Three Victims of Abortion
“Rescue those being taken off to death, and save those stumbling toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we didn’t know about this,’ won’t He who weighs hearts consider it? Won’t He who protects your life know? Won’t He repay a person according to his work?” Proverbs 24:11-12
Today we are facing the most significant struggle for life in all of history. We are confronted with a crisis at the beginning of life. By definition a crisis means “a critical moment, a crucial turning point.” We are entirely justified in using that term in connection with the sanctity of life issues in the United States. We must address the modern holocaust in our land.
A holocaust is a massive and gruesome destruction of human life. The first great holocaust on record is Pharaoh’s slaughter of infants (Ex. 1:15-16). The New Testament holocaust was the slaughter of infants under Herod (Matt. 2:16). Modern holocausts have taken place under Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Saddam Hussein, and others in recent years in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. It is estimated that 170 million people have died in the past 100 years under totalitarianism.1
Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court, over 48 million babies have been aborted.2 The leading cause of death in America is abortion.3 Each year in my state (Texas), five percent of the population die in accidents, 6.7 percent die from strokes, 22 percent die from cancer, and 27 percent die from heart disease^4^ But throughout the United States abortion claims about 4,100 children per day, 171 children per hour, 3 children each minute.5
Abortion is not a disease, it is not an accident, and it is not a medical problem. It is a spiritual and social problem. It is the deliberate taking of a human life. Unlike other causes of death, abortion is 100 percent preventable. What is the basis of our authority for making decision about life and death? We have only three possible bases for ultimate authority: (1) human reason, (2) ecclesiastical fiat, or (3) divine revelation. Our great problem in America today arises from the fact that most people are operating from the base of human reason.
As Christians we must affirm our commitment to divine revelation, the written Word of God— the Bible—as our ultimate authority base. We listen carefully to what philosophers and sociologists say, to what secular ethicists say, to what scientists say, to what educators say, and to what politicians say, but our ultimate position must depend on what God says in Scripture!
Secular humanists today insist that collective human reason provides an adequate consensus for “morality.” “Without benefit of clergy,” they like to say. But the facts of life refute their claim. How do we criticize the Nazi holocaust if that was the “moral consensus” of Germany at the time? If there are no absolutes derived from divine revelation, societies degenerate into either totalitarianism, where the dictator determines the rules, or anarchy, where every man does what is right in his own eyes (Judg. 21:25). Only the Word of God is eternally immutable and consistent.
Consider what the Scriptures teach about human life and about the three victims of abortion.
1. The unborn baby
“For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret, when I was formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began. God, how difficult Your thoughts are for me to comprehend; how vast their sum is!” (Ps. 139:13-17).
God said to Rebekah, “Two nations are in your womb; two people will come from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23). God’s Word clearly speaks of the unborn child as a unique, living individual, not a mass of tissue.
The New Testament was written in the Greek language, which is a very precise language and very specific in its implications. The most common word for “child” in the Greek New Testament is teknon (at least 98 times). 6 It speaks of a child as viewed in relation to a parent. However, there is an interesting word found only 8 times in the Greek New Testament that throws much light on what the Bible teaches regarding the unborn. It is the Greek word brephos. 7 Note its usage:
“He dealt deceitfully with our race and oppressed our forefathers by making them leave their infants (brephos) outside so they wouldn’t survive” (Acts 7:19).
“Some people were even bringing infants (brephos) to Him so He might touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them” (Luke 18:15).
“From childhood (brephos) you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).
Like newborn infants (brephos), desire the unadulterated spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it in your salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).
“This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby (brephos) wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12).
“They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby (brephos) who was lying in the feeding trough” (Luke 2:16).
In all these verses brephos describes a baby who has already been born . . . a real live human being. But there are two other verses in Scripture in which the same Greek word is used:
“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby (brephos) leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41).
“For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby (brephos) leaped for joy inside me!” (Luke 1:44).
In each of these two cases, the brephos (baby) was still in the womb. Clearly, God considers the unborn baby more than a clump of tissue. God considers that brephos as much a human being as the child who is already born and playing, running up and down the street. God says that the little package of love in the womb is brephos just as much as the toddler in the playpen. He uses the same word to identify them both.
In another example from Scripture, God said, “I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations (Jer. 1:5). Yet, in his lament of chapter 20, Jeremiah cried, “My mother might have been my grave” (v. 17). If an abortion had been performed upon the baby in Jeremiah’s mother’s womb, he still would have been Jeremiah. Although his mother may not have known his name, God did!
The unborn baby is a real live human being just as you and I are. Note the journey of that little baby.
