Category Archives: Abortion

Does the Bible Teach that Abortion Is Wrong?

Abortion is the intentional taking of the life of a child who is still living in the womb of her mother. Does the Bible have anything to say about this procedure? Even though abortion is not explicitly mentioned, there are basic principles taught in the Bible that lead us to conclude that abortion is immoral.

Here is the simplest form of the pro-life argument:

Premise 1: Intentionally killing an innocent human being is always morally wrong.

Premise 2: Abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being (except when the child’s death is not desired but results from saving the mother’s life).

Conclusion: Therefore, abortion is morally wrong (except as noted above).

Biblical support of premise 1 is found in Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder.” This is a blanket ban on the killing of all innocent human life. But why does God consider the killing of innocent human life to be wrong at all? Why are humans special?

Genesis 9:6 explains: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God He made man.” Only human beings are made in the image of God. Images of gods in the ancient world were supposed to symbolize and represent, in a very real way, the presence of the deity. Therefore, to kill an image-bearer was to kill that god’s representative, which was symbolic of killing the god himself. Whenever we kill an innocent human being, we are, in a symbolic sense, killing God.

The abortion proponent may argue, though, that the unborn human embryo or fetus is not a human being, and can therefore be killed. Biologically, we know this is false because once the sperm fertilizes the egg at conception, human life begins. There is simply no dispute about this among scientists.

The biblical writers seem to also have the same understanding, even though they did not comprehend the biological details that we do today. For example, Psalm 139:13-16 affirms that God is intimately involved in the development of the human embryo and fetus in the mother’s womb. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” There is no hint in the Bible that human life begins only at birth, which is what the abortion proponent would need to prove his case.

Since the two premises of the argument above are true, the conclusion of the argument, that abortion is morally wrong, necessarily follows.

Steve Jobs on Abortion and Adoption

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

I’ve been reading the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson and came across one of the saddest cases of moral confusion I’ve seen in a long time.

Jobs is in his mid-twenties and is sleeping with a girl named Chrisann Brennan. They aren’t married, of course, because Jobs wasn’t interested. As long as he could have sex with her whenever he wanted, why would he marry her?

At some point, she gets pregnant and announces it to Steve. What is his reaction? Below is a quote from the biography:

There was no discussion of marriage . “I knew that she was not the person I wanted to marry, and we would never be happy, and it wouldn’t last long,” Jobs later said. “I was all in favor of her getting an abortion, but she didn’t know what to do. She thought about it repeatedly and decided not to, or I don’t know that she ever really decided— I think time just decided for her.”

Not only was he sleeping with a woman not his wife, but when he got her pregnant, his solution was to kill the baby because it might inconvenience him. But listen to what Brennan says next:

Brennan told me that it was her choice to have the baby: “He said he was fine with an abortion but never pushed for it.” Interestingly, given his own background, he was adamantly against one option. “He strongly discouraged me putting the child up for adoption,” she said.

Let me spell this out for you. Jobs was OK with Brennan killing the child, but he was adamantly opposed to Brennan putting the baby up for adoption!! What is especially cruel about this is that Jobs was himself adopted by wonderful parents who basically gave him everything he ever wanted.

In his twisted mind, it would be better for a person to be dead than be adopted. Make sense to you? I hope not.

Responses to 6 Common Pro-Choice Arguments – Part 3

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

In part 3, we review responses to arguments 5 and 6. Again, our guide through these responses to common pro-abortion arguments will be Mike Adams, author of Letters to a Young Progressive. Adams addresses the abortion issue in Letter 8 of his book.

Argument 5: “It is wrong for a woman to be forced to give birth to a baby she cannot afford.”

This argument is also remarkably callous—so much so that it is difficult to understand how those who make it could describe themselves as “liberal.” Do we really need to start reassigning Jonathan Swift’s Modest Proposal to underline how profoundly sick and distasteful this argument really is?

