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How Do We Approach Abortion?

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How Do We Approach Abortion?

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I'm sure most of you reading this article have heard something recently about abortion. The overturning of Roe v. Wade, the infamous case that federally legalized abortion in the United States, is all over the place on the news and social media. Are you unsure whether abortion is right or wrong? Do you find yourself justifying abortions? Are you basing that from the Bible, or what you hear in the world? Can you back your stance up in both a biblical and scientific way? How do you speak the truth in love when you are met with antagonism and berated for your beliefs and your God? Let’s explore these questions using the Bible and scientific discovery as our guide.

Life begins at conception

First things first: why are we, future members of God’s family, pro-life? We get our belief in the sanctity of life from the Bible, and from there we can use science to back up this belief. God forms each of us in our mother’s womb. He knows us before we take our first breath—even before our parents are aware of us! In Psalms 139:13 Psalms 139:13For you have possessed my reins: you have covered me in my mother's womb.
American King James Version×
we read, “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (English Standard Version). God knows us and recognizes us as His potential children and as life He created before we are even greeted by our parents. The moment that an egg and a sperm are joined, when a new, unique set of DNA and chromosomes are formed, God already knows us. We are a human life from that moment. Life begins at conception.

The debate on whether or not life begins at conception is a common argument we may encounter. Science indeed backs up the claim that life begins at conception (also known as fertilization): “The development of a human being begins with fertilization, a process by which two highly specialized cells, the spermatozoon from the male and the oocyte from the female, unite to give rise to a new organism, the zygote.”1

Many scholars of life and science agree that human life and development begin immediately at conception. Studies from many prestigious schools, doctors and scientists recognize that a new, unique human life begins at the uniting of a sperm cell and an egg. Not at a heartbeat or at the first brainwave; life starts at conception.2

The fetal viability argument

The next argument we often encounter is the stage of viability. Have any of you ever heard something like, “It’s not even a baby, it is just a clump of cells?” Again, this is not backed up by the Word of God, or by science.

First, how do you respond when someone compares a baby to a tumor or a clump of cells? I think that scientific definitions are your friend here. A tumor is defined as “a swelling of a part of the body, generally without inflammation, caused by an abnormal growth of tissue, whether benign or malignant” (Oxford English Dictionary). Some of this could be attributed to a pregnancy, like a swelling part of the body (a growing baby bump), but the rest of it would be completely inaccurate to compare to a developing baby. Let’s define a baby as a “developing human organism.” Biological development is “the progressive changes in size, shape, and function during the life of an organism by which its genetic potentials (genotype) are translated into functioning mature systems (phenotype).”3 This defines a baby much more accurately than a “clump of cells.” Tumors are not considered developing organisms, so why would we attribute the reverse to babies? Calling a baby a “clump of cells” is an effort to dehumanize a fully human organism. If babies are just clumps of cells, so is a toddler, a 10-year-old and a full-grown adult, as well as your favorite singer, the cashier at the store and every person you know. Viability doesn’t determine your humanity. We are all human, no matter what stage of life we are in!

God forms each of us in our mother’s womb. He knows us before we take our first breath—even before our parents are aware of us!

A zygote (the stage before embryo) has the potential to become a fully functioning adult human. It doesn’t grow in an unorganized manner like a tumor; it grows into a fetus, then a newborn baby, then toddler, child, teen and full-grown adult.

A baby is also not a parasite, leeching off the body of its mother and harming her; her body is built to sustain human life and is not harmed by a healthy pregnancy. If left alone, a zygote will not grow into an unruly mass of cells or a parasite. A fetus will grow into an organized being. A being that is in God’s image. “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27 Genesis 1:27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
American King James Version×
, ESV).

What about rape and incest leading to pregnancy?

A tough argument you may hear is, “What if the mother was raped?” These emotionally charged arguments make everyone pause. The horrible sins that people commit against each other hurt my heart, but this isn’t a good reason to abort. A very small percentage of abortions performed are terminating pregnancies resulting from sexual assault or incest, but they do happen. The Guttmacher Institute is one of the leading sources of abortion statistics; in one study we read: “1% indicated that they had been victims of rape, and less than half a percent said they became pregnant as a result of incest.”4 Even if it is a tiny percentage, it is an important argument to address, especially with an attitude of truth and love.

God tells us very clearly that rape is not okay. We read the law regarding rape in Deuteronomy 22:25-27 Deuteronomy 22:25-27 [25] But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die. [26] But to the damsel you shall do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death: for as when a man rises against his neighbor, and slays him, even so is this matter: [27] For he found her in the field, and the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her.
American King James Version×
, “But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die. Do nothing to the woman; she has committed no sin deserving death. This case is like that of someone who attacks and murders a neighbor, for the man found the young woman out in the country, and though the betrothed woman screamed, there was no one to rescue her” (New International Version). In God’s eyes, rape is compared to murder. A rapist is put to death. The woman in this case is not guilty of a sin. In the heartbreaking story of Tamar and Amnon (2 Samuel 13), Amnon disgraces Tamar by committing this horrible act against her. She is not punished.

We know God’s stance on rape, but in cases where the terrible sin of rape does happen, God can choose to allow a pregnancy to occur. Again, God gives life and He takes it away. That rapist will absolutely be judged for that sin and atrocity. However, that does not give anyone the right to kill an innocent baby for the sins of his or her biological father. Being pro-life doesn’t mean we want to force children into trauma-filled homes. Mothers always have the option to relinquish their maternal rights and give the baby up for adoption.

