Is Abortion Really So Bad?
Dr. J.R. Beeke and J.W. Beeke
In the year 1985, 1.58 million abortions were performed in hospitals and various clinics across the United States and more than 62,000 unborn children were put to death across Canada. Approximately 30% of all known pregnancies end in abortion. If we consider that Canada lost 40,000 men and United States surrendered. 4 million lives during World War 11, we begin to realize how many lives are being taken by human hands in our countries. Three times as many unborn children have lost their lives in one year in our countries than our countries have lost soldiers in the Second World War.
When we reflect back with grief upon the lives lost during World War 11, how much more we should contemplate this present day issue of abortion. We certainly should have a strong rational, ethical, and moral basis to permit this many lives to be ended by human hands each year.
Let us examine the arguments used by those who promote abortion to determine on how strong of a foundation this practice is based.
The fetus (unborn child) is not really human, therefore it can be killed.
Those who hold this viewpoint will agree that at some point the child growing in the womb of the mother becomes a human being. Some set this time at the sixth week of pregnancy, some at three months, some at felt signs of life by the mother, and some at birth. Hospitals, clinics, and state or provincial rules concerning the maximum development stage at which to allow abortion vary with these various opinions. When we consider some medical facts, as the following, it would appear very difficult to speak definitely of a time in which the fetus is not human.
- At 3 weeks after conception a baby's heart begins beating.
- At 6 weeks after conception a baby's brain waves are traceable.
- At 11 weeks after conception all of the baby's internal organs are present and functioning.
If there is a time after conception in which the living and growing unborn child is not human. who and what is it then? If we search biological classifications of living organisms, how would we classify this living and growing fetus if it were not a human being? If this matter of determining when the unborn child is a human being is so unclear, how do we dare to say that abortion is permissible, and not murder?
The fetus requires a host body and therefore cannot be considered fully human because it is dependent on another.
Those who uphold this argument of independent viability tread on very dangerous territory. If this is true that an individual is less human because he is dependent upon another person or object, we could argue from this principle that the newborn, the physically and mentally handicapped, the senile, kidney-machine dependent, etc. are all less human because they are directly dependent on others and therefore we may dispose of them at random. If it is murder for a mother to kill her newborn child which is entirely dependent upon her (consider especially an infant born prematurely), why is it not murder for her to kill her child before it is born?
A woman bas a right to do with her body as she desires.
Even if this argument were entirely true (which it is not), this would not give her the right to do with another person's body as she would desire. Abortion involves the death of a separate body, her unborn child's. To argue that the living fetus is part of the mother's body defies reason: which organ of her body is it? When the unborn child's heart beats, whose heart is it? When the fetus's brain waves can be traced, whose brain is it? To willfully end the life of another for one's own convenience has always been viewed as murder.
If abortion upon demand is declared illegal again, women will have abortions anyway by traveling to other countries or through illegal and unsafe back-street abortionists.
The fact that other areas of the world practice things which we forbid, or that items can be purchased illegally which are out-lawed, is not a proper basis for law-making. Our laws must be based on sound principles; if abortion is the taking of the life of another, it must be forbidden by law. Further, all evidence gathered to date seems to indicate that the back-street abortionists are as active today as they were some years ago before abortion upon demand was practiced.
Death before birth is better for the "unwanted" child, than living a life of "unwantedness".
To give a human being decisional powers to determine if another individual is "wanted" or "unwanted" is most dangerous. The implications of this viewpoint are staggering. once human life is devalued to a level of human decision concerning its worthiness or "wantedness," the horrors of Nazi-defined worthless or "unwanted" human beings are again brought into the field of human consideration. Would some not place the mentally retarded, invalids, senile, etc. in this same category? Besides, do not many "unwanted' pregnancies result in "wanted" children after birth? Do not many "unwanted" children overcome severe social handicaps in their youth and function as useful adult citizens? Are not adoption agencies continually short of infants for parents who want "unwanted" children?
In critically examining the five basic arguments for abortion upon demand, can we honestly conclude on a rational, ethical, and moral basis that abortion should be legal? When we consider that more than 98% of all abortions in the past year were for personal convenience reasons and that less than 2% were for rape, incest, protection of the life of the mother, and defective fetuses, must this not heighten our concern? In a country based on the guaranteeing of certain individual rights to its citizens of which the right to life is a most basic principle, are we not digressing to authorize "murder-upon-demand" today.?
It is amazing that often those stressing the need to stop abortion are accused of trying to force their beliefs on others. in reality, all who participate in an abortion force their views on another, viz., on the unborn child - so strongly in fact, that it results in his or her death. If the unborn child is a human being when examined rationally, ethically, and morally, how can one be accused of trying to force his own belief on another when trying to protect the life of the child from his or her murderer? if a mother abused her six-month-old child so severely that the child died and we demand this practice be stopped because it harms and results in the loss of another's life, would we be accused of forcing our beliefs on others? This type of shallow accusation misses the entire argument. if the unborn child is a human being-then abortion is murder! If abortion is murder we must do all in our power to stop it.
