Abortion is never the loving thing to do, even if the Governor of California’s campaign says it is. Gov. Gavin Newsom's reelection campaign recently launched at least 18 billboards in seven different states that restricted abortions: Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. Every billboard points to California's abortion website that promises you don’t need to live in California to get an abortion in the state.
Each billboard has its own messaging for the state it’s advertising in. California’s says, "Need an abortion? California is ready to help.” It also references Mark 12:31, "Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” Now, politicians will be political. But can there be anything more sinister than using the Bible to promote a message of death? Let’s look at each line of the billboard. Here’s what you can’t miss about the California Governor’s abortion billboards.
“Paid for by Newsom for California Governor 2022”
The billboards were paid for by Newsom’s campaign for Governor of California. But there’s more at play here than California. Why advertise outside of California? Imagine a room of political strategists and a whiteboard, plotting a national campaign to rally the abortion industry and pro-choice voters across the country for Newsom and his pro-choice political allies.
Newsom’s campaign spent $100,000 to run the ads on 18 billboards across seven states. It’s a small piece of the $24 million pie he is spending on his campaign. One political commentator said of this campaign, “It’s really smart…$2 million in California will get you like, 2 a.m. on some really random cable channel. But if you’re spending $100,000 on billboards in red states, and you’re getting earned media, that’s probably worth the equivalent of like a $4 million or $5 million media buy.”
In this political climate, Newsom’s playbook is more about rallying pro-choice voters nationally and showing support for their Big Abortion allies, than it is about protecting women and families.
“Need and Abortion? California is ready to help.”
With the abortion issue, it seems Newsom and others like him want women and men living in fear. But in steps California, your buddy ready to help you in your time of need. “Need an abortion?” reads to me like, “You're gonna get pregnant, and you’ll want an abortion…but you can’t get one in your terrible state. Whatever will you do?!”
But ask yourself, who’s truly ready to help, with love that casts out fear? Who stands ready, in California and every other state, to give compassion, hope, and help to women and men facing pregnancy decisions every single day? Look no further than pregnancy centers.
“Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment.”
The opposite of fear is love. Scripture says, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear…” (1 John 4:18). Mark’s writing in the quoted verses from the abortion billboard couldn’t be further from his point. The Governor’s campaign and its use of Scripture to be pro-abortion is misleading at best, and evil at worst. Remember the lawyer asking Jesus which commandment is the most important to follow? He was trying to trick Jesus. Don’t let this billboard trick you.
Jesus explained that there are two commandments that we cannot separate from each other. Tim Keller writes about these verses, “When Jesus says all the laws boil down to “love God and neighbor,” He is saying we have not fulfilled a law by simply avoiding what the law prohibits, but we must also do and be what the law is really after—namely love.”
We shouldn’t quote Mark 12:31 without Mark 12:30. You can’t say, “love your neighbor” without also saying, “love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
You can’t say you love God and also promote killing what He creates.
As we think about the bigger picture of Gov. Newsom, his campaign, and the abortion industry, while it can seem hopeless, we must always lean on what Jesus says in this same passage of Mark 12. Jesus told the leader, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (12:34) and then Mark says, “And no one dared to question him any longer” (12:34).
You may be the most powerful religious leader, governor, or hold any other powerful position on this earth; but the law does not save. Newsom and his campaign made a grave mistake with these billboards, but like all of us, he’s a sinner who needs a new heart. We all need forgiveness of sin. We all need to lean on Christ’s work and nothing else. That is the point of these verses in Mark—not to justify abortion as love of neighbor, but that loving God is loving others – including the unborn – and loving others shows that we love God.