So-called States' Rights and Abortion
Some God-fearing pro-lifers claim that abortion is a "states' rights" matter. The claim is that the very principles of justice (i.e., God Himself) would have federal governments tolerate a state's decriminalization of murder generally, or decriminalization of murder for any particular group of victims. (Whether the victims would be Jews, Christians, or children, the principles remain the same.) But the abortion states' rights position is as immoral as Roe v. Wade itself. The federal government has no authority to decriminalize child killing and neither do the states.
In America, as with slavery, so too with abortion, it was the states themselves and not the U.S. Supreme Court that launched our abortion holocaust. The historical revisionism of Ron Paul and others aside, in the seven years before Roe v. Wade, 19 states were striking down their own laws banning abortion or otherwise explicitly permitting child killing to varying degrees. The state-sanctioned slaughter began in Mississippi in 1966. Prior to 1973, the states permitting abortion for various reasons were MS, CO, CA, OR, NC, NY, AK, HI, WA, FL, AL, AR, DE, GA, KS, MD, NM, SC, VA, and New York which allowed "elective" abortion on demand through six months.
The Bible can help pro-lifers think through all of this. Adhering to the principles of justice presented in Scripture would benefit not only America but of course any nation at any time in history. Israel's 12 tribes are sufficiently similar to America's original 13 states to draw some lessons regarding "states' rights." For the Bible is not silent on the question of whether subdivisions of a national (federal) government have the authority to refrain from prosecuting the murder of the innocent. The Bible approves of local law enforcement, even local prosecution for murder (Deut. 21:1-9). But Scripture indicates that there is no local right to refrain from the prosecution of murder.
- Negative Evidence: No Scripture says the king should tolerate tribes that permit murder.
- Positive Evidence: The Book of Judges chapter 21 teaches that God does not recognize a local right to decide whether or not to prosecute murder. Rather, when one of the twelve tribes of Israel refused to prosecute the murder of a concubine, for that lawlessness, the rest of the nation was justly outraged and moved to action, and with God's endorsement, they lawfully used force to punish Benjamin including of course any local authorities and magistrates who "would not listen..."
So all the men of Israel were gathered... united together as one man. Then the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, "What is this wickedness that has occurred among you? Now therefore, deliver up the men... that we may put them to death and remove the evil from Israel!" But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brethren, the children of Israel. ... [So] The LORD defeated Benjamin before Israel. And the children of Israel destroyed that day twenty-five thousand one hundred Benjamites; all these drew the sword. Judges 20:11-13, 35