The liberalization of interpretation of laws concerning abortion today by many courts, legislatures, doctors, and hospital boards has resulted in the large number of abortions we are presently witnessing. Indeed, it has subjected our society to some strong paradoxes, such as:
- Today a woman crossing the street in front of a hospital, which she plans to enter to have an abortion, could be hit by a car and lose her baby. if the driver of the car was at fault she could legally sue the driver for the loss of her child's life. Yet the same woman could also proceed into the hospital without an accident, and legally have her child's life taken away through abortion.
- Today more unborn children and infants die from abortion than from any other form of accidents or diseases. The most dangerous place for a developing child today is in his or her mother's womb.
- Today many legislators are fighting to outlaw all forms of capital punishment, even for the worst of criminal offenders, because this is viewed as cruel and unusual punishment. Yet, many of the same individuals can vote to approve the killing of thousands of innocent, unborn children.
So far we have concentrated on defeating the pro-abortionists' "best" arguments on their own grounds of rational, ethical, and moral reasoning, via a negative approach. We have left basically untouched the innumerable serious side-consequences of abortion: the screams of the unborn (see Dr. Gilson's book, Alarm -A World in Danger); the cutting, slicing, burning, poisoning, or bleeding accompanying approved murder (see Dr. Koop's book, The Right to Live, particularly the section on the techniques of abortion); the tragic burial of the unborn in trash cans and ash incinerators (see Ed Melton's article in Temple Times); the post-abortion anxiety, depression, sense of loss, anger, remorse, nightmares, infertility, and flashbacks of murdering mothers who yield to the increasingly acceptable option and social fashion of modern abortioning. (See a remarkable study in Milwaukee of 95 post-abortion women which reveals the variety of types of distress experienced, pp. 57-58 of Dr. Koops' book,)
But we must turn to a higher court of authority than human reasoning and human consequences. We are called to the even more important task of setting forth positively the truths and proclamations of God's Word which are directly and/or indirectly involved in the issue of abortion. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them" (Is. 8:20). Ultimately, the issue of abortion can and must be settled only in the pages of Holy Writ - not by court proclamations of Bible-denying judges.
God's Word clearly treats personhood (soul and body) as commencing at conception.
God's Word never treats the soul as being created in the womb at some point after conception. Rather, in Psalm 51:5 David tells us: "Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." How can an unborn child, while yet in the womb, possess a sinful nature which separates him from God, and yet possess no soul? Can anything be shapen in iniquity while remaining soul-less? David confesses his united soul-body creation even more plainly in Psalm 139: 13-16,
"For Thou hast possessed my reins: Thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise Thee; for I (soul and body) am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."
Further, in Gen. 9:4 we read, "the life thereof which is the blood thereof " This phrase is the basis for many other passages of Scripture which equate blood with life, and call the shedding of blood sin Jer. 22:3; Ps. 106:37-38; Dt. 19:10,13; 21:9; 11 Ki. 24:4; Prov 6:16-17, etc.). in other words, since every fetus has its own blood, the shedding of that blood is as surely the taking of life (soul and body) as it would be in any other circumstance or situation.
The Word of God forbids murder - by abortion or any other means - because God created man in His own image.
Sacred biblical truth proclaims to us unceasingly that God is the Author and Giver of human life, and therefore no creature has a right to intentionally dispose of, nor destroy such a complex Divine creation. In Gen. 9:6 we read, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man." Though we have lost the image of God in its narrower sense entirely through our deep fall in Adam, wider remnants of God's image still cling to us after the fall - including our very soul-body personhood. In spite of our fall, we still receive our life from God in a special manner. In a peculiar manner we receive the breath or life of our souls directly from God (Gen. 2:7), making us more than plants or animals. job confessed, "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life."
Contrary to Scripture, abortionists principally and inevitably reject the sacredness and value of life, treat God's complex creation as nothing more than a growing cell, and deny that the life of a human being is created for a never-ending eternity. At minimum, abortion reduces man to an animalistic level, ignoring the very mark of true personhood - his never-dying soul.
God's Word teaches us that Divine sovereignty excludes all abortions - even in such cases as rape, incest, or possible retardation.
God's sovereignty must be brought to the fore in all areas of life - also in current areas of debate, such as abortion. Abortion treads into Divine territory by taking into the hands of man that which belongs to the sovereign Jehovah alone. "The Lord killeth and maketh alive" (I Sam. 2:6). Humanistic abortionists think it cruel to cut off all abortions entirely, especially in cases of rape, possible handicaps or retardation, and incest. Their cruelty charge, however, falls back on themselves.
