As we just celebrated Mother’s Day, I saw an interesting response to a pro-life Twitter thread. The pro-life tweet had pointed out that the baby had separate DNA and was not part of the mother’s body, and therefore was a separate life that needed to be respected. An abortion supporter agreed that the baby was indeed a separate body, but then proceeded to say that abortion was still acceptable because the baby’s body was dependent on the mother’s body. Did she have a valid point? Let’s work through that today.
I was recently involved in a strange Twitter debate with an abortion supporter who argued that the fetus was a part of the mother. I suppose this was based on the silly “my body, my choice” mantra, but it surprised me that someone would actually consider that slogan a serious reason, particularly in this age of increasing medical knowledge. But despite all evidence to the contrary, she insisted on believing that abortion was a matter of “healthcare” for the mother because the mother was the only individual involved since the fetus was a part of her body. Abortion supporters have even tried saying that the baby was part of the mother’s body because of the umbilical cord (which only connects the two together to provide nourishment to the baby’s separate body). Sadly, this level of scientific ignorance is rampant in our culture, so let’s see what medical experts have to say. And, as always, don’t just take my word for it; do the research for yourself. Now, let’s get to work.
I don’t get out to the movie theater very often, but this past weekend was an unusually good reason to go. Instead of the more typical brain rot on the big screen, a rare message of life, redemption, love, and forgiveness was premiering. Unplanned is the story of Abby Johnson, a young rising star in the ranks of Planned Parenthood who had become their youngest clinic director and been selected as employee of the year. That all changed, however, when she was asked to help the abortionist in an actual procedure by holding the ultrasound transducer so he could see the fetus he was about to kill. Talking points about “reproductive health” and “women’s rights” with regard to abortion are unmasked as the lies they are when it comes to actually seeing another human’s body getting its limbs ripped off and sucked down a suction tube as a result of those “rights”. That critical scene in the movie highlights why ultrasound, and the knowledge it brings, are so useful to the pro-life side of the debate, and so devastating to the pro-abortion side. Hence, abortion supporters must make strange claims like the one in The Atlantic in 2017 (here) that tried to paint ultrasound as a bad thing used by male doctors to focus on the fetus and bypass their women patients. Rather than being a tool of some conspiratorial patriarchy, ultrasound is simply a valuable tool that dramatically increases our knowledge when we can’t directly see something, whether that’s a doctor looking at a human fetus, a veterinarian looking at a dog’s stomach, or a weld inspector using very similar equipment to find hidden flaws in welds (like I’ve personally done). Honestly, some of the defenses of abortion would be funny if they weren’t so sad.
Now, for the review. This movie has had an uphill struggle, from getting an R rating, to a very limited opening in only 1,059 theaters nationwide, to TV and radio networks refusing to air advertisements for the movie, to Twitter suspending their account on opening weekend (just a coincidence, nothing to see here people, keep moving), to Twitter mysteriously decimating their follower count the next day before restoring it again. And yet, the film doubled its expected opening weekend revenue of $3M with a final tally of $6.1 million. That was enough to put it at #4 in the nation for the weekend. Not bad for a low budget film ($6M budget) opening in only a third to one quarter of the theaters of the next 3 films above it.
I thought the movie did a good job of not demonizing Planned Parenthood staff, but rather conveyed that they really did believe (even if wrongly) that they were helping women. The movie also explained that God offers forgiveness to those who repent of wrongdoing. His grace is freely available to all: the women who’ve had abortions like Abby; the men who’ve pressured women into getting an abortion; the doctors like Dr. Anthony Levantino,  who performed hundreds of abortions before becoming pro-life, forsaking killing to return to the doctor’s call to “do no harm”; and clinic directors like Abby, who realized the part she played in arranging the snuffing out of so many lives and asks at one point how God could forgive her. The movie shows through Abby’s story how overwhelming that guilt and grief can be when someone realizes what they’ve done, but also how freeing and life-changing it can be when they bring that sin before God and ask His forgiveness.
