Churches must get educated on abortion, stem cells
June 28, 2005
I have read with interest the letters from Rep. Belinda Harris, D-Hillsboro, regarding pro-life action in the Missouri Legislature.
Not once during the two years Gov. Bob Holden, a Democrat, was in office did she criticize his pro-choice platform. She has never chastised her own party for working to defeat pro-life legislation. I have never heard Ms. Harris endorse a pro-life candidate for governor. Her campaign finance report shows that she made donations to committees who support a pro-choice agenda. She stood with State Auditor Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, in her bid for governor. When calling for consistency, she should show some.
For Rep. Harris and the Democratic Party, it is the perfect political game. Tell pro-life legislators to vote against a pro-life bill by saying it is not pro-life enough and then attack conservatives for back-tracking on their positions. It was Harris who voted against an abstinence education amendment on the House floor for Senate Bill 2 (SB 2 would have greatly reduced the number of abortions in Missouri).
I supported the original version of SB 2. I supported Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, in his efforts. I hold a 100 percent pro-life rating and vote record.
The Senate did pass a very good pro-life bill. Yes, there were those detractors who had concerns about language that would impact Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer research. Republicans were not afraid to oppose the governor. They wanted a pro-life bill and were not going to play political games in the last hours of the legislative session. Any victory, no matter how great or small, is still a victory.
Pro-life legislators strengthened SB 2 and Ms. Harris voted for all but one amendment. Then she ultimately voted against the bill, citing the bill would not have time to get through the Senate. Sadly, it was her Democrat colleagues who were prepared to filibuster the legislation in the Senate.
We were being asked by pro-life Democrats, who align themselves with a party that supports abortion on demand, to vote against a pro-life bill (the bill was still extremely pro-life amidst the changes). If this were to occur, Republican pro-life legislators would be accused of voting against life by either pro-life Democrats or pro-choice Democrats. The vote would have been used to discredit pro-life legislators for political gain.
By voting “no” against SB 2 we would have cast our votes with pro-choice advocates who were already voting “no.” I did not want my vote on a pro-life bill to be the same as a pro-choice advocate. I will not stand and be counted with those who support abortion on demand. I voted for SB 2 and would do it again.
I fear that pro-life Democrats were being used by their party to create division. It was a perfect political set-up and Missouri Right to Life and the Catholic Conference seemed to run along with the plan.
A pro-life bill is simply that – a pro-life bill. Could we have done more! Yes. Did we try? Yes! In this culture, we must win one battle at a time. There are times we must take one hill at a time in the battle for life.
Why did Rep. Harris not mention the actions of her Senate colleagues? Why not mention her party’s efforts to stop every pro-life bill that was debated?
There is hope! For the first time ever, a Missouri governor has called a “special session” for the sole purpose of reducing abortions in our state. We have the opportunity to take an even bigger stand and have an even bigger impact. Like Daniel, we are sometimes called upon to face turbulent times in hopes of accomplishing something greater.
The governor has stated that he is opposed to abortion on demand, embryonic (sperm and egg combined) stem cell research and human cloning. However, he has not opposed Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer.
Herein lays our problem. The governor, like many Missourians – including members of our churches, do not see SCNT as human cloning because it does not involve the sperm and egg.
I disagree with this assessment based on the SCNT science that created Dolly the sheep.
That leads us to our bigger problem! Both Missouri Right to Life and the Catholic Conference have done a poor job of educating legislators and the public about the issue of Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. The Pathway’s articles and editorials have been the most educational resources and Missouri Baptist leadership has done an outstanding job working to educate our churches on this important issue.
I personally witnessed a debate in Jefferson City where pro-life supporters debated pro-embryonic stem cell researchers. The pro-life defenders did a poor job, confused the audience, and lost the debate.
I believe it is time for these pro-life groups to take a back seat and let the churches take the lead. It is time for pastors and laymen to educate themselves, research the issues and take their own stand. We need to stop relying on special interest groups who seem to have been polluted by the political games of Jefferson City.
I do not need the endorsement of Missouri Right to Life (MRL) to justify me. I have a 100 percent voting record on life. I am the executive pastor of one of the most pro-life churches in the state. Christ has justified me. I appreciate the efforts of MRL, but feel that their tactics have been polluted by outside political motivations.
While I applaud the efforts of pro-life Democrats to change the course of their party, I see the party leadership and believe that they are light years from moving to an even neutral position. I don’t agree with the Republican Party on every issue. I will never claim God is on one side or the other.
No party can claim God is on their side. No party can claim to be the answer to the pro-life battle. Yet, I find it disheartening that a legislator who has supported pro-choice candidates would call on our governor to be more consistent.
I will hold to account a legislator who claims to be pro-life, but aligns herself with a pro-choice party and supports pro-choice candidates.
I will say this: God is pro-life and His Word is clearly against abortion, “Thou shalt not kill!” Jeremiah 1 is clear. Matthew’s account of John the Baptist leaping in the womb is clear. Life begins at conception.
I will stand firm on this one issue. I will never support a pro-choice candidate – Republican or Democrat. I will take that stand. Further, I will work to educate my world about the value of life. (Rep. Brian Baker, R-Belton, also is executive pastor, First Baptist Church, Belton.)