Does Proposal 3 Legalize More Than Just Abortion?

On November 8th, Michigan citizens will vote on whether or not to adopt Proposal 3, a constitutional amendment to legalize abortion. But what about the claims you’ve heard from conservative sources? Does Proposal 3 legalize late-term abortions? Does it allow abortion and sex change therapy on minors without parental consent? Does it allow anyone to perform an abortion?

Today, I give you the answers. No propaganda, no vague nonsense, no misdirection. Just the facts. I highly recommend you also read the proposal yourself by CLICKING HERE. Let’s get to work.

Does Prop 3 Invalidate Existing Laws?

You’ve probably heard liberals claim that Prop 3 won’t change any existing laws. “It just affects abortion!” they say. This is patently false, as you can clearly see in the proposal language. The introductory section reads:

Constitutional Amendment to: …invalidate all state laws that conflict with this amendment.

This is not just an addition to our Constitution for abortion only. Prop 3 is specifically designed to invalidate existing laws that conflict with it. Keep that in mind. We’ll come back to it.

Sterilizing Kids

Now, let’s go over the body of the proposal language. Here’s the first section:

(1) Every individual has a fundamental right to reproductive freedom, which entails the right to make and effectuate decisions about all matters relating to pregnancy, including but not limited to prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.

Sounds tame enough, right? It seems like they just want women to be able to make all their own decisions regarding pregnancy. Who could argue with that? The problem is how vague the language is. This ambiguity is present throughout the proposal. Whether you believe it’s intentional or not, it opens the doors to some truly horrible things (besides just abortion).

First, this applies to “every individual.” Not just mothers. Not just women. Not just adults. It applies to a 6 year old boy just as much as a 36 year old woman. That’s important. It shows their fear of affirming the biological fact that only women can have pregnancies to begin with. But that’s not all.

“Every individual” is said to have the right to “reproductive freedom.” What does that mean? They define it as the right to make decisions about “all matters relating to pregnancy.” That’s quite broad. After all, sex is directly related to pregnancy. Can a 6 year old boy consent to sex under this proposal? We don’t know. What is clear is their list of examples, one of which is “sterilization.”

Already, we have a case that this proposal would reasonably allow for a 6 year old boy to choose to sterilize himself for life. That’s not conjecture or me twisting words. That’s explicitly allowed in the actual language. Are you starting to see the problem?

Late-Term Abortion

Conservatives say Prop 3 allows for late-term abortions. Is that true? Let’s review the language:

…the state may regulate the provision of abortion care after fetal viability, provided that in no circumstance shall the state prohibit an abortion that, in the professional judgment of an attending health care professional is medically indicated to protect the life or physical or mental health of the pregnant individual.

At first, this appears to allow for abortion restrictions after “fetal viability” (defined later on). But this is made irrelevant by the exception for “mental health.” Under Prop 3, anyone could get a late-term abortion as long as their “attending health care professional” said it would protect their mental health. The baby can be perfectly healthy and fully developed, yet still killed at the last second because the mother has anxiety.

Not Just Doctors

Notice they don’t say “doctor,” but “health care professional.” This is important. It means anyone working in healthcare could approve of late-term abortions on “mental health” grounds. That applies to dentists, dietitians, and even veterinarians. But it gets worse. Anyone could perform an abortion as well, as we’ll see in a minute.

Enforcing Rights?

(2) The state shall not discriminate in the protection or enforcement of this fundamental right.

I won’t focus on this section too much, but the wording is a bit strange. Since when are rights enforced by the state? Having a right usually means you’re free to do something without the state impeding you. Does this section imply that the state could arrest people who try to discourage abortion or sterilization, such as parents or counselors? We don’t know.

Infanticide

(3) The state shall not penalize, prosecute, or otherwise take adverse action against an individual based on their actual, potential, perceived, or alleged pregnancy outcomes, including but not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, or abortion.

On the surface, this seems to prevent the state from punishing women for miscarriages. That’s a good thing, right? Yes, but this is a solution for a problem that does not exist. The danger is that this prevents prosecution for any “pregnancy outcome,” real or alleged. This effectively legalizes infanticide. A woman who blatantly murders her baby after it’s born could not be investigated, as this would be an “adverse action” against an “alleged pregnancy outcome.” Nobody should be able to kill a newborn baby, and (almost) no liberal will argue for that. But Prop 3 could make the state enforce it as a right.

