Abortion is a huge issue today.  About one in three American women will abort a baby by the time they are 45. I want to begin by saying two things:  first, most abortions are not committed by people who are maliciously committing murder.  They are not maliciously trying to end a life – in other words they are not committing first degree murder.  Secondly, although I am going to be condemning this in a pretty strong fashion, condemnation does not have to be the last word for those who have committed this sin – or been accomplices in this sin.  This is not the unpardonable sin.  God can forgive, cleanse, and renew the one who committed this sin through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When we talk about this emotionally charged subject, typically people want to go directly to the hard cases – like rape, incest, or the situation of an unhealthy baby.  Less than 1% of abortions are the result of rape or incest. By and large, the reason people are getting abortions is as a means of birth control.

The major point of contention in this issue is – What is a person?  Are these persons in the womb that we are aborting, or, is it something else?  Most agree we don’t kill babies outside the womb, but the debate is that somehow when the baby is inside the womb it is not a person.  That is how the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade, unborn babies are not “persons in the whole sense”.  Therefore it is legal in our country to kill babies inside the womb. What is a person then, as you can see, is the major issue.

For many secular humanists the matter of personhood is understood as something that is attained as a matter of process.  In other words, it is not something that human life is endowed with, it is an achievement.  So at some point this tissue ideally would evolve into a person. This is the consistent outworking of the secular humanistic worldview and their theory of evolution. For this view, there is a criterion for what would constitute a person. This criterion varies based upon individual preference.  For some it is viability, others define it as the ability to simply live independently. Still for others it is an arbitrary point of being able to reason and communicate with others to be a person. “Our complaint here is that what we really have is a notion of personhood without an argument as to why anyone should accept it as correct…  If one can choose a definition to one’s liking, then one can (as some have) so define value that Jews, Blacks, Asians, or American Indians no longer count as persons.”[1]  One thing that most pro-abortionists have in common concerning this is that personhood is a matter of achievement rather than an endowment.

For the Christian – we do not begin our thinking from a presupposition of unbelief and then run to evolutionary theory to decide what a person is—we go to the Bible. In Gen 1:26-27, in contrast to the other creatures that God has made, man and woman alone are made in the image of God.  Human beings are all made in the image of God – so if a life is human, then it is in the image of God. Human life then is sacred and we see this in Gen 9:6 where capital punishment is to be meted out for those who would take a human life. Life is sacred because we are made in the image of God. Therefore, if what is in the Mother’s womb is a human life, then to take that life would be destroying something made in the image of God. For this crime the person would be worthy of capital punishment.

In Ex 21:22-25, we see that capital punishment is warranted for the one who would cause an unborn child to come out and die, “life for life”. I do not think the miscarriage view (NASB) is a good translation.  I take the view that the baby comes out early but everything at first seems to be fine with its health.  But if either the Mother, or the baby is injured, then further punishment is warranted. This is even an accident, we see how much more weight God puts on this pregnant woman and the unborn child than an accident not involving a pregnant mother. We see the value God puts on the most defenseless life there is. Discretion says that if you are on a boat that is sinking, and one of the people on board is a pregnant mother, you put her first on the list to be rescued.

Ps 139:13-16 gives us more truth to help us make a biblical case. In this text David refers to his unborn life as himself.  It was he (David) that God had formed in the womb. Therefore, David was a person before he was born. The Bible never refers to unborn children in any other way than persons.[2]  Ps 51:5, we see that David was a sinner even before he was born. Original sin was his to own, and if David was not a person then this could not be said of him.  Only persons can be called sinners.  In Gen 25:22 the twins in the womb of Rebekah “struggled together within her” and Jacob grabbed his brother by the heel (Hos 12:3). John the Baptist is said to have been “filled with the Spirit” while in the womb and leaped for joy (Lk 1:41) at the arrival of Mary with Jesus in her womb (Lk 1:44).  We see that in Ruth 4:13, speaking of Ruth, “the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son”.  It is the Lord who opens and closes the womb, and it is the Lord who brings children to life at conception. Jeremiah recounts the LORD telling him that “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”. This makes it really clear that even before he was born was a person known by God.  Biblically, human life begins at conception.  If the life is human it is made in the image of God.  If it is made in the image of God then it is a person.  So the moment God creates a new human life in the womb it is a person.

We can make the rock solid case from Scripture and science, but in the minds of pro-abortion advocates, the woman, they claim, has the right to make a choice in regards to what she will do with her body. Certainly there are freedoms that we have as individuals with our bodies. For example, I am free to take my tonsils out.  No one should be able to make that choice for me.  But I am not free to roam around town naked.  I am not free to burn my neighbor’s house down because his dog poops in my yard. Here is a firm principle for freedom:  If my freedom harms another person then my freedom has stopped.  I am not morally free to harm other people and should not be legally free to do so either. The right of an innocent human being to life takes precedence over the right to choose what a person wants. So then if the baby is a human being, his or her right to life supersedes the mothers right to choose.  The baby in the mother’s womb is a human person and the mother is not allowed to kill her child.

God calls us to speak out, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Prv 31:9), and He says, “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute” ( Ps 82:3). We as the people of God must speak out.  But we need to do with grace and compassion.  Most mothers who abort their babies do so because others have convinced them that it a justifiable thing to do.  Often those mothers are victims as well.  We need to speak out, but we must do it with compassion and the gospel held high.  We need a savior just like those who have committed this sin. We must speak out, but we also better be ready to help.  Will you take the baby they are about to abort?  Will you help them find a home for that baby?  Not only must we be ready to speak up – we must be ready to provide solutions and help if they need it.





[1] John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics For A Brave New World (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 86.

[2] John Frame, The Doctrine of the Christian Life(Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008), 722.