by Peter Ditzel
The lack of critical thinking skills among the general public is what keeps many businesses, governments, political parties, and churches afloat. One of the less rational arguments on the planet is the one behind the so-called pro-choice movement. Pro-choice is the euphemism used for the pro-abortion movement. In this article, I want to expose the ludicrousness of the pro-choice position, show why abortion should be considered murder, and explain from the Bible what Christians should and should not do in response to the pro-abortion movement.
A Part of the Body?
The pro-choice argument is basically this: Women have the right to decide what to do with their bodies, an embryo or fetus is part of a woman’s body, thus, a woman has the right to abort the embryo or fetus if she so chooses. This Wikipedia article (accessed 09/07/2015) seems to state the pro-choice argument well: “Abortion-rights advocates argue that whether or not a pregnant woman continues with a pregnancy should be her personal choice, as it involves her body, personal health, and future.”
Noam Chomsky, who bears such titles as linguist, philosopher, and political commentator, has said, “There is a strong debate at the moment with regards to a woman’s right to control an organ of her own body – namely the fetus” (“Noam Chomsky: The fetus is an ‘organ’ of woman’s body“). Notice that the argument rests on the notion that the pregnancy is part of the woman’s body. This argument is based on the fact that the umbilical cord brings nourishment and oxygen from the mother to the fetus, and that the fetus would otherwise not be able to live.
The pro-choice argument is woefully flawed. The parts of our body, or the organs if we are to use Chomsky’s brazen word, are nourished and oxygenated by our own blood. There is no organ of our bodies that has its own, independent circulatory system with its own blood. Yet, it has long been known that the blood of the mother and the blood of the fetus never mix. A fetus has its own blood.
There is another counter to pro-choice that, if anything, is even more damning of its view of pregnancy. As this WebMD article states, “At the instant of fertilization, your baby’s genes and sex are set.” From conception, a baby has its own, unique genetic makeup. A baby is not an organ of its mother, it is not a part of its mother, it is not even a clone of its mother. It is a separate individual with its own DNA. The fact that it is small and dependant on its mother for oxygen and nourishment has no bearing on this fact. The pro-choice argument that the fetus is a part of the mother’s body, or an organ of the mother’s body, is thus seen as completely unsupported by medical science and exposed as a propagandistic lie.
There is a variant of the pro-choice contention that says that the fetus is a parasite. This, too, is provably wrong. A parasite is an invading species that comes from outside another species and lives off it; a fetus does not invade the mother, and the fetus and its mother are the same species. A parasite is harmful to its host and the host’s species; a fetus is normally not harmful to its mother (there can be medical problems, but medical problems can occur in any aspect of life), and a fetus is essential to the continuance of the species. A parasite invades its host’s tissue; a fetus does not invade its mother’s tissue. The host of a parasite fights the parasite; the mother’s body responds to conception by forming tissue, the placenta and umbilical cord, that nourishes the fetus. Again, the pro-choice allegation is uncovered as political myth rather than medical science.
Owning Another Human Being
We have seen, then, that the two pro-choice positions are that the embryo/fetus is a part of the mother or that it is a parasite. In the former, the mother can claim ownership to do with the fetus as she chooses, and in the latter, the mother can claim superiority over the “parasite” and the right to destroy it. Both arguments are medically and scientifically wrong, but the pro-abortionists ignore the facts and continue to claim the right to do with the fetus as the mother chooses.
The slave system in America was based on the belief that the Africans were inferior to the white slave holders. This, the slave owners believed, gave them the right to own the African slaves and decide the course of their lives. Since we have proven that the embryo/fetus is neither part of the mother nor a parasite but is, in fact, a distinct human being, the pro-choice insistence that the mother has either ownership over the embryo/fetus or is a superior being to it amounts to the same argument as that used to defend slavery. It says that one human being can have superiority over and ownership of another. It goes even further than slavery, in fact, because it says that one person—the mother—can actually decide to kill another person.
So, we see that accepted science—when it demonstrates that the blood of the fetus and mother do not mix, that the DNA of the embryo/fetus is not the same as that of the mother’s, and when it shows that the embryo/fetus does not fit the definition of a parasite—pulls the rug out from under the pro-choice claim that abortion is a morally defensible position based on the woman’s claim to control her own body. The embryo/fetus is not the woman’s own body; it is someone else’s. Pro-choice, then, by continuing to promote and fight for so-called abortion rights, adopts the reprehensible ethics of the slave owners of past centuries by taking ownership over another human being and goes beyond the position of even the slave owners by claiming the right to decide if that person will live or die.
