The following speech was made by Personhood SC Executive Director Dr. Matt Clark on January 22, 2018 (the 45th anniversary of the dreadful Roe v. Wade decision) at the 2018 SC Tea Party Coalition Convention in Myrtle Beach, SC. Dr. Clark was asked to speak on the topic “Life begins at Conception.” Video is posted at the end of the transcript…
Good morning, it’s an honor to be here addressing the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention. I’m Dr. Matt Clark, the executive director of Personhood South Carolina. 45 years ago today, the Roe v Wade court legalized the murder of babies in the womb. That court has the blood of over 60 million babies on its hands. Will this be the year we finally end this madness? Will SC be the state that finally has the moral courage to end this scourge? That is what Personhood SC is all about. Personhood is the essence of the Pro-life effort, the restoration of legal protection for all babies in South Carolina, beginning at fertilization. Once we are successful at passing Personhood, abortion will be outlawed in South Carolina, without exception. The Personhood Act of SC (S217, H3530) will not regulate pre-born baby homicide. It will outlaw it, as justice requires. Listen to the key section of The Personhood Act of SC,
“The right to life for each born and preborn human being vests at fertilization. The rights guaranteed by Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution of this State, that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law nor denied the equal protection of the laws, vest at fertilization for each born and preborn human being. This article is enacted pursuant to the power reserved to this State under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
Currently, we have the full support of the Governor and the Lt Governor and key House leaders, and we have 21 committed SC Senators, including bipartisan support… Personhood rests in Senate Judiciary committee now. After leaving Senate Judiciary, we’ll need Rules committee special order slot in order to get off the contested calendar. Then, we will need 26 Senators voting for cloture in order to stop the inevitable filibuster. Then, just a majority vote in Senate will send it over to the House where the companion bill resides in Judiciary. We are close to passing Personhood in SC. If just a few key Senators would come around, we could pass this bill very quickly. Please pray for Senators Rankin, Alexander, Bennett, Reese, Campsen, Campbell, Leatherman, Senn and Jackson to support Personhood immediately. Call them and ask them to join the Governor, Lt Governor and their 21 colleagues to stop the killing now.
Life begins at conception. The moment sperm and egg meet, a new human life is formed, made by God, in the image of God, to be cherished and protected from that moment forward throughout all of life, inside and outside the womb. We know this from the Word of God and from science, and the history of our nation acknowledges this obvious reality. And, this bedrock truth has profound ramifications for us today, requiring us to repent of our guilty complicity with death, requiring us to restore legal protection to all pre-born babies, and requiring us to state plainly over and over again: the Supreme Court of the United States was dead wrong in its 1973 Roe v Wade ruling.
The Supreme Court of the United States was dead wrong in its 1973 Roe v Wade ruling.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” We human beings are the crowning jewel of God’s creation, and He showed this by making us in His Own image. We are not random material accidents of biology and physics. We were lovingly, carefully crafted in our mothers’ wombs by God, the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe, to know Him and to love Him. “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Since we are made in God’s image, as unique image-bearers in His creation, God requires that human life be cherished and protected. God said to Noah, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.” Civilized societies understand that the foundation of jurisprudence is this glorious reality: we human beings are made by God in His image. And, this image-bearing begins at the moment of our conception. God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Thus, we know from the Word of God that each human being is made by God in Gods image, beginning at the moment of fertilization, and therefore each human life is to be cherished and protected, throughout all phases of human existence, from fertilization to death.
Medical science and biology demonstrate this Divine reality. At the moment of fertilization, unique genetic information comes into existence within that new human being. This genetic code then works within this new individual to shape and form that person through an internally self-directed process requiring only external nutrients and a safe place to grow, just like all other human beings during all phases of life. The baby forming inside its mother’s womb is a different human being than its mother. Both the baby and its mother are unique human beings, made in the image of God, both to be protected and cherished, and each with their own unique genetic information. Personhood acknowledges and declares that baby and mother are made in God’s image as unique individuals, and both are to be cherished and protected.