With respect to rape, studies reveal that it seldom results in pregnancy. A study in Minneapolis of 3,500 consecutive rapes revealed not a single pregnancy. Besides, will abortion of the innocent product of a rape return the mother to an unviolated, unassaulted state? Will abortion apprehend the rapist? Will abortion restore the mother to her pre-raped state of peace of mind? In a sense, abortion of the unborn baby produced by rape is just as violent an act as the rape itself. Instead of adding crime to crime, how much better would it not be for such a woman to confess to the Lord, "I know that what has taken place is within the realm of Thy providence and sovereignty. Give me grace to bow under Thy ways." Such grace would bring peace of mind far more richly than all the abortion clinics in the world could give.
Each person formed in the womb of his mother lies in the decree of God - blind, maimed, retarded, and deformed as equally as those born with health. Also in this respect the Lord's ways are above our ways. On the one hand, such a child is often not only loved by its parents equally with the others, but the Lord may also be pleased to teach valuable lessons through such trials. Dr. Koop writes:
"My professional life has been spent largely with children who are less than one would consider totally normal... In the thousands of such circumstances in which I have participated, I have never had a parent ask me why I tried so hard to save the life of their defective child. Nor has any parent ever expressed to me the wish that his child had not been saved."
On the other hand, doctors are often wrong in predicting handicaps at birth. A British medical journal recently included this contribution:
"One way of catching class attention is to ask what advice students would give when presented with the following family history. The father has syphilis, the mother tuberculosis; they have already had four children-the first is blind, the second died, the third is deaf and dumb, and the fourth has tuberculosis. The mother is pregnant with her fifth child, and the parents are willing to have an abortion should you so decide ... After the majority of the class express their favor of abortion, you tell them they have just murdered Beethoven."
God's sovereignty stands above everything - even of children conceived in incest (Ex. 6:20).
God is free to do with all His creatures as it pleases Him, but we need grace to bow before Him, under Him, and in with Him. Jeremiah, Isaiah, and John the Baptist were converted already in the womb before many today would judge that they even had a soul, and we read in Romans 9:
"When Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac, (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth:) it was said unto her. The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (vv. 10, 1,3).
According to God's Word, Divine justice shall rest heavily on the nation or people who persevere in such murderous tragedies as abortion.
In Exodus 21:22-23 we read:
"If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and vet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life."
If God's commanded penalty for a case of accidental abortion is so severe, shall He stand idly by while murderous abortionists deliberately shed blood? Must we not cry out, "Woe unto thee, North America. For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes"? Yes, abortion is truly bad. Abortion is nothing less than the premeditated, calculated, legalized murder of nameless, voiceless, helpless human beings created by God It is said of the ancients that they sacrificed their infants unto the god Moloch. it may one day be written that the pagans of 20th century America sacrificed their infants - their unborn sons and daughters - to the gods of Selfishness, Materialism, Irresponsibility, and Humanism, via abortion. Abortion, together with a host of sexually permissive sins, surely makes our land to be a stench in the nostrils of God.
The Judge stands before the door. He will not be mocked. His patience will not endure forever. Senator Jesse Helms wrote: "Unless the abortion decision is reversed by an amendment to the Constitution, the future of America is in grave doubt, for no nation can remain free or exercise moral leadership when it has embraced the doctrine of death."
The blood of countless millions cries to God. It is on all of our hands, for we are all guilty. Who is there among us that trembles at the Word of God - who trembles at the thought that what the Lord said to Cain, "The voice of Thy brother's blood crieth to Me from the ground," brings in its wake the awesome burden of the voiceless millions in our land whose blood is being shed hourly?
May the Lord humble us. He only knows how far the evil of abortion has penetrated the domain of the church of God. It is an evil that eats as a canker because the truth has very little impression on the conscience of man any more. only the fear of God can keep us from sin. May the Lord convince us of our deep guilt, personally and nationally. God forbid that He find us unconcerned, silent, or lukewarm over such blatant iniquity as abortion. Let us seek grace to strive together against this outright breach of the 6th commandment.
What tasks are we then called to?
- Prayer. Ask the Lord to grant true prayer for our countries, its leaders, the medical profession, and others involved.
- Education. Obtain information on abortion, and seek ways to fight effectively against it.
- Support. Give financial or membership support to conservative anti-abortion groups such as Right To Life, Pro-Life, etc. (in the United States -subscribe to Right to Life News, PO. Box 73, Clovis, Calif. 93613.) (In Canada-subscribe to Pro Life News, 203-379 Broadway Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, R3C-OT9.) Speak against the sin of abortion to others when the opportunity avails itself.
- Legislation. As citizens of the United States and Canada, write your appropriate elected government officials on a local and national level, to inform them of your opposition to abortion.
"Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance. Turn us again, 0 Lord God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved" (Ps. 28:9, 10:19). time