Anyone Can Perform Abortions

Nor shall the state penalize, prosecute, or otherwise take adverse action against someone for aiding or assisting a pregnant individual in exercising their right to reproductive freedom with their voluntary consent.

This language says the state can’t do anything to prevent anyone from “assisting” an abortion (or other “reproductive freedom”). This allows anyone to perform an abortion as long as the pregnant woman consents. This is even less strict than “health care professionals.”

Invalidating Existing Laws

Now let’s review the language that raises the most questions about existing laws and regulations (such as parental consent):

An individual’s right to reproductive freedom shall not be denied, burdened, nor infringed upon unless justified by a compelling state interest achieved by the least restrictive means.

At first, this seems to allow for restrictions under certain circumstances. But what does “a compelling state interest” mean? This phrase is part of the strict scrutiny test, which is a judicial standard applied when a law might conflict with the Constitution. For the law to survive, it must be crafted to further a “compelling state interest,” such as protecting public health and safety or regulating violent crime. Not even a constitutional right can prevent the government from carrying out these essential functions. This is why crimes such as defamation are illegal despite the right to freedom of speech, for example.

If the writers of Prop 3 wanted these new “reproductive freedom” rights to be treated like all other constitutional rights, they would have stopped there. But they didn’t. They added the following language, drastically narrowing the definition of a “compelling state interest.”

(4) For the purposes of this section: A state interest is “compelling” only if it is for the limited purpose of protecting the health of an individual seeking care, consistent with accepted clinical standards of practice and evidence-based medicine, and does not infringe on that individual’s autonomous decision-making.

We are given three conditions that must be met. For an existing law to restrict or regulate abortion, sterilization, or any other “reproductive freedom,” it must:

  1. Be for the purpose of protecting the health of the individual
  2. Be consistent with clinical standards of practice
  3. Not infringe on the individual’s decision-making

First, restrictions must be for the purpose of protecting the health of the individual. Does this include mental health? Again, we don’t know. This could invalidate laws preventing tax money from funding abortions, as they protect the conscience of taxpayers and have nothing to do with health. Theoretically, a doctor (or anyone for that matter) could not refuse to perform a late-term abortion on grounds of conscience or religion since this also isn’t concerned with health.

Second, restrictions must be consistent with “accepted clinical standards of practice.” If the “practice” is abortion, who writes these standards? The abortion clinics themselves. This means the abortion industry gets to dictate how abortions are done and remove anything that impedes their business. They make a lot of money from this, meaning they are incentivized to make abortions as expedient as possible. They could ignore health and safety regulations. They could ignore screening requirements designed to ensure that the woman isn’t being coerced into an abortion by an abuser or sex trafficker. They could ignore waiting periods and informed consent laws designed to educate women on the risks of and alternatives to an abortion. It gives abortion providers the power to completely deregulate abortion, making things more dangerous for women.

Third, restrictions must not infringe on the individual’s decision-making. This language is extremely broad, making consent the only real requirement for exercising “reproductive freedom.” Remember, “reproductive freedom” means anything related to pregnancy. A brother and sister could choose to have a baby together. A child could choose to be sterilized for life. A child could consent to sex with an adult, since sex is related to pregnancy. Michigan’s ban on cloning could be nullified, since this is also related to pregnancy. The open-ended language allows for so many horrific possibilities with no room for common-sense regulations applicable to other constitutional rights (via strict scrutiny).

Fetal Viability

One last section to review. Remember the exception for fetal viability I mentioned earlier? Here’s their definition of the term:

“Fetal viability” means: the point in pregnancy when, in the professional judgment of an attending health care professional and based on the particular facts of the case, there is a significant likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.

This seems correct at first glance, but upon further inspection, it actually broadens the definition beyond its original meaning. If you look it up online, you’ll see that fetal viability is defined as “the ability of a human fetus to survive outside the uterus.” That’s it. But Prop 3 adds the condition, “without the application of extraordinary medical measures.” This means babies who could theoretically survive outside the womb with the aid of advanced medical assistance are not protected.

The Rebuttal

The left’s rebuttal to the arguments I’ve made here is that Proposal 3 is only designed to protect a right to abortion. They say the intent isn’t to legalize statutory rape, sterilization of minors, infanticide, or incest. They say they don’t want to erase parental consent or religious freedom. So how do they justify the broad language in the proposal?

