The Sanctity of Life
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Ps. 139:13–14).- Psalm 139:13–14
Whenever a potential nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States is vetted by the Senate, questions will invariably arise regarding that individual’s opinion on the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Many senators will not usually vote to confirm the justice if the appointee opposes abortion on demand.
Today we will look at the ethics of abortion. For decades, abortion on-demand — abortion for any reason whatsoever — within the first trimester has been a legal right in the United States. Note that we have called it a legal right. Legal rights from the government and moral rights from God can be, and too often are, entirely different things.
Supporters of the Roe v. Wade decision say they just want to give women “the right to control their bodies,” and so those who endorse abortion on-demand are usually called “pro-choice.” But make no mistake, this terminology is not accidental. Those who are adamantly pro-abortion chose this phrase years ago because they knew few could get enthusiastic about killing unborn babies. Framing the debate as a debate for women’s rights and personal liberty, however, engenders more support. Ironically, this same concern for women’s rights is not afforded to the female infants who are aborted each year.
Scripture forbids abortion on demand because it maintains that human beings are in the image of God at every stage of life. The Bible repeatedly refers to the unborn as persons (see today’s passage), revealing that life begins at conception. Thus, wantonly ending the child’s life is murder. Moreover, God’s Word says children are a blessing (Ps. 127:3) and describes the great longing holy women like Hannah had for children (1 Sam. 1). The willing destruction of a developing life was unthinkable to faithful Israelites.
The moral right to govern our own bodies is biblical in principle, but the Bible recognizes that an individual’s rights end where another’s begin. From conception, the developing baby is a distinct individual with his own identity. To claim “women’s rights” is grossly inappropriate, for in controlling her body, the woman who aborts a child is destroying the Lord’s image.
Some of the women reading this study today may have had an abortion. If so, know that you have been forgiven if you have repented and trusted in Christ alone. As Christians, we are called to uphold the duty to nurture the unborn. We can do this by lobbying our politicians for laws that protect the unborn and by providing for those who think abortion is their only option. Consider giving to a local crisis pregnancy center seeking to prevent abortions.
Passages for Further Study
Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you do not make more than 500 physical copies. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred (where applicable). If no such link exists, simply link to www.ligonier.org.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: From Ligonier Ministries, the teaching fellowship of R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved. Website: www.ligonier.org | Phone: 1-800-435-4343