At conception, the new life is composed of hundreds of cells and has developed a protective hormone to prevent the mother’s body from rejecting it as a foreign tissue.
- At 7 days the new life has developed its own blood cells; the placenta is a part of the new life and not of the mother.
- At 19 days the heart begins to beat.
- At 20 days the foundation of the entire nervous system has been laid down.
- At 24 days the heart has regular beats or pulsations.
- At 30 days there is regular blood flow within the vascular system; the ears and nasal development have begun.
- At 35 days eyes start to develop and 40 pairs of muscles are present.
- At 40 days the heart energy output is reported to be almost 20 percent of an adult.
- At 42 days brain waves are detectable. This is usually ample evidence that “thinking” is taking place in the brain. The new life may be thought of as a thinking person.
- At 49 days the skeletal system is developed. The baby appears as a miniature doll with complete fingers, toes, and ears.
- At 50 days all internal organs and external structures are identifiable.
- At 56 days all organs are functioning—stomach, liver, kidneys, brain—all systems intact. All future development of new life is simply that of growth and maturity of what is there.
- At the 9th and 10th weeks the teeth begin to form, fingernails develop, and the baby squints, swallows, and retracts its tongue.
- At the 11th and 12th weeks the baby grasps objects placed in its hand, hiccups, urinates, and recoils from pain.
- At 13 weeks the baby’s sex is identifiable.
- At weeks 16–20 the baby hears external voices, sleeps, and dreams.
- At 21 weeks a child can survive birth.8
This baby that I have been describing is the first victim of abortion. The process by which an abortion is performed is too sickening to relate in detail. The baby’s head is usually crushed or the body mutilated in some way or a saline solution is injected into the protective compartment in which the baby lives that simultaneously burns the skin of the baby and poisons it internally. There is no term too offensive for such cruel methods of violence.
Attorney Mark Belz argues eloquently that abortion is more than violence, more than killing. He presents a strong case for calling it murder and a particularly heartless form of murder at that. He lists five reasons for coming to this conclusion: “First, because its victims are innocent by any human standard of justice. Second, because its victims are helpless. Third, because the order to kill comes from the victim’s mother. Fourth, because abortion is always a reasoned, intentional, calculated, conspiratorial act. Presumably (or so we are assured by abortion clinics), the decision to abort is not made lightly. The mother and the abortionist, supposedly, think it over carefully before they carry it out. Fifth, because the abortionist is paid for the killing.”9
These compelling and undeniable facts force me to work to amend the Constitution, enact laws and provide services to protect the unborn, and to do away with abortion once and for all. Certainly an unplanned pregnancy can be a crisis, but abortion is not the solution.
2. The parent
This victim is primarily the mother, though much needs to be said about the father who shares responsibility for both the pregnancy and the abortion and in the resulting grief. There are many physical difficulties that can and do accompany abortion. Sterilization of the mother, making it impossible to have more children, is just one possible complication. The greatest pain, however, is from the guilt, depression, and grief that often follow. Abortion is an act of violence against both the baby and the mother. The testimonies are many and are vivid.
One lady writes, “I became pregnant when I was 16. I did not want to have an abortion, but I felt I had no choice. As I was in the abortion clinic, I could hear my baby being sucked away during the procedure. I immediately felt the loss and cried. Terrible nightmares started—every night! I became obsessed with wondering what my baby would have looked like and whether it was a boy or girl. I had that abortion in 1975, and until I accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior, my life and self-worth continued to decline. But after I came to know Christ, I had a hard time forgiving myself. For me, I realized abortion does kill, not only my baby but in a very real sense a part of me too! I honestly could say I don’t think I would be alive today if not for the Lord’s forgiveness and healing.”
To those of you who have had an abortion or participated in some way in someone getting an abortion, please listen carefully to me. Abortion is not the unpardonable sin! Many live with the haunting, the longing, that if only that moment could be lived over again. The grief you feel is normal. You should thank God that your conscience is not seared.
The good news is that Jesus Christ died on the cross to make a way for you to be free of your failure and saved from your sin. Along with our sins He also bore our sorrows and griefs, our mistakes and failures. How beautiful the words of Romans 8:1: “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus.” God is not angry or mad at you! He hates sin, but He loves you! He stands with open arms to forgive you. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
If you have aborted a child, God will forgive you right now if you ask Him. Through His forgiveness you can know the true freedom that comes in placing Him as Lord of your life. You can be cleansed and forgiven. God has forgiven you, and you can forgive yourself. Rejoice in the fact that your child is present with the Lord.
