The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

It’s Tuesday, March 1st, 2022.

I’m Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.

Part I

‘I Need Ammunition, Not A Ride’: A Profile of Moral and Political Courage In Ukraine as Brave Nation Continues to Hold Off Russia’s Invasion

Ukrainians continue to fight a brave fight against Russian invaders in a war that seems to have a new chapter every few minutes, but on the other hand, continues far beyond what most people, including many friendly Western observers of Ukraine, had expected. The Russian forces are massive, formidable. We’re looking at something like 200,000 land troops, not all of them deployed in Ukraine yet, but the expectation even of most Western military authorities and intelligence services have been that the Ukrainians would be rather quickly crushed and Kyiv, the capital city, very quickly captured. That just hasn’t happened.

Now in the fog of war, there are many developments that have already taken place we don’t know about. But what we do know is that what we are seeing right now is a profile in courage on the part of the Ukrainians and that starts at the top with the Ukrainian political leader, Volodymyr Zelensky who, when it was suggested that he should evacuate and leave the capital, said, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” That is likely to go down as one of the great lines of political and moral courage of our generation.

Over the course of the next several days, there will be no doubt a great deal for us to consider from Ukraine. But the main thing we need to know right now is if the fight goes on, that the Ukrainians are demonstrating remarkable courage, and that Vladimir Putin has done what, by some accounts, he was trying not to do, which is to unify European and Western resolve.

We see this in the fact that the Germans who’ve been very reluctant to spend much on their own national security, much less pass weapons onto others, they are sending anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, and they are indicating a willingness to increase their own national defense spending, something they’ve resisted for more than a generation. The Germans furthermore are indicating that they may rethink their decision to shut down nuclear power simply because they do not want to make themselves even more dependent when it comes to energy on imports from Russia.

These are huge developments and the new world order that Vladimir Putin has now created has less to do with any collapse of Ukraine and more to do with increasing the strength of the spine of Western democracies. There are many leaders in those Western democracies who could learn a lesson in courage from Zelensky in his statement, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” Again, just ponder those words and respect to them.

Part II

Historic Day for Abortion Issue as Vote on Women’s Health Protection Act—Radical Pro-Abortion Legislation—Fails to Move Forward in U.S. Senate

But next, we shift back to the United States for now, and I had mentioned yesterday on The Briefing that the United States Senate was set today to take up a vote on a very important issue, which is abortion.

And this vote was undertaken at the insistence of the Democratic leader in the senate, majority leader Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senator of New York. Schumer indicated that the threat to abortion rights, as he put it, is so dire that he wanted to get every single United States senator on the record on the issue of abortion. The mechanism for doing that is a radical piece of pro-abortion legislation known as the Women’s Health Protection Act.

Now we’ve talked about it before because the Democratically-led house of representatives has passed it just about entirely on Democratic votes twice. This is a bill that is so extreme that, even though it’s billed as a legislative replacement should the Roe v. Wade decision be reversed by the Supreme Court, the reality is that it’s far more extreme, far more radical even than Roe. For example, it would eliminate most state laws restricting abortion, or even the laws that require a woman to see an ultrasound of her unborn baby. Just about everything the pro-life movement has accomplished over the course of the last, say, 50 years would be wiped out in a single stroke by this legislation. Understand, the current Democratic President of the United States Joe Biden has promised and we expect this to be absolutely true that if the bill should pass not only the house, but the senate and reach his desk, he would sign it and, of course, he would sign it with pro-abortion celebration.

But wait, just a minute, Mr. President, and wait just a minute, majority leader Schumer, because the vote was held in the senate yesterday, and this bill mislabeled as the Women’s Health Protection Act, that radical abortion rights legislation failed by a vote of 46 to 48. Now you can do the math, 46 to 48 indicates that there were six senators who didn’t vote. Some of them not present to vote, some of that understandable. One of the most pro-abortion votes in the United States senate, the vote of California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, it was absent from this legislation, but that was due to the fact that her husband had just died. When it comes to several of the other five United States senators who were not present for the vote and just looking at them, this would include senators on both sides of the issue, they are likely to have to explain why they were not present for this very historic vote.

But, again, the bottom line is the fact that this pro-abortion legislation, very radical legislation, didn’t pass, and you’ll notice it didn’t pass in two ways. Number one, given the rules of the senate, the official vote was actually not on the bill, but on whether the bill could proceed to debate on the floor of the senate and, unless that takes place, the bill can’t ever be voted up or voted down. So a vote for continuing and bringing this legislation to the senate floor was basically a vote for abortion rights.

