By Ron Halbrook
In all America’s wars, from the Revolution to Viet Nam, she has lost 1,205,291 lives. About 1,500,000 babies are slaughtered in America every year! In 8 years (1939-46) Nazi Germany eliminated 6 million Jews but Americans eliminate 12 million babies every 8 years. The atom bomb killed 115,000 Japanese in Hiroshima and abortion kills 125,000 babies every month in America. One young pregnant woman said, “In this society we save whales, we save timber wolves and bald eagles and Coke bottles. Yet, everyone wanted me to throw away my baby” (Ronald Reagan, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, p. 35).
Abortion on demand gives a mother the “freedom of choice” to terminate her baby’s “right to life.” It is called “the termination of a pregnancy” in an effort to sound sophisticated and to soothe the conscience, but a miscarriage or a live birth is also the termination of a pregnancy. So, what is the difference? Abortion terminates a pregnancy by exterminating a life! The killing of an innocent, defenseless human being is murder. “Just because he is small, just because he cannot speak for himself, this is no excuse to regarding him as expendable, anymore than we would do so on account of race or creed or color or poverty” (Dr. R.B. Zachary, Ibid., p. 51). Since the child is in the protective care of his mother’s womb, her sin in demanding his death is compounded and aggravated.
The spirit or inner man is made in the image of God, whether the body or outer man be male or female (Gen. 1:27). To take human life by shedding innocent blood violates the bonds of humanity and offends the Giver of life, as can be seen in the first murder when Cain killed Abel (Gen. 3). God is “the Father of spirits” and we must answer to Him for taking an innocent life (Heb. 12:9). God’s law to the Jewish nation forbad murder: “Thou shalt not kill” (Ex. 20:13). Christ taught the same respect for life and explained through the apostle Paul:
. . . and if there by any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely,
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law (Rom. 13:9-10; cf. Matt. 22:3440).
We must answer to God for the sin of murder by abortion because it violates the principles of love for God and for our fellow human beings who reflect the image of God.
Jesus said that those who despise their fellow men and regard them as worthless fools “shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matt. 5:21-22). To curse one another with vile and filthy language is to regard human life as cheap and expendable. All forms of murder, including abortion, put that same disregard for life into practice. Doctors who will poison unborn babies with a saline solution or hack their bodies to pieces to extract them from a mother’s womb will also choke, smother, or even experiment with aborted babies who refuse to die. This is already happening! Next comes euthanasia or so-called “mercy killing” of people with incurable diseases, then starving babies with severe handicaps, and finally eliminating all sorts of groups of people who do not meet the nebulous criteria of “quality life” – groups like the chronically ill, the aged and infirm, mentally and physically handicapped people of all ages, social misfits, ne’er do-wells, certain racial groups, immigrants, and what next?
Yes, abortion on demand is the immoral disregard for human life – just another name for murder! But the so-called “pro-choice” movement is trying desperately to defend the practice and to label its opponents as illogical, irrational, outdated fanatics. The implication is that those who favor killing unborn babies are up-to-date, rational, and logical. Can abortion be defended successfully by evidence and argument?
Abortion On Demand – Can It Be Defended?
Several arguments are made in an effort to justify abortion on demand as right. First, it is said that the fetus or prenatal child is not really a person but is only an appendage to the mother. Therefore, the mother has the “freedom of choice” to remove this fetus or glob of flesh just as she might a wart, a bunion, a diseased organ, or a tumor. According to this argument, the infant’s body does not receive a human life until sometime shortly before birth or perhaps just after birth.
In James 2:14-26, the inspired writer explains that spiritual life or a right relationship with God depends upon both faith in God and obedience to God’s Word. Faith needs works just as the body needs the spirit for life on earth:
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
When faith obeys, working the will of God and not of man, faith saves.
The body with the spirit is alive,- without the spirit the body is dead. Faith with works is alive but without works is dead. The denominational doctrine in the Methodist discipline and Baptist manual that “faith only” saves before and without water baptism is wrong (Mk. 16:18). Such teaching nullifies the active, obedient nature of true faith. “Once saved, always saved” is wrong for the same reason. To say that faith is alive is to say that works are present. To say that the body is alive is to say that the spirit is present.