3. The moral conscience of our nation
The first and most obvious victims of abortion are the defenseless unborn child and the mother. The third and final victim is not so obvious, and her ultimate demise may not be complete for some time yet. I’m talking about the moral conscience of our nation, the soul of the American people, that sense of decency and reverence for human life that defines the basis of life as we know it.
Even now we are witnessing the death throes. Beneath the obvious lust for pleasure there is an even more fundamental disregard for the sanctity of human life. Violence abounds. The abuse and exploitation of children is proliferating. Approximately 800,000 children disappear each year, many to be used in cultic and/or pornographic practices.10 There are no moral absolutes, no objective standards upon which society can found her governing values. As a consequence, America is fast becoming a nation without a soul.
“Egypt will become desolate, and Edom a desert wasteland, because of the violence done to the people of Judah in whose land they shed innocent blood” (Joel 3:19).
“Six things the LORD hates; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood” (Prov. 6:16-17).
One of the most evil of the Old Testament kings was Manasseh. He led his nation into astrology, witchcraft, spiritism, idol worship, and homosexuality. But when divine judgment fell upon his nation, it was the shedding of innocent blood that God singled out for special notice: “It was because of the sins of Manasseh . . . and also because of all the innocent blood he had shed. He had filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD would not forgive” (24:1-4).
ABORTION: BOTH CONSEQUENCE AND CAUSE
Abortion is a consequence of the dehumanizing philosophy of life, the new “ethic” that holds that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be allowed to live. Historically, we find this vividly portrayed at the heart of the Nazi holocaust. The Nazis legalized everything they did. They passed over 400 laws, ordinances, and decrees against Jews, all leading up to their final solution—the extermination of their victims.11
How can you exterminate millions of victims without great public opposition? First you must neutralize language. Then you must change the law. In Nazi Germany “personhood” had been redefined to exclude Jews and other minorities who were standing in Hitler’s way. Then the laws were passed to make their extermination legal.
In today’s abortion holocaust the words fetus or nonperson have appeared. The holocaust is now being expanded beyond abortion to include a larger circle of victims, especially handicapped children in neonatal intensive care nurseries, the severely ill elderly, or those dependent on various kinds of life support. Conferences have been held that have developed the philosophies, the terminology, and the methods for explaining these “quality of life” rationales to make them acceptable to the public.
Only when we penetrate the semantics of mass murder will our nation become aware of the barbarity of the war against the unborn. At the heart of the whole issue is a battle between two views of life and the world: the biblical view and the secular humanistic/atheistic view. We have bought into this new linguistic fantasy. We are now practicing infanticide (letting a baby die without food and care) and euthanasia (the termination of the life of a dependent individual allegedly for his or her own benefit).
We have not produced a better society as promised. We were told that legalizing abortion would reduce child abuse. Instead, the most severe case of child abuse—homicide leading to death—has steadily increased since abortion became legal.12 We were told that we would have better sexual morality, but instead we have seen a continual slide toward a society that treats sex as a toy to be employed at the whim of those involved. Gone are the guidelines of biblical morality that hold high the sacredness of all sex and the marital union as the environment in which sex is to be used and enjoyed. Adultery is on the rise, and the traditional home is slowly disappearing.
Our country, which has prided itself on its lack of discrimination on any grounds, has succumbed to tragic discrimination against the unborn because they cannot speak for themselves, against the newly born because they have lives not worthy to be lived, and against the elderly because they are social and economic burdens. Once the concept of wrongful life has been accepted, what chance does the imperfect child have at birth? And what will happen to the great and growing number of elderly people who through no fault of their own have become the majority in our changing demographic picture?
In order to allow the killing of defenseless unborn babies through abortion, legal action had to be taken that resulted in the devaluation of all of human life. If children are only the products of conception, then the traditional values that gave them dignity and protected them as human beings have been irrevocably amended. If a child is not safe in the mother’s womb, then none of us is safe!
Dr. Earle Ellis, former professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary writes, “‘Where,’ asks Karl Barth, ‘is the witness of the Protestant Church in the face of this rising tide of disaster?’ On this issue we are not permitted to retreat into the inner sanctum of private morality, for abortion is not a merely private matter. All experience argues that the devaluing of some forms of human life in a society cheapens the respect for all human life. As biblical Christians we know that the God of nations avenges innocent victims, and as American Christians we may reasonably believe that in some just measure our War between the States was a judgment of God upon the slave trade of the North and the slave labor of the South. Are the innocent victims of abortion of less consequence to God than the victims of slavery? Or do we suppose that the laws of God will be changed in deference to the American standard of living? Concern for our nation as well as concern for the unborn requires that the church speak out publicly against the massive contempt for human life in our society that is represented in ‘abortion by choice’ and ‘abortion on demand.’”
