Abortion | Pro-Life 101

Why Pro-Life?

God’s Word teaches that life exists at conception and is to be protected from its earliest age. To abort for any reason other than the preservation of another life is contrary to God’s Word.

Freedom of choice ends where compromising God’s Word begins.

Human beings, born and unborn, whether healthy or impaired, are of equal value in God’s eyes.

Christians will seek to protect the lives of mothers and children, care for them, and use God’s Word to correct error and proclaim truth about life now and for eternity.

Abortion 101

Abortion is the expulsion or removal of an unborn child from the womb resulting in the death of that child. Listed are the types of abortion:

  • Spontaneous: The action of the body in which a child, usually in the very early stages of gestation, dies in the womb and is naturally expelled. A spontaneous abortion is unintentional and is often called a miscarriage.
  • Medically Necessary: To intentionally terminate the life of an unborn child once it is determined continuing the pregnancy would end the life of both mother and child. Abortions for this reason are becoming rarer with advancements of medicine, but they do occur.
  • Elective: To terminate the life of an unborn child for any reason other than the saving of the mother’s life. This includes situations in which the mother’s health (physical or mental) might be endangered but not necessarily her life.

Abortion Euphemisms: “Pregnancy Termination”; “Pregnancy Reduction”; “Pregnancy Interruption”; “Induced Abortion”; “Induction of Labor”

Chemical Abortion Euphemism: “Medication Abortion”

Late-Term Abortion Euphemisms: “Dilation & Extraction” (“D & X”); “Late-Term Abortion”; “Intact Dilation & Extraction” (“IDE”); “PBA” (“Partial Birth Abortion”); “Post-Viability Abortion”

WHEN ABORTIONS ARE PERFORMED:

Abortions can be performed for any reason through the full nine months of pregnancy. States may regulate where, when, who, how an abortion can occur in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, but they cannot forbid a woman from having an abortion at any time throughout the pregnancy.

METHODS OF ABORTION:

Some abortion methods are surgical in nature; others chemical.

Surgical abortion procedures:

  • Suction Aspiration (or, “Vacuum Curettage”): Technique used most often for first-trimester abortions using a powerful suction tube to dismember and remove the developing baby
  • D&C – “Dilatation* (or “Dilation”) and Curettage”: First-trimester technique using a loop-shaped steel knife to cut and remove the body of the baby; a second- and third-trimester technique using forceps with sharp metal jaws to grasp parts of the developing baby, which are then twisted and torn away. This continues until the child’s entire body is removed from the womb.
  • Dilation and Extraction (or, “D&X”; or, “partial-birth abortion”): Third-trimester technique used to abort a baby between 20 and 32 weeks old or even later. The abortionist reaches into the mother’s womb, grabs the baby’s feet with a forceps and pulls the baby out of the mother, except for the head. The abortionist then jams a pair of scissors into the back of the baby’s head and spreads the scissors apart to make a hole in the baby’s skull. The abortionist removes the scissors and sticks a suction tube into the skull to remove the baby’s brain. The forceps are then used to crush the baby’s head and the abortionist pulls the baby’s body out the rest of the way.

Chemical abortion procedure:

  • Chemical Abortion: The chemical abortion procedure requires the administration of two drugs, mifepristone [known as RU 486] and misoprostol (a synthetic prostaglandin), to cause an abortion. Mifepristone blocks the progesterone hormone that is needed to sustain a pregnancy. Misoprostol ensures the expulsion of the unborn child. The drug regimen is administered the fifth and ninth weeks of pregnancy and involves multiple doctor visits.

REASONS FOR ABORTION:

Most abortions do not take place to save a mother’s lives or physical health, or in cases of rape and incest, or to avoid birth defects. More than 90% of all abortions are performed for social or economic reasons. Less than 1% of abortions are performed because the mother’s life is in danger or in cases of rape or incest.

NUMBER PERFORMED PER YEAR:

After reaching a high of over 1.6 million in 1990, the number of abortions performed annually in the United States have dropped significantly over the last 25 years. Two independent sources confirm a downward trend: the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Guttmacher Institute (GI), which was once a research affiliate of America’s leading abortion provider Planned Parenthood. The CDC ordinarily develops its annual report on the basis of data received from state health departments (and New York City and the District of Columbia), but the data is voluntary and has been missing statistics from California, New Hampshire, and at least one other state since 1998. GI’s numbers come from direct surveys of abortionists conducted every few years. Because of these different data collection methods, GI consistently obtains higher counts than the CDC.

