Abortion: right or wrong?

It's a tough question, and one where nearly everyone has an opinion. However, it seems to me that most of the responses have not been carefully considered. Is abortion right, whether it is legal or not? Or is it wrong? A sin? Even murder? Or is it just another choice? And whichever side you come down on, why?

If you have easy, immediate answers, you probably need to think longer and more carefully. This is a very important question, because the answers we give affect many other parts of our lives.


And if the answers are easy and you oppose all abortion, then what do we tell a young girl who is pregnant as the result of being raped by an older family member? Or what do we tell the woman whose baby is anencephalic, who in effect has no brain, and will die within hours of birth?

And if you support virtually unlimited abortion on demand, how do you justify taking the life of a baby who is weeks (or less) from birth, and doing so for the convenience of the mother? Can you really argue that it's not taking the life of a human being?

Easy answers?

I have discussed the question a number of times with women who favor abortion. A couple stand out in my mind. The first was a young woman who argued against taking any form of life. It was morally wrong, she said, to take any life: to kill a cockroach, or even a mosquito. All life was of equal value. A horse equals an ant equals a fish equals a baby girl.

At the end of this hour-long conversation, I said, "If all life is equal, and it is never justifiable to take a life, I conclude, then, that you oppose abortion. Right?" Wrong. End of discussion.

Part of my problem with these conversations is that they are so often dominated by contradictions, stereotyping and refusal to consider evidence that doesn't support one's preconceived ideas, on either side. If someone argues for abortion, that person is automatically deemed by the opponent as a radical left-wing, liberal humanist. But if someone takes a position against abortion, he or she is instantly labeled a Bible-thumping, fundamentalist bigot.

Neither is fair or conducive to civil discussion, even if the characterization may be true.

The other woman I remember was a student in a class I taught. She was writing a research paper defending abortion on demand. As she presented her research before the class, to my surprise, she said the process of research had forced her to change her mind about abortion. She no longer supported it except in rare circumstances. So now she had to change the entire premise of her paper.

So now, let it be known that I oppose abortion, with rare exceptions. Here are some reasons, none of which are from the Bible:

First, there is the matter of justice.

In America, every person is entitled by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution to due process. That means nobody can legally inflict arbitrary penalty or punishment on another person, without going through the courts. And, by any reasonable definition I have seen, a baby - even before birth - is a human being, and hence a person. What else could it be?

In any other circumstance, Americans are disgusted and dismayed by the killing of an innocent human being. A sense of justice runs deep in our culture. But not in the case of an inconvenient pregnancy. So, on that basis, I am against nearly all abortions. Killing someone without some establishment of guilt is simply wrong.

Second, there is radical individualism and its cancerous fruit.

America is plagued by radical individualism, the idea that me, my wants, my needs, are of prime importance. There is little sense of commitment to community or responsibility for the welfare of others, even at the cost of the life of another. An entire generation has never learned about social responsibility, deferred gratification, or putting something off for the sake of something better. We are becoming in large measure a nation of children. And the end of it is devastating.

Research shows that most abortions are not done for medical reasons, nor are they truly to "protect the life of the mother." Under current law, just about any inconvenience is considered a threat to the life of the mother. Most abortions are done for convenience. And though the mother is nearly always blamed, a great many abortions are done after the mother is pressured by the father or others, and yields to those important to her.

A third reason is the slippery slope.

Like the newest model of small, economical auto, rationalized justifications for behavior tend to expand. After a few years, an econobox car will have a larger engine, a larger body, and more luxury. And with that, of course, a higher price. So it is with rationalized behavior.

If one justifies killing a baby before birth, it's a small step to say it's also acceptable after birth. After all, it's the same baby, and the difference is little. And in fact, we are seeing that in American society now. We don't have to look far to find news accounts of babies and young children horribly abused and even killed.

These rising numbers of child abuse, of children killed, and of other indications show that a significant segment of our culture takes human life as something of little importance. I live in an area where that happens often, and is in the news several times a week. There is, indeed, such a thing as a slippery slope.

So, what would I say to the mother of the anencephalic baby? Speaking as one who has never experienced that appallingly painful situation, I would say abortion is not the preferred solution. However, after reading accounts from medical doctors of the great suffering involved, I would reluctantly agree to ending the pregnancy by abortion.

Then what about the girl who was raped? This, to my thinking, is much different. The first priority is to remove her from the environment where it happened, and take strong legal action against the man. This girl needs to be in a loving, supportive environment. Then, given that environment, I think she should carry the baby to term, and offer it for adoption. She has a heavy load to carry in dealing with the emotional effects of rape. It will not help to add to that the effect of killing her baby.

