to practice their bodily autonomy (without government interference) in how they choose to interact with their wives, be it physically abusive or not? I think not.

The bottom line is this: Pro-life advocates do support efforts to help low-income families care for their children, both before and after birth. The prominence of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) in America is proof of this. Time magazine reported in 2010 that “recent estimates indicate there are now more than five times as many CPCs in the U.S. as there are abortion clinics”. Given that pro-life laws have shut down many abortion clinics over the last several years, it is likely that the ratio of CPCs to abortion clinics is even higher now. So while pro-life advocates care for and support efforts to help low-income families care for their children, we cannot vote for a candidate whose policies and promises to care for such families and children only begin at birth.

4.  If we want to dramatically reduce the abortion rate in this country, we must support efforts to make contraception more accessible and affordable

We have only one question for Rachel Held Evans on this point: What type of contraception are you referring to? Preventative or abortifacient? While there are many who oppose the usage of contraceptives on moral grounds, contraception is in a different camp than abortion because contraception is meant to prevent the conception of a human being, whereas abortifacients take the life of an unborn human being after it has begun. So even if someone has moral issues with contraception, we should not enforce that moral position in law. We should enforce the moral position that abortion is wrong and should be illegal in law because taking a life is still wrong, even if someone doesn’t believe they are actually taking a life (by way of analogy, we should still make infanticide illegal even though there are those who believe infanticide is morally licit and may want to take the life of their infant under certain conditions). Such non-abortifacient contraceptive methods should be accessible and affordable. And we agree with Rachel Evans that these methods do play a part in decreasing the abortion rate since many of the couples who would get pregnant without preventative contraceptives would most likely seek out abortion.

However, abortifacient drugs such as RU-486, Norplant, Depo-Provera, Methotrexate & Misoprostol, and others, all have an abortifacient mechanism built into them. Let’s be clear: conception, not implantation, is the beginning of a new individual, a human person with intrinsic value and an inherent, natural ordering towards rationality. Abortifacient drugs are taken with the intent of causing an early abortion, and contraceptives are taken with the intent of stopping ovulation and blocking the sperm (thereby preventing conception).

If Rachel Held Evans is including abortifacients in her category of “contraception” when she says, “we must support efforts to make contraception more accessible and affordable”, then this is tantamount to saying:
If we want to dramatically reduce the abortion rate in this country, we must support efforts to make early-medication abortions more accessible and affordable.

