By David A. Padfield
In the first chapter of Romans the apostle Paul listed the sins of the Gentiles. In this heinous list of crimes we find the phrase “without natural affection” (Rom. 1:31, KJV). This refers to those who do not possess the love and attachment which nature teaches all mothers to have for their young.
This expression denotes the want of affectionate regard toward their children. The attachment of parents to children is one of the strongest in nature, and nothing can overcome it but the most confirmed and established wickedness. And yet the apostle charges on the heathen generally the want of this affection. He doubtless refers here to the practice so common among heathens of exposing their children, or putting them to death. This crime, so abhorrent to all the feelings of humanity, was common among the heathen, and is still. The Canaanites, we’re told, (Psa. cvi. 37,38) ‘sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan.’ Manasseh, among the Jews, imitated their ex-ample, and introduced the horrid custom of sacrificing children to Moloch, and set the example by offering his own, 2 Chronicles 33:6. Among the ancient Persians it was a common custom to bury children alive. In most of the Grecian states, infanticide was not merely permitted, but actually enforced by law (Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament).
The practice of murdering small children was also common among the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Chinese and Hindus. The murder of children and the infirm is not isolated to antiquity. The Nazi Holocaust began with the elimination of almost 300,000 Aryan German citizens who were considered “defective.” Before Hitler was finished, his Nazi machine had murdered six million Jews, plus another six million Gypsies, Poles and prisoners of war.
Any woman who could destroy the child within her womb would have to be judged as one “without natural affection.” During the decade of fighting in Vietnam there were 58,655 American war causalities. Our country now kills more unborn babies than that every fifteen days. During the six major wars our country has fought (Revoluntary War, Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam) we have sustained 1,160,591 casualties. Since abortion was legalized in this country in 1973, over 23 million unborn babies have been murdered by their mothers. The re-mains of these precious lives are destroyed in hospital incinerators or thrown into dumpsters behind the abortion mills. There is no national cemetery for the unborn, no flag draped coffins, no national day of remembrance.
Abortion is sinful because it is the willful taking of human life. Under the Mosaic Law, God said, “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no lasting harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any lasting harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exod. 21:22-25). If the accidental interruption of a pregnancy was to be punished, what about the one who deliberately murders the unborn?
The Psalmist David thought of himself as being alive while in his mother’s womb. “For you have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth” (Psa. 139:13-16). Though his body was not totally developed, David affirmed that the Lord knew him! The only real difference between an unborn child and a new-born baby is the way they feed and obtain oxygen.
People often ask what the mother should do if she knows the child will have birth defects. I remind them that no test is 100% accurate, and no child is 100% perfect! I get upset when abortionists tell me that life is not worth living if you have a handicap. As the father of a child born with multiple birth defects, I believe I have the right to exhibit a little righteous indignation.
Our oldest son was born about three months premature and weighed a little over three pounds. He was born a “blue baby” (i.e., not breathing). The doctor who delivered him decided not to resuscitate him, but to let him die. The anesthetist in the delivery room, one of the deacons from church, insisted that the doctor revive our son. For this we will be eternally grateful. Though my son is deaf and partially blind, he is a wonderful boy who enjoys life, and he made his parents very proud when he achieved the honor roll at school.
Some parents have told me they wished their children would have never been born. I have never heard this from the parent of a handicapped child, and I know a lot of them. In fact, these parents are the most militant anti-abortionists I have ever met. They believe life is worth living, even with physical impairments.
Though the Bible does not give an example of someone who aborted his child, it does tell us about an “unwanted” pregnancy: the case of David and Bathsheba (1 Sam. 11,12). David, the king of Israel, coveted his neighbor’s wife, stole her from her husband and committed adultery with her. To avoid the embarrassment of an illegitimate child, David murdered Uriah the Hittite. David’s solution to his problem was the same as many fornicators today: kill the innocent to protect the guilty!
According to Editorial Research Reports (1987, Vol. II, p. 537), 81.3% of all abortions are performed on unmarried women. This means that four out of five times the baby is murdered to hide the sin of its parents!
The Bible says the “way of the transgressor is hard” (Prov. 13:5, KJV). Picture a young woman in her final year of college finding out that she is pregnant. Her plans for the future will be ruined if she has the child, so she decides to have it killed. Then later in life, she often cries herself to sleep while thinking of the child that might have been. It is still true that the way of the transgressor is hard.
Abortion is no worse than the other sins listed in Romans 1:26-32. All sin is terrible. But, thanks be to God, there is a remedy: repentance. David spoke of it so eloquently in the 51st Psalm when he prayed, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which you have broken may rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, 0 God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall be converted to you.”
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 17, p. 14-15
September 1, 1994