The Briefing, Albert Mohler

Monday, June 20, 2022

It’s Monday, June 20th, 2022.

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

Part I

‘Go to a Playground. There Are 20% Less Children Than There Should Have Been.’: New Statistics Show 1 Out of Every 5 Pregnancies in the U.S. Ends in Abortion

Even as the Supreme Court of the United States is poised to hand down a decision that is widely expected and fervently hoped to reverse the notorious Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, abortions are up in the United States.

We’re looking at the year 2020, and according to statistics released just in recent days, the rate of abortion rose 7% as you look at the period from 2017 to 2020, the rate went up from 3.5 abortions per 1000 women and girls of childbearing age, that would be 2017 to 14.4% in 2020.

Now, the reason we’re talking about 2020 is because that is the last year for which complete statistics are available. The Guttmacher Institute, which is a pro-abortion organization and nonetheless, puts out numbers that are basically trusted by both sides in this controversy. The Guttmacher Institute released this data just in recent days, and it really is surprising, shocking, of course, for those of us who prized the sanctity of human life and would defend it, very disappointing.

The bottom line in all of this, is actually made clear by The New York Times as it summarizes that in the year 2020, one out of every five pregnancies ended in abortion. One out of every five, just think about that for a moment. That means, that if you line up all the women who had pregnancies during the period of the year 2020, 20 out of the 100, or put it another way, one-out-of-five chose to end the pregnancy by abortion, killing the unborn child, terminating the life rather than to carry the baby to term.

One out of five, we really are looking at something that’s beyond description as an atrocity or even as a national crisis, but we’re also looking at the fact that about half of the states in the United States are ardently pro-abortion even as about half are increasingly pro-life, that just shows you a divide over a basic worldview or moral issue this staggers the imagination.

The report coming from Guttmacher went on to say that in all regions of the United States, there was some kind of increase in that period from 2017 to 2020. Now, as you’re looking at 2020 and 2021, you have the unusual context of COVID, but at this point, it’s unclear exactly how to factor that in. Put in a larger context, the abortion rate had been falling in the United States for the past 30 years, that is to say for three-decades.

Pam Belluck reporting for The New York Times tells us, “The number of abortions in the United States has increased, reversing what had been a three-decade decline. The uptick began in 2017 and, as of 2020, one in five pregnancies, or 20.6% ended in abortion.” Now the differences in all these statistics have to do with exactly how they are tabulated, but the increase that The New York Times points to, is an increase from 2017, 18.4% to 20.6%, that’s where you get the one out of five, that slightly more than 20% of all pregnancies ending in abortion.

But you look at that for a moment and you recognize, this is not just about abortion and statistics, that might be released in a report and therefore reported in the media analyzed by others. Note, we’re looking at the fact that if you go to playgrounds, five years in 2020, there will be 20%, fewer five year olds then there should have been, and you just ricochet that through the entire population, and you understand this is something that is reshaping America and as you add together, the contraceptive revolution, and then you add the abortion revolution, you really are looking at an assault upon the nation’s birth rate.

There’s another aspect to these statistics that ought to have our moral attention. For one thing, births actually declined about 6%, and just to report as The New York Times summarizes, “Fewer people were getting pregnant,” That means in 2020, as compared to 2017, “fewer people were getting pregnant and among those who did, a larger proportion chose to have an abortion.”

Now, I’m just going to imagine with you for a moment, that someone from the ancient, ancient past, say 2017, which is where the study period began. Someone from that very old time happened to hear the sentence that I just read to you, fewer people were getting pregnant. Well, let’s just think about it for a moment, who would they think those people are? Well, those people would be women, those people would be females of the human species, those humans, those people would be women, or in some cases, older girls.

You are looking at a reality that the transgender revolution has now already affected, and indeed infected everything to the extent that as we have to note over and over again, as we cite these issues in the media, we’re almost exclusively now seeing references to pregnant people rather than to pregnant women, but let’s just remind ourselves of what we know based upon not only biology, but the revelation of God and Scripture about humanity, if someone is pregnant, that person is a woman.

Now, as I said, even with the Supreme Court poised to hand down such an important decision on abortion, the states are divided about half and half, it’s not exactly blue and red America, but it’s almost exactly blue and red states that are divided in this way, but one of the interesting things is that if you look at the report, one of the states that stands out remarkably is the State of Missouri, and the Missouri stands out as a pro-life state.

In the State of Missouri, legal restrictions meant that the number of abortions that took place in Missouri, this would be those defined as legal abortions declined from 4,710 in 2017, to just 170 in 2020. Now that’s remarkable, remarkable decline from 4,710 to 170.

Now, did that mean that the women who might have sought an abortion in Missouri and didn’t get one, simply did not have an abortion and gave birth to their babies? No, it doesn’t necessarily mean that, because there was an increase across the border in Illinois, of 25%.

