(You can listen to this exact article given at an event in Wichita, KS here.)
Right Principles Concerning Abortion
If we are ever going to end this injustice, we must allow our lives, laws, and ministries to be completely transformed by God’s Word.
Today, I’m going to focus on the proposed Amendment called the Value Them Both Amendment to the Kansas Constitution. There are thousands of yard signs, bumper stickers, and people going door to door for this amendment every day. It has millions of dollars of support, and it is led by the biggest PAC in our state, Kansans For Life, among other big ecumenical groups. Billboards and Social Media ads and rallies for it abound. I’ve been to several of those rallies, talked with several of their speakers. One of my closest friends now in the fight for abolition was a trained Kansans For Life speaker for Value Them Both. The amendment was passed in both houses with bipartisan support and a 2/3rds majority. And now it is coming to the people for a vote, as all Kansas Constitutional amendments must, on August 2nd.
With this much fervor, it is understandable for Christians to want to join the cause enthusiastically. It’s right to long after a real chance for change on this matter. But we have to ask ourselves if, in our desperation, we will actually be establishing careful justice. The reality is that for us who are Christians we need not be desperate for justice, in that sense, reckless or hasty and willing to compromise right principle. We who know Christ can trust God with the results as long as we faithfully follow Him with the means. Really, we must trust God, for He alone can end this holocaust. And He will do it with or without us.
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” —Proverbs 21:1
It’s all up to Him. So we shouldn’t ask if God agrees with our amendment. We should ask if our amendment agrees with God.
Because when we fail to seek the careful, impartial justice of God taught by Jehoshaphat to the judges he’d just appointed in 2 Chronicles 19:7, we will find ourselves actually working against the Lord of the Universe, even if we believe the cause to be noble in our hearts.
So what does Value Them Both actually say?
Here’s the entire proposed AMENDMENT
“§ 22. [of the Bill of Rights] Title: Regulation of abortion. Because Kansans value both women and children, the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion. To the extent permitted by the constitution of the United States, the people, through their elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.”
As we begin to break down this amendment, both its morality and its strategy, consider some diagnostic questions that God’s Word inspires us to ask whenever we need to judge legislation. (Our 12 Principles Booklet goes into these principles more):
1 Corinthians 10:31 inspires us to ask:
Does this amendment put God’s Glory First?
Romans 1:16 inspires us to ask:
Does this amendment’s handling of baby murder reflect The Gospel?
Exodus 21:22-25 inspires us to ask:
Does this amendment treat Abortion is Murder?
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 inspires us to ask:
Is this amendment pluralistic or Driven by God’s church and Word?
Romans 3:7-8 inspires us to ask:
Is this amendment compromised or Principled?
James 2:8-9 inspires us to ask:
Does this amendment establish Prejudicial or Equal Justice?
Leviticus 20:1-5 inspires us to ask:
Does this amendment support the Biblical Consequences for baby murder?
Hosea 8:4 inspires us to ask:
Does this amendment affirm Judicial Lawlessness or Lawfulness?
Ecclesiastes 8:11 inspires us to ask:
Is this amendment a Proportionate response to a baby genocide?
1 Thessalonians 5:3 inspires us to ask:
Does this amendment Delay our state’s Repentance?
Proverbs 24:11 inspires us to ask:
Is this amendment Passive or Urgent and Proactive?
Psalm 127:3-5 inspires us to ask:
Does this amendment affirm preborn children to be what God says they are: Blessings?
And finally, the Golden Rule, Matthew 22:37-39 inspires us to ask:
If the preborn of Kansas could talk to us, would they agree that this amendment is loving our neighbor as ourselves?