Swift wrote—satirically of course—a proposal that suggested people eat their babies in order to relieve their hunger and poverty. Serious arguments in favor of “choice” often sound chillingly similar. For those who have never read Swift, I like to point to a more contemporary example. In the 80s, a punk rock band called The Dead Kennedys wrote a song called “Kill the Poor” in which they mockingly suggested that we kill poor people as a means of eliminating poverty. That would certainly eliminate poverty. But is it really an acceptable solution? Of course not. That was their point.

It’s a good idea to confront the advocates of legal abortion with the question of whether it is permissible to kill to eliminate poverty. In response, they typically say something like this: “No, I would never advocate killing the poor. I would advocate abortion to prevent them from becoming poor people in the first place.” They are trapped once again in the untenable position of denying the personhood of the unborn. Please review argument #1.

Of course, there is another aspect to the poverty-as-a-defense-of-abortion argument. It is the crass argument that the mother cannot “afford” the baby. This raises another fundamental question: “Is it permissible to kill a person in order to alleviate financial stress?” If so, I’d like to kill the banker who holds my mortgage. Just kidding. Of course, I cannot do that anyway since a) he is a middle-aged man and b) the Supreme Court does not authorize abortions in the 200th trimester—at least, they haven’t yet!

Argument 6: “It is wrong to force a woman to give birth to a baby after she has been a victim of rape (or incest, which is almost always statutory rape).”

Whenever I hear an argument for the rape exception, I think of my friend Laura. She was adopted, and in her twenties she wanted to locate her birth mother and learn about the circumstances of her adoption. When she did, she found out that she was the product of a rape. I don’t have the audacity to tell her an abortionist should have killed her. I leave that to the compassionate liberals who oversimplify the rape issue. Actually, “oversimplify” is too kind a term.

They are exploiting the rape issue in order to avoid the central question of the debate: “Is the unborn child—yes, even the product of a rape-human?” I say, “Of course!” And Laura agrees with me. If you disagree, then you may take it up with her or with others conceived in rape, such as attorney and pro-life advocate Rebecca Kiessling. Their lives are hardly useless. And because their mothers had the courage to bear them, they have made a profound difference in this world—including saving countless lives with their pro-life testimony.

Whenever the issue of the rape exception is raised, it is well worth mentioning Kennedy v. Louisiana, decided by the Supreme Court in 2008. The Court spared Kennedy from execution on the grounds that it would be “cruel and unusual punishment” to execute a man who had not killed anyone.

This was a brutal rape case-indeed, among the worst I’ve ever studied. An expert in pediatric forensic medicine testified at Kennedy’s trial that Kennedy had raped his eight-year-old stepdaughter savagely, to the point of causing permanent physical damage. In fact, a laceration to the left wall of her vagina had separated her cervix from the back of her vagina and caused her rectum to protrude into her vaginal structure. Put simply, Kennedy raped, sodomized, and viciously tortured the little girl.

Thankfully, he was easily convicted for doing so. There is no question whatsoever about his guilt. But the high court ruled that Kennedy’s execution would violate the Eighth Amendment because of “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.” This decision rested largely on the fact that most states reject the idea of execution for rape—even the rape of a young child, even accompanied by other aggravating factors.

As a result, this is the position in which we find ourselves: When a woman is raped she has a constitutional right to an abortion. And the rapist has a constitutional right to life. But the unborn baby has no rights whatsoever.

The Kennedy case helps us to better understand another frequently employed argument for the rape exception—that a woman has a right to abort in order to rid her of the memory of a horrible event. But this argument is both logically and factually flawed. Logically speaking, the woman, if granted the right to kill one person, should be entitled to kill the rapist. She should not be entitled to kill the baby! Any assertion to the contrary can be justified only by denying the personhood of the unborn. Once again, review argument #1.

Factually speaking, there is simply no merit to the argument that abortions either soothe the conscience or assuage the memory of rape victims. In the first place, too many women feel guilty and blame themselves in the aftermath of rape, and getting an abortion adds another layer of guilt and trauma. Only the birth of the child can provide healing—even if the child is immediately given up for adoption.