Now, one particular Democratic senator, Senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, indicated that he wasn’t pledged to vote for the bill, but he thought it ought to proceed to the debate on the senate floor. Make no mistake. That is either a statement of absolute political confusion, which is inexcusable, or more likely political cowardice, which is more explainable. Senator Bob Casey’s father was the late Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, who took a very bold stand against abortion, even as a Democrat. So bold, as a matter of fact, that way back in the 90s, he was forbidden the right to even address the Democratic National Convention because he was so avowedly pro-life. That’s how long these issues have separated the two parties. Bob Casey is in no similar danger. Although given the abortion extremism of the Democratic Party, it’s going to be very hard for any senator from a state like Pennsylvania to keep up.

But this vote indicates they’re going to try. But the vote to send this to the floor for debate would take 60 votes and you’ll recall the affirmative was 46, the negative was 48. So Senator Schumer said that he wanted to make clear that the senate would defend abortion rights by means of this very radical piece of legislation. But it’s not just through that he didn’t get 60 votes. He didn’t even get 50 votes. He didn’t get a majority of votes. He didn’t even get all the votes of his own party. Let’s be clear. This was a party line vote with the exception of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat who voted against the bill. On every other count in which someone was present and voting, the Republicans voted against abortion and the Democrats voted for it.

Now, there are some who would say it wasn’t really about abortion, but let’s be intellectually honest and very clear. This is exactly what it is about, what the vote was about yesterday. And not just about abortion rights, not just with the fact that the Supreme Court might reverse Roe v. Wade in coming months. But as I have said, this legislation is far more radical even than Roe v. Wade so we need to take a closer look.

When I say that, just keep in mind that this bill that didn’t reach the senate floor yesterday because of this vote, in other words, it isn’t going to advance in this senate term, it would allow even late-term abortions, later than Roe v. Wade. It would eliminate, as I said, just about all state restrictions that the pro-life movement has won over the course of the last, say, half century or at least the last generation or two. What we are looking at is the insistence of the pro-abortion movement not just in defending Roe v. Wade, but in extending abortion rights so that there is no conceivable circumstance in which an abortion would not be allowed.

Now, it’s also very interesting to note that the title of this legislation might be just a little behind the times for the Democratic party and certainly for the political Left. After all, it is called the Women’s Health Protection Act. Now that is likely to look quaint, as you consider the political left in the United States, who now wants to talk about pregnant people’s health protection act.

So just watch when this legislation comes back, as it will, it’s going to be interesting to see what it’s called.

Part III

What is Behind the “Women’s Health Protection Act?” A Bill Far More Radical Than Roe v. Wade and an Attempt at a Complete Reversal of Pro-Life Movement’s Progress of the Last Half Century

But there’s something important to understand here, and that’s the radical nature of the pro-abortion movement. That was made very clear in an opinion piece, actually by the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times, that ran in that paper just before the senate took the vote. The editors of the Los Angeles Times said this, “Never has there been a more urgent time for congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would ensure the right to a legal abortion nationwide, a right that is now imperiled.” So notice the assumption here is that a woman has a constitutional right, even though, of course, the word or the idea, neither one appears in the constitution, but this shows you how the Liberal Left to simply come to the point of making abortion a political sacrament, so to speak.

The editors of L.A. Times go on to say this. “Multiple generations of women and girls in every state have availed themselves of these reproductive rights. No American,” said the editor, “should have their rights to bodily autonomy taken from them. No one should frantically have to travel the country, looking for a state that allows abortion, or worse, go back to the dark days when women sought sometimes dangerous methods to end their pregnancies or were forced to give birth to children they were unprepared to raise.”

Now, I simply want us to note once again that there is something revealed here, something I often call the Steady State Theory of Moral Equilibrium, and you say that sounds quite technical. No, I just want to say this. Both sides in any very important moral controversy use what amounts to equal, if opposite, moral language. Notice the kind of moral language used here by this editorial board. You have the statement of the positive, what they claim to be Americans’ right to bodily autonomy that shouldn’t be taken away. Then they speak to dark days and even worse, indicating that the only moral position is to underline the fact that a woman or, again, a so-called pregnant person has the right to end any pregnancy for any reason or no reason. Furthermore, of course, the very same people are calling for taxpayers to be coerced into paying for abortion.

What we’re looking at here is the fact that the culture of death has a morality. That is to say it has a moral argument. It just turns out to be the moral argument that is diametrically opposed, indeed contradictory, to the moral message coming from the Bible about the sanctity of human life. This is the very worldview that Christians hold to. So, again, we are reminded that the chasm of worldview that divides so many Americans, one from the other, is just getting deeper and deeper and the issue of abortion just makes that truth clearer and clearer.

By the way, speaking of moral language, the editors of the Los Angeles Times refer to the Texas pro-life legislation as “a diabolical law.” Wait, just a minute. Diabolical? That actually refers to Diablos. It refers to the devil. I don’t know if the editors of the Los Angeles Times know that they are using biblical language. They’re actually making a theological argument, but in this case, it is a theological argument that is a direct contradiction to holy Scripture.