The film also did a better job than Christian films have in the past, I think, of showing the complexity of the people involved. Abby’s story is not a 1-dimensional caricature of the “evil abortion provider”. Rather, it shows her coming from a pro-life home, having considered herself pro-life growing up, getting involved with Planned Parenthood in college, and attending church services and having awkward dinner conversations with her family as she worked for the abortion chain. There is a lot of dissonance in her life as she tries to balance living in two different worlds, and Ashley Bratcher did a great job conveying the full spectrum of this story vividly. The supporting cast did exactly what they were supposed to do – support the story. No show-stealing or upstaging here like you sometimes get when there’s too many stars in a movie. In fact, if you’re looking for big names, you won’t find any here. However, to be honest, I’ve seen enough “star-studded” movies that were simply awful; I’ll take a good story over a big name any day.
While this movie delivers a good well-told story of redemption, it also delivers a very sobering reality check for a country that wants to yell at each other about abortion without really dealing with what abortion is. And just as seeing the grisly procedure up close and personal “changed everything” for her, it should for all of us as well. The movie ends with a number that viewers can text if they happen to work in the abortion industry and want out. Just as a clinic director like Abby was able to get out of Murder, Inc., so can others. I would just encourage everyone – pro-life, pro-abortion, and anyone on the fence – to go see this movie and think about it. If you’ve seen it, what did you think? And if you are one who doesn’t want to see it, I’d especially like to hear from you: why don’t you want to see it? Until next time, blessings, y’all!
 What would a movie review be without some trivia? Dr. Levantino actually plays the first doctor in the movie.
If you’ve followed this blog for long, you know I am pro-life, both on religious grounds and on scientific grounds. In a recent discussion on Twitter, I made a point I have made before, that the fetus cannot be a part of the mother’s body (as many pro-abortion advocates say), partly because the fetus has different DNA from the mother. Later in the discussion, an objection was raised to this point that I hadn’t heard before, so let’s work through that today.
For those who may have been living under a rock the last 60+ years, DNA is the complex molecule Deoxyribonucleic Acid found in every living cell that stores the “blueprint” for that person. First discovered in 1869, it’s structure was finally determined in 1953, and the staggering informational content fully mapped in 2003. After that slow start, our knowledge about DNA and uses for that knowledge have increased dramatically over the years. Some of the most common uses of DNA testing include determining parentage, convicting guilty criminals (or exonerating those wrongly convicted), and identifying partial or unrecognizable remains. Essentially, these examples use DNA to verify the unique identity of individual persons. Now combine that with the well-established fact that by the time fertilization is complete (within 24 hours of the joining of sperm and oocyte), and while still only a single cell, a developing baby has DNA distinct from either parent. The obvious conclusion, biologically, is that this rapidly developing organism is not the same organism as the mother.
Now, the objection raised was that unique DNA doesn’t determine how many lives are present because of the existence of chimeras. What’s that, you ask? A chimera, outside of the mythological monster from which the name is drawn, is an organism with two (or more) distinct sets of DNA. Though not “new” in terms of existence, the first confirmation of a natural human chimera was in 1953 when a woman in England donated blood and it was found to contain two different blood types in one sample. As our knowledge of genetics has grown and DNA testing has become more commonplace, so too has observance of this phenomenon. for instance, a woman needed a kidney transplant in 1998, but when her 3 sons were tested as potential donors, 2 of them were determined, based on DNA, not to be her biological sons, even though she had given birth to them. Then in 2003, a woman in Washington filed for welfare benefits for her children and was denied, with accusations of welfare fraud pending, because her 2 children were determined not to be hers. A 3rd child was born while this was being investigated, so that birth and an immediate DNA test of both mother and child were witnessed by an officer of the state. Again, the DNA test showed different parentage for the child just born. What happened in each of these cases? Each of these 3 women had been twins. The Englishwoman in 1953 had a twin brother who had died shortly after birth. Cells had been shared between the two early in the pregnancy. The other 2 women were both the result of fused embryos, or a “vanishing twin”. Two oocytes had been fertilized by two sperm, resulting in twin zygotes. Early in the pregnancy, however, the two zygotes merged into one. Because they were separate zygotes, they each had different DNA. However, because this occurs very early in development, the zygote is still a collection of totipotent cells (meaning each cell at this stage can still become any cell in the human body, i.e. they have not differentiated into their separate lines of specialized cells for organ generation). When the twin zygotes (call them A & B) fused together, some of the cell from twin A went on to form various body parts like the skin cells inside the cheek where DNA samples are often taken. Cells from twin B went on to form other body parts such as the ovaries that would be responsible for producing children “not her own”. A third scenario, Fetal Microchimerism, or FMc, is much more common and is when cells from the blood of the fetus and/or mother get through the placental barrier to reside in the other person. Cells from their children have been found in the bodies of autopsied women many years after their pregnancies.