All admit that the fetus is a living body and the Word of God says that this means the spirit is present. The fetus is a human life and a human being who lives in the protective care of the mother’s womb. To take that innocent life is murder. The abortionist’s argument degrades the value of that life in order to make it expendable.
Some people claim the immortal spirit of man is not present until a breath is drawn after birth. They cite Genesis 2:17, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” But this is a reference to the unique circumstances of the miraculous creation of an adult. We had as well argue that a person does not receive his spirit and is not a true human being until adulthood since Adam received his spirit as an adult. Life began for Eve with her miraculous creation from a rib, but that does not explain how a human life begins today. After the original creation of man and woman, God ordained that the life of a person begins by the uniting of the male sperm and female egg. The conception of a human life initiates the growth of a human body. This new life includes the presence of a human spirit (Jas. 2:24).
David says that his life as a human being was valued and protected by God even during the formative stages of the body “in my mother’s womb” (Psa. 139:13-16). When Exodus 21:22 speaks of a pregnant woman so injured as to suffer a miscarriage or premature birth, the King James Version translates ” . . . so that her fruit depart from her.” The Hebrew text says literally, “her children come out” (see notes in New American Standard Bible and the Keil and Delitzsch commentary on The Pentateuch, 11:134). It is not a disposable glob or growth which lives in the mother’s womb, but a child. This living being is a human child both before and after birth.
The New Testament recognizes the same principle. After Elizabeth “conceived a son,” she was greeted by Mary and “the babe leaped in her womb” (Lk. 1:41). But Mary also conceived, gave birth to a son, and laid “the babe . . . in a manger” (Lk. 2:12). The same word “babe” is used in both passages. It is a baby in the womb and a baby out of the womb! If a baby in the womb can be declared subhuman and discarded as a wart or tumor, the same thing can be done to a baby out of the womb.
A child, a baby – a human body with a human spirit – lives in the protective care of his mother’s womb. If he is subhuman and expendable because he cannot breathe for himself in the womb, then we may dispose of him if he needs a respirator out of the womb. A human child, body and spirit, lives in the mother’s womb. Taking that life by abortion on demand is another name for murder.
Also, notice that the Jehovah’s Witnesses, 7th Day Adventists, and Armstrong’s 7th Day Church of God all claim that the spirit of man is just his breath – no immortal inner man dwells in the body. In that case, the prenatal child is subhuman, a body without a spirit, and so can be disposed of as a carcass. Such religious groups cannot consistently oppose abortion because a body without a spirit is not a human being. If the “body” or “mass of flesh” growing in a mother’s womb is not a human being, discarding it cannot be sinful anymore than removing a tumor! While these groups claim to hold the line on murder and morality, their theory on the soul or spirit of man fits the abortionist argument whether they realize it or not. These false religions must either join the abortionists or else admit that the unborn child is both body and spirit, outer man and inner man.
Does Exodus 21 Approve Abortion On Demand?
Exodus 21:22-25 is often used to defend abortion on demand, although the passage deals only with accidental abortion. Abortionists claim the passage requires a more severe penalty for harming a pregnant woman than for harming her child who may be aborted in the course of the injury. The fetus is not given full human status, it is said. The passage reads:
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (King James Ver.)
And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide.
But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life,
eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise (New American Standard)
If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she give birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.
But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life,
eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise (New International Ver.).
The claim that anything in this passage makes the prenatal child something less than a human being is pure assumption!
Exodus 21 teaches that a fine is required if the baby is born prematurely because of injury inflicted on the mother. This fine is exacted even if the baby is unharmed and normal at birth. This takes into account that both the mother and her child were endangered by the blow, just as people are endangered by kidnapping even though not harmed. Both the mother and the unborn infant are valued and protected by this law.
The law went even further. If the mother or the baby was seriously hurt, the offender was subject to the law of retaliation (also called lex talionis or jus talionis). This law controlled and inhibited the passions of offended parties and of their relatives. The penalty inflicted upon the guilty party could not exceed the wrong suffered by his victim. Hebrew experts and famed Bible commentators C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch point out that the penalties in Exodus 21:22-25, including the lex talionis, protect both the mother and her child:
If men strove and thrust against a woman with child, who had come near or between them for the purpose of making peace, so that her children come out (come into the world), and no injury was done either to the woman or the child that was born, a pecuniary compensation was to be paid . . A fine is imposed, because even if no injury had been done to the woman and the fruit of her womb, such a blow might have endangered life . . . . .. But if injury occur (to the mother or the child), thou shalt give soul for soul, eye for eye, . . . wound for wound”: thus perfect retribution was to be made (The Pentateuch, 11:134-35).
