Legalized abortion: How it began, how it must end

By J. Gerald Harris, Editor

Published: January 17, 2008

Joe Westbury/Index

Mike Griffin, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell and legislative director for Georgia Right to Life, explains the importance of House Resolution 536, known as the Paramount Human Life Amendment. If passed and approved in the November election, the measure would outlaw abortion in Georgia.

The 1960s were years of unrest, tumult, ferment, and revolution in American. In 1962 the Supreme Court decided in Engel v. Vitale that prayer in the public schools was unconstitutional. As the 1960s progressed, many young people turned from mainstream protestant churches to mystic eastern religions. Respect for authority declined among the youth and crime rates soared. The use of marijuana and hallucinatory drugs skyrocketed.

The Civil Rights movement made great progress, but created much tension in our society. The movement began peacefully with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Stokely Carmichael leading sit-ins and peaceful protests, but by 1965 the Watts riots broke out in Los Angeles and racial tension marked much of the decade.

To prevent communist North Vietnam from overtaking South Vietnam, the U.S. sent military advisors and then soldiers to quell the conflict. As President Lyndon Johnson ordered a massive military buildup in 1965 the war in Vietnam became a point of contention and college students organized anti-war protests. Draft dodgers fleeing to Canada and reports of soldiers shooting their officers rather than following orders demonstrated a growing disrespect for authority.

President John F. Kennedy was killed in 1963 by an assassin’s bullet while riding in his motorcade in Dallas. The president’s brother, Robert Kennedy, was assassinated while campaigning for the Oval Office in 1968. Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965 and Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968.


The new morality of the 1960s

A new morality surfaced that was fueled by Tom Altizer’s “God is dead” theology and Joseph Fletcher’s book on situational ethics. This “new morality,” which Billy Graham called “the old immorality,” ushered in a sexual revolution and era of “freedom” without responsibility and that was void of parameters.

In reflecting on the ‘60s Lester Gerber observes, “The niceties of social contact began to disappear. Vulgarity of expression began to become commonplace in the everyday language. The regimen of dress began to disappear for both men and women. Common courtesy was rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

Since 1973, there have been more than 47,000,000 abortions in the United States

That’s 1,300,000 babies every year

That’s 108,333 babies every month

That’s 27,083 babies every week

That’s 3,735 babies every day

That’s 155 babies every hour

That’s 2.6 babies every minute

That’s 1 baby every 25 seconds!

(Source: Alan Guttmacher Institute)


The hard facts: abortion

Georgia has one of the ten highest abortion rates in the US


Each year, an estimated 48 million abortions occur worldwide


Since 1973 when abortion was legalized nationwide, more than 45 million legal abortions have taken place


In 2000, there were 1.31 million abortions, the lowest annual number since 1976


48% of pregnancies among American women are unintended; 60% of these pregnancies are ended by abortion


48% of women who obtain abortions each year have had at least one previous abortion.


One in three American women will have an abortion by the time she is 45


The abortion rate (abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44) declined between 1980 and 1997 from 29.3 to 21


Abortion rates are highest among women 20-30 years old, unmarried, and white with at least a high school diploma if not post-graduate degree


88.1% of abortions take place in the first 3 months of pregnancy; more than 50% of all abortions take place in the first 8 weeks


Approximately 12% of abortions take place in the second or third trimester of pregnancy


78% of women having abortions report a religious affiliation


61% of women having abortions have one or more children


(Source: Georgia Right to Life)

“The growing radical women’s liberation movement helped to push this along. Gentlemanly behavior was sneered at as a demeaning behavior by these women’s rightists. The last vestiges of chivalry were just about gone. The basic fabric of the social order was being torn asunder.”

Along with all of this was a rise in feminism that insisted on “total reproductive freedom.” In other words, there was a hue and cry for an indiscriminate sexual lifestyle with no consequences. The feminists said, “Women must have abortion as a backup to contraceptive failure.”

The feminists began to push for the Equal Rights Amendment, saying, “We want on-demand abortion at taxpayers’ expense. Women are not equal to men unless they are rid of childbearing responsibilities.”

Then along came population control advocates, such as Planned Parenthood, saying, “If we keep on having babies, we will all be sitting on top of each other. There will not be enough food to go around.”


The Roe v. Wade decision

Planned Parenthood also indicated that if America legalized abortion child abuse would for all intents and purposes be eradicated, because every child would be a wanted child. The decade of the ‘60s paved the way for a monumental decision in the ‘70s that has negatively impacted our society for 35 years and substantially reduced the moral fiber of our nation.

The destructive decision was mandated on Jan. 22, 1973 when nine black-robed Supreme Court judges legalized abortion and the wholesale killing of babies in the Roe v. Wade decision.

The Supreme Court decision represents one of the most notable examples of legislating from the bench, because Roe v. Wade actually violates the 14th amendment, which says that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.