Based on these observed cases, we know that a person can have multiple DNA. But does the existence of chimeras refute the idea that the developing baby is a unique individual distinct from the mother? I don’t think so. After all, when a patient receives an organ transplant, the donated organ will have the donor’s DNA rather than that of the recipient; but nobody considers the donor and recipient to be part of the same body. Furthermore, even though the person may have 2 sets of DNA in their body, the transplanted organ is only one organ, and cannot become anything more. A zygote, on the other hand, is capable of developing into a mature human, and is, in fact, directing much of the pregnancy. The case of cells passing between twins in utero, as in the 1953 English case, is really no different than the case of organ donation between adults. The case of fused zygotes is more extreme in that all of the “donor” has been passed to the recipient, but the concept of a donor providing some portion of a recipient’s organs still applies. Because the transfer of genetic information occurs at such an early stage, it’s impossible to know which organs formed from donor and which from recipient without some kind of comprehensive test that is not practical at this point, but it’s important to remember that neither zygote had the same DNA as the mother, so the resulting chimera is still not part of the mother’s body no matter how you look at it. As far as fetal microchimerism, we are only talking about a few individual cells from a genetically unique human (i.e. the baby) passing through the barrier that normally separates the baby’s blood from the mother’s, and residing in the body of another genetically unique human (i.e. the mother). The fact that a few of the baby’s cells migrate into the mother’s body (and vice versa) no more make the baby part of her body than an organ donor’s cells inside a recipient’s body makes the donor part of the recipient.
Does the chimeric objection succeed? No. Even with individual persons not necessarily being limited to only one DNA in their body, the baby is at all stages of development a separate, self-contained organism temporarily residing in the mother for nourishment and protective environment, and not a “part” of her that just has different DNA. All cases of chimerism, both natural and artificially induced, come about from the involvement to one degree or another of a second, genetically distinct organism. The different DNA confirms this and actually bolsters our understanding of a baby as a genetically unique individual from conception.
Further reading: “The Human Chimera: Legal Problems Arising From Individuals with Multiple Types of DNA“, by Robert Russell Granzen, Seton Hall Law School, 2014, was a thorough and interesting read on the matter.
I had an interesting discussion with several people on Twitter last week regarding the topic of abortion, and came away with a few observations I’d like to share today.
- The danger of echo chambers. This discussion took place on the Twitter feed of an abortionist who proudly performs late-term abortions. It became quickly apparent that the feed was basically an echo chamber for those who agreed with her to reinforce each other’s beliefs in the rightness of their cause. There is a time and place for mutual encouragement and support, but like a closed-off room grown stagnant, our minds atrophy when isolated from opposing views. For even exposure to mistaken views or outright malicious falsehoods can still benefit us by forcing us to think through what we believe, why we believe it, and, ultimately, if our reasons are adequately justified. As the apostle Paul said, “Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good” [1Th 5:21]. Being in an echo chamber had led several of her followers to fall for some very bad arguments. On the other hand, as a Christian, I have access to the only transcendent source of truth – God – in the forms of His written word, the Bible, and the guidance of His Holy Spirit. What a blessing! And getting support and encouragement from fellow believers drawing from that deep well of truth is a great thing. But that can turn into an unhealthy echo chamber for a Christian when it a) ends up only encouraging in spite of error that really needs correcting, or b) leads to being disconnected from the world Jesus has commissioned us to be ambassadors to [2Cor 5:20]. As an example, an American who never learned about Chinese culture would likely not be an effective ambassador to China. He would need to both represent his own country well and understand his host country enough to communicate with them clearly. Similarly, we are called to be “in the world, but not of the world” [Jn 17:14-18]. The Christian must be different, but who will ever know Christ made a difference in our lives if we stay isolated in a little Christian bubble [Mt 5:14-16]? So we need to be willing to engage with opposing views, but always with gentleness and respect [1Pe 3:15], speaking the truth in love [Eph 4:15].
