"MORAL ISSUES CONFRONTING CHRISTIANS" Abortion INTRODUCTION 1. A moral issue that has long confronted Christians is abortion; in 1996 there were... a. 1.37 million abortions in the USA b. 42 million abortions worldwide -- The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform 2. Why do women have abortions...? a. 1% because of rape or incest b. 6% because of potential health problems for the mother or child c. 93% for social reasons (i.e., the child is unwanted or inconvenient) -- ibid. 3. At what gestational ages are abortions performed...? a. 52% before the 9th week b. 25% between the 9th and 10th week c. 12% between the 11th and 12th week d. 6% between the 13th and 15th week e. 4% between 16th and 20th week f. 1% (16,450/yr) after the 20th week (five months) -- ibid. [An estimated 43% of all women will have an abortion age 45. 47% of all abortions are performed on women who have already had a previous abortion. This behooves us to ask...] I. WHAT IS ABORTION? A. IN SIMPLEST TERMS... 1. Termination of a pregnancy before birth, resulting in the death of the fetus - MSN Encarta 2. Spontaneous abortions due to injury or disorders is called a miscarriage - ibid. 3. Induced abortions are intentionally brought on when a pregnancy: a. Is unwanted for various reasons b. A risk to the mother's health c. The fetus (child) is likely to have serious physical or mental health problems - ibid. -- Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy before birth B. IN SPECIFIC DETAILS... 1. Drug-based abortion methods a. Combination of drugs (e.g., RU-486) which result in contractions to expel the fetus b. Taken or administered during the first weeks of a confirmed pregnancy 2. Surgical abortion methods a. Vacuum aspiration 1) Used in the 6th to 14th week of pregnancy 2) An electric pump is used to extract the fetus 3) Often followed by a scraping of the uterus b. Dilation and curettage (D&C) 1) Used in the 6th to 16th week 2) Involves dilating the cervix and scraping the uterine lining with a curette c. Dilation and evacuation (D&E) 1) Used after the 16th week up to the 24th week 2) Involves greater dilation, suction, a large curette, and forceps d. Induction abortion 1) Also used between the 16th and 24th week 2) Saltine solutions and other chemicals are used to induce labor e. Hysterotomy 1) Used at the end of the 2nd trimester and into the 3rd trimester 2) Similar to a cesarean section, the uterus is cut open and fetus is removed f. Intact dilation and extraction (partial birth abortion) 1) Used at the end of the 2nd trimester and into the 3rd trimester 2) The fetus is removed from the uterus through the birth canal, feet first 3) Suction is used to remove brain and spinal fluid to collapse the skull and allow complete removal of the fetus -- Abortion is the gruesome termination of a living organism [Everyone agrees abortion is a terrible procedure. But our primary concern about abortion involves the moral issue...] II. IS ABORTION SINFUL? A. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS... 1. About the unborn in the womb a. They are formed by God - Psa 139:13-14; Jer 1:5; Isa 44:2 b. They are called "children" - Gen 25:21-22; 2Ki 19:3 1) The Hebrew word is ben 2) The same word for son - cf. Gen 4:25 c. They are called "babies" - Lk 1:41,44 1) The Greek word is brephos 2) The same word for newborns and older infants
- cf. Lk 2:12,16; 18:15 2. About the death of the unborn child a. Moses describes a case where a man strikes a pregnant woman, causing a premature birth - Exo 21:22 b. If there is no harm to the child, the man is only fined - Exo 21:22 c. If harm ensues, punishment is to meted proportionally: "life for life..." - Exo 21:23-25 d. Note well: 1) The unborn fetus is just as much a human being as the mother in this passage 2) Unintentional life-taking was usually not a capital offense, but here it clearly was! - cf. Exo 21:12-13 3. About the death of the innocent a. An abomination to God - Pr 6:17 b. The opposite to judgment and righteousness - Jer 22:3 -- The unborn are equal to live children; is it not a sin to kill innocent children? B. WHAT EARLY CHRISTIANS BELIEVED... 