Guest Commentary / Apr. 13, 2021

I Wish This Prophet Had Been Wrong

Francis Schaeffer foresaw the threats that abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia posed to our post-Christian culture.

By Benjamin Martin

In 1979, I was living in the mountains of Washington State, working out of a rural station in the National Park system.

I received word that one of the most distinguished American theologians of that era, Francis Schaeffer, and nationally known pediatrician (and future surgeon general) C. Everett Koop would be in Seattle for two days presenting a program they had developed under the title, “Whatever Happened to the Human Race.” I had read many of Schaeffer’s books and was greatly influenced by his writings. I took the dive into Seattle and spent two days listening to Schaeffer and Koop — and their remarks were life changing for me. The subject matter was abortion, which SCOTUS had legalized in the Roe v. Wade decision six years earlier, and the implications it would have on infanticide and euthanasia.

Schaeffer offered an insightful warning to his audience: that the horror that is abortion would inevitably lead also to infanticide and euthanasia. I had the opportunity to ask Schaeffer which undergraduate college he would recommend, and he suggested Covenant College on Lookout Mountain in Georgia. In the fall of 1980, I moved over 2,500 miles to begin my freshman year at Covenant, a Reformed Presbyterian college with strong teaching about the value of every unborn child.

While at Covenant, I learned that the largest hospital in nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee, operated a prenatal clinic to help pregnant mothers with their pregnancies, thus leading to healthy babies. I was shocked to find out that once a month, the prenatal staff were sent elsewhere and and a group of abortionists occupied the clinic. The facility went from the work of helping mothers bring healthy babies into the world to killing healthy babies prior to birth. To bring this to light, we obtained a demonstration permit and then reached out to other pro-life groups in the region. Organizational meetings were held with people of faith from many churches. A date was set, posters and signs were developed, and press releases were sent out to the media.

It was the first pro-life demonstration ever held in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Large numbers of Christians from all over the area, with entire families, hit the sidewalk in front of that county hospital. Mothers with children marched back and forth carrying posters exposing the existence of a stealth abortion clinic at the taxpayer-supported hospital. The newspaper and local television stations made the public very aware of something many would have preferred to have been kept very quiet. Not long after, the abortion operation in the prenatal clinic at that hospital was closed. A handful of Covenant College students discovered that we could make a difference.

It’s 2019, and one of today’s headlines is the sad story of a beautiful Danish 17-year-old girl who had been raped as a child. Tragedies happen all over the world. The breathtaking sadness here is that this young woman was so depressed by the violation she suffered earlier in her life that she requested to end her life. The horror is that Danish society was willing to euthanize this girl with the blessing of the Danish government. There are many ill people who suffer terrible pain. This suffering is listed as the justification for many of those who have been euthanized. Large numbers, however, list “loss of dignity” as the reason for requesting society to end their life.

A few days ago, the governor of Illinois signed into law the most extreme abortion law in the United States. The law creates a fundamental right to abortion for any reason up to the moment of birth. Healthy children that can live outside the womb can now be killed for the crime of being unwanted.

In today’s so-called “developed” countries, many thousands are ending their lives through euthanasia.

Francis Schaeffer was a prophet. He foresaw the threats that abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia posed to our post-Christian culture. He was many years ahead of his time. I always hoped he was wrong.

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