I am certain not all who read this will agree, and that's okay with me. My intent here is not to persuade readers, but to provoke thought, both about abortion, the immediate topic, and about our attitudes, the underlying problem.


31 Comments

I hear many advocates of abortion mention that a baby could die, or that a baby might die according to doctors. Who gave the doctor the authority to say to a mother, "your baby is going to die because of this medical condition or this disease". How does the doctor know this and if he doesn't, how can we say abortion in this sense would be justified. I hardly think Gods word would condone such actionable behaviour. God has the sole authority on who lives, who dies as His word tells us that "it is appointed unto man once to die" and once we die we go to dust and the spirit goes back to the One who gave it.
It doesn't say, a doctor makes the appointment nor does the mother of the unborn.
How sad that because of self seeking pleasure we see mankind stoop to a level of the gods of the Old Testament who threw their seed to "Molech".
Most of the abortions done in this nation (America) and probably elsewhere are done from an act of self pleasure,thus resulting in a selfish decision and not because of some frantical scare of a disease or possible complication being submitted from a professional care provider.

Abortion is WRONG. It is against God's intent for
any conceived child. Every one formed in a womb has
some vision of God in them. It is why He formed
them in the womb. God wants something to be hence a
conceiving. A classic example is the Prophet Jeremiah.

Eliki,

If the conception is the result of the rape of a 10-year-old girl by her father, is that God's will?

I'm really, really glad I was not aborted. I have yet to find a person who
feels differently.

You ask: If the conception is the result of the rape of a 10-year-old girl by her father, is that God's will?
You don't take a wrong and try to make a wrong a right. It just shouldn't be. God of course has not wronged anybody, and it is not his will that men or women be abused in any form but unfortunately the sin that has entered the world has cause great grief of abortion and other atrocities upon men and women. God sent His Son to die on Calvary. He had to turn His back.

Martin,
The original statement was that every conception is God's will. I asked if that included the 10-year-old girl. You have not answered that question. Is a conception out of a rape God's will or not?

The question is not about how the unborn came to be but of the nature of what the unborn is. Making the excuse of "what if" all of the time completely misses and ignores the true fact of the intrinsic value of the unborn, because it is human.
Humans have value because they are human, even unborn humans. The way a human conception came about is not the factor nor should it be. Every human being is of great value, for if we devalue any human being, then all are at risk of devaluation, for the question then becomes; Who is it that sets the standard of what that value is?

Larry, in response to your last question to me: "The original statement was that every conception is God's will. I asked if that included the 10-year-old girl." You ask a rhetorical question that answers for itself if you are born again in Christ. God does not condone rape and has made justice for those who do such evils. Of course conception takes place anytime the woman conceives. Does that mean the woman will not conceive because the conception is evil? Of course it doesn't because the conception is of Gods human productivity in creation. I think if people would take procreativity for what it is and not make those agents of evil a necessary reason for aborting a baby then men and women everywhere would have a better understanding of Gods word and His Holy Word.
Its very unfortunate and sad that children as you ask be raped, or does it make it any less if its a forty year old woman? Of course it doesn't.
Men are inherantly evil and crimes upon one another will continue as long as we are in this earthly body. If a bank robber robs a bank and the teller shoots back and hits a bystander trying to defend him or herself does she stand more guilty than the robber who came with the sole intention of robbing a bank?
You make some very good points but I think we must take Gods word for what it is and as you said, think clearly and concisely over the actions we make from the head and not from the heart sometimes. We must use them both in unison with one another and therefore can make more logical decisions but only through Gods grace and mercy.

Abortion is murder. But why all the talk and no action to what will stop abortion. I know what will stop abortionist. Do you?

Ephraim,

Your comment solves nothing. A great many abortions are obtained by women who are under great duress and who receive no support from the ones who should be helping them in this. In fact, in a great many cases, women are strongly pressured to end a pregnancy via abortion. Labeling women murderers who are caught in this terrible situation shows no understanding, and no compassion or grace.

Your comment that you know what will stop an abortionist sounds like a thinly veiled threat to violence, and is utterly inappropriate.

What are the criteria which are being used to determine what is life? Does life begin at conception, at the "quickening" or when the embryo or fetus starts to develop enough neurons to be considered sentient?

Jeff,

Good question. It seems to me that life begins at conception. Do you have other thoughts?

