The strangest anomaly in the burning issue of abortion is the presence of pro-choice advocates who claim to be bible believers. For these, Jesus’ words to the Sadducees apply: “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures” (Mt. 22:29).
Before surgical abortion was technically possible, unborn babies were killed only when the mother was slain also, as recorded in Amos 1: 13; Ammon’s genocidal act God punished by a tumult of nature and deprivation of national leadership.
God’s personal regard for the embryo from the moment of conception is seen in Psalm 139:13: “You created my inmost being (soul); you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” The word “me” indicates personhood, not just an organism; hence, while miscarriage or stillbirth involve human death, abortion as direct killing of an innocent person is murder.
“Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Ps. 139: 16). Thus, aborting a child aborts the ordained plans of God for that child.
“I am wonderfully made,” exults the psalmist (Verse 14). Biogenetics affirms that all genetic elements that mark a future adult are already present from conception; this bolster the biblical assertion that personhood is present before birth. Ecclesiastes 11: 5 reminds us, “You do not know how the body is formed in the mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things,” including the unborn child. Killing a human that reflects God’s image is not like killing a cockroach. Human life is made by God and reflects his image’ (Gen. 1:26-27); for that very reason, says God’s word, its destruction is deserving of punishment (Gen. 9:6). This threat is immediately counterpoised with a pro-life mandate: “Be fruitful and multiply.”
The biblical doctrine of inherited original sin (Rom. 5: 12) would be meaningless if the unborn were not human from the time of conception: “I was sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5). Each human has a personal identity in the mind of God before being formed in the womb (Jer. 1:5; Is.49:1; Gal. 1:15), a forming which in itself is a divine act (Job 31: 15). Consequently, anyone taking a human life at any stage of development interrupts a divine action, and will have to reckon with God; “From each human I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man” (Gen. 9:5). Such an interdiction of homicide should give pro-choicers pause.
Imagine the Supreme Court ascertaining at what point “the Word was made flesh” in Mary’s womb! Or, to speak the unspeakable, if Mary had an abortion, at what point in gestation would that act have meant the death of Christ? After one month? One day? One minute? To rephrase the question, when did Jesus’ Incarnation take place, if not the moment of conception? If it was at that moment, then his personhood was present from conception. If personhood- from-conception was true of Christ, it’s true of everyone. That alone would prove that abortion is murder.
John the Baptist before birth (Luke 1:41) manifested the fulfillment of the angel’s prophecy to Zechariah (verse 15), that he (John) would be “filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” This occurred in the six month of gestation (verse36). The Holy Spirit doesn’t fill “a blob of tissue,” but a human being. Hence, if John had been aborted, it would have been murder.
In biblical times incest reaped the death penalty (Lev. 20:11,12,14,17), but not for the child conceived in incest, thus protecting innocent life, regardless of the evil act that engendered the child. Thus the rape/incest exception of some pro-choicers is not biblical. A woman victimized by rape or incest has no right to victimize the resultant offspring, since two wrongs don’t make a right. Adoption to a child-hungry couple is the common sense solution in most such cases.
In biblical times, the closest thing to direct abortion was infanticide, as when the Pharaoh forced Hebrew midwives to kill all male Hebrew children at birth (Ex. 1: 16). God punished this baby-killing by sending “defiling floods” on the land (Wis. 11:7). But prenatal killing is no less serious than postnatal. Thus, a fetus that manages to live after a failed abortion attempt is legally a human; the doctor by law must try to preserve the same life he had tried to kill only moments before. The “nonperson” mysteriously becomes a “person” legally when outside the womb, even though greatly premature. How do pro-abortion advocates explain this absurdity? Obviously, abortion is infanticide — murder, forbidden by the natural law and God’s commandment (Ex 20:13; Deut. 5:17; Mt. 5:21), and the worst form of child abuse possible.
The pro-abortion advocates’ insistence that” a woman has a right to her own body” is contrary to Scripture, since Paul says we do not own our own bodies (l Cor: 6: 19); we are merely stewards of these temples of the Holy Spirit, and must not abuse or destroy them (e.g. by suicide, health neglect, etc.), or the bodies of others, including children, born or unborn, who are a “heritage from the Lord” (Ps. 127:3). Moreover, if a woman did have a “right to her own body,” would not the unborn child also have such a “right to its own body”? The woman’s choice regarding her so-called “right” is seldom a life-or-death alternative for her, but it is always a life-or-death alternative for the child. The child has a real “right to life”, but the “right to life” for the women is rarely at issue, only her so-called “right” to her convenience.
In biblical terms, the bottom line is God’s word to Moses (Deut. 30: 19): “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” In offering a choice, God is “pro-choice,” but he tells us to make our choice pro-life or suffer the dreadful consequences.
Rev. John H. Hampsch, C.M.F.
CLARETIAN TEACHING MINISTRY
20610 MANHATTAN PL#120
TORRANCE, CA 90501-1863
310-782-6408 FAX 310-782-8892