This has been a very divisive issue since long before the Roe-Wade decision. And while I believe we should all be talking about it and struggling with it, the fact is, virtually no one is talking to anyone they don’t already agree with (I’m not counting talking—or yelling or typing AT each other!). So, I’m probably going to get into trouble with a lot of people. Not the best move for the director of a financially struggling ministry!
There are many reasons for Christians, Christian ministries, and church leaders to not talk about this issue—particularly with people who disagree with them. All of them are understandable. None of them are valid. This is too important an issue for us to not talk to one another.
So, here goes. I want to address some basic things I hear from both sides, and then, yes, I will weigh in. I ask you to listen, think, check my facts and logic, and then agree or disagree, agree, and continue dialogue or at least cooperate on whatever level of agreement we can reach!
To my pro-life friends and family. I hate labels, but I have willingly owned this one since coming to the Lord. I still consider myself solidly pro-life. BUT. Can we please stop villainizing everyone who disagrees with us? And can we please stop using scripture that does not address abortion as though it proves our point? Here are some examples:
Jeremiah 1:7 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (NIV)
Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (NIV)
These passages are typically used to illustrate that God disapproves of abortion because He knew that person in the womb. The problem is, God knew them BEFORE they were in the womb as well—obviously teaching God’s omniscience and foreknowledge. These passages do not shed any light on abortion at all.
For those of us who believe scripture is God’s word (and anyone who knows me knows my life has been built on this assumption), a better approach might be to refer to God’s condemnation of witchcraft. What does casting spells or worshiping the earth have to do with abortion? Nothing. But those are not what the Bible refers to when it uses the word translated witchcraft in the New Testament. The word is “pharmakeia” (example: Galatians 5:20), which is where we get our word “pharmacy”. The connection is that this activity wasn’t about spells, it was primarily about the use of chemicals to accomplish evil ends—including abortion. Both Hebrews and early Christians (and some Romans and Greeks) condemned the use of such potions if the intent was to end a pregnancy.
My conclusion: the Bible clearly shows God’s value of life and appears to disapprove of abortion (I say “appears” because the witchcraft reference is not addressing abortion only). It does not state that abortion is wrong. And remember, using scriptural references to try to convince someone who doesn’t accept Biblical authority is useless.
One last point for pro-life people. We need to stop talking and acting as though all of those who disagree with us hate babies and want to kill children. To be sure, there are some who are extremists and who believe in eugenics and support killing children—even after birth. But these are truly very rare and most pro-choice/pro-abortion people are horrified at this.
Now, let me address my pro-choice/pro-abortion friends and family. I recently saw a FB post by one of you stating that if I do not have a uterus I should shut up because I have no right to even comment on this issue. As ridiculous and divisive as this sounds, it actually nails the primary issue between the opposite sides in this discussion: Are we talking about a woman’s body (or specifically, uterus)? If we are, even though I have spent nearly four decades helping women recover from disastrous decisions regarding their own bodies, I would still agree with you. I have no right to tell you what to do with your body. Period.
But this begs the question. Is abortion about your body, or about someone else/s? Very few abortion-rights activists would agree that a woman should be able to kill her two-day-old infant. We all agree that is murder. So, why is an abortion considered acceptable? Because there is an assumption that the entity being aborted is not yet human—not a life of its own.
This is the real issue between us. Is this pre-born baby—at whatever stage of development—human?
Those who are pro-abortion or pro-choice say, “No, this is just a part of me.” If you are right, then I agree, you have the right to do what you want. But what if I believe this is a human? Am I to stand back and allow a human being to be killed without even objecting? Do I now have no right to a voice? I personally know no pro-choice/pro-abortion person who would not step in to protect that two-day-old baby. So, why is it unreasonable for someone who believes the pre-born baby is human to do the same? (NOTE: Perhaps this is a place to say that I do believe in an exception: when the life—not the convenience—of the mother is at risk. Thirty-seven years ago, I sat alone in a waiting room while Donna was under anesthesia. The doctor performing emergency surgery on her came out and told me I, as next of kin, had to make a choice. They could save Donna and abort our baby, or they could allow the pregnancy to continue—almost certainly dooming both. I was the guy who sat by himself and had to sign the paper authorizing an abortion to save my wife’s life. I still weep when I think of this, but I would make the same decision again. Medical necessity—again, not convenience—is a real issue and should not be forgotten in this discussion.)
Now we are at the real question. Can we please stop arguing about the woman’s body? Or whether life is valuable? Virtually everyone agrees a woman’s body is her own and she should have the right to decide what to do with it. Virtually everyone agrees that human life is extremely valuable if not sacred and cannot be taken for no reason but the convenience of another. Instead, let’s struggle with the hard question: Is this a person—a human—a separate life? Maybe we won’t come to an agreement, but we will at least be talking about the real issue, and hopefully see each other as reasonable people who disagree and stop demonizing one another. And if we do, maybe we can address some of the issues research has shown make carrying a baby so difficult for many such as social support, grace vs. condemnation, resources provided to mothers and children who do not have them, adoption services, counseling, and on and on…
It will surprise no one who knows me that I believe life begins at conception—as most “pro-life” people do, so I am willing to argue and fight (within the limits of scripturally acceptable behavior) for the life of the pre-born. I know this isn’t simple, and I don’t believe anyone—regardless of their disagreement with me or the actions they take because of that disagreement—is a worse person than me. I don’t believe this article will change the big picture, but hopefully, it will help some of us to focus on what the real issue is.
Know Jesus and Be Faithful!