I have always struggled with this issue. It's too easy to be absolute. I hate the idea of an innocent life destroyed for any reason. I believe the woman has a right to choose--at the point of conception. Once she's chosen to do something that she knows might get her pregnant, then I think she's made her choice and shouldn't get to change her mind at the expense of an innocent life.

But I also hate the idea of forcing a woman who was raped, who had no choice in the conception, to endure an unwanted pregnancy. What about her family's well-being? A pregnancy rarely just impacts a woman for nine months of her life. It affects her career--women who are underemployed to begin with often lose their jobs when pregnancies affect their ability to work, or (let's be honest) the way they look, when they work in certain jobs. How often do you see a heavily pregnant waitress? Pregnancy can affect her ability to feed her other children.

And what if the pregnancy endangers her health or life?

It's just not simple, is it?

What kills me is that the same people who often oppose abortion in almost all situations are also opposed to the social safety nets that make it possible for poorer women to go ahead and have those kids. Statistically, abortion rates go down in states where there is more available and affordable housing, medical care, and other programs.

And does the right of self-defense enter in? Put it in a different context--if your life or your health or your family's well-being was seriously threatened, would you have the right to do whatever you needed to do to protect yourself and your family--even at the expense of an innocent person? It's hard to imagine another situation where an innocent person can pose that kind of realistic threat, but say there was one. Would you have the right to choose your own well-being and your family's over that other person?

Why is it that pro-lifers keep pushing anti-abortion bills that do not specifically give a woman the right to defend her own life? They keep saying "Oh, this 'personhood' amendment wouldn't prevent a woman from aborting if the pregnancy threatened her life," but I don't see it in the language of the amendment. Why won't they explicitly put it in there? I've twice voted against those amendments, just because they are so vague, and I don't want something carved in stone in the constitution when it may go too far. Why won't these people present something reasonable?

It's just not as simple as some people want it to be.

I think that when life begins has always been a contentious issue from a moral as well as biological point of view. If you believe that. life begins at conception, does that mean that the dividing zygote is imbued from the moment of fertilization with the same legal standing as an adult person? If the woman miscarries because she
wasn't watching where she was going should she be guilty of negligent homicide? It is a difficult question to answer. I think that we should start the conversation from.the point of establishing under what status the developing embryo/fetus is and determine.it rights from.there. Then one could develop a.more.reasoned response to the abortion question.

Jeff,

Thanks for the thoughtful response. I agree that the question is more than difficult. My thinking focused on trying to avoid arbitrary standards, and that left me with only conception. Trying to microanalyze the moment, in my view, is futile.

I chose conception because I could say with some certainty that a new "something" came into being at that point. I see no way that the something can be anything but human, and it's genetically a separate being from the mother. So I am left with life starting at conception.

I don't think there is a necessary connection between legal culpability and life beginning at conception. The law can be and is written any way the lawmakers choose.

It is not a tough question. David speaks of being known from his Mother's
womb...John the Baptizer lept in Elizabeth's womb. Hagar carried Ishmael
to full term...conceived in adultery, yet God allowed the birth. The Bible
doesn't speak of trimesters and personhood. It talks of God knowing us
from the foundations of the earth, knowing the number of hairs on our head.
Additionally, people are the only part of creation made in the image of God.
An abortion kills an image bearer of God, a human life. While "legal"
according to manmade law, it is murder accprding to Scripture.

Now, the more important question...do we apply God's law to legislation?
Or, do we share the Gospel, make more disciples, and reduce the number
of abortions by the power of the Holy SpIrit changing hearts and minds?
Storming legislatures, and creating ballot issues is never modeled in
scripture.

Scott,

Thanks for your comments. I am in general agreement with you, and especially in agreement that the first line of approach should be the grace of God, and seeking to make disciples. That's something most churches do poorly, in my opinion, and abortion is as common in the churches as outside.

Without a change of heart in the people, legislation is limited in what it can do, because any law not supported by the people will fail. But making laws -- good ones or bad ones -- is easier than making disciples.

Nevertheless, I still believe that there are certain aspects of these decisions that are excruciatingly difficult. Those who have been involved in helping with both the decisions and the consequences have attested to this.

All religious apsects aside...is there a right or a wrong concerning abortion...it's an individual choice...what makes a person feel guilty is a sin..therefore, if a female feels no quilt in having an abortion, then it is no sin to her individual self and vice versa. Who are we to judge what anyone else thinks...that's between her and god.

Linda,

Thanks for your comments. I have a bit of a problem, however, with your premise. You say you put all religious aspects aside, and then discuss sin, a religious concept.Also, the idea that sin is defined by the feelings of the person involved is simply neither biblical nor logical. People routinely do things they know are wrong, and do them anyway.

