Issues of Life 1: Abortion

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those who are perishing -Proverbs 31:8, NLT

The pro life movement did not begin as the result of Roe v. Wade. The pro life movement began in the first century A.D….(The first Christians’) unified opposition to child-killing was unwaveringly and entirely unquestioned. -George Grant (1)

Abortion is perhaps the most divisive social issue of our time. The news media is loaded with images of angry, and unfortunately, sometimes violent conflicts that arise over this issue (2). The emotion behind the abortion debate is understandable to a certain degree. The issue cuts to the heart of how people view life, sex, privacy, politics, religion, and so many other areas.
The genius of the Bible is that it touches on all of these areas. The Bible teaches us that God is the author of life. The sanctity of human life is a prominent theme throughout the Bible. This teaches us principals of compassion that show us how to relate to those in need, which certainly includes both unborn children, as well as women who are faced with crisis pregnancies. As we shall see, the message of the Bible is unequivocally pro life. This is the first of three messages examining how the message of life relates to issues which face us today. Part one deals with abortion, part two with Capital Punishment, and part three with firearms and the military.

The purpose of this message is not to throw stones. If you have had an abortion, there is certainly forgiveness in Jesus. If you, or someone you love, if facing an unwanted pregnancy, there are plenty of compassionate options available.(3) While we must always be ready to show the mercy of Jesus to those in need, our stand for the Biblical pro life message must never be compromised.

This message is also not intended to be a partisan political statement. Life is an issue which transcends political parties and agendas. If you are a Republican, the message of life fits well into your party’s message of family values and personal responsibility. If you are a Democrat, your emphasis on equality and compassion for the needy and oppressed is perfectly consistent with the pro life position. If you are a Libertarian, your philosophy of individual rights and non-aggression could easily extend to the unborn. (4)

“But isn’t it the woman’s choice what to do with her own body?” Contrary to popular belief, being pro life is not about oppressing women. In fact, many early feminist leaders such as Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Gage and Elizabeth Cady-Stanton were staunchly pro life, regarding abortion as an act which devalues human life and in doing so, hinders the progress of women. In a compassionate society, no one, male or female, has the right to use their body to harm an innocent person. This is the key issue of the entire abortion debate. Once all of the political posturing and angry rhetoric has faded, we are still left with the key question: Is the unborn child a living person?

If the unborn child is simply a “cell mass”, and abortion is truly a “victimless crime,” then of course it should be legal. However, if the unborn child is a living human being, then the whole scenario changes. It is no longer a simple matter of the woman’s body, but it is an innocent human life, created in God’s image, and is entitled to the same rights and protection as any other person. As the adage goes: One person’s right to swing his fist stops at another person’s nose. Similarly, if the unborn child is a person, the rights stop at the edge of the womb, where the innocent life dwells. With this in mind, we strongly encourage you to consider the following:

  • The unborn child has a completely separate genetic code than that of its mother.
  • The heart begins beating about 18 days after conception.
  • After around 40 days, brain waves can be detected.
  • By two months, all body systems are functioning, and ultrasounds have shown babies sucking their thumbs.
  • The child is capable of hearing at three months, and by five months, can kick hard enough for the mother to feel it. (5)

Ultimately, the “pro choice” viewpoint is based on logic that is both scientifically and medically obsolete. The more prenatal research technology grows and expands, the more difficult it becomes to argue that there is no life there. One prominent media figure who has embraced the message of life is supermodel Kathy Ireland. On the TV show “Politically Incorrect” she shared how she came to her conclusion:

I was once pro-choice. And the thing that changed my mind was, I read my husband’s biology books, medical books and what I learned is simply what it states — this isn’t even morally — this is pure biology. At the moment of conception, a life starts. And this life has its own unique set of DNA, which contains a blueprint for the whole genetic being. The sex is determined. Now people ask the question, well, is it a human being? We know there’s a life, because it’s growing and changing. (6)

The Bible is very clear that God sees the unborn child as a human being. The Psalmist meditates on how God …”covered him in his mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). The Prophet Isaiah echoes this (Isaiah 44:2, 24; 49:1-5). God called the Prophet Jeremiah from his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). John the Baptist leapt for joy while inside his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44). As Psalm 139:14 puts it, we truly are fearfully and wonderfully made. This is a striking contrast to the underlying philosophy behind abortion, which, albeit subtly at times, demeans and destroys the value of life.
A vivid example of this is the heart rending case of Gianna Jessen, a young lady who actually survived an attempted abortion in 1977. On April 22, 1996, she told her story to a Congressional Subcommittee. Weighing only two pounds, she was in the hospital for nearly three months, without much hope for survival. She was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of the abortion. Her summary of life in light of this horrible incident is both inspiring and sobering:

I am happy to be alive. I almost died. Every day I thank God for life. I do not consider myself a by-product of conception, a clump of tissue, or any other of the titles given to a child in the womb. I do not consider any person conceived to be any of those things. (7)

Miss Jessen’s horrible experience is something that we can never ignore. The world has now seen the face of a living, vibrant human being who was almost destroyed by the horror of abortion. How can we honestly brush off an unborn child as being simply a “cell mass” or a “tissue blob” any longer? God sees human life as being a precious gift. He creates each human being as a unique individual, and with a special plan for each one. This is why He views the taking of human life as being such a detestable act.
This shows us one area in which the pro life movement may have missed it to a degree: Classifying abortion as strictly a moral issue. Of course it IS a moral issue, but as Miss Jessen’s case illustrates, it is also a human rights issue. Some of the most horrible atrocities in human history have stemmed from attempts to redefine the term “person.” Slavery was rationalized by reducing black Africans to being only “three fifths human.” Similarly, Nazi Germany justified the horrors of the Holocaust by describing Jews as being “non persons” or “sub human.” America is now seeing a Holocaust of its own, based on shockingly similar logic. The blood of countless innocents cries out to God from our nation’s soil, and unless there is true national repentance, He will surely avenge them (see Genesis 4:9-11; 42:22; Joshua 2:19; Ezekiel 7:20-27).

Friends, these are issues which require us to ask ourselves some serious questions. Can we honestly say we follow the God of life, yet hold to a philosophy of death and murder? In Matthew 25:40-45, Jesus tells us that what we do to “the least of these,” we ultimately do to Him. If we, by our vote, support, and influence, are willing to consent to the brutal murder of over a million of the “least of these” each year, how are we any different from those who yelled “Crucify Him?”
© 2002 JHB
1. Grant, George. Third Time Around: A History of the Pro-Life Movement from the First Century to the Present. Wolgemuth & Hyatt Publishers, Inc. Brentwood, Tennessee, 1991. back cover, p 31.
2. We, like the vast majority of the pro-life movement, totally reject, denounce and oppose clinic violence in any form. For a very good argument against clinic violence, see An Open Letter to the Killer of (abortion doctor) Barnett Slepian.

3. See Crisis Pregnancy Centers Online

4. There are pro life wings within most major U.S. political parties. For more information, see the Republican National Coalition for Life, Democrats For Life, and Libertarians For Life

5. Fetal development statistics published by Ohio Right to Life

6. Kathy Ireland on ABC television show, Politically Incorrect, May 1, 1998

7. The full text of Gianna Jessen’s testimony can be found here

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