They usually bring up other constitutional rights, such as the right to bear arms. The Michigan Constitution says that every person has this right, yet we know kids are excluded and guns are still regulated. Doesn’t the same logic apply to Prop 3?

No, it doesn’t. Regulations on the right to bear arms are tested under their own standard of “historical tradition of firearm regulation.” In addition, this and all other constitutional rights can be limited by regulations that further a “compelling state interest,” such as public health and safety. But Prop 3 goes out of its way to redefine “compelling state interest” such that any law infringing on an individual’s “decision-making” is invalidated.

Parental consent laws might infringe on a child’s decision to have an abortion or sterilize themselves. Statutory rape laws might infringe on a child’s decision to have sex with an adult. Informed consent laws might infringe on a woman’s decision to have a late-term abortion. All of these regulations (and more) have to be thrown out.

This is why Prop 3 is so radical. This is why its defenders rely heavily on “intent” to claim that future case law won’t affect anything but abortion. But how can they be sure? It’s funny. Conservative justices are usually the ones who interpret based on original intent. Liberal justices—the ones Prop 3 advocates will vote for—frequently argue that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the times. What happens when the times change? Why leave the possibility open for Prop 3 to be abused at all? Why not clarify the ambiguous language? Why redefine “compelling state interest?” They don’t have an answer.

The Bottom Line

Even if you believe abortion should be legal in some cases, Prop 3 is extremely problematic. What is meant and what is said are very different things. Aside from the goal of legalizing abortion, the problem with Prop 3 is that its language is far too broad. It fails to clarify questions about the age of those affected, the limits of “reproductive freedoms,” and the state’s ability to interfere. It explicitly removes nearly all restrictions on abortion and anything else related to pregnancy. As written, Prop 3 is a disaster. It’s unprofessional at best and downright villainous at worst.

I will be voting NO on Proposal 3 this coming Tuesday. Enter your email if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Do All Christians Have to go to Church?

I’ve seen some rather frustrating takes on the internet recently about church. It seems the obligation to go to church has all but died out with the general population, and many people who call themselves Christians have given up on church as well. But why is this?

I think, in part, it’s a natural progression of our increasingly secular society. Over time, America has turned from a very traditionalist, “Christian” country into a progressive melting pot of all kinds of ideas, religions, lifestyles, and peoples. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, per se. It’s definitely made it harder to be openly Christian, but we still have it great compared to most of the world. We can still worship, study the Word, and meet together without fear in the vast majority of situations. And one thing we consider all too infrequently is that genuine faith shines brightest in the darkness (check out this comic from Adam4d).

But this isn’t meant to be a post about the evolution of religion and Christianity in America, as fun as that would be to talk about. So let’s get back on track. Church. It’s a word that inspires indifference, disgust, or guilt for many. If you feel this way, you’re not alone. Let me tell you about my time wrestling with this issue; then we’ll look at what the Bible says about it.

My Experience Growing Up in the Church

As a kid, my parents always made us attend church on Sundays, and sometimes Sunday nights too. I knew it was something I was supposed to do. I knew it was a place with people I knew, and occasionally things to do or food to eat. But that was about it. Church wasn’t something I desired or enjoyed, in most cases. I always grumbled when dad got us out of bed early every week.

Then I got saved. At about age 14, I came to the realization that following in my parents’ footsteps was dumb. Either Christianity was right or it wasn’t. If it was, I needed to actually read the Bible and obey the God who was willing to die for me. If it wasn’t, the only logical thing to do would be to abandon the faith and not look back. After all, what’s the use of a religion if it isn’t true?

After reading through the entire Bible for the first time, praying more than I ever had in my life, studying practical and scientific objections to the Bible, and reading book after book, I came to the conclusion that the Bible is true. All the evidence pointed to Jesus. At this point, I felt I had no choice. To pursue truth was to pursue God’s words. The Bible clearly established church as something important (we’ll get to that). I now had a concrete reason to go to church. But as I grew up, I moved away to college. The drive to church was longer and my sleep schedule became downright irresponsible at times. I didn’t go every week, and many times I’d leave immediately after the service was over. I felt disillusioned at this time with more than just church, for more than a few reasons.