Abortion is indeed an individual choice. However, society has a strong interest in setting the conditions under which one may take the life of another. The individual choice has broad implications, and is not a private choice, made in isolation.

And the choice is certainly between the woman and God, but God has made many strong statements about his attitude toward injustice and children. And abortion is certainly the ultimate injustice to the baby.

Abortion is something I have pondered many times.A medical procedure that ends a human life.Pregnancy is a biological process sperm cell meets egg,egg gets fertalised human being develops.Its a human being right away,maybe the most brillient person ever. Perhaps the next Einstien or a poet or a great scientist who will discover the cure for cancer.10,000 babys are murdered every year in the USA.There are many people who try for years to have a child of there own and can't,These children that were killed could have had homes with people who would love them.but instead wind up in a garbage pail.Rape,incest,Mothers ability to carry safely to term or childs ability to live after birth.are all good arguements to keep the proceedure legal.But should only be allowed under these circumstances and as a last resort.A child is a child not a choice!

The question is not about abortion but proper
education at an early age that an individual can
make better choices in life.
It is no ones business what an individual does.
If Catholics actually believed in Jesus's
teachings, they would be supportive of the
individual, but suggest the person take another
path to improve their life so such a decision
would less likely be getting pregnant in the
first place.
Religion has failed society. I hear over and
over again, in every presidential campaign,
abortion being a big concern. If it is, then why
hasn't anyone solved this problem? Because of
control and money. Religions and government for
centuries have worked hand in hand to control the
population for greed (Sugar Baron; On the bloody
road to Jesus - Books to read).
Our constitution declares we are free people, but
laws are created to subdue individuals rights.
Christians and Catholic churches have been
against women since they began. Taken from the
Hebrews; it treats women as property. Read the
Bible, it is clear.

HWH,

Thanks for your comments. I will respond to some of them, because I think they demand a response.

You close your comment by urging people to read the Bible. That's good advice. However, your other comments seem to say you have not taken your own advice. The Bible simply does NOT say much of what you allege.

You are correct that some politicians at every election speak against abortion, but don't solve the problem. That's, of course, evident, since the matter is one of individual choice, and moral choice, and it would be impossible to completely do away with certain choices and not do away with a large measure of personal freedom.

Also, the absolute freedom of the individual is not the most important value. Society has a legitimate interest in some personal behavior. For example, it's in the greater interest that women not be raped. Or that people not be murdered. Or that one's property be randomly taken. And it's also in the interest of society that babies not be killed, especially for the convenience of others. When the life of the most innocent and defenseless is cheapened, the life of everyone else is also cheapened. We are not unrelated.

Finally, if you think Christianity controls any part of this world, you are obviously not paying attention. And if you think Christians are motivated by greed and power, you have such a distorted and biased view of things as to be laughable. Christians spend billions of dollars on helping others, with absolutely no hope of personal gain. Christians have built hospitals, schools, universities, orphanages and more. They are presently involved in eradicating AIDS and malaria, and in bringing fresh clean water to those who have none.

Perhaps you should read more than one book, and look a little farther at the evidence. I look forward to your reply.

Larry vs Linda:
Individual choice vs society has strong interest? Does society therefore have control over a woman's body? what right does one have a right over another. Your comment contradicts common sense.
Catholic's are protesting Pres Obama's request to pay for Birth-Control. To deny this should be unacceptable to the betterment of society as a whole. Using Birth-Control has little effect if no semen is present. Catholics are contradicting
their message here, and is partly to blame for the problem at hand. Priest expect to be respected, but send mixed messages. What do you expect an individual to do when they cannot read someones mind? God is the act of life, so I suppose you are correct in your statement: "choice is certainly between the woman and God". Remember, God is a natural state, not something that can speak in
conversation with man, so God's statements in reality is how nature interacts with one another. To think otherwise is an attempt for one group to control the herd.
We all wish to protect life, whether human, animal etc., but expecting a woman to take full burden because think she ought to is insane. Step up to the plate financially, physically to support this life, such as and including "baby-sitting", then your demand upon women is more workable, but to expect a woman to do as another says follows the role of master/slave, which entails ownership. You or no one else owns another.

Larry "Also, the absolute freedom of the individual is not the most important value". Doing or thinking otherwise is control, oppression. If the journey is that critical, then elect another individual to do your fighting for. You state the words and then deny it. I have read the Bible twice, and have referred back to it on occassions. Rude that you would insinuate otherwise. Either arrogant or self righteous. I say this with the
most respect, but to the point.