I posit that, based on Scripture and these reasonable questions, there are,
9 Reasons We Must Oppose VTB
Value Them Both gives to the legislature an unconstrained right to legislate on abortion. What do I mean by unconstrained? Hear the amendment again. It says, “elected state representatives and state senators, may pass laws regarding abortion, —including, but not limited to, laws that account for circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or circumstances of necessity to save the life of the mother.” That amendment is worded purposely ambiguously in order to appear bipartisan by the testimony of its writers. The amendment does not constrain in any capacity the legislature’s right to pass laws on abortion. That may sound great at first, but consider what that means. This amendment puts into our State Constitution the right for legislators to pass laws even protecting abortion. Christians, reading this either optimistically or hastily (or not at all) want to believe this amendment would only be used to stop abortions, not protect them. The reality is far from that. All of our pro-life laws passed by our politicians already on the books protect abortions in this state. Abortions are currently legal up to the point of birth in our state, as long as you give the politician-approved reason, or for any reason before 22 weeks. It wasn’t pro-choicers that signed those bills; it was pro-life politicians that signed their names on laws that say when and how you can and can’t kill preborn babies. And truth is, Kansas is bluer than we want to admit. We have a pro-baby murder governess, and one of the most liberal courts in the Union for a red state. So consider: Do we really want to put in our Constitution that the legislature may pass any laws regarding abortion? Taking an amendment out of the Constitution requires the same process that got it in: 2/3rds support in both houses and then a majority vote by the people of Kansas. The unconstrained right to pass laws on abortion is not a right Christians should be willing to give their legislature, even if they truly believed they could be trusted with it. The only right to pass laws on abortion that Christians should vote to give to their legislators is the right to abolish baby murder totally and immediately, with no exceptions. And there’s one reason for that: because it’s the only right God has given them for making laws on abortion. God is very clear in Romans 13 that He has given the sword to the civil government to punish evil and reward good. God did not give unconstrained power to governments, and neither should Christians now with Value Them Both. On August 2nd at the ballot box, when the legislators present to us their request for us to allow them to legislate in any way on abortion, tell them no.
Here’s another angle to consider the error of the Value Them Both amendment and why to oppose it. In describing the unconstrained right it gives to the legislature to pass laws on abortion, it specifically enumerates the ways they can prejudicially legislate on abortion. What do I mean by prejudicially? Prejudice indicates that a judgment, pre-jud-ice, is made before, that is, pre-the relevant crime. God calls prejudicial or partial or favoritist judgments wrong. The three kinds of prejudice Value Them Both permits are some of those most commonly named in pro-life circles: rape, incest, and so-called “life of the mother.” If you’ve never considered these exceptions prejudice before, test what I say against Scripture. In all of the Scriptures against murder, there is not so much as a hint to demographic exceptions. Man or woman, slave or free, Jew or Gentile, man, child, or preborn child are all explicitly protected from murder, with the same punishment given for murder of any of those demographics. But right now, the pro-life laws (I’ve mentioned are already on the books) in Kansas say, you can kill preborn humans in our state–so long as they’re younger than 22 weeks of gestation, or so long as you find a doctor that will say it “compromises” your physical health. And now this amendment doubles down on and expands those counter-Scriptural prejudices with regard to murder. Voting yes to this amendment is saying to the legislature, “I permit you to make laws that allow rape-conceived babies that bear God’s image to be murdered.” While in human reason, we may consider laws that say which babies you can and can’t kill, or how you can and can’t kill them, better than no laws on abortion at all, God says do NO injustice (2 Chronicles 19:7), show NO partiality (James 2:8-9), do NO evil that good may come (Romans 3:7-8), do NOT acquit the guilty (Leviticus 20:1-5), NEVER condemn the innocent (Proverbs 17:25), don’t let the enemy have even ONE child (Exodus 10:8-11), STOP decreeing iniquitious decrees that make the fatherless their prey (Isaiah 10:1-2) and sentence an evil deed speedily (Ecclesiastes 8:11). And furthermore, choosing between prejudicial laws on abortion and no laws on abortion is a false dichotomy. All we are called to do is everything we can to “rescue those being led to slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). But everything we can is a lot. It is within the legislature’s power right now, granted by God, to abolish abortion, whether the court says they can’t make baby murder illegal or not. So every Christian meeting with their legislators and every Christian in the legislature should determine in their heart to do the most they can with the power given them by God, and that means, like Moses in Exodus 10, tirelessly demanding nothing less than the safe deliverance of every last little child. On August 2nd at the ballot box, when the legislators present to us their request for us to allow them to legislate prejudicially abortion, tell them no. Because God said so.
This is huge. As much as the Value Them Both amendment wrongly expands the powers of the legislature by its ambiguity and prejudice, it will also serve to hinder abolishing abortion completely by restricting the power of the legislature to only “regulation” of abortion. Consider the reason this amendment was proposed for proof: in 2019, Kansas’ Supreme Court determined that Kansas’ Constitution establishes a right to abortion in the case of Hodes & Nauser v. Derek Schmidt. It argues this by quoting from the Kansas Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
“All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
And then saying in the decision: “Is this declaration of rights more than an idealized aspiration? And, if so, do the substantive rights include a woman’s right to make decisions about her body, including the decision whether to continue her pregnancy? We answer these questions, ‘Yes.’ this right allows a woman to make her own decisions regarding her body, health, family formation, and family life — decisions that can include whether to continue a pregnancy.”