Doesn’t a woman have a right to decide whether to allow a baby to grow within her? Once it has been conceived, no. At that point, the decision not to have it is murder. It is too late. The decision should have been made before conception. Interviews show that over 99 percent of women seeking abortions are not doing so as a result of rape (see “Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives“and “Abortions In America, INCIDENCE OF ABORTION“). Thus, the women were a part of the decision to have sex and risk pregnancy. In the case of rape, I can sympathize with the woman’s emotional reaction to not want the child. But the child didn’t cause the rape and in no way deserves to be killed. A mother in such a case can give the child up for adoption. But isn’t it callous to say that she must bear the child of her rapist? Again, I truly sympathize, but bad things sometimes happen to people, and we must suffer through them. Telling a rape victim to carry a child for nine months is not as callous as killing an innocent child.
Erring on the Side of Caution
I want to talk to those who are not completely convinced by my argument. To err on the side of caution is an idiomatic expression. Wiktionary (accessed 09/07/2015) says that it means to “to act in the least risky manner in a situation in which one is uncertain about the consequences.” If you had a six shooter revolver that had bullets in three of the chambers and three of the chambers were empty, and you spun the cylinder so that it was purely random which chamber was in the firing position, would you point the gun at your head and pull the trigger? No? What if only one of the chambers had a bullet? Would you pull the trigger then?
Let’s place you in the position of putting someone else at risk. Suppose there was a possibility of a child standing behind the curtain on a stage. You don’t know where the child is standing or even if the child is there for sure. I hand you a loaded rifle, tell you there might be a child somewhere behind the curtain, and I tell you to shoot somewhere into the curtain. Would you do it? What if I gave you $100 to do it? How about $1,000? $10,000? I hope you would never do it, and I hope that you agree with me that you would never do it because there is the possibility that you might kill a child.
So, what’s the possibility that abortion doesn’t remove the mother’s tissue but kills a child? I say it’s 100 percent. But even if you feel it’s not 100 percent, I believe that most people would have to agree that there’s some risk. There is some possibility that the embryo/fetus is a human being with the right to live. So, if there’s some risk that you will kill a child, what will motivate you to take that risk? A lower cost of living? A freer lifestyle? Despite the worn-out line we hear from the pro-choice movement that outlawing abortion would put women’s health at risk, the reality is that the reasons women give for the overwhelming majority of abortions have to do with convenience. For lifestyle or economic reasons, the mother simply does not want a child. Even when health is given as a reason, the “health problem” most often given is feeling ill during the pregnancy; that is, simple morning sickness. Are these reasons good enough to risk the possibility of murdering a child, especially when we consider that most economic and lifestyle reasons can be solved through adoption, if they must, without the risk of killing someone? Shouldn’t a pregnant woman decide on the side of caution rather than take the chance of murdering someone?
The Bible doesn’t specifically mention abortion. Nevertheless, it does contain verses that logically imply that the fetus is a person. Many Scriptures speak of God fashioning us in the womb, but notice especially Jeremiah 1:5. God says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I sanctified you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” This tells us that God formed in the womb a person whom he foreknew. Thus, what God formed in the womb was a person.
Luke tells us of a meeting between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. Mary was pregnant with Jesus and Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist.
Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah, and entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. It happened, when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, that the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She called out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! Why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy!
This meeting implies that both John and Jesus, although still fetuses in the wombs of their mothers, were people. John responded to being in the presence of Jesus by leaping. This implies both his being sentient and Jesus’ being a person and not just a collection of cells. Elizabeth called Mary, “the mother of my Lord,” even though what was in Mary was a fetus. The fetus was a person who was already Elizabeth’s Lord.