1. "Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born" - Epistle of Barnabas 19 (74 AD) 2. "You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child" - Didache 2:1 (150 AD) 3. "There are some women among you who by drinking special potions extinguish the life of the future human in their very bowels, thus committing murder before they even give birth." - Mark Felix, Octavius 30 (170 AD) 4. "In our case, a murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from the other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in its seed." - Tertullian, Apology 9:8 (210 AD) 5. "Now we allow that life begins with conception because we contend that the soul also begins from conception; life taking its commencement at the same moment and place that the soul does." - Tertullian, Apology 27 (210 AD) 6. Many others equated abortion with murder, including Hippolytus (228 AD), Basil the Great (374 AD), John Chrysostom (391 AD), and Jerome (396 AD) -- From the beginning of early church history, abortion was considered a sin [The Biblical and Christian view of the intentional death of the unborn has always been that it is murder. If so, then...] III. WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE? A. TO DEFEND THE HELPLESS... 1. We must support and uphold the weak - Ac 20:35; 1Th 5:14 a. Who is more weak than the innocent unborn child? b. Who is more helpless than unborn babes unable to defend themselves? 2. As Christians we cannot take the law into our own hands, nor can we resort to violence a. But we do have "weapons mighty in God" (meekness, gentleness, truth) - 2Co 10:1-4 b. By which we can "cast down arguments...bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ"
- 2Co 10:5 c. I.e., seek to lead others to a proper understanding of what is right and true 3. As "citizen saints" living in a free society, we should also: a. Pray for our leaders, that we may live peaceable, godly lives - 1Ti 2:1-4 b. Elect those who respect God's Word on such issues, for it can only "insure domestic tranquility...promote the general welfare" of one's country - U. S. Constitution c. Remembering that sin is a reproach to any nation - Pr 14:34 -- We should do whatever we can as peacemakers for Christ to protect the helpless B. TO HELP THE VICTIMS... 1. Both mothers and the unborn, offering viable alternatives (e.g., adoption) 2. Especially those suffering from abuse, incest, and rape 3. Willing to offer financial aid and counseling when needed - cf. Ac 20:35 4. For women who have had abortions need forgiveness and counseling -- As individuals and as a society, we should support alternatives to abortion and help to its victims (including those who have had abortions) C. RELATED CONCERNS... 1. What about women's rights... a. To choose? b. To privacy? c. To control their own bodies? 2. Such rights are important, but... a. Does a woman have the right to physically abuse her born children? b. Are mothers (or fathers) free to abuse children entrusted to their care? c. If mothers cannot abuse a child after birth, then why before birth? 3. "It's my own body!" many women say; yet that not is not quite accurate a. A woman with child is not one body, but two b. The woman's body is a host that nourishes the child c. The child is a separate organism residing as guest d. (Technically, the child is a parasite, but a benign parasite) e. It would be like a father with his child in his arms, claiming he had the right to kill it -- To kill a child in the name of private rights or personal choice is selfish! CONCLUSION 1. We live in a morally confused time... a. We have laws that protect endangered animals, including their unborn b. But many consider it wrong to enact laws to protect the human unborn! c. In the name of personal choice, millions of lives are destroyed each year -- "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil..." - Isa 5:20 2. Our society has become like the ancient nations of old... a. Who burned their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods - Deut 12:31 b. Even the nation of Israel, in its decline - Psa 106:37-38 -- Today, many shed innocent blood, offering their children on the idol of "pro-choice" 3. Our moral confusion is caused by the deceitfulness of sin... a. Which darkens our understanding, alienates us from God
- cf. Ep 4:17-19 b. Which blinds us and makes us past feeling, leading to lewdness and greediness - ibid. -- Sadly, many who would lead us politically and religiously are just as blind The only solution to the moral morass of our day is the truth that is in Jesus, where all sinners can find not only truth, but also renewal, righteousness, and holiness... - Ep 4:20-24 For more resources on the subject of abortion, visit these websites: MSN Encarta (article on abortion) http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761553899/Abortion.html The Center For Bio-Ethical Reform http://www.abortionno.org/abortion_no.html AbortionFacts.com http://www.abortionfacts.com/