The Continental Congress understood this bedrock truth, and enshrined it in our Declaration of independence in 1776 when they wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…” During this colonial timeframe, William Blackstone, likely the most authoritative legal source for the founders, wrote the following about babies in the womb: “An infant in the mother’s womb, is supposed in law to be born.” In other words, the founders understood that every legal right held by a person outside the womb was also held by a person inside the womb. Furthermore, consider how these men would have thought about babies in the womb as you listen to these excerpts from the first prayer offered at the opening of the Continental Congress in 1774:
“O Lord our Heavenly Father, high and mighty King of kings, and Lord of lords, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers on earth and reignest with power supreme and uncontrolled over all the Kingdoms, Empires and Governments; look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee…. Preserve the health of their bodies and vigor of their minds; shower down on them and the millions they here represent, such temporal blessings as Thou seest expedient for them in this world and crown them with everlasting glory in the world to come. All this we ask in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior. Amen.”
Would such men who knew Blackstone so well and prayed this way consider babies in the womb as human beings to be protected by law? Of course. Of course!! They saw babies in the womb the way God’s Word describes babies: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.”
Moving on, in the late 1780s, the due process clause of the 5th Amendment was ratified: “nor shall any person…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Again, would those ratifying this language, so familiar with Blackstone’s commentaries, have considered babies in the womb as “persons”? Of course they would have. They saw babies in the womb as “persons” deserving of legal protection, just like Blackstone wrote: “An infant in the mother’s womb, is supposed in law to be born.”
Now, jumping ahead to the 1860s, special attention must be given to the 14th amendment, since the Roe v Wade court so terribly violated the original intent of this amendment. Listen to the applicable section of the 14th amendment:
“…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The same US Congress that produced this 14th amendment also passed restrictive anti-abortion laws. Yes, that’s right, the very amendment the Roe v Wade court primarily relied upon to support their vicious ruling was produced by a US Congress that cracked down on the crime of killing babies in the womb. In his book, Compelling Interest, Roger Resler writes,
“It is noteworthy that the same congressmen who voted for the Fourteenth Amendment had also created, voted for, and enacted laws in the Federal Territories of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada that made the performance of abortion on ‘a woman then being with child’ a crime. To argue that the creators of the Fourteenth Amendment would have approved of their amendment as the basis of a fundamental right of privacy that included a woman’s decision to have an abortion, is to argue in blatant contradiction to historical facts. These were the same legislators who had created tough anti-abortion laws.”
Furthermore, In his dissent in the Roe v Wade ruling, Justice William Rehnquist wrote,
“To reach its result, the Court necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was apparently completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment….By the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, there were at least 36 laws enacted by state or territorial legislatures limiting abortion. While many States have amended or updated their laws, 21 of the laws on the books in 1868 remain in effect today. Indeed, the Texas statute struck down today was, as the majority notes, first enacted in 1857 and “has remained substantially unchanged to the present time.” There apparently was no question concerning the validity of this [Texas] provision or of any of the other state statutes when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted. The only conclusion possible from this history is that the drafters did not intend to have the Fourteenth Amendment withdraw from the States the power to legislate with respect to this matter [of abortion].”
So, just like those who originally produced and agreed to the Declaration of Independence and the 5th Amendment, the authors of the 14th amendment would have considered babies in the womb as persons to be protected. With that in mind, hear again this phrase from the 14th amendment: “nor shall any State…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” For judges to somehow take these words to mean that the state is not allowed to protect babies in the womb is a direct contradiction of the plain meaning of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. The Roe v Wade ruling is a complete mockery of all that is good and just, and makes a total travesty of our supposed justice system in America. It is tragic and laughable how utterly blinded and misguided the Supreme Court was during the Roe v Wade decision. In spite of all their learning, all their experience, all their intellectual powers, all their degrees, they agreed to strip innocent babies of their 14th amendment “equal protection of the laws”, leading to the oceans of blood and death within America’s wombs since then.
So, how are we to respond to this reality? What must we do to reverse this denial of God and attack upon His image? Well, first of all, we must admit that politics as usual is not working and will not work. We have to take a hard, honest look at 45 years of failure.
Anyone who believes that 60 million murdered babies is any kind of success should be ignored.
We have simple approach to ending the murder of the unborn in our state and nation. Having rejected politics as usual, we looked to Scripture to define for us how to fight the winning fight. We discovered some basic truths that guide us in our fight.
- The spiritual component of politics cannot be ignored. Eph 6:12 ”For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
- There are always demonic forces of deception at work in places of political power.