We should note that even if Exodus 21 required a more severe penalty for harming a mother than a prenatal child, this would not prove the child less than human. Different penalties for different people in various cases are not based on the premise that some offended persons are human, some sub-human, and some not human at all! Is the -punishment more severe for betraying military than business secrets because soldiers are fully human and other people are not? Why do the penalties differ for going to sleep on a factory job and on sentry duty in the army during a war?
Legal penalties take into account social, economic, and other implications. The loss of a family member is always treated more sternly than the loss of a slave. In Exodus 21:26-27, if a master put out his servant’s eye, the servant was freed rather than the master’s eye taken. Is this just? Does God not consider the slave human since an eye was not taken for an eye? Taking the master’s eye would only open the door to further abuse of the slave. Freeing the slave punished the master without jeopardizing the slave’s safety. The slave is treated as human though the penalties differ.
Might not a wife who served the family be more highly valued in the home than an unborn infant whose potential is undeveloped? The penalty of the law for harming one of them could take that fact into account without denying the full humanity of either!
Exodus 21offers no comfort to abortion on demand. Abortion is still just another name for murder.
Pro-abortionists may offer this argument, “The Bible does not say, ‘Thou shalt not perform an abortion.”‘ No, and it does not say, “Thou shalt not poison babies or cut up their defenseless bodies after they are born.” Abortion is a method of murder and the Bible does not list every method. But the Bible covers them all, including abortion, when it forbids murder (Rom. 13:9-10).
“What about a medical abortion?” someone will ask. Statistics show that about I percent of the abortions are performed because of the mother’s health problems. An uncle of mine who has been a doctor for many years said that he personally has never encountered a case of medical abortion nor known another doctor who has. It is rare indeed! A true medical abortion is comparable to rescuing one person from a burning house even when you cannot rescue another. This is mercy not murder and bears no relation to abortion on demand.
What Is The Solution?
What is the solution to abortion on demand? It ought to be against the law of the land because God ordained civil government to protect innocent life (Rom. 13:1-7). When a nation sheds innocent blood it causes the inner decay which leads to its ultimate downfall. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34). God rules over the nations of earth. He destroys and replaces them when they harden themselves beyond the hope of correction. We should pray for our leaders and encourage them to do what is just and right (1 Tim. 2:14).
But civil law cannot provide the final solution to abortion on demand. We must abhor it as a sin under divine law whether or not it is a crime under human law. Civil law may permit many things which are sinful before God -drunkenness, gambling, adultery, homosexuality, etc. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). When we disobey God, the gospel convicts us of sin and points us to Christ for the forgiveness of all sin!
Respect for God and the humility to accept from Him the pardon of our sins is the only true solution to the sin of abortion on demand. The sin frequently begins with fornication – sexual relations outside the sacred bonds of marriage (Heb. 13:4). It is no solution for the schools and “Planned Parenthood” clinics to pass out information on sex and contraceptives without reference to moral values. That encourages moral decay. It is like expecting schools and the National Rifle Association to put guns into people’s hands “without reference to moral values” – without teaching that there is a “right” and “wrong” way to use guns because of the moral value of human life.
Abortion is not the answer to the sin of fornication. To murder someone (a defenseless infant) to escape the difficulties which follow our sin is just to compound sins and difficulties. It is like a bank robber shooting his unarmed witnesses to escape being identified!
Jesus reaches out in love to all of us who have sinned even to those who have committed fornication and murder by abortion – and says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). By faith in Him, we repent of our sins, confess Him as the Son of God, and receive His cleansing blood in the waters of baptism (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4). This brings us into God’s spiritual family. If we stumble and sin again, we are to repent and pray for pardon (Acts 8:22). God will patiently help us to “walk in the light” of His law and His love as we turn our backs on sin (1 Jn. 1:6-10). But will God forgive a sin so serious as murder? Yes, if we turn from sin, He will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness! ” (1 Jn. 1:9)
(NOTE: chart attached to next page)
Guardian of Truth XXX: 17, pp. 520-521, 532-533
September 4, 1986