by Randy Alcorn
Some “pro-choice” advocates claim to base their beliefs on the Bible. They maintain that Scripture does not prohibit abortion. They are wrong. The Bible does, in fact, emphatically prohibit the killing of innocent people (Ex. 20:13) and clearly considers the unborn to be human beings worthy of protection (21:22–25).
Job graphically described the way God created him before he was born (Job 10:8–12). That which was in his mother’s womb was not something that might become Job, but someone who was Job—the same man, only younger. To the prophet Isaiah, God says, “Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you” (Isa. 44:2). What each person is, not merely what he might become, was present in his mother’s womb.
Psalm 139:13–16 paints a vivid picture of God’s intimate involvement with a preborn person. God created David’s “inward parts” not at birth, but before birth. David says to his Creator, “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (v. 13). Each person, regardless of his parentage or handicap, has not been manufactured on a cosmic assembly line, but personally formed by God. All the days of his life are planned out by God before any come to be (v. 16).
Meredith Kline observes: “The most significant thing about abortion legislation in Biblical law is that there is none. It was so unthinkable that an Israelite woman should desire an abortion that there was no need to mention this offense in the criminal code.” All that was necessary to prohibit an abortion was the command, “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). Every Israelite knew that the preborn child was a child. So do we, if we are honest. We all know a pregnant woman is “carrying a child.”
Every child in the womb is God’s handiwork and part of God’s plan. Christ loves that child and proved it by becoming like him—He spent nine months in His mother’s womb.
Like toddler and adolescent, the terms embryo and fetus do not refer to nonhumans but to humans at various stages of development. It is scientifically inaccurate to say a human embryo or a fetus is not a human being simply because he is at an earlier stage than an infant. This is like saying that a toddler is not a human being because he is not yet an adolescent. Does someone become more human as he gets bigger? If so, then adults are more human than children, and football players are more human than jockeys. Something nonhuman does not become human or more human by getting older or bigger; whatever is human is human from the beginning, or it can never be human at all. The right to live does not increase with age and size; otherwise, toddlers and adolescents have less right to live than adults.
Once we acknowledge that the unborn are human beings, the question of their right to live should be settled, regardless of how they were conceived. The comparison between babies’ rights and mothers’ rights is unequal. What is at stake in the vast majority of abortions is the mother’s lifestyle, as opposed to the baby’s life. In such cases, it is reasonable for society to expect an adult to live temporarily with an inconvenience if the only alternative is killing a child.
Pro-choice advocates divert attention from the vast majority of abortions (99 percent) by focusing on rape and incest because of the sympathy factor. They give the false impression that pregnancies are common in such cases. However, no child is a despicable “product of rape or incest” but God’s unique and wonderful image-bearing creation. Having and holding a child can do much more good for a victimized woman than the knowledge that a child died in an attempt to reduce her trauma.
When Alan Keyes addressed middle school students at a school in Detroit, a thirteen-year-old girl asked if he would make an exception for rape in his pro-life position. He responded with this question: “If your dad goes out and rapes somebody, and we convict him of that rape, do you think it would be right for us to then say, ‘OK, because your dad is guilty of that rape, we’re going to kill you? ‘” The class answered “No.” When asked why a girl should have to go through a pregnancy when something so awful happened to her, he wisely answered with this analogy:
Let’s say that when you are 19, America gets involved in a war. And, when we’ve gotten involved in wars in the past, we had a draft and the people your age would be drafted, and they’d be sent off to war, right? You are going to have to go off. You are going to have to live on a battlefield. You are going to have to risk your life. And many people did in fact risk their lives, lived in hardship every single day and finally died. Why? Because they were defending what? Our country and defending its freedom. They had to go through hardship, didn’t they, for the sake of freedom.
The principle of freedom is that our rights come from God. Do you think it’s wrong to ask people to make sacrifices to keep our respect for that principle? … But I don’t believe it is right to take that pain and actually make it worse … do you know what I’m adding if I let you have an abortion? I’m adding the burden of that abortion. And at some point, the truth of God that is written on your heart comes back to you. And you’re wounded by that truth.
So I don’t think it’s fair, not to the child and not to the woman, to let this tragedy claim both their lives; the physical life of the child and the moral and spiritual life of the mother. And I think in this society we do both terrible harm because we don’t have the courage to stand by what is true. (ProLife Info Digest, Feb. 2, 2000)
In their book, Victims and Victors, David Reardon and associates draw on the accounts of 192 women who experienced pregnancy as the result of rape or incest. It turns out that when victims of violence speak for themselves, their opinion of abortion is nearly unanimous and the exact opposite of what most would predict: nearly all the women interviewed said they regretted aborting their babies conceived via rape or incest. Of those giving an opinion, more than 90 percent said they would discourage other victims of sexual violence from having abortions. Not one who gave birth to a child expressed regret.
Imposing capital punishment on the innocent child of a sex offender does nothing bad to the rapist and nothing good to the woman. Creating a second victim never undoes the damage to the first. Abortion does not bring healing to a rape victim.
Christ’s disciples failed to understand how valuable children were to Him, so they rebuked those who tried to bring them near Him (Luke 18:15– 17). But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” He considered attention to children to be part of His kingdom business, not a distraction.
The biblical view of children is that they are a blessing and a gift from the Lord (Ps. 127:3–5). However, Western culture increasingly treats children as liabilities. We must learn to see all children as God does, and we must act toward them as He commands us to act. We must defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed; rescue the weak and needy; and deliver them from the wicked (Ps. 82:3–4).
Christ stated that whatever we do or do not do for God’s weakest and most vulnerable children, we do it or do not do it to Him. At the judgment, “The King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’” (Matt. 25:40).