Rebecca Gomperts is a medical doctor on a mission.
And thanks to such successful PR stunts as her "Trojan horse" boat in Morocco this past Thursday, her mission is becoming ever more successful.
Yet Gomperts is no saint.
Gomperts is a Dutch abortionist, and founder of the abortion group Women on Waves, which bills itself as a provider of abortions on ships floating in international waters. She's one of the masterminds behind last week's carefully-staged media blitz in the port city of Smir, Morocco, advertising the abortion pill Artotec.
As in many Islamic countries, abortion is virtually illegal for Moroccans, except if the life of the mother is in danger. Women on Waves estimates that every day, 600 to 800 women have an illegal abortion in Morocco, and that every year, 90 women die from botched, clandestine abortions there.
Naturally, those sobering mortality statistics fail to include the unborn fetuses.
In a deft stroke of irony, Gomperts and her group decided to use the Moroccan government's intolerance of abortion in favor of Women on Waves. They sent advance warning of their ship's entry into Smir's port to guarantee some pro-life protesters, government troops, and the local media would be on hand to witness their "arrival." Except when Moroccan authorities tried to prevent one of the Women on Waves boats from entering their harbor, Gomperts' people unfurled banners advertising their website and a Moroccan phone number on another boat instead - one that was already in the harbor.
The boat trying to enter the harbor was a red herring - the real advertisement was already before the TV cameras! Gomperts' people simply let nature take its course from there, with the protesters howling, the government officials glowering, and Women on Waves' surprising little craft bobbing in the water, covered with their contact information. Sure enough, before long, women across the country - not to mention much of the Middle East - had free, unrestricted access to information telling them where to find Artotec and how to use it.
If it wasn't in the cause of such a dastardly objective, its cleverness could be admirable.
Instead, the abortion industry, of which Gomperts is a proud sponsor, received tons of publicity at the very hands of people who could be counted on to foment that publicity, albeit with other reasons entirely.
Desperate to Destruct
Most pro-life evangelicals - and I hope I'm being redundant there - would consider Gomperts the archetype villainess, perverting her humanitarian vows as a medical doctor by murdering unborn children so heartlessly. After all, her claiming to be interested in preventing 90 deaths a year - by ostensibly giving women access to safe abortions - might be the public facade of this Moroccan stunt, yet Gomperts' broader objective, like it is for all ardent abortionists, is a denial of the sanctity of life and the moral gift of that life. Humanity is what we decide it is, abortionists say, not what God - or even Islam's god - says it is.
And so are yours, dear reader.
The only thing saving believers in Christ from utter damnation is Christ Himself. Not the fact that you and I abhor abortion, or that we would never study medicine in order to perform one. All sin is equally heinous in God's eyes, whether it's advertising abortion pills to women in Morocco, or harboring hate against Gomperts, or speeding on the way home this evening, or letting unwholesome speech leave our lips, or... the list goes on and on.
The Other Side of Legalism
We like to think we're better than other people, and legally, ethically, we may be. But that same legalism against which we bristle when it comes to dancing, drinking, or other relatively ambiguous behavior is what helps convince us that we can be better than other sinners on the hard-core stuff. We compare ourselves to each other, not to God's standard. Sure, we don't murder, we don't condone abortion, we don't flaunt international laws we don't like. But apart from Christ, we're all sinners doomed to Hell. Sin is sin; with God, there is no hierarchy within our categories of sin. The only sin He cannot pardon is the sin of denying the truth of Christ as revealed by the Holy Spirit. All the other sins, for which Christ forgives us, equally called for His death.
The deaths for which Gomperts and her allies are responsible seem to make them sinners of a different plain, or level, than the rest of us. But we delude ourselves by thinking that. Hell is Hell, and grace is more than just the freedom to look down our ethical noses at people we think are less worthy of it than we are.
Instead of vilifying Gomperts, then, I now find myself lamenting her lostness and pitying her. We still need to work to protect the unborn, but doesn't the Devil prefer we consider people like Gomperts our enemy, instead of himself, since doing so can muddy our perspective? Instead, won't you join me in praying that our gracious Father would redeem her into our family of forgiven sinners?
We have the law to show us what's wrong and what's right. We know she's not doing what's right. She desperately needs the same grace that's saved us to save her from the same evil to which we were once desperate slaves.
God's mercy is so great, it saved you, and it saved me, and it can save Gomperts. Indeed, the battle against abortion is a salvific narrative in more ways than one.
Plus, our Savior is so marvelous, He doesn't even need a boat to traverse water.