As we acknowledge yet another anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision and contemplate the current state of the pro-life movement, I am inclined -- as a historian should be -- to look to the past for some guidance. As I see the abortion controversy and the accompanying pro-life movement enter its fifth decade, I am drawn to the slavery controversy which likewise lasted many decades. The movement to abolish slavery was spearheaded by evangelicals. They were not the only members of this movement, but they were clearly in the vanguard. The movement consisted primarily of para-church associations and organizations that took direct action in helping the slaves. Though local churches usually did not play a direct role in this movement, they did educate and inspire their members to participate directly in the para-church groups.
In the Heart of the Battle
When it comes to the pro-life movement of today, as with the abolitionist movement in the 19th century, Christians primarily work outside the church. They lead and contribute to various anti-abortion groups, which do everything from lobbying Congress to organizing prayers in front of abortion clinics. But the para-church organizations that -- more than any other -- are in the heart of the battle and have their boots on the ground are crisis pregnancy centers.
[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]