Sir Walter Scott famously wrote, “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” The truth of that statement was brought home this past week by a court decision authorizing a pregnant minor not to abort her baby.
The situation involving the young girl was the opposite of what we in the pro-life community usually envision. Usually, we think of abortion involving a minor in terms of making sure parents are involved in important decisions in the lives of their minor children. In these crucial and irrevocable life and death decisions, we want parents providing wisdom and guidance to their minor children. So we pass laws requiring that parents of minor children either be notified of their daughter’s intended abortion or give their consent.
In support of those laws, we pro-lifers point out that a school can’t give a student an aspirin without the parents either being notified or giving their consent, but that a minor a child can have an abortion without the knowledge or consent of a parent. And, yes, that’s true even in Tennessee because the U.S. Supreme Court has said that a state must provide the minor an opportunity to get her abortion upon the consent of a judge if she doesn’t want to get that of a parent.
That’s what those of us in the pro-life community usually think about abortion involving a minor. But the situation was the reverse in Texas. There, the parents of the pregnant minor were pressuring their daughter into having an abortion, and the young girl went to court to get protection from her parents in order to have the baby.
The case presents a bit of a conundrum for those of us who are pro-life, but who are also opposed to the burgeoning statist mentality that increasingly comes between parents and the upbringing of their children. The court found that two fundamental principles were pitted against each other: the principle that life is sacred and innocent life is not to be destroyed versus the principle that parents should be allowed to guide and direct their minor children in the way in which they should go.
To me, this is an ugly fruit of abortion; it is the tangled web we find ourselves caught in because we as a society have deceived ourselves into thinking that some human life can be unilaterally declared “not life” and be destroyed to suit the wishes of the one who stood as judge and jury over that declaration. We have abandoned a truth, a first principle, that life is endowed by our Creator and that the government is to protect the right to life, not sanction the destruction of innocent life.
But having abandoned that foundational truth and having substituted a lie for the truth, we have now put ourselves in the position of having to come between a parent and a child over a choice that God alone should make. Abortion not only destroys life, but it has begun to destroy the relationship between parent and child.
As I think of this “fruit” that abortion has yielded, I’m reminded of the statement by John the Baptist to a group of Pharisees who had deceived themselves by believing that their righteousness was to be found, not in repentance and faith toward God, but in the fact that they were biologically the descendants – the fruit, if you will – of Abraham.
John warned them that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” It was time to “bring forth fruit worthy of repentance.”
From the case in Texas we have seen that the “tree of abortion” has brought forth another bad fruit. And at some point, we, as a nation, must repent of our desire to substitute ourselves for God on the matter of abortion and lay the axe at the root of this tree, too.