Ask RC

Ask RC: Is abortion ever permissible?

No. Abortion, whether it be surgical, or chemical, or even a hormonal means to avoid implantation of the unborn child, is always wrong. It is the taking of the life of a judicially innocent human being which is not only wrong, but an abomination.

Most of you, I suspect, are already persuaded that abortion for frivolous reasons is wrong. Many of you, however, likely also have a list, longer or shorter, of exceptions to that rule. The easiest one to deal with is the health of the child. Some of you may believe it fitting to abort an unborn child if said child suffers from severe deformity. Yet precious few of you would sanction killing such a child once born. This particular exception is just plain foolish. It is likewise, for me, terribly disheartening. As the father of a profoundly disabled little girl, it grieves me deeply to know that there are countless millions of people, even professing Christians, who would have put her to death, had she been put in their family.Shannonis a blessing to me, to the rest of our family, and to all who know her. Murdering this most helpless child goes against everything the faith stands for.

The next most frequently held exception is in cases of rape and incest. Here we allow the horror of how the child was conceived to cloud our judgment. As with above, the child is a living human being, not guilty of anything before the law. Murdering it is flat out wrong. This exception has become common in our circles, however, because of the baleful influence of politics. The pro-life movement long ago made the strategic decision to make their case against abortion by focusing on abortion on demand, abortion for any reason. This then morphed into the view that we can support legislation that protects the rights of mothers in these circumstances to murder their babies. This then morphed into the grotesque situation where we now find ourselves, where the National Right to Life committee gives their imprimatur to political candidates who believe that the mothers of these babies ought to be free to murder them. This they call “pro-life.” Thus the vast majority of professing Christians over the past three national election cycles gave their votes to President Bush and Senator McCain, both of whom promised to protect the “right” of rape and incest victims to in turn victimize their unborn children.

Last, there is the life of the mother. Of course as the Roe v. Wade decision now reads, any woman can procure an abortion at any time prior to the birth of the baby as long as the doctor is persuaded that the woman’s “health” is in danger. Health, in this instance is defined to include emotional well-being. A woman who would be sad to give birth to a baby that has been growing inside her for nine months is free to hire a doctor to murder that baby. But what about not just the health, but the life of the mother? What if the baby presents a clear and present danger to the life of the mother?

The most common scenario given here is a tubal or ectopic pregnancy. Even here, however, I would suggest that it would be wrong to murder the baby. Should we then just let the mother die? By no means. In these situations it seems the right thing to do would be to seek to move the unborn child to the safety of the womb. No, as far as I know, this has never been successfully done. Yes, every time this has been tried the child has died. But there is a profound difference between having a child die while trying to save it, and having a child die while trying to kill it. Though our culture has removed from the Hippocratic oath the promise to not perform abortions, it yet calls doctors to this principle- first, do no harm. Here the doctor does no harm to either the mother or the baby.

Finally, two closing and important points. First, we must never let these conversations become a parlor game. That is, we ought not discuss these things just for the intellectual pleasure of it. We’re talking about real babies being truly murdered day in and day out. It was Stalin who said one death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic. We ought never to lose sight that babies are being butchered. Second, neither should we lose sight of the power of the blood of Christ. Given the pervasiveness of this wickedness, you can rest assured that within even the smallest group of believers, there are mothers who have procured abortions, fathers, husbands and boyfriends who have pushed for them. The answer here isn’t to soft-pedal the sin, but to show forth the glory of the gospel. Jesus saves sinners. When we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. As we confess our sins, let us also confess this simple truth about this wicked crime- no killing babies, ever, no matter what.