By Billy Ashworth
All informed, sober-minded, God-fearing people today are alarmed by the national disgrace that is blighting this once-great land of ours, causing her to lose the place of moral leadership in the world. It is one of many evidences that this once great country is now in decline and will become just another former great civilization in history books. I am speaking of the heinous crime of abortion”legalized abortion.” The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a woman has the (constitutional) right, by and with the consent of her doctor, to abort an unwanted “fetus” (baby). The word “fetus” is a “medical term of our own devising, which may serve a legitimate purpose, but has a way of depersonalizing in many minds, the baby before birth.”
The modem population explosion, sexual revolution, and humanistic philosophy have brought many problems to our beloved country, but no solutions to the problems of the most essential areas of life. Many of these problems (including abortion) are called by worldly people “social issues,” but they are in reality moral issues. The world attempts to investigate and solve such problems by human wisdom, including civil government, thereby showing contempt for the moral law clearly defined in the Bible. The humanistic philosophy, Joseph Fletcher’s Situation Ethics, is just plain rationalism; it has been in full sway concerning the enormous problems we face, with no appreciable effect. In fact, the loose, liberal philosophy of these various codes has only compounded the problems, since none of them has any moral standard by which to deal with them.
But God-fearing, Bible-believing people know that the apostle Peter wrote,: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to glory and virtue. . .” (2 Pet.1:2,3). Therefore, we who are faithful children of God can deal more effectively with such problems as abortion and related ones, because we have the revelation of the God who made us in His image and knows what is best for us. Therefore, as a loving Father, He has given as all things that concern life and godliness. We can know what is right and good by what the Lord has revealed to us.
However, not all specific acts or problems are cited specifically by name in the Bible. Consequently, an intelligent searching of Scripture to apply to our problems is an absolute necessity to, our approach to a solution of these things. What are the principles that apply to the various problems?
The Bible does not mention specifically abortion. The word is not found in the Bible. And, as far as I can determine, the act of abortion as used herein is not mentioned in the Bible. So what is the issue as far as we who abhor abortion are concerned? Obviously, abortion involves the termination of life-human life! The act that terminates human life is called murder in the Bible. The command “Thou shalt not kill” (lit., “do no murder”) is found in Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17. In the early history of the human race, we find God’s condemnation of murder: “Whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Gen. 9:6). This passage, incidentally, is the first mention of capital punishment in the Bible.
The issue that we must deal with in the matter of abortion is life and death, murder! When is the “fetus” a person? When does it possess a soul? (Of course, a majority of the militant pro-abortionists deny that anyone has a soul.) When can abortion be performed and not be murder, if it can? Is it safe to assume that the fetus has no life, no soul, until the baby breathes at birth?
Before I deal with the matters above, I call your attention to the magnitude of the problem of abortion. The Agency for International Development (AID) is an organization authorized by the Congress of the U.S. to administer U.S. Aid abroad. it is “pushing world-wide population control programs, including the use of abortion and sterilization. ” This world-wide society produced at least 34 million abortions in 1971, according to statistics of the United Nations. Dr. Gallon believes the world-wide total of abortions is closer to 100 million. Exact figures are not possible since many abortions are “legal” and many more “illegal.” In the United States in 1972, there were 700,000 known abortions, 310,000 of these in New York. The Nashville Tennessean (November 24, 1980) had the following stats concerning abortion in Tennessee: During the first six months of 1980, doctors performed 12,174 “known” abortions. In Nashville, there were 7,020 abortions during 1980 (Nashville Tennessean, Feb. 23, 1982).
What are the consequences of abortion? (1) Some prefer an abortion every year to a pill every day, an evil form of “birth control” (2) Promiscuity. Abortion removes one of the greatest deterrents to immorality (3) Doctors who perform abortions violate the Hippocratic oath (4) Psychological effects. Abortion leaves a “time bomb” that is frequently more severe than that which accompanies an unwanted pregnancy. A feeling of guilt rises up to torment the woman who has compounded one serious error with a worse one! (5) Abortion is the murder of an innocent being.
Now, what arguments can be made to condemn abortion as far as the Bible is concerned? Obviously, the issue turns on the point of killing the “fetus.” The question to be determined is whether the “fetus” is a human being. If it is, then abortion is murder! The Bible nowhere refers to the “fetus” or uses the term “abortion.” But, God’s word does refer to the child in the womb as a “babe.” In Luke 1, there is the account of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth after an angel appeared to her that she would “conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus.” Mary went to visit Elizabeth. “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb . . .” Here we find the child called “the babe” while in the womb. This does imply personality. Since the babe in the womb is identified as a human being, it must follow that to kill this human being is murder! If a person who professes to believe the Bible denies this conclusion, I would say at the very least, he will always have doubts about having an abortion approved of God. The evidences are too great against such a thing.
But, I have an interesting point to make concerning whether the “fetus” is a person-a human being. Even some atheists have a conscience against abortion, including a medical doctor. Several months ago I heard a program on the Donahue Show in which Dr. Bernard Nathanson appeared in defense of a book he had written, titled, Aborting America, subtitled “A Case Against Abortion.” Opposing Nathanson were two feminists who were promoting “self-help” clinics, asserting “that our abortion rights are being very seriously attacked right now.”
Dr. Nathanson revealed that he had been guilty of aborting several thousand babies. But he also affirmed his complete reversal relative to abortion. He said, “I’m responsible for about 75, 000 (abortions) in my own private life . . . I performed about 5,000 in my own private practice, supervised about 10,000 others with residents doing them, and I ran for about two years the largest abortion clinic in the world . . . We did about 60,000 abortions in two years there.”
Donahue asked Nathanson why he wrote the book, A Case Against Abortion. He replied, “Well, over about four years, during which time I was running a perinatology unit at a major hospital in Manhattan, I was working with the fetus, with the newest technologies that we have, and in day to day intimate contact with that fetus, diagnosing it, treating it, transfusing it, I became absolutely convinced, beyond any question of doubt, that a fetus is a person (emphasis mine, ba), a patient and should be accorded all the rights that any of us have.” Donahue asked, “From the moment of conception or whenever that might be?” Nathanson replied: “From the moment of conception or ___” Donahue: “So you think abortion should be illegal then?” Nathanson: “Absolutely except in the case where the mother’s life is in jeopardy.”
A member of the audience said: “It sounds to me, Dr. Nathanson, that you are trying to get right with God.” He replied: “Let me set the records straight. I am not a believer in God, and I am an atheist . . .” Consequently, Nathanson did not condemn abortion strictly on a moral basis, but he did condemn it on the basis that the “fetus” is a person and “should be accorded all the rights that any of us have.”
So we have an atheist affirming that a fetus is a person and has rights. On the other side, the feminists affirmed the “right” of a woman to abort the innocent little baby, asserting that “a woman has the right to determine what happens to her own body, including the baby in her womb.” I flatly deny that she has that “right” from God or civil authority. I deny that the Constitution gives a woman the right to murder her own baby; this I hold in spite of the fact that “nine old men” on the U.S. Supreme Court ruled otherwise. I challenge any person to give answer to that affirmation. It has become painfully obvious that the Supreme Court often rules in accord with what they perceive to be the popular mood of the country. But I resent their playing God and handing down “decisions” that fly into the face of God’s divine revelation. And, I warn any professed Christian that to practice or condone abortion is a crime in the sight of God and all God-fearing people. Lord, help us to be pure in heart and life.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 6, pp. 168-169
March 21, 1985