The Global Cause for Life

Pro-life concerns in Asia and Europe

Chelsea Sobolik

Every year, approximately 70 million abortions occur globally, ending the lives of precious unborn babies.1https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-worldwide?gclid=Cj0KCQjw9_mDBhCGARIsAN3PaFMAiLKWFLDptZZNYpIFExgDd5DjMF-WaCBqg3PUK7k774RlWJmHvjUaAvqhEALw_wcB Around the world, an estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies end in an abortion every year.2https://www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/induced-abortion-worldwide As Christians, we ought to be deeply grieved by this reality and should be propelled to prayer and action. 

Scripture tells us that every single life is precious to the Lord, and has innate dignity and worth. And throughout God’s Word, it is clear that God values the preborn. At the climax of Creation, God created man and woman and then declared them to be “very good.” In Psalm 139:13-16, we learn about God’s intimate care for life in the womb.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Therefore, Christians have a biblical mandate to care for life, following in God’s footsteps by protecting and defending all life. 

While there are many pro-life concerns within the United States, it’s also important to remember that the issue of abortion doesn’t cease at our border. Abortion is a multifaceted global issue and affects different parts of the world in unique ways.

Sex-selective abortion

Approximately 140 million girls are “missing” globally due to sex-selective abortions and intanticide. While sex-selective abortions occur around the world, they are most prevalent in countries with a son preference. These countries and cultures believe that sons will give the family more prestige and will be able to better care for aging parents than daughters.3https://www.unfpa.org/gender-biased-sex-selection

The two most populous nations on earth, India and China, eliminate more girls each year than the number of girls that are born in the United States.4https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/too-many-men/ According to the Invisible Girl Project, “while sex-selective abortion is technically illegal in India, the laws aren’t enforced as they should be, and an estimated 700,000 girls are aborted every year. On average, one girl is aborted in India every minute just because she is a girl.”5https://invisiblegirlproject.org/the-issue/feticide/

China is the country with the most notable population of girls missing because they are targeted in the womb. As a result, there is a gender imbalance, and Chinese men don’t have enough women to marry, resulting in bride trafficking and a sex trafficking industry.6https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3117253/how-chinas-missing-women-problem-has-fuelled-trafficking-and-forced The bride trafficking industry preys on the poor and vulnerable and reduces women to their ability to produce offspring. It’s dehumanizing and degrading. 

God has designed us as male and female, and choosing to end the life of girls in the womb is a vile and wicked practice.

Abortion because of disability

Several years ago, Iceland boasted that they had “basically eradicated” people with Down syndrome.7https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/whats-the-real-down-syndrome-problem-the-genocide/2018/03/14/3c4f8ab8-26ee-11e8-b79d-f3d931db7f68_story.html As prenatal screening tests became more readily available in Iceland, almost 100% of unborn babies who received a positive test for Down syndrome were aborted. Even though people with Down syndrome can live long, full lives, many of them aren’t given a chance at life. Sadly, this predatory practice isn’t limited to Iceland. Throughout Europe and the United States, discriminatory abortion practices target unborn babies who potentially have a disability. 

In Denmark, 98% of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted. In the United Kingdom, 90% of women with a Down syndrome diagnosis for their child chose abortion.8https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/whats-the-real-down-syndrome-problem-the-genocide/2018/03/14/3c4f8ab8-26ee-11e8-b79d-f3d931db7f68_story.html According to George Will, a columnist for The Washington Post, “In 2016, a French court ruled that it would be ‘inappropriate’ for French television to run a 2 ½-minute video (“Dear Future Mom”) released for World Down Syndrome Day, which seeks to assure women carrying Down syndrome babies that their babies can lead happy lives, a conclusion resoundingly confirmed in a 2011 study ‘Self-perceptions from people with Down syndrome.’”9https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/whats-the-real-down-syndrome-problem-the-genocide/2018/03/14

Forced abortions

Since 2017, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has waged a systemic campaign of oppression and persecution against Uyghur Muslims, a predominantly Turkic-speaking ethnic group.10https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/how-the-chinese-communist-party-is-persecuting-uyghur-muslims/ The CCP has used totalitarian tactics like pervasive surveillance, thought control, ideological reeducation, forced birth control, and compulsory labor. Uyghur women are subjected to forced pregnancy checks, medication that stops their menstrual period, forced abortions, and surgical sterilizations. One of the major reasons that these women are even sent to the internment camps is for having too many children.