Thus the Supreme Court invented the right to abortion from the phrase, “life, liberty, and property.” Note that the Supreme Court could not cite anything in the Constitution remotely allowing for abortion, because no such thing exists—at least not yet. Out of aboslutely nothing, Kansas’ court was able and willing to construe a right to abortion. Now genuinely consider this: If our liberal courts are willing to manipulate the current Constitution so, how much more will they be willing (and desperate) to construe the new Value Them Both amendment to exclude abolishing abortion, using the phrase “Regulation of Abortion” to argue that only regulation of abortion is allowed, not abolition? Putting abortion into our Constitution is dangerous and sloppy. A sloppy amendment designed to appeal even to pro-choice legislators is not the solution to our problem. It will back fire and hinder abolition by restricting the right of the legislature to only “regulation” of abortion. Our liberal justices have proven they have an agenda and will exploit whatever they can to achieve it. Value Them Both expands the powers of the legislature in all the wrong ways, and restricts the powers of the legislature in all the wrong ways. On August 2nd at the ballot box, when the legislators present to us their request for the power to only “regulate” abortion, tell them no.
The Value Them Both Amendment inserts into our Constitution the assumption that preborn humans do not have a right to life. Think logically with me here for a moment. Value Them Both begins with the phrase “Regulation of abortion.” If the legislature truly may pass laws to regulate abortion, is not the implication then that the right to life that the Kansas Constitution already establishes doesn’t apply to preborn people? Let me say that again: If lawmakers can “regulate” abortion in whatever way they decide, preborn humans, who are the victims of abortion, logically cannot have the right to life already. If they did, legislators wouldn’t be able to regulate the taking of their right to life, as it would already be illegal, because it is an inalienable right. So only under the presupposition that the right to life does not already apply to preborn children does it make any sense to say that legislators can regulate the killing of preborn children. In this way, under Value Them Both, preborn babies would legally be like animals: they don’t have the right to life, but legislators do have the power to pass laws on how and when you may kill them. Regulation of abortion wholly excludes treating abortion as murder, as deprivation of the right to life is not something that is legally regulated, only and exclusively criminalized. Thus humans killed via abortion, by implication of Value Them Both, are precluded from their Constitutional right to life. On August 2nd at the ballot box, when the legislators present to us their request to put the implication that the right to life does not apply to preborn humans into our Constitution, tell them no.
The Value Them Both amendment hinders abolishing abortion in Kansas by deferring to Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. If you talk to any representatives for Value Them Both, they will universally tell you that Value Them Both was carefully crafted to appeal as broadly as possible. They are proud of the bipartisan support they have won by this strategy. One way this amendment was crafted with this in mind is by inserting a constraining phrase that might not have caught your attention. Just before it says that legislators “may pass laws regarding abortion,” it adds the surreptitious phrase “To the extent permitted by the U.S. Constitution.” Upon first hearing, this seems legitimate. Perhaps it refers to the 14th Amendment or something positive? No. This is specific legal language to undermine any legal strategy that would be determined unconstitutional according to the United States Supreme Court’s binding interpretations of the United States Constitution in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Kansans For Life and the other pro-life groups pushing this amendment believe that when the Supreme Court, whose authority was given by God, abuses their power in order to tell the States that they can’t make baby murder illegal, they must be completely obeyed. Kansans For Life will not support any law that attempts to make abortion outright illegal because it will go directly against these federal-level decisions on abortion. This amendment solidifies that the only laws Kansas legislators may pass are those that the federal Supreme Court agrees with regarding abortion. While hiding under the guise of wanting to protect the rule of law and lawfulness, what this strategy actually promotes is judicial supremacy and lawlessness. Let me explain from God’s Word.