In 2017, the U.S. abortion rate reached a historic low to 13.5 abortions per 1000 women, aged 15-44 years, according to Guttmacher.

It must be noted, however, that the number of U.S. medication abortions increased between 2014 and 2017. A chemical abortion involves the use of an “abortion pill” using the medicines, mifepristone, and misoprostol, to cause an abortion.  A total of 339,640 medication abortions occurred in 2017, a 25% increase from 2014, Guttmacher noted. These accounted for 39% of all abortions in 2017.

See the latest data here.

FAQs

QUESTION: When does life begin? I know that life begins at the time of conception. I say with the Psalmist, “Truly I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived.” But when does conception take place? Is it at the moment the egg is fertilized or is it when the fertilized egg implants in the womb? What did David mean when he said: “conceived”? Can I say with absolute certainty that life begins when the egg is first fertilized before it reaches the womb?

ANSWER: For decades, the term “conception” has undergone redefinition in our society. Volumes of medical literature had previously reflected the long-standing teaching that conception and fertilization were the same things.

Yet some years ago, some people sought to redefine conception as implantation of the embryo in the uterine lining. Rather than viewing conception as the point of fertilization they refer to conception as a “process” that begins at fertilization and ends at implantation. This new definition conveniently obscures the fact that some chemicals and devices designed as “birth control” actually prevent the developing life in the embryonic stage from implanting in the uterine lining.

Follow closely what is being done. The pro-life mantra has maintained “life begins at conception.” Until recently “conception” and “fertilization” were synonymous. By redefining “conception” as “implantation,” manufacturers and advocates of abortifacient forms of birth control (which prevent implantation of the developing child) claim no abortion occurs since “conception” (by their redefinition) does not occur.

Biblically, the Hebrew words convey the truth clearly. The Scriptural teaching in Psalm 51:5 uses a word for “conceived” that closely relates to the passion of the procreative act. The Hebrew word for conception does not permit us to think of life as beginning at a point later than fertilization.

Biologically, the only differences between maturing life at fertilization and at implantation are size and geography. That which grants “personhood” to the implanted embryo is present in the newly-created life at fertilization. That genetically-unique human being continues to mature throughout its life – whether before or after birth. From fertilization to birth, life matures. What changes is geography.

In summary, the Hebrew language intimately ties the word “conceive” with the passion of the procreative act. Biology confirms the unique genetic blueprint is already present and completely programmed for human growth when fertilization occurs. Therefore, Scripture supports “conception” to mean life is created and exists at fertilization.

It is more than coincidental those church bodies that reject the truth of the existence of life at fertilization also reject select portions of Scripture – including the denial of the Psalm 51:5 proof passage to explain the existence of life at fertilization.

Yes, you can say with absolute certainty that life begins at fertilization. To establish a new starting point for the beginning of life is utilitarian and obscures both theology and biology.

QUESTION: What if a pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s physical or mental health? What are the considerations allowing such abortion exceptions?

ANSWER: When a pregnancy occurs there are now two lives (or more in the case of a multiple pregnancy) to consider. There are very rare occasions where the presence of the unborn child creates a mental or physical health issue for the mother. Equally, there are times where the mother, by her actions or circumstance, presents a risk for her unborn child. Both are of equal concern to a Christian.

It is emotionally appealing today to argue for the termination of the unseen person (the unborn child) in favor of the seen person. In fact, modern feminists no longer hide behind the shroud of saying “we don’t know when life begins.” Naomi Wolf readily admitted that in abortion a life is lost. Camille Paglia went even further to state that abortion truly is “murder.” Yet, both of these women favor the seen over against the unseen and ardently defend a woman’s right to kill her unborn and unseen child.

God’s Word does not allow for such preferential treatment. The existence of human life is a blessing given by God (Psalm 127:3-5). As such, our relationship with a blessing is not as an owner over an object but as a steward over a trust (Luke 19:11-27). We are charged with protecting and caring for life (1 Timothy 5:8). In fact, our concern for others is to be equal or exceed our concern for ourselves (Philippians 2:3-8).