The editors also give what amounts to a moral exhortation, “All senators should consider whether they will stand by and do nothing while a fundamental right is taken away because that’s what a no-vote would do. And they should not delude themselves into thinking the states, perhaps less than half, that will still allow abortion if Roe is overturned can handle the reproductive needs of the entire nation.” Again, it is simply an argument that reveals the extremity of the pro-abortion movement in the United States, and the fact that the mainstream media is completely sold out to the culture of death and to the argument for abortion rights.

But let’s go back and consider the politics of this for just a moment. Why would the majority leader, a Democratic leader, why would he seek to force this vote? Well, in all likelihood, it is because his own position within the senate, furthermore, his own senate seat in the state of New York, might well depend upon him doing something even ridiculous in political terms, in order to underline and demonstrate, once again, his absolute, if fanatical, support for abortion rights.

But here’s the interesting political question. Why would the single individual in the senate most responsible for a future Democratic majority in the senate do something that puts so many vulnerable Democrats on the line on an issue and on a vote that is likely to hurt them, if not this coming November, then soon thereafter? The vote that was taken yesterday did with the exception of the six senators who didn’t vote it. It put 94 senators very much on the line on this issue and the Republicans held together. But you are also looking at the fact that the one Democrat switched to make very clear a pro-life position, and that is at least opposition to this legislation, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.

So the bottom line is that Schumer wanted to demonstrate the seriousness of the Democratic Party in what he would advertise as defending abortion rights, but he delivered only 46 votes. He didn’t get 60 votes. He didn’t even get 50 votes. It must have been a political humiliation, but nonetheless, it also demonstrates the fact that sometimes political acts have unintended, sometimes even opposite, consequences. Rather than unifying Democrats on this issue, he may have actually done more to unify Republicans. The vote 46 to 48 helps to make that clear.

But here’s the other thing. You can count on the fact that the Democrats will bring this back over and over again because of the pressure from the pro-abortion movement in their own party and in their own primaries, something we’ll be talking about a little later on today’s edition of The Briefing.

Another ardent pro-abortion senator, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, went on to say, “Make no mistake,” he said, “reproductive freedom will be on the ballot in November.” To that, I can simply say I totally agree, Senator Blumenthal. At least I agree that the issue will be on the ballot in November. As a matter of fact, it is on the ballot just about every time Americans go to vote these days.

But the issue isn’t what he calls “a woman’s reproductive rights or health.” It is instead the defense of unborn human life. The issue is abortion. Let’s make the issue clear. Let’s use the right word.

Part IV

New Research Shows Half of U.S. Abortions Now Performed by Pill in Ominous Development for Life in the Womb

But then with all of this as background, we need to turn to another recent report that has to do with abortion. This one is a game-changer and it really deserves a much closer look on the part of pro-life Americans and evangelical Christians. Pam Belluck reporting for the New York Times offers an article, the headline, “More Than Half of U.S. Abortions Use Pills.”

Now this is a distinction that many Christians really haven’t thought much about, the distinction between some form of surgical abortion and what is now called medical abortion. That is basically abortion brought about by medication, by abortion pills. Now those abortion pills are a fairly recent invention, as compared with surgical abortion, but they really are changing the entire legal landscape of abortion rights. There are some states that are seeking to limit access to medical abortion, but as you’re looking at the abortion pill, we have to recognize that is far more difficult to control or restrict than surgical abortion. Because at least in some cases, you don’t even need an abortion clinic. You don’t even need an abortion doctor. They’re present in proximity to a woman seeking an abortion. So we really are looking at a game-changer and one that’s very ominous for those of us who believe in and defend the sanctity of human life.

Pam Belluck writes, “More than half of recent abortions in the United States were carried out with abortion pills. According to preliminary data released last week, a sign that medication abortion,” she says, “has increasingly become the most accessible and preferred method for terminating pregnancy.” Just watch the language for a moment. You’ll notice the reference here is to “terminating pregnancy.” The baby is not even acknowledged. This is coming from the Guttmacher Institute, that is the research. The Guttmacher Institute is a think-tank dedicated to research about abortion. It’s funded by the abortion rights industry, but its data is often respected by both sides in the abortion controversy. But the Guttmacher Institute is now reporting and abortion rights activists are now celebrating this shift to abortion pills as the majority of abortions carried out in the United States.

Once again, as we speak about abortion and the great moral divide over the sanctity of human life in the United States, it often comes down to a map. This New York Times report tells us, “In 19 states, mostly in the South and the Midwest, telemedicine visits for medication abortion are banned. And so far in 2022,” again, according to the Guttmacher Institute report, “16 state legislatures have introduced bills to ban or limit medication abortion.”

