“Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord! Lord, hear my voice!” Psalm 130.
“You, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” 2 Chronicles 15:7.
The fight for the preborn baby’s right to life goes on—and to quote Robert Frost, there are “miles to go before [we] sleep.”
On Nov. 7, Ohio voted to place a “right to abortion” in its state constitution, erasing legal protections for its preborn babies. Ohio became the fourth state since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June 2022 (joining Michigan, California, and Vermont) to pass a pro-abortion constitutional amendment.
Just a week before that—on Halloween—pro-abortion groups, calling themselves “Protect Our Rights Nebraska,” filed a pro-abortion ballot petition to try their luck in our state, hoping to put the issue to a statewide vote before Nebraskans in November 2024.
We will take a little time to examine Ohio, because it will be instructive for us. These are some of the important facts:
Their constitutional amendment, as passed, says that Ohio shall not “directly or indirectly burden, penalize, prohibit, interfere with, or discriminate against” a person’s exercise of the “right” to abortion or any “person or entity that assists an individual exercising this right.”
Notice that this amendment not only protects “exercise” of a so-called right to abortion; it also protects any “person or entity”—namely, Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry—from any law that would “directly or indirectly” “burden” or “interfere with” their “assisting” an individual to obtain an abortion.
This calls into question every law Ohio has that acts as a restraint on the abortion industry—including waiting periods, parental notification and consent laws, bans on particularly barbaric procedures, laws saying no tax dollars may go to abortion providers, and health and safety standards that increase their business overhead—all of these laws are now potentially “unconstitutional” in Ohio.
The amendment says abortion may be made illegal “after viability,” but creates the broadest “health” exception possible, leaving it to the individual judgment of the abortionist whether the intentional killing of a baby is necessary “to protect the pregnant patient’s .. health.” Abortionists over the years have made very clear that their interpretation of “health” in similar state laws is whether a woman says she wants an abortion; if she does, it is necessary for her psychological or mental health. The effect of this is an unqualified right to abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.
Pro-abortion groups spent $67 million in Ohio (more than twice the amount pro-life groups were able to spend) to fuel a campaign that lied to the people, telling them that despite the “life of the mother” exception in Ohio’s law, women would die on the operating table without the passage of the amendment. The pro-life message was simply overwhelmed, especially on television, by this campaign of deception.
These facts are, on first impression, shocking and overwhelming. But we who would protect the right to life in Nebraska have need to be like spearmen facing a cavalry charge—we must remember ourselves, remain united, and stand firm in well-founded hope, good courage, and strong faith. God, in His Providence, is good and orders all to the good.
God has not guaranteed us victory in this time and place—but He is just, and He rewards hard work. This is as good an opportunity as you and I are likely to have in a lifetime to give of ourselves for a good cause. And if we win the fight over this initiative—which we believe is much more likely here than in Ohio—Nebraska will be the state that turned the tide.
If you have ever felt, as I have, that perhaps you have not done enough to bring Christ to your neighbor, this is your opportunity. Resolve to take advantage of it. We will fight a happy fight for babies and mothers—and we will bear witness to the love of God.
Expect our opponents’ language to offer false olive branches with health exceptions that swallow the rule; expect them to be lavishly funded; and expect them to shout falsehoods about our laws, your motivations, and what it means to treat women with dignity and respect. Recognize these lies for what they are, but do not grow cynical or discouraged. Lovingly take up the cross offered to you.
“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11.
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