Agency and Accountability: A Plea to Take Action Against 24-week-to-Birth Abortion Laws

(This was previously published as NT 6 on my blog on January 29, 2019. I have moved the post here to accommodate its inclusion as a series of essays on Abortion and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doctrine.)

I have previously written about Latter-day Saint perspectives on abortion here. I tried to expose the hidden (and evil) messages running through the 2017 Teen Vogue article about what to get a friend post-abortion which I found not just horrifying but actually destructive for individuals and society at large.

This new law signed in New York allowing abortion from 24 weeks up to birth reaches a whole new level of evil.

Just the other day I thought, “I know we’re living in the end of times but is the world really bad enough yet for the calamities and destruction foretold by prophets to finally fall?” After this law passed in New York? Yes, yes it is. Sins against children rank up there with murder and denying the Holy Ghost. Jesus said,

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:4-6, NT; emphasis added)

Whether it’s abuse in any form, neglect, or outright murder (and that’s just what this abortion law is), the perpetrators of such sins against children would be better off “drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Pro-choice proponents want to argue that a woman’s right to make choices about her body trumps the right of an unborn child. But if we’re going to talk about choice (or agency as we call it in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), we also have to talk about responsibility (aka accountability).

Choices aren’t made in a vacuum. Their consequences ripple across the lives of individuals, families, communities, society, and the world. And we are accountable to God for every choice we make. Society at large has been trying for years to divorce choice from responsibility. Society ignores unseen spiritual consequences though they are just as real and eternally repercussive as any of the obvious consequences of choice we see around us.

This is in part why God has established laws (also known as commandments) governing choice from the beginning of the world. All choices have eternal repercussions and some of those repercussions are so disastrous to eternity that God says, “I will never take away an individual’s agency, but there are some choices no one should ever make.” God’s laws protect us, His children, from making the sorts of choices that prevent us from achieving our eternal destiny (see True to the Faith, “Eternal Life” and “Salvation”).

Earthly laws, those set in place by mankind and their governments, have frequently fallen in line with God’s laws. Societies that have followed God’s laws have enjoyed peace, prosperity, harmony, and happiness. The scriptures indicate, however, that when a society moves away from God’s laws or even enacts laws that run contrary to God’s commandments, calamity and destruction will fall upon the world (see below).

I finally feel sickened and outraged enough about our society enacting a law that condones the murder of babies that I’m going to take action. While I believe that women and girls who are the victims of rape or incest, or whose lives are at risk from continuing a pregnancy should have access to abortion, I believe that even then the choice to abort a pregnancy should be made prayerfully and with the utmost care and consideration. The 24-week-to-birth abortion law exceeds any sort of reasonable “right” to choice. There are some choices so heinous that no one should make them––aborting a baby so close to birth is one of those choices.

If you want to take action too, consider volunteering with a local pro-life organization. You can find a list of local affiliates of the National Right to Life here. These organizations provide educational programs; they collect baby supplies such as diapers, wipes, formula, etc. to donate to at-risk mothers; some have traveling ultrasound machines to provide free ultrasounds for mothers considering an abortion. These organizations function most effectively when they have a large pool of volunteers.

Things have progressed too far in our society at large to remain silent on the issue of abortion any longer.

Further reading:

“The Family: A Proclamation to the World”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints public statement on abortion

True to the Faith, “Abortion”

A selection of prophecies regarding the destruction of societies that turn away from God; many of these prophecies concern the state of the world prior to Christ’s Second Coming: 1 Nephi 14:5-7BoM; Isaiah 24:5OT; Matthew 24NT; D&C 112:23-24.

Gordon B. Hinckley (15th Church President), “Save the Children,” General Conference (October 1994).

Quentin L. Cook (current Apostle), “A Banquet of Consequences: The Cumulative Result of All Choices,” BYU Speeches (7 February 2017).

See my article “An Eternal Identity” for a discussion of how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints views human potential and eternal destiny.

See my Book of Mormon post “Day 49: Precious Souls and Redemption” for a little more information about Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beliefs regarding eternity and salvation.