Now let’s just note, if we are going to hold to the sanctity of human life, if we’re going to seek to defend unborn human life, if we are going to rightly define human life as beginning at fertilization, then we’re going to have to recognize that whatever the technology that brings about the abortion, it is the intentional termination or murder, the ending of unborn human life. Whether it happens by a pill or by some kind of surgical procedure, the end result is the same.

This is a very ominous development because the pills are, obviously, more difficult to track and to control than the kind of surgical abortion that requires a clinic or some kind of hospital or medical facility. Consider also the use in this report of the word telemedicine. That’s a relatively new development in modern medicine. It comes with many real benefits and obvious conveniences, but at the same time, it shows the double-edged sword of every technology. A technology that can save lives can also be used to end lives, and that’s especially true when you’re looking at the issue of abortion in the United States.

We’re also reminded that as in virtually every aspect of the defense of human life, at some point, this has to become a matter of law. The Associated Press reported just over the weekend, that in the state of South Dakota, Republicans and especially Republican Governor Kristi Noem in that state of South Dakota, are seeking to bring about legislation that would restrict or eliminate this kind of abortion by drugs, the kind of abortion by pill that might be available even by mail from other states. Again, that article in the New York Times, based upon that recent research by the Guttmacher Institute, indicates that by research count, there are now more abortions in the United States undertaken by pills than by previous technologies, including surgical techniques.

That is just another indication of the two-edged sword of technology, including the technology of pharmaceuticals, of drugs. Drugs can save drugs, can kill. In this case, drugs can be intended to target the killing of an unborn human being very early in pregnancy, to be sure.

But as Christians we understand it doesn’t matter at what point during the period of gestation the killing takes place. It is still the killing of an unborn human being.

Part V

Political Drama Played Out Before Our Eyes: President Joe Biden to Deliver First State of the Union Address and First Primary Election in Texas in Important Day for the American People

A lot more to watch on this, but one of the things that we’re going to have to watch is what will take place tonight in the State of the Union Address given by the president of the United States. President Joe Biden will be giving his very first State of the Union Address. It is going to take place at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. It’s going to take place before a limited joint session of congress and, once again, we’re going to see political drama played out in the United States. Christians have to understand that that drama itself tells us something about our constitutional form of government, but what’s going to be more telling than anything else is what the president actually says.

Understand the president is giving this State of the Union Address under circumstances that he almost assuredly did not envision just a matter of months ago, some of those outside his control, but others of those very much inside the control of the White House. In the category of out of his control, you’re looking at the war in Ukraine. But again, if you’re president of the United States and you are commander in chief, you still bear responsibility for how the United States before, during and after any circumstance has been involved. The president of the United States, regardless of party, regardless of name, has nowhere to go when it comes to ducking responsibility for America’s role on the world stage, or for his own domestic priorities when it comes to administrative policy.

So we’re going to be looking at a lot to watch tonight. We’re going to be watching carefully because the president under the stress of these circumstances is going to have to speak to the American people. And he’s actually going to have to say something so we’re going to have to watch and see exactly what he says. By the same token, we’re going to have to watch very carefully and listen attentively to what he doesn’t say. We’ll be talking about this on tomorrow’s edition of The Briefing. We’ll be watching and listening with you.

In the meantime, understand that something else very important is taking place today and that is the first major state primary in the 2022 political season. This is the big party primary in the state of Texas and both parties are going to be choosing gubernatorial nominees, that is their nominee as governor for the race in the fall. It is expected that the front-runner on the Republican side is the incumbent governor of Texas Greg Abbott, who will be running for his third term if he wins the nomination, but he has significant challengers. We will find out by the end of the vote count whether or not the incumbent governor is going to run as the Republican candidate for a third term.

But on the other side, the candidate who appears to have momentum and is likely to win is former congressman Beto O’Rourke who also, of course, is a former presidential candidate. How recently? Well, just a matter of the 2020 race for the Democratic presidential nomination. He didn’t do so well in that race and he lost to Senator Ted Cruz when he ran for the office of United States senator. But he remains a popular figure among many Democrats and he’s inventing himself once again politically, or attempting to. It’s likely that O’Rourke will win the Democratic nomination. It is likely that Governor Abbott will win the Republican nomination, at least the polls indicate and, of course, there are other offices at stake as well. We’ll be taking a closer look at the results of the Texas primary, as soon as they are in.

Understand that this year there are no less than 36 governorships that are up for election in November. Some have candidates running for reelection, some will be open races, every single one of them important, 50 states, 36 gubernatorial elections, just in this coming November. It’s going to be a very important political year. You knew that already. We’ll be watching it and thinking about it together.

Thanks for listening to The Briefing.

For more information, go to my website at You can follow me on Twitter by going to For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to For information on Boyce College, just go to

I’m speaking to you from Los Angeles, California, and I’ll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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