Taylorsville Church of Christ
Abortion was pushed to the forefront of American politics when the United States Supreme Court ruled on the infamous Roe v. Wade case in 1973. The Court voted 7-2 to strike down Texas abortion laws and deemed abortion to be a fundamental right up to the point of viability. Doe v. Bolton was a lesser-known case decided at the same time. Abortion was legalized in every state.
For those of us who believe that human life begins at conception, abortion is much more than a political issue. It is a moral issue. It is a Gospel issue. If life begins at conception then any deliberate act to end a pregnancy is murder. Abortion becomes an act of violence that takes the life of an innocent child.
Abortion is not something most people like to think about. However, it is important for us to know how abortions are performed. Turning a blind eye will not lesson the brutality of abortion.
(1) The Abortion Pill. The Abortion Pill (RU486) is a non-surgical abortion that blocks progesterone, a natural hormone necessary for sustaining life, causing the baby to starve to death as the nutrient lining around him disintegrates.
(2) Suction Aspiration. Suction Aspiration, also known as vacuum aspiration, is performed between 6 to 12 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. The doctor inserts a long plastic tube connected to a suction device into the womb. The baby is then suctioned out and discarded.
(3) Dilation & Curettage. Dilation & Curettage (D&C) is performed between 12 to 15 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. It is similar to suction aspiration except the baby must be cut apart before it is suctioned out in pieces and discarded.
(4) Dilation & Evacuation. Dilation & Evacuation (D&E) is performed between 12 to 24 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period. This procedure is usually chosen when the baby is too large to be sucked out through suction tubing. The doctor widens the cervix and dismembers the baby using forceps. The body is pulled out in pieces and discarded. In some cases, the skull is crushed to ease removal.
(5) Dilation & Extraction. Dilation & Extraction (D&X), also known as partial birth abortion, is performed after 21 weeks. Using forceps, the doctor grips the baby’s leg and pulls him through the birth canal. The baby is delivered feet first, leaving only the head in the birth canal. A sharp instrument is then inserted into the base of the skull and the brain is suctioned out. The skull collapses and the baby is discarded.
(6) Saline Solution. Saline Solution involves injecting a strong salt solution into the baby’s sac. The baby swallows the solution and is poisoned by it. The solution also severally burns the baby’s skin. The baby dies a slow and torturous death.
It is disheartening to know that the womb, which should be a place of safety and protection, is a place of great danger for many babies. There is no less secure place than the womb of a woman in an abortion clinic.
“If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light” (John Calvin, The New Encyclopedia of Christian Quotations, p. 6).
Ridding oneself of an unwanted pregnancy has a much higher price than many suppose. It leaves one dead and many wounded. Statistics show that women suffer significant psychological pain after an abortion.
“Women undergoing abortion have no idea what suffering they will encounter after the abortion, and daily for the rest of their lives, when it suddenly dawns on them that they chose to extinguish a precious life…The guilt of killing your child eats away at your soul continually, like a ravenous cancer, causing one to pray for a quick demise. You will always wonder if the fetus was male or female, what he or she would look like. Yearly, you will mournfully recall the day your baby was ripped from your body, only to be carelessly tossed into a garbage pail at your side” (Nancy Carmel, Think, July 2006).
Feelings of guilt, anger, depression, grief, regret, sorrow, shame, and loneliness have all been reported in women who had an abortion. There is evidence to suggest that the risk of miscarriages, premature births, bleeding, and breast cancer increases as well.
There are several common arguments that people make in favor of abortion. Let us consider each one.
(1) A woman has a right to control her own body. While it is true that a woman should control her own body, the baby’s body is not her own. It is a different body with a genetic code that differs from the mother’s. A woman’s body does not have two hearts, heads, and blood types.
(2) We cannot know if the fetus is a human being. If that is so, shouldn’t the benefit of the doubt go to preserving life? Scripture teaches and science affirms that the unborn are living human beings.
“If you don’t know whether a body is alive or dead, you would never bury it. I think this consideration itself should be enough for all of us to insist on protecting the unborn” (Ronald Reagan, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, article).
(3) It is better to abort a child than abuse one. Abortion is the worst form of child abuse. What could be more abusive than cutting someone into pieces or burning them to death with poison?
(4) We cannot impose our morality on others. Wouldn’t this same argument apply to murder or rape? Those who make this argument are the very people trying to impose their immorality on others!
(5) People are going to have abortions anyway. Again, this same argument could apply to murder or rape. Because people are going to murder anyway, should we go ahead and legalize murder? Laws do affect behavior and change attitudes.
(6) Rape victims should be able to abort the child. The violence of abortion parallels the violence of rape. Why should the innocent child suffer the death penalty for the actions of his father? Abortion will not bring healing to the woman, it will only add to the shame. (Let it be noted that less than 1% of abortions are performed as a result of rape).
(7) If we outlaw abortions, many women will die in back alleys. The number of mothers who may die in back alleys trying to have an abortion pales in comparison to the number of babies dying each day in abortion clinics.
When Mary went to visit her pregnant relative Elizabeth, we read that the “baby” leaped in Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:41, 44). That is the same word (brephos) used in the next chapter to describe a child after birth (Luke 2:12). Hence, God views those in the womb and those out of the womb the same — both are babies!
Personhood was never measured by age or stage of development in scripture. From the moment of conception in the depths of the womb one was recognized as a human being created in the image of God. That is why to be pregnant was to be “with child” (Matthew 1:18) and the angel Gabriel told Mary that her relative Elizabeth conceived “a son” (Luke 1:36).
There are many passages that indicate God has a special relationship with the unborn (Job 10:8-12; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:4-5). There is a pre-birth relationship that exists between the Creator and his creation.
Some argue that abortion is not murder because the fetus has not yet received the “breath of life” spoken of in Genesis 2:7. However, that passage speaks specifically about Adam, one who sprang into existence fully grown having been formed from the dust of the ground. That was a unique situation. The rest of us receive the “breath of life” long before we begin to breathe independently of our mothers. We breathe (i.e., receive oxygen) through our mothers while in the womb!
No conception ever occurs that is not the result of God’s creative purposes (Genesis 17:16; 21:2; Ruth 4:13). Therefore, we must not tamper with what God has done. His Word teaches that life begins at conception long before the body is formed. Abortion robs God of His glory and the child of his life!
[For a more detailed study of abortion, order my book “Silenced Cries: A Study of Abortion” aaronerhardt.com]