God does not call us to unconditionally submit to anyone except Him. Yet, He does put over each of us real, earthly authorities to which we are to submit. One of those is the civil government. Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13-14 say that the civil law and civil authorities are given for a specific purpose: to punish evil and praise good. That means in our case that any civil authority that rules in such a way that murder is legal is acting outside of his, her, or its God-given authority. Nobody, no man, law, or ruling can rightly say that murder is allowed when God says it is disallowed. Add to that the fact that the highest Laws of our Nation and State actually do protect the right to life (in the U.S. Const. amend. XIV, § 2; and in the KS Const. bor., § 1). They also forbid legislation from judicial authorities (U.S. Const. art. I, § 1). Therefore, when the Supreme Court in 1973 ruled that abortion could not be criminalized, we are forced to ask with the Apostles in Acts 5:29: will we “obey God rather than men”? The Christian response must be to ignore any court ruling that says we cannot legislate that abortion is murder. This is a kind of “nullification.” For example, the marijuana lobby already demands that our state join all the other states in ignoring (or “nullifying”) the Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Raich that upheld federal prohibitions on marijuana. Many states have legalized marijuana this way. Why has this not happened for abortion? Because there is no call from pro-life constituents and lobbies to nullify or ignore Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The opposite is what we see here. Value Them Both is one in a sea of continual calls from pro-life groups to continue obeying these wicked decisions. Value Them Both says, “to the extent permitted by the U.S. Constitution” in order to preempt accusations that they will ignore Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and to appeal more broadly–all the while shooting the cause of actually ending abortion in the foot. Deferring to the Supreme Court makes abolishing abortion more difficult and the amendment itself effectively impotent legally until both cases are overturned. Even should that happen, there is no guarantee that that new decision won’t itself be overturned some day, or that Roe won’t be codified into Federal Law. Frankly, Christians are going to have to figure out their ethic for disobedience from Scripture quickly, because Value Them Both asks us to continue bowing to Roe. So on August 2nd at the ballot box, when the legislators present to us their request to continue submitting to Roe’s interpretation of the Constitution, tell them no.
The stated goal of Value Them Both is not abolition. The goal of Value Them Both is for the preservation of the 2019 status quo of “reasonable restrictions” on abortion. There are a few purpose statements I can find for this amendment, one from a speech at March For Life this year, one from Value Them Both ads, and one from the Value Them Both website.
For the first, I attended the 2022 March For Life at the Capitol, both to inform and be informed. I stood at the very front of the crowd with big signs that read, “Abolish (Not Regulate) Abortion!” and “Equal Rights for All Humans.” It was very visible. There, Kansas Republican National Committeewoman Kim Borchers gave one of the final speeches in summary and support of the Value Them Both Amendment. I believe my signs and words affected her when she ended by saying the following to the crowd:
“The Value Them Both goal is clear: we believe in reasonable limits placed on the abortion industry, safeguarding protections we have enacted over 20 years. And what is the truth? The truth is Value Them Both does not abolish abortion. The Amendment preserves existing laws that were passed with bipartisan support. You’ve heard that! I’m gonna say that over and over again because that’s the message we have to give, because the lies will be that this is trying to abolish abortion. That is a lie.”
What she said here was no fluke. The very public, open purpose of Value Them Both is not to abolish baby murder; it is protection of existing, bipartisan, “reasonable limits” on abortion. So let me be clear: for the Christian, there IS no reasonable limit on baby murder except uncompromising, immediate abolition.
The second purpose statement comes from the numerous ads for Value Them Both that can be found across several social media platforms. Come to our table afterward and we can play any of these videos for you, but I will quote it for us now.
The particular ad I grabbed says that the 2019 pro-abortion decision “endangers all common sense limits on the abortion industry.” It does not mention that it endangers babies. It also focuses almost entirely on the idea that the decision negates Kansas laws about taxpayer funding for abortions, grandparental consent to baby murder, or the mothers’ right to know the health risks posed by a procedure she paid for to murder her child. A clear-minded individual reasonably asks, “What do any of these have to do with the bare, genocidal reality of baby murder occurring in our state?” All of such laws will be repealed anyway by any full abolition legislation. They get in the way of abolishing abortion, or worse, actually approve of some abortions as we have already established.
The ad also says, “Value Them Both won’t stop all abortions,” but the legal fact of this amendment is that it won’t stop any abortions. We’ve read the Amendment several times now. Nothing in the amendment even attempts to stop an abortion, and that’s by design; it is intentionally agnostic on the matter. And the ad finishes that sentence by saying that VTB “allows elected officials to pass common sense limits on the abortion industry,” careful not to say “limits on abortions” themselves which would be forbidden by Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
All of these status quo, common sense “limits” on abortion are what have allowed more than 20 babies every day to be murdered in our state for half a century.
The final purpose statement is from their website, Valuethemboth.com, stating their purpose like so:
“We are committed to advocating across our state for the passage of the Value Them Both Amendment to ensure that Kansas can stop unlimited abortion from coming to our state and can continue to pass laws that put the health and safety of mothers and babies before the abortion industry.”
This language is more of the confused and futile pattern we have seen. We shouldn’t care about stopping unlimited abortion; we should care about stopping abortion. We shouldn’t focus on making abortion healthier or safer for mothers to choose at the expense of abortion industry; we should end the abortion industry and make it illegal for mothers to try and kill their children.
