Let's look at an issue that is addressed and forbidden by this command, and has become one of our nation's most controversial - abortion. The key question surrounding abortion is:
When does human life begin?
Common sense tells you that once a seed is planted, the beginning of the cycle of life begins. This is why very few farmers are pro-abortion.
In 1967 at the International Conference on Abortion in Washington DC, authorities from around the world and from different fields came to the conclusion that "...there was no point in time between the union of the sperm and egg and the birth of the infant at which point we could say that this was not a human life."
U.S. Court confirmed this decision recently in the case of the fertilized eggs of a woman who won custody of them from her husband. A fertilized ovum is not just a potential human being; it is a human being with vast potential.
But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. - Matthew 1:20
The Bible teaches that we are not permitted to take the life of another, no matter how young.
What are major arguments for abortion?
1. Rape and incest (emotional)
This is a difficult question because you are put into a situation where it seems cruel to force a person to have a baby conceived in this way. The truth of the matter is that the occurrence of this is very rare. Statistics show that pregnancy, for this reason, is below 1%. In a "legitimate" case of pregnancy caused by rape or incest, the real question is "how will it help the victim of the crime (the woman) by committing another act of aggression against her (killing the innocent child)?"
Two wrongs will not equal right. These rare cases are not easy to decide and there is no painless answer, but having the child will cause fewer scars than killing it, and it is morally correct and merciful.
2. Psychological reasons
Abortion is necessary because women may have psychological problems if they continue the pregnancy. Statistics show that:
- There is no mental illness that can prevent a woman from having a baby.
- Male suicides: 16 per 100,000
- Non-pregnant females: 3.5 per 100,000
- Pregnant females: 0.06 per 100,000
- Danger of suicide is overrated for pregnant women.
- More psychological problems stem from having abortions than being refused to have one.
- Studies have shown that when a woman is having serious psychological problems, having an abortion served to increase her problems, not eliminate them.
Most women in the best of circumstances have anxiety, fear, strain and doubt about the pregnancy. These are made greater the more difficult her life situation is. However, to have an abortion to relieve these mental problems usually has a negative effect and creates more problems, not less. Also, this reason is often given as a convenient excuse by women who simply refuse to accept the responsibility of having and rearing a child.
3. Every child should be a wanted child.
If we follow this reasoning it gives us the right to eliminate unwanted spouses, sick, old, etc. "Being wanted" is the wrong criteria for deciding whether someone has the right to life or not. Statistics show that a significant percentage of children born were not planned at first but parents grew used to the idea. The argument that unplanned children will become unwanted, battered and abused when born is statistically untrue.
Statistics show that unplanned pregnancies usually become wanted babies when born. In our society we have a well-developed system to care for these children who are still unwanted at birth. Adoption is still a better alternative than death - for the child and the mother.
4. Having or not having a baby should be the decision of the woman and her right to decide for her own body.
This is the strongest argument today. That is why they call it "pro-choice" and not "pro-abortion".
What we need is medical honesty:
- An appendix is part of your body, its cells are your cells. You can have it removed or not.
- A fertilized ovum lives within the body of the woman but has its own genetic code. It is a separate and unique person living within the mother.
- A woman has a right to her own body but the baby inside of her is not her body, it is a different body, a body being nurtured by her body but not her body.
The ability to conceive also carries with it the responsibility to nurture what is conceived. The only way that a person can defend abortion on the basis of personal rights and freedoms is by completely ignoring the rights of the unborn child. Both parties have rights - to live. We would never condone a child-killing his mother because:
- He didn't want her.
- She made him feel nervous & tired.
- She caused him to live in poverty.
- She interfered with his personal rights & freedoms.
The ability to conceive and carry a child does not automatically carry with it the "right" to destroy it.
5. Abortion saves malformed children and their parents from misery and an unhappy life.
The assumption here is that handicapped and retarded children have a greatly deficient ability to enjoy life. This has been shown to be untrue. The handicapped and malformed have the same degree of life satisfaction as the normal. With care and treatment, their lives can be fulfilling for them (if not normal by our standards). We should not judge them and their happiness by our standards.
No association of parents of handicapped children has ever endorsed abortion as a means of solving their problems.
Abortion as a means of handling handicapped or deformed children was the first step taken by the Nazis in Germany to solve their problem. It was not long before they had become so dulled in conscience that they saw killing as the solution for those who were old, sick and eventually those who were just different. There is very little difference between the "Master Race" idea and the "quality of life" theory of pro-abortionists. (Let's destroy people who interfere with the quality of our life.)
It can happen here. We already have many groups and politicians who support abortion and euthanasia. This is the first step.
6. Abortion is needed to keep the population down.
The birth rate has dropped in North America. There is no danger of overcrowding. Mismanagement of our economy and ecology are the problems, not human reproduction. Only 2% of the U.S. population produces the food for the other 98%. The USA has 8 acres of useful land for every person.
The problem in third world countries is not overpopulation, it is economic in nature. When their standard of living is brought up, they will voluntarily have less children. Again, economic greed is responsible for this and many times the leaders of these countries are the ones guilty of causing the poverty. Abortion never solved overpopulation problems (e.g. China).
In any society where life is considered no more than cells evolving from a primal gene pool, abortion can make sense and be defended as an option. But as Christians, we believe that life is in the image of God and that any willful destruction of life, no matter how young, deformed or handicapped, is an act of aggression. The reverse is also true: mercy shown to those who are His, is mercy shown to Him.
Abortion: Are there any exceptions?
When the mother's life (not lifestyle) is truly in danger:
- Pregnancy in a cancerous womb.
- Pregnancy outside the uterus, etc.
In these cases the doctors are treating the woman and in so doing may harm the fetus, but it is not a direct attack on the fetus - it is a life-saving operation for the woman.
In a perfect world there would be no such problems - rape, incest, unwanted babies, life-threatening pregnancies. In our imperfect world, the Lord extends His grace and mercy to all children who have died this way - they are with Him.
He also extends His grace, mercy and forgiveness to all those who because of weakness, ignorance or hardness of heart went ahead and had abortions. He also offers strength, mercy and grace to those who risked careers, comfort or health and went ahead with their pregnancies.
In the end, for those who come to Him, Jesus makes all things okay.
- The 6th Commandment establishes that human life is precious because God creates it in His own likeness and to willfully damage our own or someone else's life is an act of aggression against God.
- Because of sin and evil in the world, God allows the government to protect society against evil by punishing and executing criminals (in fairness and justice) and also defend the nation against evil power in the world.
- The Christian attitude toward evil and violent people is to try to win them over with good whenever possible but not at the expense of what is good. I do not allow someone to harm others or me in order to show them I love them.
- Have you ever known someone who had an abortion? How did you feel about it?
- Why do you think seemingly "good" and "sincere" people openly support the pro-choice movement?
- Should we give instruction to young unmarried people about birth control methods in addition to the teachings about abstinence?
- If your (wife, sister, etc.) risked death during pregnancy would you intervene medically if it meant harming the baby? What moral or spiritual rationale would you provide for this?