Philosophers since Socrates have been pointing out that it is better to suffer evil than to inflict it. Planned Parenthood counselors are never inclined to raise this point. They profit from the infliction of evil upon the innocent. And they use rape victims to justify their occupation.

After I have finished making all the points I wish to make, I always extend the following offer to my opponent: “If I agree to write in the exception for rape, will you be willing to lobby for the law banning all other abortions?” In all of my years discussing abortion, no one has taken me up on the offer. Their reaction always shows that they were never in favor of keeping abortion legal in order to protect victims of rape. They are simply using these women for political purposes.

Responses to 6 Common Pro-Choice Arguments – Part 2

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

In part 2, we pick up at argument 3. Again, our guide through these responses to common pro-abortion arguments will be Mike Adams, who authored Letters to a Young Progressive. Adams addresses the abortion issue in Letter 8 of his book.

Argument 3: “It is wrong to force a woman to bring an unwanted baby into the world.”

Put simply, there is no such thing as an “unwanted baby.” If a baby is unwanted by its mother, there is always, and I mean always, someone else who would want to adopt the baby. It is very difficult to adopt a baby in this country because so many children are unnecessarily aborted.

But there is something even more sick and twisted about the “unwanted baby” excuse—it insinuates that abortion prevents child abuse. But abortion is child abuse—the most severe kind, where the baby ends up dead. Please review argument #1 before reading further.

The very idea that we would murder children to prevent child abuse, which usually takes the form of simple battery, elevates intellectual laziness to an art. It is the intellectual equivalent of promoting arson in order to prevent burglary. It is true that burglary rates will decrease when we have burned down everyone’s houses, but by now you get the point.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that abortion has not been an effective means of stopping child abuse (even if we exclude abortion from the definition of child abuse). In 1973, there were 167,000 reported instances of child abuse. By 1982, reported instances of child abuse had risen to 929,000. That is an increase of over 500 percent in less than a decade.

Argument 4: “It is wrong for a woman to be forced to bring a handicapped baby into the world.”

It is frequently suggested that abortion is morally permissible when doctors discover, prior to birth, that a baby suffers from certain physical handicaps such as Down syndrome or cerebral palsy.

My response usually goes something like this: “I agree that there are far too many handicapped people in the world. Every summer I take busloads of people who are wheelchair-bound on a trip to the Grand Canyon. We enjoy the view for a few minutes before I roll them off the edge of the Canyon. They are usually dead long before they hit the bottom. That is a good thing for them and for society as a whole. It is better to be dead than to be handicapped. Whether they realize it or not, their lives are not worth living.”

This scenario provokes a strong reaction—as it should. Something about it makes advocates of aborting the handicapped look grossly insensitive. This is usually when they argue that they are not killing a handicapped person but rather preventing a handicapped person from ever being born. Please review argument #1. The last time I spoke on this topic at Summit Ministries, a handsome, intelligent, and athletic 6’2” African American student approached me and told me, “I was misdiagnosed with cerebral palsy before I was born. The doctors were wrong. I am so glad my mother had me. Thank you for your speech.”

In part 3, we will finish up with responses to the last 2 arguments offered by abortion proponents.

Responses to 6 Common Pro-Choice Arguments – Part 1

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

The central question in the abortion debate is the following: “What is the unborn?” If the unborn are human, then every pro-choice argument collapses. It’s that simple. To see how this works, we are going to look at 6 common pro-choice arguments and see how to respond to them.

Our guide will be Mike Adams, who wrote a book called Letters to a Young Progressive. Adams addresses the abortion issue in Letter 8 of his book. Let’s see what he has to say.

Argument 1: “It’s my body, my choice.”

