Joseph in womb 20 weeks

My son Joseph at his 20 week ultrasound.

In light of the Democratic National Convention, I wanted to offer a Christian voice on abortion.  It seems that the Democratic party has gone way to the left on the issue.  I remember a time when Democrats thought abortion should be legal, but not necessarily encouraged (think Vice Presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s stance).  After what I have seen at the DNC this week, it now seems they celebrate it.  In fact, abortion was even cheered at yesterday’s convention.

Since the decision of Roe vs. Wade (1973), which legalized abortion in the United States, abortion has been a divisive political and religious issue.  As biblically-faithful Christians, we are called to take a God-honoring stance on abortion.  While the Bible never directly addresses abortion, the Bible is clear about the sanctity of every human life.  The question to unpack is: does God—and should we—see a developing fetus as human life?

Child Development in the Womb

One of the paramount issues in the life vs. choice abortion debate is addressing when a human life begins.  Millard Erickson explains the importance of this ethic:

Is the fetus to be regarded as human, or merely as a mass of tissue within the mother’s body?  If the former, abortion is indeed the taking of a human life and has serious moral consequences.  If the latter, abortion is simply a surgical procedure involving the removal of an unwanted growth like a cyst or a tumor. [1]

Ultimately, this debate hinges upon when we consider human life beginning.  There is plenty of evidence to conclude that human life begins at the moment of conception.

The data shown in Ethics for a Brave New World confirm that at conception: “Genetic instructions from both parents interact to begin a new and unique individual.”[2] Moreover, not only is a new individual forming, but the baby’s gender can already be determined between days 5-9.[3] Additionally by day 18, the heart is forming, and just a week later the heart already begins to beat! [4] Clearly, the baby’s life begins to develop at the moment of conception.  “It is necessary to regard the fetus as human at every point of the development process.”[5] Sadly, abortions are still legal, because of uninformed views on when human life begins.

Abortion Statistics

One of the ultimate reasons pro-choice advocates promote the women’s right to an abortion is the right to an abortion due to rape or incest.  Shockingly, only .06 of 1 percent of all abortions performed are due to rape. [6] Additionally only “six percent of abortions are performed because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child.”[7] So what is the primary reason for abortion in our society?  According to Feinberg, “93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient.)”[8]  This presents a serious moral dilemma when the baby’s life is in danger because of the mother’s convenience.  As Christians, the Bible is our ultimate resource for addressing any injustice or moral predicament.

Tomorrow, we will look at what Scripture teaches on the sanctity of human life.

1 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology.  (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 570.
2 John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg, Ethics For a Brave New World.  (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010), 76.
3 Ibid.
4 Feinberg, 77.
5 Erickson, 570.
6 Feinberg, 126.
7 Feinberg, 65.
8 Ibid.