Abortion is hotting up to be a major political issue in America and in many other Western nations. Recently, the New York State Senate voted to help fund abortions for women who can’t afford them. And in January 2018, the same Senate legalised abortion right up until a baby is full term – even the day before birth! As a Christian who is strongly pro-life, I find these, and similar developments in other parts of the world, quite shocking.
Abortion is a highly emotive issue, with strong opinions on both sides. Here are the four main arguments used by those who are in favour of abortion, together with my responses:
- No one has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body.
Rubbish! The law has a LOT to say about how we use our bodies! It is against the law to use our bodies to kill someone, to inflict injury upon someone, to steal, slander, expose ourselves inappropriately in public, etc. Just because you have a body, it doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with it! Note, in particular, that you cannot use your body to kill another person – and surely that applies equally to a person currently residing within your body as well as to those outside.
- Anti-abortion pressure is another example of men trying to tell women what to do.
More rubbish! This is a ridiculous sexist argument raised by extreme feminists. The pro-life movement consists of EQUAL numbers of women and men who oppose abortion on purely moral grounds. This is not a sexist or genderist issue. Feminists need to stop trivialising this issue to bolster their own misandrist campaign.
- Abortion is warranted if the baby is unwanted. Various scenarios are suggested as a justification for this: If the mother was raped, if the pregnancy is a mistake, if the mother does not have the resources to give the baby a good life, if the mother is too young to be a responsible mother herself.
In each of these instances, the baby is viewed as an inconvenience that will compromise the mother’s plans for her own life. Because the baby is unplanned, unwanted and inconvenient, the mother believes she has the right to kill it.
But if this is the case, the same argument could be used to justify a mother killing her new-born baby the day after it is born, or a week later or six months later. If inconvenience is the sole justification, what is to stop a mother killing a child any time it becomes inconvenient?
Furthermore, an unplanned child need not be an inconvenience or a life-ruining event for a mother. She does not have to keep the child. There are millions of childless couples all around the world, unable to have their own children, who would LOVE to give an unwanted baby a good home. For example, there are currently 1.5 million couples in America who are registered as waiting for adoption. In Australia, there is a chronic shortage of children for adoption, with childless couples waiting up to five years to adopt children from overseas. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that adoption rates in Australia have plummeted by 75% in the last 12 months because of the increase in women having abortions. What a terrible tragedy that women are killing their unwanted babies when so many childless couples are longing to give them a loving home.
In regard to the worst scenario – the rape scenario – killing the unborn baby adds a second crime to the original one. It is not the baby’s fault that it was conceived in this manner, and killing it is simply not justified.
- Abortion is warranted if carrying the baby to term will risk the mother’s life.
This scenario, together with the rape scenario, are the two ultimate fall-back positions of pro-abortionists. These two scenarios are extremely rare, representing less than 2% of all pregnancies, yet they are commonly used to justify a policy that opens the doors for a flood of women to kill their babies because of their inconvenience.
In regard to the very rare cases where a pregnant mother is in mortal danger, then clearly, she must be saved by delivering the baby, no matter how early her pregnancy is. BUT, everything possible must then be done to save the baby too! This is VERY different from ABORTING a baby because the mother’s health might be jeopardised at some nebulous point in the future.
Let me now make a case for the pro-life position:
AN UNBORN BABY IS A HUMAN BEING
Yes, that’s right. An unborn baby is a human being with a right to life, just as much as a one-day-old baby has a right to life. An unborn baby has a beating heart, brain wave activity, functioning organs and moving limbs, just as it will have when it is born. It may not be breathing air yet, because the mother is doing that for it, but in every way, it is a living human being.
Pro-choice advocates justify abortion by claiming that the unborn baby is just a collection of cells and not a valid human being. But this is a shaky philosophical position to hold, and certainly not a scientific one, because the science is increasingly unequivocal on this issue. Science defines valid biological life as having five key criteria: metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, ongoing reproduction and separately-functioning but mutually dependant organs. (The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, reprint edition (May 7, 2008), s.v. “Life.”) The zygote has all five of these qualities from its very earliest stages, long before a woman is aware of her pregnancy and can organise an abortion.
Rob Schwarzwalders, Vice President of Family Research Council and presidential appointee at the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, writes:
“The classic arguments from pro-choice advocates are collapsing under the weight of science: “No one knows when life begins” and “It’s a blob of tissue” are frankly on the wane, especially in the context of surgical abortion, which is how the vast majority of abortions are done today.” [Article, “The Best Pro-Life Arguments”, on the Family Research Council website].
Even outspoken pro-choice advocates are having to acknowledge the evidence of science regarding the validity of the unborn baby as a human being. Pro-choice feminist, Naomi Wolf, wrote an article in 1996, stating that the pro-choice community should acknowledge the “fetus, in its full humanity” and that abortion causes “a real death.“[Naomi Wolf, “Our Bodies, Our Souls,” The New Republic, October 16, 1995, 26-35.] More recently, Kate Michelman, long-time president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, acknowledged that “technology has clearly helped to define how people think about a fetus as a full, breathing human being.” [Sarah Kliff, “Remember Roe!” Newsweek, April 16, 2010, accessed February 28, 2011]
Also, consider the following:
– The unborn baby has a circulatory system and a heartbeat that can be detected by ultrasound only 22 days after conception.
– At the very moment of conception the mixing of the mother’s and father’s DNA produce a unique human being with a unique set of DNA. Never before and never again will there be a human being with that exact DNA genome.
ABORTION AND THE BIBLE
The Bible acknowledges the validity and sanctity of human life from the very moment of conception. Psalm 51:5 describes how we are all indwelt with a sinful nature from the moment of our conception. Although this opens up a different topic, (the nature and origin of sin), it is also relevant for a discussion of abortion, because it indicates that the newly conceived zygote already has a soul.
Even more significantly, Psalm 139:15-16 says, “My body was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place [womb]. When I was woven together … your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” This is an extraordinary passage which describes God’s intimate, loving relationship with each us while we are still in the womb. If God regards the unborn child as a valid human being, it is abhorrent that we should consider killing it. The many biblical injunctions prohibiting the taking of life must surely apply equally to humans within the womb as to those outside.
KILLING IS KILLING
Whichever way you look at it, killing is killing. Calling it “abortion” does not change the harsh fact that a defenceless human being has been killed because of its inconvenience.
If you or someone you know has an unplanned pregnancy, please seek help from the many agencies that exist today, so that the innocent child can be assured of the best possible chance of a good life in a home where it will be loved.
If you have had an abortion in the past and are now dealing with guilt and remorse, please seek help as well. God offers grace and forgiveness to all who sincerely ask for it and who genuinely desire to start afresh.
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Great article Kev! It astounds me that people think it’s ok to kill a baby at all – and right up until birth 🙁 So much time, effort and money is poured into helping keep alive premature born babies – we saw this with our first being born at 27 weeks – it’s such a contradiction. Unfortunately the “throw away” society we live in has moved beyond material possessions into the world of humans, simply because people can’t accept that every action has a consequence. Lord Jesus we eagerly await the day you will come and put everything right!
Thanks Tash. Yes, it’s truly heartbraking.