After a while, a lot of things improved for me, but I still wasn’t satisfied with church. Was it just me? Was I a bad Christian? After talking with my brothers, I realized they felt similarly. The church I was going to at the time felt a bit disconnected and aimless, especially for young people. This isn’t meant to discount the church as a whole. There were, and still are, some incredible Christians there. But I realized it wasn’t working for me, so I looked for a new group of Christians to meet with.

Today, I’m very thankful to God for the church I’ve found. I’ve had more opportunities to serve, hear truth, and meet fellow young Christians than ever. Part of this is because I matured over time. I realized I had to be more involved than I was. But part of this was the church itself. Why do I tell you this? Because I want you to know that even a “church kid” like me has had ups and downs. I’ve felt obligated, annoyed, and discouraged. I’ve skipped church to sleep in. I’ve avoided people and struggled finding my place. Despite the face a lot of Christians put on, church isn’t just a wonderful festival of joy every week for everyone.

What Does the Bible Say About Church?

Now that you know where I’m coming from on this issue, let’s take a look at what the Bible says regarding church. It’s important to note that the New Testament was written at a time when the early church was still developing. Today, we talk about buildings, potlucks, music teams, schedules, and special services. But to early Christians, church was a lot more simple than all of that. It was about meeting together to worship God and encourage one another. And remember, none of these letters were addressing individuals, but rather a whole group of Christians.

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV)

Here, Paul gives us a beautiful picture of the church as a temple. Christians are the building blocks and Christ is the cornerstone. We are all joined together as one. We cannot fulfill this alone. To be a lone brick is to be useless. A brick is designed to come together with hundreds of other bricks to build a home. The same is true for how God designed us. This theme is throughout the New Testament.

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.”

1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (ESV)

More common than the brick analogy is Paul’s idea of a body with many limbs or “members.” Though many, we are one body of believers. This is the definition of the church. It’s the gathering of believers in the name of Christ. Now notice the last line: “The body does not consist of one member but of many.” This is undeniably proof that you cannot be a church-less Christian. It’s impossible. To be a Christian is to be a member of a body. If you aren’t a member of a group of believers, you simply aren’t living the life God has called you to.

“And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”

Colossians 1:18 (ESV)

Christ is the head of the body, just as he is the cornerstone of the temple. His place as God’s Son, having all things created through him (John 1), and having risen from the dead, is what makes him worthy of our worship. He is why we gather together.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Colossians 3:15-16 (ESV)

Here, we get a better idea of what church ought to look like. We are called to peace and thankfulness to God. We should know his words. We should be teaching and keeping each other accountable. We should be singing together. You can see this pattern of the early church reflected in many churches of today. This is why we meet the way we do. This is why we have liturgies and music and sermons. This is why church cannot be appropriated to just you, a Bible, and nature. No matter how spiritual or helpful your solitary experiences are, they are not and can never be “church.” Don’t fool yourself.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)

It’s not just Paul commanding us to meet for church. This passage from Hebrews is one of the clearest commands in the Bible to meet together regularly. The reason I saved it for last is because, on its own, it doesn’t fully define why we meet or what that looks like. But with the context of the other passages, it’s easy to see that this is a command not just to have more baby showers or game nights, but to have more church. A key part of that is encouraging one another towards love and good works. In today’s world, I think we could stand for a lot more of that kind of encouragement.

There are so many more passages we could talk about. We could look at church discipline, sacraments, baptism, persecution, unity, and much more. I encourage you to read the letters of the New Testament (as well as Acts) for more clarity on these issues. In all honesty, I’m convinced that those who choose not to belong to a church have little to no experience reading the Bible. It’s such a pervasive and dominant topic that it’s extremely hard to miss and impossible to deny its importance.

What Should Church Really Look Like?

Now, we might ask ourselves: What should church look like for us today? What are we actually called to do? Do we really need all these traditions and rituals? It’s clear that many aspects of modern church are rooted in Scripture. Some examples might be church leaders (Titus 1:5-9), music (Eph 5:19), baptism (1 Cor 12:13), prayer (Matt 18:20, James 5:16), public readings of the Bible (1 Tim 4:13), encouragement (1 Thess 5:11), and the sharing of food, resources, and money for the betterment of the church (Acts 2:44-45; 4:32-37).

But there are, of course, some things that go unmentioned in Scripture. There is no command to meet in a fancy building, to market your church to the world to boost attendance, to give exactly ten percent of your income, to meet on Sunday mornings, or to host social events. All these things, and more, are ancillary at best and heretical at worst. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the pastor who was killed for his involvement in the plot to assassinate Hitler, had some harsh words for the churches he saw when he visited America.