Morality is the strength of any nation. If America falls, it will not be the result of a weakening military but the result of a weakened morality. America’s hope is in a genuine repentance. God said, “[If] My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14).
We have become a schizophrenic nation on the issues of life. What an irony that so often the same individuals who hold their signs outside our state and federal prisons promoting life for those guilty of murder and on death row are the same ones who hold signs at abortion rallies promoting the continual slaughter of millions of innocent unborn babies. Any society that allows the continual murder of its unborn will not survive indefinitely. The family structure in America is rapidly deteriorating. America has witnessed the death of its conscience. And we now must live in the type of valueless society that has resulted.
Some time ago I ran across this poem titled “A Second Opinion.”13
There’s a little guy somewhere waiting to appear
Curled up inside his mother’s protective atmosphere.
He’s the one they didn’t plan on. He’s an extra mouth to feed.
A little inconvenience neither of them need.
He’s doctor bills and formula. He’s sleepless nights and stress.
He’s wet and dirty diapers and a home that is a mess.
He could have been a newer car or a cabin with a view
Or a cruise or clothes or Vegas shows or other dreams come true.
So they talked about abortion as the alternative
For that fetal imposition who would change the way they live.
He isn’t really human. He doesn’t even breathe.
He was just a misadventure they happened to conceive.
They sit there in the waiting room with papers they must fill,
With waivers and consent forms and arrangements for the bill.
They know it’s what they have to do. There is no other way.
But once or twice they wonder what that little guy might say.
“I wish you wouldn’t do this. I’ve got so much to do.
I have to learn to walk and talk, to dress and tie my shoes.
“I have to learn to whistle, and I have to learn to run.
I have to learn to say my prayers for when the day is done.
“I have to watch for Daddy with Mommy at the door,
And I have to ride in carts when they take me to the store.
“I have to blow out candles on a lot of birthday cakes
and pose for all the pictures that Mommy always takes.
“If you let them do this, I’ll never learn to wave.
I’ll never have a birthday. I won’t even have a grave.
“I’ll never play a game, and I’ll never laugh or cry.
I won’t even have a name, and I’ll always wonder why.”
1. R. J. Rummel. “20th Century Democide” [online] 2001 [cited 6 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.mega.nu/ampp/rummel/20th.htm
2. “Abortion in the United States: Statistics and Trends,” National Right to Life [online], n.d. [cited 2 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/abortionstats.html
3. “Abortion: The Leading Cause of Death in America,” A Voice for the Unborn [online] 2003 [cited 3 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.voiceforunborn.com/causeofdeath.html
4. National Center for Health Statistics. [online] 2003 [cited 6 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/lcwk9_2003.pdf
5. “Abortion—The Facts,” Alabama Policy Institute [online] n.d. [cited 3 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.alabamapolicy.org/GTI/GTI-family-15.html
6. Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon Entry for Teknon.” “The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.” [online] 2007 [cited 3 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=5043&version=kjv
7. Thayer and Smith. “Greek Lexicon Entry for Brephos.” “The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon.” [online] 2007 [cited 3 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=1025&version=kjv
8. Vera L. Bailey. “Fetal Development,” Students for Life of America [online] 28 June 2001 [cited 2 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.studentsforlife.org/wp/education/fetal-development
9. Mark Belz. Suffer the Little Children: Christians, Abortion, and Civil Disobedience (Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 1989), 23-24
10. Rita Farlow. “Teen disappears; parents anguished,” St. Petersburg Times [online], 18 March 2007 [cited 2 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://sptimes.com/2007/03/18/news_pf/Neighborhoodtimes/Teen_disappears_paren.shtml
11. Jaime Cabre, Jorge Galvez, Genie Oppenheimer, Sandy Quimbaya, Andres Velarde. “Enabling Act to Nuremburg Laws,” The IB Holocaust Project. [online] 1997 [cited 3 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://cghs.dadeschools.net/holocaust/enabling.htm
12. “Facts and Trends,” The Case Against Abortion. [online] 2005 [cited 3 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.abort73.com/HTML/I-H-1-facts.html
13. Bob Scott. “A Second Opinion.” Life Issues Institute. [online] 30 June 1998 [cited 11 April 2007]. Available from the Internet: http://www.lifeissues.org/radio/r1998/lr1822.htm
All Scriptures are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
Reprinted from Messages from the Journey (A collection of sermon manuscripts published by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (SBC))