Early Church History
Historians tell us that both abortion and infanticide (the killing of an infant after birth) were practiced by the pagan Roman world at the time of the New Testament (see, for example, David Albert Jones, Soul of the Embryo: Christianity and the Human Embryo [London: Continuum, 2004] 42. As we might expect, however, the Jews knew better and forbade both. The Jewish historian, Josephus, wrote, “The law, moreover enjoins us to bring up all our offspring, and forbids women to cause abortion of what is begotten, or to destroy it afterward; and if any woman appears to have so done, she will be a murderer of her child, by destroying a living creature, and diminishing humankind” (Flavius Josephus, The Complete Works [1960 ed. Against Apion, Book II, 25 (or 24 in the 1998 Whiston edition)]). Some non-canonical, early church writings forbid abortions to Christians: “Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant,” The Didache (circa A.D 100); “Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born” (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]).
Something to keep in mind is that, despite the fact that it occurred in the society around them, early Christians did not see themselves as responsible to judge or forcefully change the sinful practices of the world at large. As I have pointed out in other articles, Paul told the assembly to be concerned about sin taking place within itself and to let God judge those without: “For what have I to do with also judging those who are outside? Don’t you judge those who are within? But those who are outside, God judges. ‘Put away the wicked man from among yourselves'” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). Taking a condemning attitude towards those who commit the sin of abortion (both the pregnant women and the doctors), disrupting abortion clinics, or committing violence against anyone are not biblical programs of action for Christians. What we are to do I’ll mention further down.
When we think of murder on a massive, national scale, what usually comes to mind are the Holocaust during which the Nazis killed eleven million Jews and other nationalities, the millions (estimated now at around 20 million) who were killed under the regime of Joseph Stalin, the estimated one to three million killed in Cambodia between 1975 and 1978, the one to three million killed in Nigeria from 1967 to 1970, and so forth. These atrocities are a horrendous testimony to the sinful depravity of humanity. But there is another witness to man’s sin: since 1980, over 1,300,000,000 babies have died from abortions worldwide. In the United States, over 58,200,000 babies have lost their right to life since the 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision which ruled that abortion is a fundamental right included within the guarantee of personal privacy (“Number of Abortions – Abortion Counters“). Worldwide, about 44 million babies die through induced abortion annually (“Abortions: Countries Compared“). Roughly half of these are in countries where abortion is legal.
Now, if there were someplace where 22 million people were being massacred, I think it would make the news and there would at least be talk and perhaps, even in this world of political corruption, there would be action to do something to stop it. But in the case of abortion, 22 million people are being killed every year with the permission, sanction, and, in some cases, even the assistance of national governments. It is a holocaust that pales all others. When it comes to the deaths of innocents, the nations that allow abortion rank right up there with Hitler’s Nazi Germany. They have no right to raise their heads in national pride.
How does this happen? Paul tells us: “But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection….” (2 Timothy 3:1-3). I want to concentrate on “without natural affection.” The three English words are translated from one Greek word, astorgos. The a at the beginning means “without.” Storgos means “natural affection,” but it is especially the word used for the love of a mother for her children. In these last days, our societies are so fallen in sin that we find women who are without even the natural love that a mother has for her child. They are so lacking in this love that they will kill the child that is growing in their womb and is depending on them for its life because they find having a baby inconvenient. And the nations support these women because the citizens want to have sex without responsibility, and those citizens vote and the mute fetuses don’t.
What Should Christians Do?
What are we, as Christians, to do? First, we are not to become a part of the statistics. Abortion is murder, and it should not be named among you. For those who have already had abortions, there is, of course, forgiveness in Christ. But that does not give us license. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more” (John 8:11).
We are living in a time of a massive, state-sanctioned atrocity. On the other hand, we are also living in time of wars, terrorism, rising murder rates (at least in the U.S.), and many other public sins. The world is a sinful place, and if we don’t stay focused on the response that God wants us to have, it can get us down. Remember this Scripture:
Repay no one evil for evil. Respect what is honorable in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as it is up to you, be at peace with all men. Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.” Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
We must not make the mistake of becoming destructive, we must not make the mistake of becoming violent, we must not make the mistake of forgetting that God is in charge and that He will judge and punish as He sees fit, and we must not make the mistake of forgetting that, always and forever, the Christian’s response is love.
Jesus left us a commission to preach the Good News about His atonement for sin (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16), which is the world’s only hope (John 3:16) and is the “power of God for salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). And so, in love, we must preach the Gospel. Romans 12:20-21 imply that other good works of love can accompany the Gospel. Specifically, concerning abortion, it would certainly be a good work to educate women to the truth of human life in the womb and counsel them about alternatives to abortion. If we do this, we are fulfilling the royal law, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (James 2:8).
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