The CCP has waged a long and dreadful war against women, and more specifically, as mentioned above, against baby girls. Through the coercion of the one- and two-child policies, it created a gender imbalance as stark as 120 boys for every 100 girls. Families in China often had to seek the approval of local family-planning officials just to have a child, even if they hadn’t already reached the one-child cutoff.11https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/51f61ea04.pdf To meet quotas and restrict population growth, women were subject to forced abortions, and both men and women were forced to have sterilizations.12https://www.npr.org/2016/02/01/465124337/how-chinas-one-child-policy-led-to-forced-abortions-30-million-bachelors

Positive developments

The Trump administration’s Office of Global Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) led the U.S. in signing the Geneva Consensus Declaration, a “historic document that further strengthens an ongoing coalition to achieve better health for women, the preservation of human life, support for the family as foundational to a healthy society, and the protection of national sovereignty in global politics.”13https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/10/22/trump-administration-marks-signing-geneva-consensus-declaration.html It was co-sponsored by the United States, Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, and Uganda, and co-signed by 32 countries in total, representing more than 1.6 billion people. While the Biden administration has removed the U.S.from the Geneva Consensus Declaration, the important work will continue since it was a multilateral statement.14https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-actions/2021/01/28/memorandum-on-protecting-womens-health-at-home-and-abroad/

One of the key parts of the declaration is the reaffirmation “that there is no international right to abortion, nor any international obligation on the part of States to finance or facilitate abortion, consistent with the long-standing international consensus that each nation has the sovereign right to implement programs and activities consistent with their laws and policies.” It should be encouraging for those in the pro-life movement to see countries band together to protect the unborn in their nation.15Ibid.

International ultrasound machine

The ERLC advocates for life domestically and abroad. One of the ways the ERLC is involved in the preservation of the unborn is through the Psalm 139 Project—an “initiative designed to make people aware of the life-saving potential of ultrasound technology in crisis pregnancy situations and to help pregnancy centers minister to abortion-vulnerable women by providing ultrasound equipment for them to use.”16https://psalm139project.org/

This work is vital because women are more likely to choose life for their babies after seeing an ultrasound photo of their unborn little one.17https://www.care-net.org/center-insights-blog/why-ultrasounds-matter-for-women-planning-abortion The ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project has pledged to fund its first international placement of an ultrasound machine in a Christian, pro-life ministry in Northern Ireland.

In 2019, Northern Ireland legalized abortion for the first time in its history. The ERLC will aid the cause of life there and help women choose life for their children. The partnering organizations will be Both Lives Matter, an organization that advocates for both the mother and preborn child, and Evangelical Alliance, a group that unites Christians from across the wider United Kingdom on issues important to believers.18https://bothlivesmatter.org/


Christians should boldly proclaim through word and deed that every single life has innate dignity and value. We should seek to be on the frontlines of protecting and defending life, both domestically and abroad. May we resolve to regularly pray for the lives of the unborn and their mothers around the world. May we ask the Lord to give government leaders the courage to pass pro-life laws and uphold the dignity of their unborn children. May we pray that women in vulnerable situations would have the support needed to give life to their children. And may we resolve never to remain silent about God’s care and compassion for every life.

Chelsea Sobolik serves as the Director of Public Policy with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in the Washington, D.C. office. Previously, she worked on Capitol Hill on pro-life policies, domestic and international religious freedom, adoption, and foster care issues. Chelsea has been published at the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, and others. She is the author of Longing for Motherhood – Holding onto Hope in the Midst of Childlessness, and a forthcoming book on women and work. She has a B.A. in International Relations from Liberty University, and lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband Michael.

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24