Abortion: What are we to believe and do?
Slade and I (Ken) found ourselves conversing in the office this week about the new legislation passed here in New York State. After talking about our feelings about the issue we thought it would be best to address it through Slade’s second blog post. He has put a lot of time and thought into many of the things you will be reading. However, due to the incredible sensitivity of this issue, I decided that I would come alongside Slade and create a joint blog discussing the issue of abortion and what this new legislation means. What follows is a mixture of Slade’s study and thoughts and some thoughts of my own.
Right out of the gate, there is no question that it is our conviction that abortion is sinful as it is taking the life an innocent human being. Since pre-born children can not fight for their own lives, we feel that it is a responsibility of Christians to fight for life. God is the author of life, and if we wish to reflect His character we will rally to the cause of protecting innocent lives. As we discuss this issue, we will be very careful to write as informed by the word of God and not our own opinion. Besides diving into the Biblical case for preserving the lives of pre-born children, we will also take a look at the specific legislation that has everyone talking.
In Genesis we see human life created by God in His image (Genesis 1:27). He gave the first breath of life (Genesis 2:7). He is also sovereign over procreation (Genesis 1:28). Human life is of inestimable worth from conception through natural death. This includes pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all innocent human life and should not endorse or condone abortion, euthanasia, or any other method of causing unnatural death of an innocent person.
Regarding the life of babies still in the womb, Psalm 139 shows us a beautiful picture of the fact that God is actively involved with the formation of the pre-born. The whole chapter speaks to the authorship that God holds over life itself. However, we specifically highlight verses 13-16:
“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
It is more than clear that God cares for and nurtures children even from the time the are being made "in secret" in the mother’s womb. God had a plan for every pre-born child. Abortion steps in and is an affront to God’s working in the life of that child. God views all life as precious, all life as worthwhile for Him and His glory. Remember the Sunday school song… “Jesus loves the little children...they are precious in His sight”?
So, in light of this, what does the new legislation say about abortion? Let’s look into it. From the actual bill itself, it states that an abortion is legal…
“If the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of
fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”
Upon inspection of what the line above states is that they are now allowing a late-term abortion up to 24 weeks from the start of the pregnancy for no reason at all. After those 24 weeks, an abortion is legal if a medical professional decides that the child is not able to survive or the mother’s life or health is at stake. Starting with the idea of being able to abort for no cause up to 24 weeks (that’s 6 months!), lets just take a minutes to evaluate what that looks like for the average baby at 24 weeks.
In week 24 of the pregnancy, the child has developed ears to hear, the baby’s movements are happening (kicking and tossing and turning), the digestive system is working, the senses of the baby are working and developing more, and the sex of the baby can be known. This is just name a few of the things, this baby is close-ish to being born. In fact, a baby can be viable by as early as 23 weeks. At 24 weeks statistics say that over 50% of babies survive birth. In essence, with this new legislation a child can be terminated (for no medical reason) that could already survive outside of the womb. To say this child is just tissue and not a human being is preposterous.
Entering the thought process of what happens after 24 weeks is very difficult to do. The debate becomes, how do we define “viability”, or decide what is detrimental to the health of the mother? I have seen other sources that have implied that this isn’t just about the physical health of the mother, but also the emotional and mental health. This is a slippery slope that is so vague we have basically given an open license to killing babies whenever it is convenient. It is interesting that our society seems to care about the humane treatment of animals more than the life of our own children. What a sad world we live in!
The debate then becomes centered around the exceptions to our conviction that abortion should never be an option. What about those who are raped? What about incest? What about families who can’t afford another child? What about a young teenager who has her whole life ahead of her? Surely there must be exceptions when abortion is okay, right? Wrong. To borrow the age old cliche, “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Our society has made an idol out of our own choices. We elevate our feelings to the point of deciding what is right and wrong based on what we feel. Of course many of these terrible situations are horrible and against what God would want in this world. It makes sense to feel that the right thing is to get rid of the problem. But that’s just it...a baby isn’t a problem, it is a life that God has made! God can and will use people no matter what their beginning looks like and even when the world says they won’t amount to anything.
With this in view, how should we respond as Christians? Let us make sure that we aren’t just known as people who are against abortion. We need to be known for the love and compassion of Jesus. We need to stand up for the rights of the unborn and be their voice. We also need to have compassion (love in action) for hurting individuals that feel that abortion is their only option. The victims of abortion are not just the babies that are killed, but also the women who have abortions performed. Post-abortion depression, whether planned or not is a legitimate thing. Depression is a deeply rooted thing of regret, anger, sadness, and so on. We as Christians need to love these people and give these people hope when they feel all is lost, to disciple them to come to Christ, the one who is fulfills the ultimate needs and desires of life. We as Christians need to stand up for what is right and help the hurting, just as Jesus did. Remember the woman at the well? No one stood up for her or even talked to her, Jesus talked to her and she became a believer! He loved her regardless of what she had done, not dismissing what she had done, but forgiving her and showing her Himself in the process!
In the end, abortion is murder and is a sin against God himself. Regardless of what man has to say through human logic or legislation, all life is precious in God’s sight. All life is worth Jesus’ life because He loves us so much (John 3:16). This legislation is taking us in a wrong direction, but we as Christians need to remember everyone does not know the will and teachings of the Word. They are hardened to the Gospel and God, we must love them that they may be brought to Jesus through our conduct as we stand up for what is right. Pray for those who are in this predicament, pray for those who are having to deal with these things, pray for ourselves that we may see God be glorified and people come to Him. Pray for hearts to change and be softened to the true saving grace and power of the Gospel.
And what is this Gospel? Jesus (the author of life) came as the seemingly illegitimate baby of Mary to life a perfect life, reveal the nature of God, give His own life on the cross, and come back to life 3 days later. All this so that we could be saved from our sin (even abortion) and given new life in Christ if we will believe and trust in Him alone . Let us point others to Him, not point our fingers at them.
With all of this in mind, I (Ken) would like to finish with one quote that I saw the other day from Matt Chandler. I know it convicted me, and I hope it gives us all something to think about. What are we going to do?
As the Church, we must not say of abortion, “This is murder,” without saying to pregnant women, “We will serve you.” If we’re doing the former without the latter, we aren’t truly understanding the gospel. We must listen, love, foster, adopt, give money, babysit, donate supplies, mentor young women and support in whatever ways God has equipped