You googled “abortion chattanooga” because you are searching. You have liberty to do so. Some long while ago the Supreme Court issued a decision, Roe something-or-other, that makes abortion a fundamental right. You have a sense of thankfulness for the judges, two rows of elderly, black-robed men and women with serious, dignified expressions. Nameless, yes, but they always have seemed important, moral people.
Yes, you are aware that abortion is an unfortunate option, an evil necessity, as it were. Church people are opposed to it. The old Free Press frequently attacked it on the editorial pages. Protesters gave trouble to a local clinic in the 1990s. Yet, the Supreme Court made a ruling about abortion before you were born, and there is a measure of comfort in this fact.
That ruling means that society says abortion is OK and can be obtained as a constitutional right so important that groups such as NARAL and the ACLU will pay lawyers to drone about it in court. You want to exercise your rights as a woman to do a thing legal and right. To exercise this right, you are looking for providers of safe, healthy medical services to eliminate an unwanted pregnancy. Right on, you say. Women have come a long way.
A measure of satisfaction arises in the breast at the thought. Still, you hesitate. Your uneasiness, like a low burble of running water in your ear, arises from a legitimate perception of reality, one connected to your conscience and provoked by what the Bible describes as the lawless removal of a landmark.
In the late 1800s the state legislature enacted a statute criminalizing the destruction of a child by abortion. The law stayed the hand of the private doctor who would destroy him at the behest of a disaffected mother. In Chattanooga, Nashville and other large cities in Tennessee, abortion was a service provided clandestinely because it was a violent act subject to criminal prosecution.
In 1973 judges in faraway Washington removed the landmark in Tennessee law, according to the common understanding of Roe vs. Wade. Their ruling is a disaster for you. Men issued an opinion about what is right or wrong, redefined them in a novel way suitable to the political interests of that day. The right honorable judges you’ve seen in Time magazine and the Free Press weren’t acting simply on a technical legal issue. Their opinion giving you the liberty to destroy your child was a decision about right and wrong that denies you a vital guidance. Bumped, you have dropped your moral compass in the weeds.
The Lord God who gave you a baby by the miracle of conception is concerned with his health and welfare — and yours. In the word of God the term “landmark” appears several times. Simple declarative sentences about them suggest the force with which your creator wants legal monuments to withstand the wonts of men.
• You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess (Deuteronomy 19:14)
• Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark, and all the people shall say, “Amen!” (Deuteronomy 19:17)
• Do not remove the ancient landmark, which your fathers have set (Proverbs 22:28)
• Do not remove the ancient landmark, nor enter the fields of the fatherless (Proverbs 23:10)
Observe how landmarks are often old, part of an inheritance or the record of one’s father and his father. To relocate a landmark brings a curse. Removers of landmarks, in the last verse, act covetously against those whom the landmark formerly protected and enter the fields of the fatherless.
You are trying to make a decision about parting company with your son or daughter by reading Internet ads of abortion traffickers. Because ancient protections of babies in Tennessee have been made to disappear, you think you are inhaling deeply the crisp air of liberty, with birds chirping nearby in the tree. But the law imperils you and your heir, and few panting breaths remain. The judges moved a landmark and have placed their toe upon the field belonging to your enwombed baby, so that they might take possession of it. If you proceed in your Internet search and make an appointment at an abortion mill, you are letting those black-clad notables in the faded photo partake of the field of the fatherless, which is your inheritance as much as your stricken baby’s. They have shifted the landmark, they have seized the field and are entering quietly thereon, their robes swirling across the bitter clumps of grass.
David Tulis, a deacon at Brainerd Hills Presbyterian Church, is married and the father of four children.