[3]        Birth (1): Abortion


In Canada, there are over 100,000 abortions each year. The number has increased more than 5 times since 1970. In the US, there are over 1 million abortions each year. In both countries, the rate is about 1 abortion every 4 livebirths.

Some countries (e.g. China and USSR) use abortion as a means of birth control. The estimated abortion rate in USSR is more than 3 abortions per livebirth. The total number of abortions in the world is estimated to be over 50 million a year. Of these, China has about 10 million. In the last quarter century, the world has killed one billion preborn children.

12.  What are the ethical problems in an abortion?

a.   Abortion is the expulsion of the preborn child causing his/her death.

b.   Abortion involves 2 conflicting norms:

(1)  “You shall not murder” (6th Commandment, Ex 20:13). Every human being is created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27; 5:1) and has a right to life. Abortion is a murder and shedding of innocent blood, killing someone who did nothing wrong (Pr 6:16-17; 2Ki 24:3-4; Jer 7:6-7; 22:3; Joel 3:19).

(2)  A woman has the right to freedom, that is, the right to control her own body and to determine whether she allows the preborn to occupy her body for 9 months.

c.   History of abortion in North America:

·         In the US, the US Supreme Court ruled in 1973 in the famous case Roe v. Wade that a woman’s right to privacy includes a right to abortion.

·         In Canada, legal abortion has been allowed since 1968 if it is approved by doctors.

d.   Opposing sides on the issue:

·         Pro-life people stress the value and sanctity of each preborn’s life over the freedom of the mother. They include most of the conservatives, Roman Catholics, and evangelical Protestants.

·         “Pro-choice” people emphasize each woman’s right to reproductive choice. They include most of the liberals, atheists, and secular humanists.

o        “Pro-choice” people (more accurately “anti-life”) were not really upholding choice. They try to isolate, marginalize and silence pro-life people by labelling them as extremist (using words like bigot, ideologue, radical, fundamentalist, ultraconservative, intolerant, anti-progress, narrow-minded).

13.  Does the Bible talk about abortion?

a.   The Bible did not talk directly about abortion but different verses support the pro-life position:

(1)  The Bible regards preborn babies as life as God cares for a person in embryonic state (Ps 139:16).

(2)  The baby in a mother’s womb is referred to as “child” (Lk 1:41,44).

(3)  God chose people before their birth, e.g. Jeremiah and Paul (Jer 1:4-6; Gal 1:15).

(4)  Causing death of child before birth deserves death penalty (Ex 21:22-25).

b.   Since the Bible supports the sanctity of life before birth, abortion is the same as murder or shedding innocent blood, something that God hates and finds it detestable (Pr 6:16-17).

14.  Why should Christians oppose abortion?

a.   The right to freedom cannot overrule the right to life which is clearly a higher norm.

b.   Abortionists argue that a preborn child is not life; if so, then abortion is not murder.

·         With the advance in microbiology, an honest scientist will confirm that life begins at conception.

o        immediately after conception: unique and genetically similar with the parents

o        4 weeks after conception: formation of organs and starting of heart beats

o        6 weeks after conception: movement of body and limbs

o        8 weeks after conception: presence of brain waves, response to stimuli, can feel pain, all organs present, with 1 billion cells. Thus after 8 weeks, the baby is fully an individual.

·         Most abortions are performed between 9 to 12 weeks. Premature babies are viable at 22-24 weeks.

c.   Recently, abortionists concentrate on the argument that a preborn child is not a person.

·         Abortionists argue that only a “person” has the right to life but a preborn child is only a “potential” person (not an “actual” person). They argue that a preborn child only becomes a person at birth.

·         In the dictionary, the definition of a person is “a human being,” meaning all human life.

·         But abortionists add more qualifications, including independence, self-consciousness, rationality, etc. These are all arbitrary criteria with no scientific support.

·         The Pascal’s wager can be applied to the case of abortion. If you are not sure whether the preborn baby is a human being, to avoid abortion is the only wise decision. Otherwise, you risk murdering.

d.   Abortion has been found to cause numerous serious health problems for the mother.

·         There are deaths as a result of doctor-administered abortion procedure.

·         There is risk of damage to the uterus and the cervix.

·         The risk of breast cancer is higher: 25 out of 31 worldwide case-control and cohort studies show increased risk of more than twice for women with an abortion, even higher with more abortions.

·         There is permanent psychological damage, particularly “post-abortion syndrome” of depression, guilt, anger, regret, suicidal feelings. It can continue up to 7 or 8 years.

e.   Other considerations:

·         Abortions usually ignoring father’s rights to the decision.

·         Abortions often cause broken relations and divorce.

·         The decision to abort is often found to be unwise.

·         Finally, a reminder of reality: you would not exist if your parents are not pro-life.

15.  Does the majority of the people support abortion-on-demand?

·         Slightly more than half of the people think that abortion should be available.

·         Most people support some restrictions in abortion such as not using public funds.

·         There is now a trend toward less support for abortion. Only 30% support abortion-on-demand.

16.  Can abortion be practised under special circumstances?

a.   Abortions done for birth control, sex selection, economic security are selfish and malicious.

b.   There are special circumstances where abortion may be justifiable. But hard cases are rare.

(1)  Psychological depression of the mother: the most common but unjustified excuse.

(2)  Pregnancy from rape or incest: may be allowed only if the serious psychological problem.

(3)  Abnormal infant or birth defects: Putting “quality of life” before “sanctity of life” is always wrong.

(4)  Danger of the mother’s life: this is the only instance where abortion is justified because:

o        But with improved modern medical techniques, such situation is unlikely to occur.

17.  What can Christians do with unwanted pregnancies?

·         Christians can seek help from Crisis Pregnancy Centre or Birthright which provides financial help, accommodation, and adoption services (if the mother does not want the child after birth).

18.  How should Christians view infanticide and partial birth abortion?

·         Infanticide is mothers killing their unwanted babies after birth. Partial birth abortion is a cruel and horrifying procedure and is equivalent to infanticide. These are both murders.

19.  Can Christians participate in actions to reduce abortions such as Operation Rescue?

·         Operation Rescue tries to block abortion clinics (without violence) and try to convince mothers not to go through abortions. Pro-life people can participate if they are willing to pay the price.

·         Violent actions such as bombing abortion clinics or murdering abortion doctors are immoral.