Such a statement is clearly ludicrous because it is self-refuting. It can’t live by its own rules. We can’t reduce the abortion rate in America by supporting efforts to make early-medication abortion methods more accessible and affordable. Doing so only increases the abortion rate and makes it more difficult to track since many of these abortifacient drugs are available over the counter.
Rachel Evans has not specified what type of contraception she means, but there is good reason to believe that she is not opposed to at least some forms of abortifacients. We know this based off her admissions that she “believes the sacred personhood of an individual begins before birth” (no mention of conception), her statement that the “fact that a woman’s body naturally rejects dozens of fertilized eggs in her lifetime raises questions about where we draw the line regarding the personhood of a zygote”, and her questioning of whether we should count the loss of early embryonic life through natural miscarriages as deaths.
So yes, pro-life advocates should support efforts to make contraception accessible and affordable, but we already have a situation in which it is widely accessible and affordable. If you mean we should force the taxpayer to pay for it, that’s where we run into issues. Not getting it without paying for it is not the same thing as not being accessible and affordable.
Now, it is reasonable to believe that the use of such contraceptives will help decrease the abortion rate in America if the contraception we are discussing is purely preventative. If it is an abortifacient or has the potential to be abortifacient, then increasing the accessibility and affordability of such methods will only lead to the loss of more unborn life and raise the abortion rate in America.
A final word to Rachel Held Evans and like-minded progressive evangelicals…
We have posed the question multiple times.
If you believe that you can be pro-life while voting for a pro-choice candidate because you believe they will help keep the abortion rate lower and address the underlying causes that lead women to choose abortion in the first place, then would you consistently apply that same ethic if the social justice issue in question was spousal abuse?
Would you proudly blog about and encourage believers by saying:
So even though I think wife-beating is morally wrong in most cases, and support more legal restrictions around it, I often vote for candidates who promise to fight to keep wife-beating legal, when I think their policies will do the most to address the health and economic concerns that drive men to beat their wives in the first place. For me, it’s not just about being pro-wife; it’s about being pro-life.
If not, then we demand a response explaining the fundamental difference between the two scenarios that makes the argument reasonable in the former, but not in the latter, case.
The only difference we can see is that if anything, our example doesn’t go far enough. Spousal abuse, while a horrific and morally disgusting practice, is not taking the lives of over one million wives each year in the United States. Abortion, however, is taking the lives of over one million precious unborn human persons each year in the United States alone, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and well over fifty-three million abortions have been performed in the U.S. since the legalization of Roe v. Wade in 1973.
If Clinton gets elected, as Evans hopes, she and the rest of the evangelical-left who voted for her will be in the difficult position of having to explain:
  1. How you can claim God’s love for kids while voting for a woman who says that “the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights” ,
  2. How you can claim to care for the defenseless and those on the fringes of society while voting for a woman who opposed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have made abortion illegal after 20 weeks, at which point substantial medical evidence proves that the unborn can feel the pain of dismemberment, while also accusing said bill of “not being based on sound science” ,
  3. How you can claim to be for women’s rights while supporting a woman who champions and promises to continue protecting the rights of women to take their unborn baby girls to be slaughtered by abortionists,
  4. How you can vote for a woman who defended Planned Parenthood after videos exposed the organization’s trafficking of aborted baby body parts by saying, “I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has been the object of such a concentrated attack for so many years”,
  5. How you can quote Bible verses like “love your neighbor” while voting for a woman who wants to continue defending and protecting the rights of women to abort their unborn children through dismemberment; children who are the most vulnerable members of the human family, and most in need of being treated as “neighbors”,
  6. How you can support a woman who said about racist, eugenicist Margaret Sanger, “I admire her enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision… I am really in awe of her, there are a lot of lessons we can learn from her life”,
  7. How you can claim to be pro-life and vote for a woman who said in a video addressing the American people, “I’m proud to stand with Planned Parenthood, I’ll never stop fighting to protect the ability and right of every woman in this country to make her own health decisions”, when we all know that when Hillary says “health decisions”, this is what she really means,
  8. How you can claim to want improved health-care options for all people, while voting for a woman who said, “When politicians talk about defunding Planned Parenthood, they’re talking about blocking millions of women, men and young people from life-saving, preventive care.” You know that “life-saving, preventive care" includes the option for pregnant mothers to pay an abortionist to slaughter their unborn child through dismemberment; which suggests that you really only care about improved health care-options for born people,
  9. And lastly, how you can vote for a woman who, as Susan Michelle of Live Action News points out, “is willing to look past the illegal actions and indiscretions of Planned Parenthood”, given their “history of fraud, supporting sex-selective abortion, willingness to cover up child sex-trafficking, failure to report child sexual abuse, dissemination of inaccurate medical information to women, and even lying about providing mammograms”, while claiming that pro-life means caring for all lives, be they children, women, or the unborn.
Evangelicals, I implore you: Don’t support Hillary Clinton. Don’t support an ageist demagogue who won’t even acknowledge that the unborn person has constitutional rights. Abortion has been legal far too long and has taken the lives of far too many unborn children. Don’t claim to be pro-life and simultaneously vote for a candidate who is committed to protect the “freedom” and “rights” of women to take those lives you claim to care about to be torn apart by abortionists. Don’t claim to believe in the inherent value and dignity of unborn persons while lending your vote to someone who might decrease the abortion rate, while at the same time boldly promising to Planned Parenthood that she will always have their back and will be their “partner in the election and for the long haul”.
Too many precious unborn human lives are on the line for us to risk anything but outright opposition to a candidate who promises to increase funding and access to abortion, to ensure a woman’s right to take her unborn child to Planned Parenthood or any other abortion provider and have that child killed so that she may live the life she wants. We hope and pray that no Christian would ever think that support for a candidate like this is morally upright or permissible.


  1. I disagree with the notion of some contraception having an abortive potential.

    1. Then you haven't done your research.

    2. Well I have done the research and such notion is baloney. Also criminalizing so-called abortifacients would be hard and cost a lot money, also it is not popular. I support OTC Birth Control Pills. So does Senator from Colorado Cory Gardner.

    3. cman, I have to ask, what is an abortifacient if not something that causes the body to reject a fertilized egg (and thus, a newly conceived human being)? This would be, de facto, an abortion.

      Also, please explain how banning an abortifacient would be hard and cost money? The only ones I can see losing out would be the pharmaceutical companies.

      Also, as a Christian, why should I care if it wouldn't be popular or what politician supports the pills? My allegiance is to God, not man. If you are one of the Christian brethren, He should be who you want to side with, as well.

    4. Well You believe the baloney lie that the pill is an abortifacient? Well look I known it is not true, and if research came out saying that it is not would it change your view?

    5. When I say pills, I don't mean a contraceptive pill. I mean an actual abortifacient. RU-486 type. If those don't cause the body to reject what may be an already fertilized egg, then I admit my error.

      That still doesn't answer my two other questions (which, admittedly, rely on my knowledge of abortifacients).

    6. For what it's worth, LTI's official position is that we don't want to overstate our case regarding contraceptives. It was a mistake to include that in the article and I've taken out references to contraceptives possibly having an abortive potential.

  2. Let me state up front, I have no access to any statistics on contraceptives at the moment.

    That said, I'm not entirely sure that access to contraceptives would reduce abortions, at the very least, not by much.

    Wouldn't such availability encourage more sexual activity, especially among youth who would not normally be active (due, no doubt, to the fear of pregnancy, as opposed to moral conviction)?

    If that were the case, wouldn't it be possible, or even likely, that more pregnancies would occur and thus increase, or at least not negatively impact the abortion numbers?

    I suppose it's more an academic exercise, since we can't know for sure as it's based only on probability.


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