This argument is extremely easy to dismantle because the unborn baby has its own distinct genetic code, which is generating growth from conception. Not only is there unique DNA, but also in 100 percent of abortions the baby already has a detectable heartbeat. Doctors will not even perform abortions until six or seven weeks into the pregnancy—in order to protect the health of the mother. The doctor wants to be able to account for and remove all of the baby’s body parts because if some small portion of the baby remains in the mother’s body, it could cause a deadly infection. The irony is lost on most of these so-called health-care professionals.

So the woman who says “my body, my choice” is in the absurd position of arguing that she has two noses, four legs, two brains, and two skeletal systems. This kind of absurdity requires no further elaboration. It is nothing more than feminist foot-stomping to assert the “my body, my choice” argument, a kind of “mine, mine” argument that is unbecoming from anyone over the age of two.

Argument 2: “Back-alley abortions will increase if abortion is illegal.”

This argument, like the first, simply assumes that the unborn are not persons. If they were persons, then the abortion choice advocate would be in the awkward position of arguing that someone has a right to commit murder in a safe and sterile environment. This hardly survives the straight-face test.

But if for some reason your opponent can’t see its absurdity, tell him the following: “I’m planning to rob the Wells Fargo Bank across the street but there is ice all over the sidewalk. I’m afraid I might slip and fall during my escape. Could you call them and tell them to salt the sidewalk before I commit the robbery? And hurry up. I need the cash!”

Proponents of this argument often quote appalling statistics—that when abortion was illegal 10,000 women per year died using coat-hangers on themselves in back alleys. But those numbers are both false and irrelevant. Within a few years after abortion was made a constitutional right, the number of abortions skyrocketed. Over a million more babies were being killed per year within just a few years after Roe v. Wade. The fact that they were killed in a sterile, well-lit environment did not make them any less dead.

In the next post, we will look at responses to arguments 3 and 4  offered by abortion proponents.

What Would Kant Say About Abortion?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Immanuel Kant is a famous philosopher who lived in the eighteenth century.  One of Kant’s most lasting contributions to philosophy was in the field of ethics.  He believed that moral laws could be derived from reason, and that all immoral behavior was, therefore, unreasonable or irrational.

Kant argued for the idea of the categorical imperative, a law of morality that all humans have a duty to obey.  His first formulation of this categorical imperative is the following: “Act only on that maxim whereby thou canst at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”  Kant believed that all moral duties could be deduced from this categorical imperative.

What does this categorical imperative mean?  In essence, if you want to decide whether an act is morally good, then you should be able to will that everyone else would act in the same way.  In other words, the act must be universalizable.

What about abortion?  Kant would say to the woman who wants to have an abortion: “Can you will that every other woman would have an abortion when she is pregnant?”  If the woman says “yes,” then abortion is moral.  If she says “no,” then abortion cannot be moral.

It seems to me that a woman who wanted to have an abortion could not will that every other woman also have an abortion when she is pregnant.  Why?  Because in one generation the human race would go extinct and nobody could have an abortion.  To will that all women have abortions would mean that no women could have an abortion after the current generation died off.  By Kant’s reasoning, this makes abortion irrational and, therefore,  immoral.

Again, according to Kant, abortion would be immoral because it would be irrational to will that every pregnant woman have an abortion.  The act of every pregnant woman aborting the fetus inside her would, ultimately, end abortion, which is completely irrational.

You may not agree with Kant’s categorical imperative, but it does give us an interesting perspective on the issue of abortion.  Fundamentally, those who support a woman’s choice to have an abortion can only support some women choosing abortion, not all.  Presumably and ironically, if all women decided to have abortions, the pro-choice movement would have to become pro-life.

Why Should Abortion Be Legal?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

According to Dr. Wendy Savage of Doctors For A Woman’s Choice On Abortion, on a recent edition of Unbelievable?, the reason that abortion should be legal is:

  1. Women, throughout recorded history, have always wanted to be able to have abortions.
  2. Women will procure abortions whether they are legal or not.
  3. Illegal abortions tend to be unsafe and sometimes cause the death of the woman.
  4. Therefore, in order to save women’s lives, we must legalize abortions to make them safe.