All of this is unsurprising given that Kansans For Life, again the biggest PAC in our State, signed the open letter condemning the Louisiana Abolition of Abortion Bill last month, along with 70 other establishment Pro-Life groups around the nation. Kansans For Life’s open letter was instrumental in killing the abolition bill in Louisiana, just as it has been for abolition bills here in Kansas, as we will hear more about in a moment. The stated goal of Value Them Both is not abolition; it’s not a goal we should support at all. On August 2nd at the ballot box, when the legislators present to us their impotent amendment with zero goal of abolishing abortion, tell them no.
Legally, Value Them Both is unnecessary. This one’s simple.
A. The legislature already has the right to legislate according to our Constitutions,
B. The judicial branch never had the right to legislate according to our Constitutions, and
C. Most importantly, the “right to abortion” that was ruled to be in the KS Constitution never existed.
The three good things Value Them Both purports to achieve are already legal realities. The 2019 decision should just be nullified by the legislature, the judges impeached, and this amendment voted down. And if you’re going to say the legislature nullifying a court decision is harder than getting 2/3rds of both houses to pass a Constitutional amendment, tell that to your legislators that almost passed marijuana legislation that would’ve nullified a Supreme Court decision this year with basically no citizens calling for it. If Christians will just call directly and unwaveringly for what is true, good, and lawful, our state will abolish abortion and all of Value Them Both’s supposed good will be affirmed by it. On August 2nd at the ballot box, when the legislators present to us their request to support their unnecessary amendment, tell them no.
The Value Them Both Amendment was the legal strategy used to justify shutting down the Kansas Abortion Ban and the Abolish Abortion Kansas Act (HB2746) for years. Some PAC’s went so far as to threaten legislators intending to sponsor our abolition legislation with being primaried because it would distract from, or be counter-productive to Value Them Both. You’re can hear more of those details here so I will leave it there for now. But on August 2nd at the ballot box, when the legislators present to us their request to support the amendment they literally chose over abolishing abortion, tell them no.
Finally, Value Them Both was intentionally delayed two years for a vote in order to have it in an election year. The Amendment was proposed several years ago to the Kansas Legislature, led by the Value Them Both Coalition of PAC’s and lobbies. Being an amendment to the Kansas Constitution, it needed to be passed with a 2/3’s majority in both houses before being put on the ballot for the general public to vote on. When the Amendment passed both houses of our state in January 2021, it was set to be on the ballot August 2nd, 2022 during the next statewide election in which members of the state Legislature are elected. While this is the normative time amendments are popularly voted on, this only occurs when the Legislature chooses not to call for a special election. The Legislature can agree to have a special election for an amendment for many reasons, emergency, momentum, etc., but this route was not chosen for this amendment, despite the literal life and death emergency. And so the statewide vote comes a year and a half after it was passed at the Capitol, putting it in an election year for revolving door Republicans to keep running on pro-life increments. If it was the conviction of the legislature to love their preborn neighbors by this Amendment, and not delay their justice, they would not have let 11,000 more Kansan babies die when they had the chance to push a special election for it. Now we know that the amendment also doesn’t save any lives, and we know that it is impotent legally, and we know that it could be used immediately to protect abortions right after the election, but what this reveals is their intention. Their own strategy reveals that the intention of Value Them Both is neither first to save our preborn neighbors nor to honor God immediately. On August 2nd at the ballot box, when the legislators present to us their request to support their intentionally delayed response to our baby genocide, tell them no.
Alright, that’s all 9 reasons we must oppose Value Them Both. At the beginning, I asked you some guiding questions Christians should ask about Value Them Both based on Scripture. I’m ready to answer:
Does this amendment put God’s Glory First? No.
Does this amendment’s handling of baby murder reflect The Gospel? No.
Does this amendment treat Abortion is Murder? No.
Is this amendment Driven by God’s church and Word? No.
Is this amendment Principled? No.
Does this amendment establish Equal Justice? No.
Does this amendment support the Biblical Consequences for baby murder? No.
Does this amendment affirm Lawfulness? No.
Is this amendment a Proportionate response to our baby genocide? No.
Does this amendment Delay our state’s Repentance? Yes.
Is this amendment Urgent and Proactive? No.
Does this amendment affirm preborn children to be what God says they are: Blessings? No.
And finally, the Golden Rule inspires us to ask:
If the preborn of Kansas could talk to us, would they agree that this amendment is loving our neighbor as ourselves? No, they would not.
Don’t take my word for it. Search the Scriptures yourself. Pray for God’s mercy.
Vote No on Value Them Both, and
Keep your hand to the plow.
God will abolish abortion.