So that just tells you that eventually even as the Roe reversal, that we are expecting and hoping for, even as that comes, we’re looking at a state by state battle and eventually both sides in this controversy understand, that the only way this issue will be settled on a fifty state basis, is by some kind of national legislation or a constitutional amendment. That’s where we’re going to have to work as well as state by state looking to the future.

Any report like this, includes a number of very interesting statements and the response to the report is very similar. One of the response statements that caught my eye came from Leslie Reagan reported in The New York Times. She, as we are told a historian of American medicine in public health at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Professor Reagan said about the report, “It shows that people in every state seek abortions despite restrictive measures in many states.” Now that just points out that morally speaking, we have to acknowledge there is a supply problem, and there is a demand problem, that’s just a fact of economics that is paralleled in this moral equation.

There are those who want abortions, that’s a problem. And there are those who supply abortions, that’s a problem. The restrictive laws that are on the books right now, are more likely if not, almost universally to address the supply, rather than the demand side of the equation. And so this statement by this medical history professor actually just tells us what we already know. Even if the supply is restricted, there still may be demand, but we need to face something else.

Pro-lifers need to acknowledge straightforwardly, that we will try to seek to cut off supply even if there remains a demand. We do not believe that a woman should have the right to demand an abortion, we want that demand to be denied.

Part II

Radicalism of the Biden Administration on Display as It Weighs Even Unconstitutional Options in Anticipation of the Reversal of Roe v. Wade

Now remember that the decision in the Dobbs case from Mississippi on abortion could be handed down by the Supreme Court as early as this morning. We don’t know that’s the case because the Supreme Court virtually never tells us in advance, when it is going to hand down this kind of decision.

It is likely to come at the end of the term, but the term’s running out, we’re looking at just two more weeks in the month of June. So at some point, likely either this week or next Monday, we’re going to have the release of this decision, and that will tell us whether or not the justices, a majority of the justices went so far as to reverse the Roe v. Wade decision. That’s what we’ve been hoping for, that’s what the pro-life movement has been praying for and struggling for, for nearly 50 years now.

But it’s very interesting to note that the political divide which is the worldview divide, the abortion divide which is the political divide. It’s a division between pro-lifers and pro abortionists. It’s a division between liberals and conservatives. It’s a divide between Democrats and Republicans, and it has been at least in terms of the party positions increasingly over the course of the last 40 plus years.

The incumbent president of the United States as the Supreme Court is poised to hand down this decision, is Joseph Biden. Joe Biden is a Democrat ardently committed to abortion rights. Ardently committed to abortion, as he was seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, to the extent that he reversed some of his positions he had held for decades as a senator, including support for the Hyde Amendment, which prevented taxpayer funding of abortion.

In order to gain the Democratic presidential nomination, President Biden, then candidate, former Vice President Biden basically sold his soul to the abortion movement, and that movement is demanding action from President Biden, if and when the Supreme Court should hand down another decision limiting abortion, and perhaps reversing the Roe v. Wade decision that declared unconstitutionally, we should add that a woman had a constitutional right to terminate the unborn life within her.

But here’s where things are going to get really interesting, because the abortion rights movement, the feminist movement, the progressive movement within the Democratic Party is even in anticipation of that Supreme Court decision, putting pressure on the White House to take executive action.

Now, the executive actions could not include any power to contravene the Supreme Court in a majority decision. The president doesn’t have that power, but the president’s going to be in a very tight space politically, and the pro-abortion wing of his party, which basically means his entire party is going to be putting enormous pressure on him.

Charlie Savage reporting for The New York Times over the weekend tells us, “President Biden’s top aids are weighing whether he can or should take a series of executive actions to help women in Republican-controlled states obtain abortions if the Supreme Court eliminates a woman’s right to end her pregnancy.” And the story goes on to tell us, “Senior Biden administration authorities are speaking openly, at least to the press about this possibility.”

Savage then reports, and this is of crucial interest to us, “Some of the ideas under consideration include declaring a national public health emergency, readying the Justice Department to fight any attempt by states to criminalize travel for the purpose of obtaining an abortion, and asserting that Food and Drug Administration regulations granting approval to abortion medications preempt any state bans.”

At least some are calling on the president to declare that US military bases and the hospitals connected to those bases could become pro-abortion centers and sources, within states that will have pro-life legislation, it’s hard to describe just how radical some of these proposals are.

Mr. Biden, the president, spoke to Jimmy Kimmel the late night talk show host by saying just in recent days, “I don’t think the country will stand for it.” Meaning the reversal of Roe v. Wade. He said, “There’s some executive orders I could employ, we believe we’re looking at that right now.”

