By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
May 18, 2023
North Carolina’s Senate Bill 20 — the new law that limits abortions after 12 weeks and adds more stringent regulations and processes for the procedure — is not the pro-life legislation that leaders of the Christian Action League hoped would pass. But it is one that the CAL wholeheartedly supported as an incremental step toward a total abortion ban.
“Many already know that the Christian Action League lobbied for and supported the passage of a heartbeat bill,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, the League’s executive director. “However, after lobbying for it for several weeks, it became apparent there weren’t enough votes in either chamber – at least not nearly enough to override the Governor’s expected veto.”
In fact, according to Creech, at the beginning of discussions, there was very little agreement among GOP lawmakers on any pro-life legislation, and even when the measure was introduced that would prohibit abortions after the first trimester, there were still members at both ends of the spectrum. Some wanted to leave abortion legal up to 20 weeks, while others didn’t feel that they could, in good conscience, support a bill that didn’t prohibit abortion at conception.
“My concern was what might be done to help lawmakers struggling with their consciences see that this bill was not where we wanted to be, but it was still a historic opportunity to save as many lives as possible,” Creech said.
In addition to his many in-person conversations with lawmakers on the issue, he penned a three-page letter assuring pro-life stalwarts that they were not selling out if they approved a measure that fell short of abolishing abortion.
“For many of us, abortion is a grave moral evil that violates the fundamental dignity of human life, and the proposed legislation is much weaker than we had hoped for,” he admitted in the letter. Still, he said, an incremental approach to the issue is true progress.
In his letter, which was both emailed and hand-delivered to lawmakers’ offices, Creech respectfully challenged the logic of immediatists, who demand that abortion be abolished and will not entertain a single compromise on the issue. He pointed them to the words of writer Joe Carter, a senior writer for The Gospel Coalition:
“When it is not possible to completely prohibit a social evil, it is both moral and effective to limit it as much as possible. When the ideal is beyond our power, it is moral and effective to seek the greatest good possible.”
Creech agreed with Carter that an “all-or-something” approach is better than an “all-or-nothing” approach in politics since progress is typically a result of the momentum produced by small victories. His letter reminded lawmakers that it is incrementalists who have managed to change laws and build the momentum that after 50 years got the nation to the place of overturning Roe v. Wade.
“This legislation is a historical opportunity in North Carolina to gradually reduce the number of abortions in our state,” Creech wrote of SB 20. “We cannot afford to waste it.”
Creech said the letter was arguably the CAL’s most significant contribution to the passage of SB 20 and, ultimately, Tuesday’s override of the Governor’s veto as it provided a word of encouragement to lawmakers, many of whom were being falsely accused by immediatists of making a deal with the devil.
Some members of the House and Senate said they intended to use the letter back in their districts to help assist them in explaining and defending their vote.
Creech commended every GOP lawmaker who fought tenaciously for the bill’s passage, even while knowing that the battle isn’t over.
“This fight must continue…This wholesale slaughter of the innocents must end!” he said.
Read Rev. Mark Creech’s full letter to Senate and House members concerning SB 20 – Care for Women, Children, and Families Act: Click here to download the PDF.