TLDR: The historic evangelical view on abortion has always been firmly against it because all human beings are created in the image of God. Abortion should be banned or made difficult for any instance outside of saving the mother. Fri Jun 24, 2022 was a generational event that deserves celebration.
On Friday I posted to social media some retweets of evangelical leaders celebrating the Roe v. Wade overturning. I was surprised to hear negative responses from some fellow Christians. They said things like “how can you celebrate when women are suffering?” or “this decision is morally wrong.”
I hope to engage in honest open dialogue about this and other events/topics in the future. I was a bit discouraged by these comments at first. But now I see them as revealing what is deep inside their hearts. It is revealing questions of authority and worldview. I want to ask more questions to find out what is the source of their beliefs? Why do you think overturning Roe is morally evil? What is at the core that is influencing your worldview?
To better prep for that discussion and to have my view on the record for others in the church (or others thinking to visit our church)
What did the SCOTUS decision actually do?
- It did not ban abortion in itself. By overturning Roe v. Wade it declared that abortion was not a federal constitutional right, which had been the precedent for the last 50 years. The crucial decision of the morality and legality of abortion is now returned to the states with local elected representatives.
- Justice Alito stated that the Roe was egregiously wrong in overstepping the constitution and State’s rights. “Roe was on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided…the Court usurped the power to address a question of profound moral and social importance that the Constitution unequivocally leaves for the people.
What does the Bible say?
When it comes to abortion (and any ethical matter), as Christians, the first question we should always ask is “What does the Bible say about this issue?” We are people of the Book. The Bible is not just #1 on a best-seller list of self-help books. It is in a category of its own in terms of truth and authority.
We believe the Bible is God-breathed (2 Ti 3:16). Dr. Miles Van Pelt explained the meaning of God-breathed by comparing it to God breathing into the dust to bring Adam to life. The breath of God creates a difference as vast as a living human being is compared to dust. In the same way, the Bible is as different from any other book as much as human beings are to dirt.
Here are some texts which speak clearly to the issue of abortion:
Gen 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he create them; male and female he created them.
- Out of all of creation only human beings are created in God’s image. Every human being is privileged to be stamped with God’s likeness. This honor occurs from the moment of conception. Therefore all human life is considered precious from that point.
Psalm 139:13–15 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. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
- The psalmist describes the unborn child as one of God’s works of art. He carefully knits together a precious creature. For most of history this process was unseen by us, but thanks to technology and ultrasound we are able to see a glimpse of the beautiful process which God has been doing for centuries.
Luke 1:14-15 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
- John the Baptist was described as receiving the Holy Spirit before he was born. Only human beings can be in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit. This is another clear indication of the humanity of the unborn baby.
Our society argues about when a fetus becomes a child or after how many weeks abortion is permissible. Others have difficulty defining the beginning of a human being because the early stage fetus is genetically similar to a developing pig. Thus from a scientific standpoint human beings are not distinct from animals. Basically, without God it becomes quite difficult to agree upon when a human being becomes a human being. This ambiguity opens the door for the tragedy which is abortion. Before they are a human being, they are property with no rights.
Throughout history the greatest tragedies such as genocide were enabled because they dehumanized the victim. The UN writes “The Holocaust did not start with the gas chambers and the Rwandan genocide did not start with the slayings. It started with the dehumanization of a specific group of persons.”
When it comes to the Bible there is no ambiguity about when human life begins. There is no debate. A standard, above any man-made standard, has been made plain to us of when and why a human is a human.
Below are some points of interaction I’ve been pondering.
Responses to Common Questions:
- How can you say PTL when women are suffering?
I say praise the Lord because I believe the system of abortion is on par or even a greater net evil than the Holocaust. I remember as a child growing up in the DC area we often had gone to the Holocaust museum. It was tragic and mind-boggling that human life would be destroyed so mercilessly and efficiently. If every unborn child is a human life. And if there have been over 63 million unborn babies killed through abortion since Roe v. Wade, then that is about 10x the cost of the Holocaust in terms of human life.
Every culture has its own blindspots. Today, we look back on previous societies and marvel that they had normalized and justified the system of slavery in America. It is my belief that future societies will look back and marvel as our society in the same tragic way. “Grandpa, did you guys really kill that many babies?” I want to be on the “right side of history.” Though none of us can know that for sure, I believe following the Bible as closely as we can is our best chance at making decisions that will look wise several generations from now.
- What about abortion as a means to saving the life of the mother?
In the 13 states that have banned abortion as a result of trigger laws going into effect, all of them have exemptions for an abortion if it is necessary to save the life of the mother.
For example, when it comes to ectopic pregnancies (which are extremely rare 1–2% of pregnancies) these would normally qualify for a medical exemption. Even in the total abortion ban states, they would be legally permissible. Many pro-choice advocates are concerned that the new laws will “impede” or cause “confusion” among doctors in going forward with this procedure. But those concerns are considered mainly speculative at this point.
- What about cases of rape and incest?
TBH, this is probably the most difficult part of my view to accept. It is tragic for a woman to have to go through the trauma of rape or incest. Those events will cause lasting scars for the rest of their life. I could imagine the psychological trauma being added on to by having to carry the baby to term. However, in our dark world that’s tainted by sin we will sometimes have to choose between the lesser of two evils. I believe it is better for the baby to come to term and be given up for adoption than to terminate the life. Why? Because that beautiful innocent child should not have to pay for the sins of those who caused the pain. If given a loving family, that child could be a story of redemption (see Ps 127 below). Of course that’s easy for an outsider to say, but hopefully we as the church can back it up with solid support.
- What about women today having less freedoms than their mothers?
If cases of rape/incest is the most difficult part for me, this issue is probably the least important for me. Is freedom more valuable than another person’s life? Yes it’s true that our country prides itself on having many freedoms but at one point are we idolizing our own individual freedom? If our freedoms are more important than saving the life of another, I think we have crossed the line into idolatry.
- What about caring for women?
We must step up and our care for women. This is especially where the church must come in. We must address the reasons why a woman would want an abortion. If a major reason is because of the social and economic hardship, let us diligently make a system that supports life. A system that comes alongside women to raise up a new generation that will be a force of good. Women should feel like they have a strong caring support network that they can see hope and a pathway to raise their child well.
Psalm 127:3–4 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
Solomon said that children are like arrows in the hands of warrior. Let’s be in the business of producing arrows for good. Let us take up the mission of raising children to become weapons of righteousness, who are dangerous and threatening to evil and injustice in the world. Let’s see the potential in these cute little people that will one day strike fear into the hearts of big people who do evil. Yes some of those babies could grow up to go down the wrong path, but I’d like to think in terms of hope, what if one of them is the next MLK? What if one is the next Lincoln? The next Corrie Ten Boom? Keeping the baby gives us that chance to produce the next generational hero.