One Arizona pastor is calling on local lawmakers to uphold the state’s statutes banning abortion, which were passed prior to the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling on Roe v. Wade and remain on the books today.
Jeff Durbin, pastor of Apologia Church in Tempe and founder of the pro-life movement End Abortion Now, spoke last week before the Phoenix City Council, confronting its members for failing to uphold Arizona law.
In an interview with Faithwire, Durbin said his speech before the city council and his activism overall is inspired by a “heart and desire to speak the truth about abortion” from a Christian perspective. He takes issue with the current strategies of the pro-life movement, which he sees as sidestepping evangelical values.
“We have felt that the pro-life movement demonstrably engages in neutrality as they fight this issue,” the minister claimed. “They don’t fight against it from an explicitly Christian perspective or Gospel-centered perspective.”
Durbin went on to bemoan the overarching pro-life movement for seeking to find common ground rather than using only “Christian language.” He also condemned the suggestion that women who obtain abortions are in any way victims.
He criticized Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, for saying during a 2017 interview with Apologia Radio that the “mother who got the abortion is also a victim.”
“We want to work toward a legislation that’s meaningful and consistent, that calls abortion murder and punishes it as murder,” Durbin explained.
What are Arizona’s laws against abortion?
Despite the high court ruling on Roe v. Wade in 1973, which effectively legalized abortion nationwide, the practice is still technically illegal in the southwestern state.
In fact, if the court’s ruling on Roe v. Wade was overturned — a scenario some thought possible following Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation in October — Arizona lawmakers could easily and quickly reimplement the state’s inactive laws against abortion.
Eight other states, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute, have pre-Roe v. Wade laws barring abortion on the books: Alabama, Alaska, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
It should be noted Arizona’s law banning abortion calls not for the criminalization of the women who obtained abortions, but for those who actually terminate the pregnancies.
The law states:
A person who provides, supplies or administers to a pregnant woman, or procures such woman to take any medicine, drugs or substance, or uses or employs any instrument or other means whatever, with intent thereby to procure the miscarriage of such woman, unless it is necessary to save her life, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than two years nor more than five years.
In his argument against abortion — and for the reimplementation of this state law — Durbin said courts “can’t make laws,” pushing back against a culture that has treated the Supreme Court’s “faulty court opinion” in Roe v. Wade as settled legislation.
The pastor pointed out the ways several states have “flexed” their states’ rights when it comes to the legalization of marijuana and the protection of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. He urged people to see abortion the same way.
“I’d like to get us to a point where the Word of God has so affected us as a state that what’s popular is protecting babies,” Durbin said, “and we flex our state rights and we protect these children.”
For more information about Durbin and the End Abortion Now movement, click here.