- These forces cannot be unseated with human effort. Only a movement of God can cleanse Columbia, SC, of the generations of demonic deception in place there.
- Thus, revival in the hearts and lives of Christians across SC is essential.
- Only as we return to the Lord, worshiping Him in Spirit and Truth, enjoying Him and praising Him for His love and forgiveness in Christ, empowered by His Holy Spirit, can we expect to see repentance and righteousness in Columbia.
- If Christians across our state and nation will humble themselves before God, and cry out to God, and seek God’s Face, and turn away from their wicked ways, then and only then can we expect for God to listen to our prayers, forgive us, and bring healing to our land, which will include ending the bloody scourge of abortion.
- We must worship God, not the Supreme Court. – Prov 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”
- We do what is right in the eyes of God and leave the results in His hands. We trust that God is more powerful than the Supreme Court and the Federal government. We trust that God loves these babies made in His image more than we do, so that if we simply obey God by passing good laws, we can cry out to the Lord to move and restore justice for all babies in our state. The Supreme Court has reversed its own decisions over 200 times. Numerous states are exercising their 10th amendment powers. Who knows what God will do?
- Proverbs 29:6 “Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the Lord.”
- The message must be clarified and maintained. The Pro-life badge must be restored to its original place of honor. (Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with empty words”)
- There is no such thing as “Pro-life with exceptions.” It is never acceptable to intentionally kill a baby. There is no problem in life that is improved by intentionally killing a baby in the womb.
- The Personhood rights of a baby in the womb do not depend upon the circumstances surrounding that baby’s conception. Babies conceived in rape and incest do not have less Personhood, less of the image of God, than other babies.
- The Personhood rights of a baby in the womb do not depend upon that baby’s level of health or disability. A sick baby does not have less of the image of God than other babies. A baby with malformations does not forfeit their God-given unalienable right to life.
- The Personhood rights of a baby in the womb do not suddenly disappear in the midst of a pregnancy emergency. Both the mother and the baby deserve the doctor’s best effort to save them both.
- There is no such thing as “Pro-life with exceptions”. We either cherish and protect every human life and thus earn and deserve the beautiful badge “Pro-Life”, or we forfeit the privilege of being called “Pro-life”. To this end, Personhood SC will seek to reset the use of this phrase. We declare that the phrase “Pro-life with exceptions” expresses a philosophy that actually attacks the God-given, unalienable rights of some babies, which is clearly contrary to being truly Pro-life. Hence, we proclaim the phrase “Pro-life with exceptions” describes a self-contradictory stance that should be rejected by all thinking people.
- Even the most unresponsive politicians will usually respond to enough local constituent prayers and communications. (Luke 18 – persistent widow and unresponsive judge)
- Unresponsive politicians may end up helping to create a movement of local constituents who vote them out at the next election.
- The persistence of a devoted, kind and wise minority always trumps the listless silence of an apathetic majority.
- Building a network of humble, polite, Christ-honoring, praying activists will lead to eventual success.
- “the goodness of God leads you to repentance” romans 2:4 – and it will be the goodness of God expressed through the Christ-like, courteous, humble and careful demeanor of praying activists who shine the light of God’s love and goodness into this distressing topic. We will speak the truth in love.
Let us pray: Our Father and our God, great Creator Who endows us with all our rights as Divine image-bearers, in the Name of Jesus Christ, we acknowledge that we as a nation have turned our backs on our First Love, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who died upon the cross for our sins, Who was indeed resurrected from the dead, and Who now lives and reigns over all, and Who still acts and intervenes in history, in the hearts and minds of people on earth right now, we cry out to You to draw us into Your Holy Presence, to cause us to seek Your Face, to touch us with the fire of Your Glory, that we may be brought face to face with the blood-guilt that rests upon us as a nation, and that we would turn away from our wicked ways, admitting our selfishness, our self-focus, our silent complicity in the face of millions and millions dead, our perverted priorities where we value money and financial issues more than protecting innocent babies, where we desire so many empty idols instead of worshiping You, the Only Living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are a weak, sick and dying nation, without hope, unless we repent before You of our sins. Hear our prayers and forgive us of these sins, and heal our land, we ask, ridding our land of this bloody scourge of killing innocent babies made in Your image. In Jesus Name, Amen.