Madeleine Flannagan, her opponent on the show, asked her the rather obvious question:  “How does the taking of the innocent lives of millions of babies justify the prevention of the deaths of thousands of women?”

Savage’s response: “They are not babies.  Before birth, they are fetuses, which are only potential human beings, not actual human beings.”

Flannagan: “What is your argument to show that they are only potential human beings instead of actual human beings before birth?”

Savage: “The fetus relies on the mother to survive.”

Flannagan: “So does a newborn baby.”

Savage: “Nobody really knows when the fetus becomes a real human being, so we just have to trust mothers’ choices and feelings in the matter.”

Surpisingly, after making a weak attempt to argue why fetuses aren’t actual human beings, Savage punted on the whole issue and said that we just have to trust women’s feelings and instincts about this issue!  Savage’s argument is that women’s feelings in this decision trump all other considerations.  Women are going to have abortions, so we might as well make them legal so the abortions are done properly.

I was stunned that Savage seemed to believe that the question of the rights of the fetus was almost completely irrelevant.  She repeatedly said that she was a pragmatist on abortion and that she had not developed any real position on when a fetus becomes a human being with a right to life.  For her, it just doesn’t matter.  She said several times on the show that she just trusts women to make the right decision.

It is incredible to me that a leader in the pro-abortion movement has such a weak argument for their case.  If we should just legalize whatever many people are going to do anyway, then why not legalize drugs, prostitution, possession of any kind of firearm, defaulting on contracts, polluting the environment, stealing in general, insider trading, and dog fighting (I’m sure I could come up with more given more time).

Of course, none of these are nearly as serious an ethical issue as abortion, so I assume that Ms. Savage would have no problem with legalizing any of them.  Absurd?  Of course.  But Savage’s reason for allowing abortion is absurd.

Have You Signed the Manhattan Declaration Yet?

Post Author: Bill Pratt

Almost one year ago, I wrote a short blog post asking our readers to sign a document called the Manhattan Declaration.  Why am I back again asking you to sign?  Because we need more of you to participate.

So far, the declaration has gathered 476,000 signatures – impressive, but not enough.  We should easily be able to get over 1 million signatures on this document – after all, if you are a Christian, or a person who believes in the sanctity of life, the sanctity of marriage, and the sanctity of religious liberty, then you should have no problem signing this document.

What does the declaration say about these issues?  Well, you can read it for yourself in full, or you can read a few excerpts from it below.

First of all, why these three principles instead of a myriad other possibilities?

Because the sanctity of human life, the dignity of marriage as a union of husband and wife, and the freedom of conscience and religion are foundational principles of justice and the common good, we are compelled by our Christian faith to speak and act in their defense. In this declaration we affirm: 1) the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every human being as a creature fashioned in the very image of God, possessing inherent rights of equal dignity and life; 2) marriage as a conjugal union of man and woman, ordained by God from the creation, and historically understood by believers and non-believers alike, to be the most basic institution in society and; 3) religious liberty, which is grounded in the character of God, the example of Christ, and the inherent freedom and dignity of human beings created in the divine image.

To repeat, these are foundational issues.  Without life, without traditional marriage, and without religious liberty, our civilization crumbles.

About life, the declaration has this to say:

A truly prophetic Christian witness will insistently call on those who have been entrusted with temporal power to fulfill the first responsibility of government: to protect the weak and vulnerable against violent attack, and to do so with no favoritism, partiality, or discrimination. The Bible enjoins us to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to speak for those who cannot themselves speak. And so we defend and speak for the unborn, the disabled, and the dependent. What the Bible and the light of reason make clear, we must make clear. We must be willing to defend, even at risk and cost to ourselves and our institutions, the lives of our brothers and sisters at every stage of development and in every condition.