I cannot fully understand the hurt and violation these rape victims experience, but we can’t excuse the killing of a baby because of that hurt. Hurt will not solve hurt; sin will not solve sin. Terminating a pregnancy will not make that trauma go away. Valuing the life of that baby less because of the way he or she was made is not right and killing him or her is not our call. God is the judge, not us. It is not our right; it is God’s.

What about the over-burdened foster care system?

Something I have heard that can sway pro-life people is when others bring the foster care system into the argument. It is important to recognize the main goal of the foster care system first. Children who go into foster care because of family issues cannot always be adopted. The goal of foster care is to reunite blood-families, so sometimes children may be in the system for a while as family matters are dealt with, and they can’t always be adopted.

“There are enough children in the foster system already, why put even more in?” Some may use this statement to justify abortion by claiming that abortion benefits society by decreasing the resources needed to sustain those lives. This is something I have heard in reply to a pro-life stance claiming that mothers who do not want to be parents can consider adoption. Now, some may use this alternative statement to justify promiscuous sex by claiming that if they do get pregnant, they can help a couple seeking a child through adoption. None of these statements is an excuse to sin; neither abortion nor sexual immorality are part of God’s plan. Adoption is an alternative to the murders of abortion.

Valuing the life of that baby less because of the way he or she was made is not right and killing him or her is not our call. God is the judge, not us.
It is not our right; it is God’s.

The Adoption Network has some heartening statistics about adoption. “About 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year. Of non-stepparent adoptions, about 59% are from the child welfare (or foster) system, 26% are from other countries, and 15% are voluntarily relinquished American babies. There are no national statistics on how many people are waiting to adopt, but experts estimate it is somewhere between one and two million couples. Every year there are about 1.3 million abortions. Only 4% of women with unwanted pregnancies place their children through adoption.”5

This tells us how few people take the route of adoption, while also informing us of how many choose abortion each year. There are millions of people eager to adopt, and every year there are over a million abortions. Eighty percent of children in foster care who were able to be adopted were placed in their new homes before the age of 6.6

Let’s say there is a rare case where a baby in the system goes unadopted for his or her whole life. Does a “low quality” of life mean that a life isn’t even worth saving? Is it right to say that if someone may experience hardship, it is better that they do not live at all? Are poor or disabled people worth less because they experience hardship and trial? Certainly not in God’s eyes. God tells us that He will not allow us to be tested beyond what we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Corinthians 10:13There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
American King James Version×
, New English Translation). Adversity and trials are part of how we grow, and what make us individuals. When you go through trials, focus on your faith in God and His grand plan for you and all of humanity. Look forward to a time where we won’t have those hardships: the Kingdom of God.

Whose body, whose choice?

The final, and likely most common saying we hear from pro-choice advocates is this: “My body, my choice.” This expression has been used in the fight for women’s bodily autonomy and sexual freedom and has been extended to abortion. Hook-up culture and casual sex are common among many teens and young adults.7 Sex was designed by God, and He created the natural result of babies. With so many people having casual sex outside of marriage, we see many unwanted or unintended pregnancies. Too many people use abortion to escape the consequences of their actions and the natural result of sex. Sin leads to more sin unless there is repentance, and this is a prime example.

How do we combat “my body, my choice” in truth and love? The first thing for me is this: it is actually not your body. It is not your DNA, so it isn’t your body. You don’t have any right to abort it, because it isn’t your DNA; it’s a new, unique set of DNA that your actions caused. Since it is not your body, it is not your choice. We all belong to our Creator, and that baby belongs to God, not you.

The gift of life

“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him” (Psalms 127:3 Psalms 127:3See, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
American King James Version×
, New International Version). Babies are a gift to mankind. There is no question on whether they are wanted; God always wants them. He is the one who gives and takes away life, so for us to take it in our own hands to deem a baby “unwanted” and therefore able to terminate, is human arrogance and sin.

A pregnant woman carries a baby who is a new, individual human being created by God. Abortion is not a human right; it is a sin. When a woman willingly has sex, she consents to the possibility of getting pregnant. All forms of contraception are less than 100% preventative, so by having sex (even with contraception), she consents to the possibility of a pregnancy.

Abortion is the murder of a defenseless baby who is a potential member of the family of God, just like you. I hope that some of these counterarguments will be of use to anyone who is struggling with the worldly debate on abortion. I hope that it’s been helpful to think about the sanctity of life and that God’s plan does not involve abortion. Do not be manipulated by illogical and inaccurate, although convincing, arguments from a pro-abortion side. Check your own beliefs with God’s Word first, and science second. Pray for wisdom and understanding and that God will bless your words to be graceful, seasoned with salt, and a light to the people around you.

References

  1. Langman, Jan. Medical Embryology. 3rd edition. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1975, p. 3
  2. princeton.edu/~prolife/articles/embryoquotes2.html
  3. britannica.com/science/biological-development
  4. Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives, Guttmacher Institute
  5. US Adoption Statistics, Adoption Network, https://adoptionnetwork.com/adoption-myths-facts/domestic-us-statistics/
  6. ASPE, Children Adopted from Foster Care: Child and Family Characteristics, Adoption Motivation, and Well-Being, aspe.hhs.gov/reports/children-adopted-foster-care-child-family-characteristics-adoption-motivation-well-being-0
  7. Sexual Hookup Culture: A Review, apa.org/monitor/2013/02/sexual-hookup-culture.pdf