In their infamous decision the Supreme Court essentially legalized murder.

Incidentally, contrary to the unfounded speculations of Planned Parenthood, child abuse has not diminished since the Roe v. Wade decision. Richard Land, president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, states, “The exact opposite has taken place.” In fact, child abuse has increased exponentially since the legalization of abortion.


Baptist pastor: policy advocate for Georgia Right to Life

Mike Griffin, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell and legislative director for Georgia Right to Life, reports, “Since 1973 between 48 and 50 million babies have lost their lives in the abortion mills of our country. That amounts to 1.3 million babies a year. By the end of this day more people will die through abortion than died in the terrorists’ attack of Sept. 11, 2001. Approximately 2,900 people died in the tragic events of that dreadful day. And equally tragic is the fact that over 4,000 are dying daily of legalized murder called abortion.”


Life begins at fertilization

Regarding the Roe v. Wade decision, Judge Blackmun wrote that, “[If the] suggestion of personhood [of the preborn] is established, the [abortion rights] case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”

It is doubtless that human life begins at conception. Dr. Jerome Lejeune, professor of fundamental genetics at the University of Rene Deseartes in Paris, writes, “Life has a very long history, but each individual has a very neat beginning – the moment of its conception. The material link is the molecular thread of DNA. In each reproductive cell, the ribbon of DNA, roughly one meter long, is cut into 23 pieces, or chromosomes.

“As soon as the 23 paternally-derived chromosomes are united through fertilization to the 23 maternal ones, the full genetic meeting necessary to express all the inborn qualities of the new individual is gathered and personal constitution takes place.”


Georgia Baptists called to action

Griffin calls upon Georgia Baptists to take the lead in putting an end to abortion. He declares that we must stand for righteousness and insists that there are four things that need to happen without delay.

First, it is time to end abortion. In our personal comfort and complacency we have come to accept abortion and tolerate its constant occurrence in our present society. People of conscience and moral rectitude must remember that God hates those hands that shed innocent blood.

Secondly, Griffin asserts that “incrementalism” has run its course. He proclaims, “There came a time in William Wilberforce’s life when he realized that 24 years of incrementalism had not stopped slavery in England. There came a time when nothing short of ending all slavery would be morally acceptable, if any slavery was wrong.

“It is time for us to rethink the pro-life strategy and the apparent lack of resolve to end all abortion, not just some abortions. Ending abortion should not be just a dream, but a reality that must be pursued before abortion becomes further ingrained into our culture and society!”

Thirdly, Griffin has a deep conviction that Georgia should adopt a constitutional amendment that would insure the protection of all life, specifically, House Resolution 536, known as the Paramount Human Life Amendment.

This resolution, prepared by Represen-tative Martin Scott, is an amendment that, if passed by three fourths of the House and Senate and then voted on and approved in November’s presidential election, would make Georgia a pro-life state immediately. Griffin states, “This amendment would guarantee the right of personhood for all human beings from the moment of fertilization until natural death.”

A recent poll of Georgians conducted in 2006 revealed that 57 percent of the state’s citizens agree that it is time for Roe v. Wade to be overturned.

“Therefore, now is the time to amend our Constitution,” Griffin exhorts. “Some legislators have said we should wait for better timing and a more favorable court. This was the same attitude expressed toward Martin Luther King, Jr. when they admonished him to ‘slow down.’ However, as Dr. King wrote from the Birmingham jail: ‘For years now I have heard the word, ‘wait’! This ‘wait’ has almost always meant ‘never.’”

Griffin added, “And I too, am afraid that this ‘waiting’ means ‘never’ to many of our legislatives friends at the Capitol. The debate has now escalated to the extent that the dignity of all human beings is at stake. Such things as human cloning, ‘designer babies,’ and human-animal hybrids are now being debated. It is time for such an amendment to our Constitution.”

Fourthly, Griffin announced, “It is time for all Georgians to get involved. HR 536 has been stuck in the House Judicial Committee since it was submitted in 2006. We must contact Speaker Glenn Richardson and Majority Leader Jerry Keen and ask them to move this bill to a more favorable committee.

“We must contact our State Representatives, irrespective of party affiliation, and ask them to become a co-signer of this bill as soon as possible.

“We must all get involved in lobbying at the State Capitol. There will be a press conference and a rally every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. during the legislative session on the steps of the west side of the Capitol. I will be available to help anyone to personally contact their state legislator to encourage their involvement in passing this amendment.”


Griffin has set aside Tuesday, Feb. 12, as Georgia Baptist Day in connection with Georgia Right to Life Citizens’ Lobbyist Day. Ray Newman, GBC specialist in ethics and public affairs, will be the special guest for the press conference, which will be held at 9:30 a.m.

For further information about the Human Life Amendment go to

For information about schedules and events at the Capitol go to