About marriage, the declaration has this to say:

And so it is out of love (not “animus”) and prudent concern for the common good (not “prejudice”), that we pledge to labor ceaselessly to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman and to rebuild the marriage culture. How could we, as Christians, do otherwise? The Bible teaches us that marriage is a central part of God’s creation covenant. Indeed, the union of husband and wife mirrors the bond between Christ and his church. And so just as Christ was willing, out of love, to give Himself up for the church in a complete sacrifice, we are willing, lovingly, to make whatever sacrifices are required of us for the sake of the inestimable treasure that is marriage.

About religious liberty, the declaration has this to say:

The struggle for religious liberty across the centuries has been long and arduous, but it is not a novel idea or recent development. The nature of religious liberty is grounded in the character of God Himself, the God who is most fully known in the life and work of Jesus Christ. Determined to follow Jesus faithfully in life and death, the early Christians appealed to the manner in which the Incarnation had taken place: “Did God send Christ, as some suppose, as a tyrant brandishing fear and terror? Not so, but in gentleness and meekness…, for compulsion is no attribute of God” (Epistle to Diognetus 7.3-4). Thus the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the example of Christ Himself and in the very dignity of the human person created in the image of God—a dignity, as our founders proclaimed, inherent in every human, and knowable by all in the exercise of right reason.

Will you join us in signing this declaration?  Will you make your voice heard on these issues?  Please make your way to the Manhattan Declaration website and become a signatory to this important document.

Are All Sins Equal? Part 2

Post Author: Bill Pratt

So we’ve seen that the Bible does teach that some sins are more serious than others and that some virtues are greater than others.  There is a moral law hierarchy.  But what does this practically mean?

First, let’s look at debates over public policy.  When determining where to focus your efforts on a particular law, you must consider its seriousness.  A great example is abortion.  Many Christians focus on the abortion issue because it is such a serious moral failure in our country.  Abortion kills over a million lives every year.  Taking innocent human life is pretty high up the moral law measuring stick.

Some people ask why Christians aren’t more outspoken about global warming.  My answer to that question is, “The death of millions of innocent babies today is far more serious a moral issue than the possible rise in temperature of the earth over the next 100 years.”  The consequences of global warming are surely speculative and uncertain, as any future prediction of ultra-complex climate activity must be, whereas we have a definite problem, abortion, staring us in the face today.

We have to make these kinds of decisions all the time.  What are the most serious moral issues of the day for our nation?  If we just say that all moral issues are equal, we are unable to focus our efforts on what matters more.

Second, what about the Christian life in particular?  In this life, the worse we sin, the more out of touch with God we are.  As my wife likes to say, “God keeps us from sin, and sin keeps us from God.”  If you, as a Christian, are engaging in adultery, then clearly this sin will have greater effect on your walk with God than if you once neglect to call your mother to wish her “Happy Birthday.”

Paul taught that a particular kind of sexual immorality (a man having sexual relations with his father’s wife)  should cause the expulsion of the man committing this sin (1 Cor. 5), but he didn’t write a letter demanding expulsion for someone scrawling graffiti in the streets of Corinth.  Graffiti may be a sin, but it is less serious than sleeping with your father’s wife.  Different sins demand different punishments.

There are also rewards in heaven for the Christian, based on her moral behavior in this life.  In 1 Cor. 3 Paul teaches that the good works we bring to God after we die determine our rewards in heaven.  Some of our works will be so worthless that they will be “burned up.”  Those works of high quality will survive the flames.  The kinds of moral actions we pursue in this life matter for eternity.  The Bible seems to teach that the quality of our good works on earth will determine our ability to enjoy heaven.  Again, our sins and our virtues matter for eternity.

So, how can we summarize?  All sins are equal in that they condemn us before a perfect God.  This is an important point to make when we are evangelizing the lost.  But all sins are not equal when it comes to public legislation, temporal punishment and praise, sanctification (our walk with God where we become more like Christ), and eternal rewards.  When we talk about sin, let’s make sure we consider the situation and apply the correct teaching.