Now, if I were advising President Biden and let’s make that clear, he is not looking for my advice, just in the political sense, that was not a smart thing to say. Just about any president of any party on any issue knows that he should, not declare that he will do what he’s not even sure he is going to be able to do, a certain circumstances come to pass. But this is a president who is routinely in both domestic and foreign policy arenas very likely to go ahead and say, he’s considering things that might be patently unconstitutional.

The White House is also concerned about a very political dimension of all of this, and that is the fact that President Biden is headed for Europe to speak at the Group of Seven summit. It’s going to be extremely inconvenient for the president of the United States if he is out of the country during the time that the Supreme Court hands down this decision.

Just to point to the extremism of the Biden administration, this article actually raises the fact that the Biden administration is considering, whether or not it could use taxpayer money to pay for women to go from pro-life states to pro-abortion states, that is to use taxpayer funding in order to pay for the transportation of those women who are seeking abortions.

It’s hard to describe the extremism and radicalism of the current administration on this issue, but you could expand that and say the Democratic Party, or you could say, look at several states, such as the States of California, New Jersey, New York, you get on the list, Illinois, Rhode Island, saying that they are basically prepared to become abortion meccas.

But the radical approach that the president himself has signaled that he is considering taking, it was actually countered by one of the most liberal law authorities in the United States, that would be Laurence Tribe. He teaches law at Harvard Law School and for nearly 30 years, he was considered the most likely rather far left, that is to say very liberal nominee by a Democratic president to the United States Supreme Court. He didn’t get that nomination. It’s an interesting issue by the way that he didn’t, why didn’t he? Well, the reason is probably that he is a white male.

Laurence Tribe is old enough to be an emeritus professor now, but if he had been younger, perhaps he could have declared himself to be transgender in such a way, he could just be a law professor person, but in all seriousness, Laurence Tribe thinks that there is very little, the White House can do constitutionally.

We are told that even as Mr. Tribe didn’t want to pour cold water on people’s peaceful reactions to impending disaster, that’s his own language there, he went on to advise the White House that taking unconstitutional actions could actually take public heat off of the Supreme Court. He wants the Supreme Court to be the center of controversy, not the White House.

But I’ll just be honest it’s very hard to see how President Biden and his administration, can do anything other than send off fireworks and basically declare anything short of political war, if indeed, as we hope the Supreme Court hands down, the decision reversing Roe v. Wade.

But the truth is we just need to be honest about this, we do not know what the Supreme Court will eventually do until it does it, and we will not know what President Biden and his administration will do until they take such action, but we’ll be watching for it very, very carefully.

Part III

‘Instead of Election Day, We Should Call It Election Month’: Californians Wrestle with Issues of Mail-In Voting — With Major Risk to the Voter Confidence

But next, let’s just consider for a moment the context of a constitutional republic that relies upon elections for the democratic process, and the legitimacy of those elections turn out to be paramount, absolutely crucial.

Now, as you’re looking at the January 6th hearings in the United States House of Representatives, one of the things you hear over and over again is the necessity of guarding the integrity of America’s elections. Now that’s absolutely true, and it’s not just true at the federal level, it’s true all the way down to the local level, but we should be very thankful the federal government doesn’t control state elections, it doesn’t control local elections.

In California that means that, the State of California controls those state elections and as we shall see, that’s a problem. But even before setting the table for that, I just want us to understand, that over the course of the last several election cycles, where a Republican won the presidency, there has been an organized effort by many Democrats to deny the legitimacy of the election, and this was true, very classically in the 2000 general election, when George W. Bush was elected president of the United States, that was a very messy process.

But you need to note that much of the derision addressed to the 2000 election and President Bush’s election to the presidency wasn’t actually about the Supreme Court, it wasn’t about hanging chads in Florida. For those who old enough to remember, it was about the fact that Al Gore running as vice president for the presidency, won the national popular vote, and as we know, that’s just interesting, what’s determinative is electoral college wins state by state.

But you had many people saying, that George W. Bush wasn’t legally elected, simply because of the popular vote, the popular votes, interesting, but presidents are not elected by a nationwide popular vote, but it goes beyond that. But what we have right now is whether it’s Donald Trump denying the election of 2020, or it was many Democrats denying the election of, we’ll say 2000 and by the way, those aren’t necessarily equal and opposite issues here because it’s different when you actually have a president of the United States entering this situation personally, but nonetheless, if we do have a decrease in the integrity of our electoral process, if we have a decrease or a deficit in the confidence that Americans have in that process, then we’re in very big trouble.

Now, one of the reasons Americans have had confidence is because, in a reasonable amount of time, in an orderly fashion, the results of the voters’ decisions are known, but I’m speaking to you from the State of California, and California held a major statewide election in primary on June the 7th. That’s a matter of a couple of weeks ago already and you wouldn’t know the results, you won’t know the results of many of those elections or those electoral decisions for some time.

