A Commentary on Abortion
Written by Phylicia Masonheimer | August 13, 2015
If there is any topic that can quickly divide a group of people, that topic is abortion. We live in a world polarized on this issue. Abortion is a sensitive topic because it deals with the quality and rights of two individual lives—housed, for a time, in the same body.
Choices Have Consequences
Pregnancy is the biological consequence of the choice to have sex (except in cases of rape). Every time a couple participates in this action, there is some risk of pregnancy occurring. With knowledge of this risk comes responsibility. Each person is responsible for their choices and the consequences that come with those decisions—and sometimes that consequence is an unwanted pregnancy.
However, just because a pregnancy was neither expected nor wanted does not give the parents a right to determine that child’s future. Though conception may have been accidental, the action that led to the child’s existence was a choice—a choice the baby did not make. By taking away that child’s life, the parents effectively remove his or her right to a life choice in order to fulfill their own. They punish the child for their own decisions.
But is this conceived “being” truly a child? As Christians, we cannot deny that it is. Psalm 139:16 states, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” If a baby is not human at conception, at what point does it become human? At what point did we—as adults—receive the “right” to life choices? And at what point does a baby have a right to a choice? These are the questions we need to ask as Christians living in a conflicted world.
Life That God Designed
Many of us are walking through life seeking God’s plan and guidance. We want to know which way to turn: what college to choose, who to marry, what job to take. The lives we live were granted to us the moment we were conceived. We have the opportunity to make choices, experience the world and be individual because God gave us life. God is the Author of Life, which means He dictates when it begins and when it ends.
In Jeremiah 1:5 God says: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart…” and in Isaiah 49:1, Isaiah writes: “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb He spoke my name.” God has an interest in the infant members of society because He intentionally creates them using the biological process we previously discussed. Our society thinks that because men and women can choose to have sex, they can choose to eliminate one of the consequences of sex—pregnancy. But children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3-4). God opens and closes the womb (Is. 66:9 – “Shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?”). While we as humans have the privilege of participating in the creation of a child, we are not in control of that creation. Because of this, no one has the right to take a life that God designed.
But What About the Mother?
Unfortunately for the church, there are times when—in defense of the infant—we forget about the mother. Many abortions are driven by fear and lack of resources. Though the pregnancy may have begun as the result of a poor decision, this does not mean we ignore the needs of frightened mothers unsure of their next step. Just as we have compassion for the life of the infant, we must have compassion for the soul of its mother.
It is both foolish and ineffective to condemn a frightened woman for the sin of her choices when she is in dire need of help. While she may be bearing the consequence of a sinful decision, none of us are beyond the reach of God’s redemptive love. The church must rally around these women with the same tenacity it uses when fighting for the unborn. This is in fact the most effective way to protect infants from abortion, because reaching the heart of the mother protects the life of her child.
Unwanted and illegitimate pregnancies have always been a topic of shame in society. One woman bore this shame from a very young age, and likely wore it as a “scarlet letter” for the rest of her life. Her name was Mary.
To the world she lived in, it looked as if Mary had had an illegitimate child (John 8:41). After all, who would believe a woman who says she is bearing “the Son of God”? Mary would have been shamed. She was almost abandoned by her fiancé. There was no crisis pregnancy center for Mary, but her heart trusted in God and the child she bore changed our world.
Mary may not have had the option of an abortion, but she could have abandoned the baby in an attempt to preserve her reputation (abandoning unwanted infants was common in ancient culture). Instead she chose the uncomfortable and painful route—a route that was difficult, but a route that gave life not just to a baby, but to each one of us who puts faith in Jesus Christ.
No woman today is bearing the Son of God, but each child conceived bears the image of God. Abortion takes a form of God’s authority over life and death, deciding that this life—this baby—does not deserve to live. We must fight for these souls who cannot fight for themselves. But just as much, we should be fighting for the hearts of the women who bear those babies, reaching out to them with compassion and understanding, offering alternatives of hope. Abortion cheats the infant of life and cheats the mother of peace. We can stop this by defending both the mother and the child, because God has a future for them both.