There is increasing evidence that abortion also carries with it a risk to the mental health (post-abortion syndrome) and physical health (abortion-breast cancer relationship) of the mother. Speaking worldly, depending on how one wants to judge the statistical information, having the abortion may simply replace one risk with another.

Because Jesus died for the sins of all people and the accountable state of personhood exists in the sight of God at conception (Psalm 51:5) we cannot give preferential treatment to “health” over against “life.” Tending to the mental and physical health of others is part of our stewardship over lives and represents the sacrificial concern that we can show to others (Philippians 4:5). Such loving concern for others is commendable unless we sin in order to do it. Killing the unborn life in order to help the mental or physical health of another would be a sin for it usurps God’s authority over life and death (Deuteronomy 32:39).

The matter of abortion to protect a woman’s “life” (called the “exception clause”) is different for there is the tension of losing both lives or saving only one.

QUESTION: Is abortion a sin?

ANSWER: The Holy Scriptures clearly teach that the living, yet unborn, are persons in the sight of God (Job 10:9-11, Psalm 139:13, Psalm 51:5, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 1:41-44) and are under the protection of his commandment against murder (Exodus 20:13, Matthew 5:21, Genesis 9:6).

Therefore, abortion is a sin unless it is medically necessary in order to save the life of the mother. But even when a medical abortion appears needed to preserve a mother’s life, the Christian will always proceed with the intent to preserve all human life whenever possible.

It is the degenerating result of sin in our world that creates such dilemmas in our lives. But these challenges spur us to search God’s Word and to make decisions consistent with his will. In the very sad circumstance of having to choose to preserve one life rather than lose two lives, the weight of Scripture’s message telling us to protect life compels us to try to preserve both lives, or at least one life, whichever is possible.

All other reasons for abortion fail to reflect God’s high regard for human life and our responsibility to protect it.

Since the majority of abortions currently performed show disregard for God’s gift of life, we as Christians want to express concern and compassion for distressed, pregnant women by supporting the development of God-pleasing alternatives to abortion programs.

Spread the Word

Abortion is a “passion” issue. As we imagine unborn children being killed, we are ignited with righteous indignation. Early activism often fosters a charge into action regardless of the collateral damage. A student of Scripture, however, sees more at stake than just an unborn baby. We become concerned about souls. Jesus said, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:25).

Our motive is not to win an argument or make a point. We are to love those with whom we differ and express genuine concern not only for their bad decisions, but for their souls. Let’s engage proportionately with a consideration of four actions: Needs, Opportunities, Resources, and Skills.

Needs – Consider the needs. What is the status of abortion where we live? Is there an abortion clinic in our community? Are the number of abortions high in our state? Do we have more poor people or wealthy people where we live? If we cannot forbid the practice of abortion, what can we do instead to make it the least desired of all available options? Do we need more education on the topic? Do we need more community resources to help single mothers and poor families? Is our congregation perceived as a place of compassion and help, or is it cold and unconcerned? By identifying needs, we can use this brainstorming process to ask the hard questions.

Opportunities – Opportunities might also be understood as circumstances. Are there forums for us to express Christ-like concern for others within our community? Are there places to get help? Is there a place in our community to serve, to write, to speak up, etc.? Do the demographics of our area reveal a class of people in need of help? Is there loving pro-life activity already going on in my area that I can join?

Resources – We need resources to transform opportunities into action. Yes, such opportunities can take money, time, and networking. Do we have political connections or access to a meeting place? Do we have a network of like-minded friends to begin brainstorming? Are finding the time and finances to make a difference out of the question or merely a matter of restructuring and reprioritizing things in our lives?

Skills – Perhaps we know people who can speak or write eloquently. Maybe we enjoy helping, fixing, driving, calling, or encouraging. Some people are leaders; some are followers. Scripture is clear that gifts are allocated to people in different proportions (Romans 12:3-8). The lack of a gift or desired skill does not excuse us from our call to action (1 Peter 4:10). The late UCLA basketball coaching legend, John Wooten, once said, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

Sometimes our obstacles might not involve opportunities, resources, or skills, but, rather, our attitude. Translating all of this into action can most certainly be inconvenient if not challenging. Moving from lethargy to activity requires change, and change is almost never easy.

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