“So what stands in place of the Christian message? An ethical and social idealism borne by a faith in progress that—who knows how—claims the right to call itself ‘Christian.’ And in the place of the church as the congregation of believers in Christ there stands the church as a social corporation.

“Anyone who has seen the weekly program of one of the large New York churches, with their daily, indeed almost hourly events, teas, lectures, concerts, charity events, opportunities for sports, games, bowling, dancing for every age group, anyone who has heard how they try to persuade a new resident to join the church, insisting that you’ll get into society quite differently by doing so, anyone who has become acquainted with the embarrassing nervousness with which the pastor lobbies for membership—that person can well assess the character of such a church.

“All these things, of course, take place with varying degrees of tactfulness, taste, and seriousness; some churches are basically ‘charitable’ churches; others have primarily a social identity. One cannot avoid the impression, however, that in both cases they have forgotten what the real point is.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christians today have a responsibility to meet together in a way that honors our Lord rather than grieving him. In a time when church has become a dirty word and religion a bad taste in the mouth of the populace, it’s all too tempting to transform our churches into something more appealing and modern. But Jesus didn’t declare Peter to be a business tycoon. Paul never rebuked anyone for having small attendance numbers. Church was never supposed to be a social club.

“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

Acts 17:11 (ESV)

It all comes back to the Bible. Hold it higher than any word spoken by men. Hold the Bible’s standard for church higher than your desire to make church into something more fun, attractive, or convenient. It’s not about you. It’s about Christ. It’s about meeting regularly to honor, worship, and serve our God together. “Let us go to the house of the Lord! (Psalm 122:1)”

Let me know your thoughts about church in the comments below. Enter your email if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

What a Man Needs

Purpose

A man needs responsibility and ambition. He needs a Savior to follow and a Lord to worship. He needs a wife to love, a family to care for and protect. He needs a job to be done and done well. He needs a part of the world to repair and to keep. He needs a student to teach, a friend to stand with, a team to lead, an army to fight alongside. He needs a part in history. He needs a path to follow that sustains his soul rather than draining it slowly. He needs understanding of God, of himself, and of the reason he was created.

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13 (ESV)

Discipline

A man needs to be the master of his own body, mind, and soul. He needs discipline of his spirit, that he follow Christ above all other pursuits and seek to know him more fully. He needs discipline of his thoughts, that they not lead him to worthlessness, greed, or evil. He needs discipline of his tongue, to reserve it for only that which is true and purposeful, never to use it as a weapon against the innocent. He needs discipline of his eyes, that they not lead him into envy, idolatry, or lust. He needs discipline of his hands, that he use his strength to build and to protect rather than to dominate those weaker than him.

“Urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity”

Titus 2:6-7 (ESV)

Freedom

A man needs liberation. He needs the freedom to worship God. He needs the freedom to love purely and to feel deeply. He needs the freedom to protect that which is precious to him. He needs freedom to say yes and freedom to say no. He needs freedom to uphold that which is good and destroy that which is evil. He needs freedom from tyranny and slavery; freedom from any fellow man who would keep his teeth in the mud. He needs freedom from dependence, from addiction, and from the sinful, lazy man inside himself.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

Galatians 5:13 (ESV)

Respect

A man needs honor and dignity. He needs the respect of his family, his friends, and his peers. He needs the respect of his leaders, that they trust him to do what is necessary. Most of all, he needs self-respect and integrity. Those who believe in him, trust him, and challenge him towards greatness will fuel his actions, inspire his work, and mature his self-reflection from hollow selfishness into the humility he needs to receive respect like a man rather than a boy.

“Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land.”

Proverbs 31:23 (ESV)

Influence

A man needs to determine his own destiny and change the world for the better. He needs to see the lasting impact of his acts of healing in people and objects alike. He needs to improve his environment, to create something new and captivating, to mold one thing into another. He needs to fell a forest, conquer a mountain, claim a land, slay a beast. His will is upheld by his ability to ultimately overcome through blood, sweat, and tears unto glorious victory.

“He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And the Lord brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain.”

2 Samuel 23:10 (ESV)

Let me know your thoughts about what it means to be a man in the comments below. Enter your email if you want to be notified when my next post goes live. Thanks for reading. Godspeed.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.