Control and oppression are not the same things. Every society exerts a measure of control on its members. That's why every society has laws, and expects them to be obeyed. And when a significant portion of that society disregards that law, the society breaks down. That is not necessarily oppression. There are some cases where dictatorial or other governments become oppressive, acting against the best interest of their people.

"If the journey is that critical, then elect another individual to do your fighting for." I have no clue what you are talking about in this sentence.

I also have no idea what I supposedly stated and then denied.

Perhaps you have read the Bible twice. However, your post shows no understanding of what you have read.

Larry. society has already broken down because of these laws and rules. There is another reason for these laws and rules: again, control and money. Have you heard of a non-profit organization called International County/City Management Association (ICMA) and sister org ICMA-RC? ICMA instructs cities, counties and
states and encourages laws against the minority, why? because minorities will stand alone, unprotected by the majority because the majority is unaffected and therefore, doesn't care.
Citizens in general cannot afford to fight laws against them. This mindset; ability to defend self, can be traced back to the teaching of Christanity. ICMA is amused by this ability to raise taxes and to pinpoint culprits that society will support. The Good and Evil scenario. Our situation right now is prime for the elites to have full control over society, thanks to the sick teachings of the church. Good job, you have sold us all out religious fanatics.
I appreciate this opportunity to express myself and presenting the truth! As I have presented, there are a wealth of documents available to support my ideas. Actions present and past, with a logical and common sense mind will show
listening carefully and paying attentions to words used, will reveal the true desire of so-called leaders of the world. These individuals are criminals.
As for reading the Bible only twice, I understand that this work is instructions for the elites to control society. Consider us not sheep but servants, or paid slaves. Your understanding of the Bible keeps us all in chains.

I am quite willing to hear and publish dissenting views, and to discuss them. The caveat, however, is that they be rational, supportable, and not intentionally offensive.

I have carefully read all of your comments, and responded to some. However, the things you are writing are simply off the chart bizarre and, I believe, insupportable. Because of that, it's a waste of my time and resources to continue. Accordingly, future comments from you will not be published.

I understand. I let a friend read the post and he too acknowledged you didn't understand what I was saying. My friend was a priest in the army and a history buff, and currently is writing a book based on this very topic. Sadly, you are one of many
lost sheep in this world because of bad teachings. Good luck with your path.

I think its easy to conclude on the issue of abortion instead of blowing it out of proportions and then making it a complex issue.

Abortion done because of illicit and illegal relationship (pre & extra marital) is a sin, which is against the commandment of GOD.

Immorality is the major chunk of such unnecessary and unholy actions of the part of the partners.

It is GOD who creates man and on God's calling should a life end. We do not have the right or authority to take a life. If the very thought of abortion are not ethically binding in the framework of a knowledgeable and intellect society and if it no longer a crime then, whether murders committed in specific cases indeed are debatable issues.

We need to be faithful and stick to the marital bonds which GOD ordered, so that these silly issues do not crop up. We are made as humans not animals, which do not have the discerning spirit. So why have the cannibal instincts!(pre & extra marital affairs) Each one stick to only one partner within the marriage. You can easily eradicate this like polio or small pox.


As regards to medical emergencies and other deformities.... the living GOD is there to still perform miracles if we are faithful to His calling. Nothing is impossible with GOD.
Get close receive Him and He will protect, redeem and save us from all evil and contingencies.

i think abortion is right and also wrong but if for example the women got raped or there was somethin g wrong with the baby i think its ok to get rid of the baby but if you just havn't used contreception then thats your own fault u should keep the baby because if you dint want the baby u should of put something on the end of it(as jeremy kyle say!)

I realize that a humain being has to make difficult decisions in there life times. We are 7 billion people in this world and growing. Eventually there will be a serious problem of over population. I know most people want to be the good caring person, but the world has too many problems already when there is few solutions to give. We as humains are so hypocritical, we can kill a rabbit or a deer without any regret. In my opinion there are life forms that deserve to live. Yet a miniscule embryo without even any thought process is considered automatically because it is humain more valuable than all those animals that make a contribution to nature. I realize that all humain life is valuable. Some people say that they all have the same value. When we become all the same is the day that we lose are individuality, which is comunism and they make the desicions for you whether you like it or not. We should always have the right to choose, whether its the life of a bee or an embriyo.

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      i think abortion is right and also wrong but if for example the women ...
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      Larry. society has already broken down because of these laws and rules...
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