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COVID-19: A time to preserve life, not willingly eliminate it

Herbie Newell is the President and Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services and its ministry arms including (un)adopted, Crossings, Families Count and Lifeline Village. | (Courtesy of Herbie Newell)

In the 1300’s the Black Death swept across Europe, decimating the population and leaving devastating loss in its wake. Also known as the Bubonic Plague, the disease killed between 75 to 200 million people or about 30% to 60% of Europe’s population. The plague was a major marker in world history, and it took over 200 years for Europe to normalize after the plague.

Now, 700 years later, we are dealing with another pandemic of epic proportions; however, this virus is being played out 24/7 in households, screens, and social media feeds of billions of people worldwide. More information is consumed and produced in one day than could have ever been produced in the entirety of the Black Plague. 

There is complete uncertainty about the best approaches to stopping COVID-19. Tensions are running high throughout the world about the positive and negative consequences for decisions both large and small that are made in addressing the virus.

As the numbers continue to swell of those infected by COVID-19 and those who have lost their lives to the virus, gruesome scenes are coming in from Northern Italy, New York, and Wuhan, China. Humanity is groaning, anxiety is rising, and priorities are changing in a pandemic plagued world as the number one priority has become the protection of life at all costs. In a short span of three months, preserving life has become the chief preoccupation of the majority of the world’s population.

Civilization was created for the protection of people. Medicine was created for healing and health. The most basic and precious asset of any society is its people. The US economy is recessed, and world economies are crashing precisely because those economies depend on men and women created in the image of God. Businesses need people to work, people to buy their goods, and people to use their services. Our economy is based on the abundance of human life.

As elective surgeries are being postponed throughout the world in order to save bed space for COVID-19 patients, authorities in Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, and Utah have made various orders to limit or halt abortion procedures within their states. Pro-life advocates must not only celebrate these bold and sensible moves, but also seize this historic moment when nations are valuing life over economy to show the vile senselessness of abortion the world throughout. Has there been a time like this when the whole world was so intent to save human life? Why would we ever go back to voluntarily relinquishing and killing that same life in the womb?

Ohio was the first state in the US to make the move to halt abortion and Planned Parenthood was quick to respond saying: 

We're in this together. Planned Parenthood's top priority is ensuring that every person can continue accessing essential health care, including abortion. We are complying with the Ohio Department of Health's order regarding personal protective equipment, which required hospitals and surgical facilities to stop providing non-essential surgeries and procedures and take other steps to reduce the use of equipment. Under that order, Planned Parenthood can still continue providing essential procedures, including surgical abortion, and our health centers continue to offer other health care services that our patients depend on. Our doors remain open.

So while every corner on the earth is hunkering down, quarantining, sheltering in place, and practicing social distancing in order to protect the elderly, the vulnerable, those who are medically fragile and all life on the planet, Planned Parenthood is working in this environment to preserve the elimination of human life. Has this position ever stood in more distinct contrast and tone deaf obstinance to the vast majority of the planet’s priorities?

Life is not a choice. Life is precious and a responsibility given by God. We are formed in the image of God; and thus, we are the Imago Dei! We bear the mark of God’s image in our lives and nothing could be more precious. Why should we advocate for the sanctity of life? Because, like in Wuhan, Northern Italy, nursing homes around the world, New York City, and every corner of the planet all life matters to our God.

We are the clay and God is the potter. He does not make pots or instruments that are disposable. He is the author of life, and He is the only one who can determine the beginning and the end of life. This is not a gray area that we can take into our hands just because we possess the medical technology to do so. Abortion is not an essential service in a COVID-19 pandemic world or under any other circumstance. Let us pray and work for a world in which abortion is never seen as essential! 

Herbie Newell (MBA, Samford University) is the President and Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services and its ministry arms including (un)adopted, Crossings, Families Count and Lifeline Village. Under Newell’s leadership, Lifeline has significantly increased its international and statewide outreach, attained membership with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and achieved international accreditation under The Hague Treaty, begun an extensive foster care ministry, and started its (un)adopted strategic orphan care ministries in more than 10 countries. Herbie speaks nationally at conferences and events, and regularly preaches throughout the world on gospel-driven justice. He and his wife, Ashley, live in Birmingham, Alabama and are parents to a son, Caleb, and daughters Adelynn and Emily. His first book Image Bearers: Shifting from Pro-Birth to Pro-Life, released on January 21, 2019.

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