When you argue for the protection of unborn children, what else do you argue for?
Do you argue with one eye open to the Christian view of life and the other blind to the realities of the other side?
The Christian View of Life
To be pro-life means that all human life is worthy of protection at all stages of development. The argument for abortion relies on the notion that an unborn child is not separate from the mother, so therefore, the mother should have the right to decide. This is to do with personhood.
So, when does a human become a unique individual?
As Christians we believe that life starts from conception and that all people bear the image of God, that all are a part of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-27). Man, child and woman alike. In fact, God knows His creation so intimately and deeply as He knitted us together in the womb.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” – Psalm 139: 13
We see a fuller picture of this in Job:
“Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.” – Job 10: 8-12
He even tells Jeremiah that He had great plans for him before he was born:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5
The Bible clearly tells us that humans were known personally by God as unborn children.
Beyond the Bible, science tells us that the human embryo contains a unique genetic code – everything to make a human. All the genetic characteristics of a child are already present before a human shape starts to form.
The Bible and science tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made before birth.
This means that to terminate a pregnancy is to end the life of another; something which is abundantly against God’s will (Deuteronomy 5:17).
The Other Side
However, having a child is not always easy, desirable or expected. It is a decision that impacts the immediate future of a woman. For nine months she’ll carry a child that she may not want. Surely she deserves the right to decide whether she is to do this?
The pro-choice belief is that a woman should have the right to decide what happens to her body, including the genetic material of an unborn child. This isn’t a wild notion. Often the people who are arguing to end abortions aren’t in the position of being pregnant. Babies are effort – ask any parent.
Why would someone have an abortion?
A survey in South Australia outlined the main reasons why women chose to terminate their pregnancies. The top four were:
- Pregnancy would jeopardise future
- Could not cope
- My right to choose
- Can’t afford a baby
Some women end up having abortions for medical reasons and as the result of sexual assaults. However, most terminations occur based on the personal circumstances of the mother.
The Right Response
It may seem selfish that a woman chooses to end a pregnancy through an abortion for some of the listed reasons above; but as Christians we aren’t really in the position to judge someone’s heart or motives.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” – Matthew 7: 1-5
What we do need to think of is the other side with compassion. If we are going to be arguing against abortions, we need to be fighting for services and supports that assist women during and after pregnancy, not shutting them down. This includes pushing for subsidised pre- and post-natal care, counselling, and medical appointments. As well as fighting for supports for abortion alternatives, protection of work status and flexible education programs with subsidised child care facilities.
Jesus made sure the crowds who came out to see him were fed. He healed the physically sick and showed kindness to some questionable characters. He went teaching but loved those who needed it at the same time through food, care and company. He cared for them spiritually, emotionally and physically. We should do the same.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. – Matthew 9:35-38
If we want to encourage people to consider alternatives, we need to also compassionately fight to have services that will help them if they choose not to abort. Changing the status quo for unwanted pregnancies won’t change without a shift in the support for women who decide to carry a child to term. We cannot do one without the other.
Don’t let self-righteous debates cloud your vision. Fight to protect the unborn and the physical needs of those unprepared for a child… at the SAME time. Acknowledge the plight of those in the position of an unwanted pregnancy and what needs to be done to help them. Fight to protect human life with eyes wide open to the both sides.