Now, the reason for that, is that in California vote by mail has now become so popular and the votes aren’t tabulated, until several days after the election day has actually been held, and the process is so detailed, so complex, so abstract, at least in terms of the minds of voters, that many voters are likely to have basically lost interest in the election long before they find out who actually won it, or on matters of say a referendum or the kind of ballot measure, how voters decided, but that pays over again, something that happened just recently.

Just in the last several days, the Los Angeles Times editorial board released a statement in which they basically told California voters to get over an election day, after all, in any sense and getting over, they say the very idea that you should know in a timely fashion, the results of an election.

The headline in the editorial is this in California, Election night results are a thing of the past. Just deal with it, they’re basically saying. The editors wrote, “California has radically changed the way voters cast their ballots over the last several years. Every registered, active voter is mailed a ballot. People can vote in person, submit their ballot at an official drop box or polling place days and even weeks before “election day,” they put election day in quotes by the way, as if it’s just an abstraction. They went on to say, “Or they can stick it in the mail, as long as it’s postmarked before 8:00 PM on the final day of voting.” They go on to say, “That this should make it much easier for Californians to vote.” and they point to the results of the June 7 Primary, except we don’t have those results.

Now, what should amaze us, is that the Los Angeles Times editorial board thinks that this process in which voters don’t even know the results, yet and we don’t even know when California voters will know the results. They say, this is a win for democracy.

The editors wrote, “Just look at the June 7 Primary. In the hours after the first results were posted online by county and state officials, there were plenty of declarations that the election was a “progressive backlash” and an “urban revolt” because the recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, a criminal justice reform champion, appeared to have overwhelming support and Rick Caruso, the once-Republican, now tougher-on-crime candidate for Los Angeles mayor had a strong lead in the race.”

But the editors then go on to say this, “A week later, the portion of votes in favor of recalling Boudin had shrunk from 60% to 55%, he’s still out of the job,” editor say, “but it’s not a landslide.” And the editors went on to say, “Karen Bass, the more progressive candidate for Los Angeles mayor is now leading in the race and the results in that race could change again. LA county still has,” get this, “LA county still has,” as I’m speaking to you now, “365,000 ballots left to count.”

Now there are few cities in the entire country that could even start with 365,000 ballots to count, Los Angeles you’re looking now, basically two weeks after this election still has more than 360,000 ballots that haven’t been counted. The editors, chastised candidates and citizens for being concerned about this, the editors wrote, “Californians have changed the way they vote, the expectations of immediate election results haven’t. Voters, politicians, and the media still want to know the winners and losers on election night or the day after.”

They then chide with these words, “Perhaps that was possible in years past when most voters cast ballots in person. But it’s simply not feasible when more than 80% of ballots in LA and California are cast by mail and may not arrive until week after the polls close.” Stunningly the editors of the Los Angeles Times, go on and say that we should stop as Americans, they speak specifically of Californians, we should stop speaking of election day and instead, “Call it election month.”

Now I’m just going to back off for a moment and say this, whether you’re in California, if you’re in Los Angeles, if you are in another state in another city, regardless of where you are in the United States, this is a pressing issue.

The American experience in electoral process and in constitutional self-government really requires voter interest in the election, not just on the day of voting, not just in say the day’s preceding, but in the period of election day and what follows immediately, when voters want to know what has been decided, who is now going to lead us, who won the election, which proposition failed and which succeeded, how do we adjust ourselves to this new political reality, with the confidence that the system has accuracy and integrity baked in?

I’ve stated often, that the process of going to the polls is not just something that is archaic, it’s something that should be expected of American voters, unless there are extraordinary circumstances. Okay. 2020, that was an extraordinary circumstance within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, but as you’re looking at the situation now, Americans seem to be able to go where they want to go and I would hope that Americans would want to get to the polls and vote on election day.

In such a way that there’s actually a physical presence that can be tied to the experience of voting, and which can be tallied within a reasonable amount of time with an assurance of a reasonable amount of accuracy, so that our electoral process actually inspires confidence in the American people.

As for the people of California, the Los Angeles Times editorial board says, “Get over it there is no election day, there’s just a voting deadline, it’s all a part of election month.” But I’ll simply point out that so far as I can see California voters, particularly in Los Angeles, don’t have any real expectation that they’re going to know the outcome of this election, even in what could be called election month.

One final thought, if you are trying to say inject suspicion into the American election system, I would argue that one way would be to try to say, “Oh, just trust us, we’ve got lots of ballots in a warehouse and we’re counting them.” Honestly we are, just the right ones, and all of them trust us on this, by the way, it’s going to take a long time until we get back to you on that.

Like so many other things I could wish I could say, what happens in California in this case stays in California, but it doesn’t and it won’t, and we know it.

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 Santa Clarita, California, and I’ll meet you again tomorrow, for The Briefing.

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

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