- The difference between monologue and dialogue. There were some initial insults and somewhat immature replies to my bringing science to bear on the subject of abortion, and my addressing biologically incorrect arguments seemed to be falling on deaf ears. Eventually, however, someone came forward willing to engage in serious dialogue. He wanted sources for what I was saying so he could verify them himself, so I gladly gave him quotes & references from different embryology textbooks. A civil, thoughtful discussion ensued – on Twitter of all places! Now, I’ve learned many things over the years from presentations that were essentially monologues, such as seminars without Q&A, or recorded webinars, and so forth; but dialogue is critical in discussing controversial topics. A person will only learn from a monologue if they go in willing to listen, and open to absorbing new knowledge (like a seminar I’ve paid to attend). But in a hostile situation, the other person is already defensive at having their views challenged, and dialogue with the person, instead of a monologue directed at them, is really the only hope for changing their mind.
- The persistence of presuppositions. What was intriguing about the discussion was the repeated assumption that my objections were religious in nature, even though I’d never mentioned anything related to religion (of any kind) in my comments. It took a while to finally convey the point that a response from a user with the name “Well-Designed Faith” didn’t mean that every statement I made would be a religious statement, and that while I could make a religious objection to abortion, I hadn’t, and they would still need to deal with the scientific objections I had made. So why did that reaction happen in the first place, and why did it continue? I can’t get into anyone else’s head to determine their thought process, but it appears that those commenters had some unjustified presuppositions that anything a Christian said was related to Christianity and could be safely ignored. That is nothing more than the genetic fallacy – that the origin (or genesis) of an idea can determine its truth. For instance, the idea that a man can’t speak about abortion only looks at the origin of a message rather than the content of the message, which stands or falls on its own merits, regardless of who says it. In fact, that line of faulty pro-abortion reasoning actually undercuts the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that was judged entirely by … men. Likewise, while I am a Christian, my objection that the unborn baby is biologically not a part of the mother’s body is well-grounded medically, and is an objection raised by both Christian and atheist pro-lifers (yes, there are atheist pro-lifers…). So, just because a Christian raises the objection, that doesn’t mean one can dismiss it just because one has a low opinion of Christians. Similarly, the Christian can’t dismiss arguments without weighing them, or just because of who made them.
Just a few observations this week about being good ambassadors, as I learn “on the job” to be a better one myself. So listen to what’s out there; it doesn’t help to answer the question nobody’s asking, and not deal with the issues shaping our world. Talk with people instead at them, and remember that they’re not just icons on screen, but real people, created in God’s image (even if they reject that truth). When it seems like you’re just talking past each other, step back and look for presuppositions (on both sides) that may be preventing you and them from understanding what the other is saying. And, as Greg Koukl, that master ambassador for Christ, would say, “Get out there, and give ’em Heaven!”
I attended my state’s March For Life at our State Capitol this past Sunday, mourning the last 45 years of legalized abortion here in America. Afterwards, I had an unusual conversation with a gentlemen who claimed to be pro-life. Throughout the rally, he had been holding up a sign that advocated putting women in jail who sought abortions. This was the first time I’d seen anyone at a pro-life rally who advocated that, so we had an odd, but civil, conversation afterward. From the last 2 posts this month, and previous posts on the subject of abortion, you can see for yourself that I consider abortion to be the intentional killing of a living, innocent, human person – and therefore murder. So if abortion is murder, why would I and most pro-life people disagree with the gentleman I spoke to regarding the prosecution of women seeking abortions? Let’s work through that today.
- The abortionist, as the one actually committing (and profiting from) the deed, and possessing sufficient medical training to know what it is that he is doing, will always bear the larger moral responsibility for an abortion. This is partly why pro-lifers consistently argue for punishment for the abortionist performing these procedures rather than the women seeking them. For instance, in a dismemberment abortion, the abortionist tears the arms and legs from the torso, then crushes the skull of the baby so that it may be sucked out of the womb through a vacuum hose. Because of the possibility of infection if any of the baby’s body parts are left in the womb to rot, the abortionist must examine the remains and account for all of them. While the woman may be told that her baby was just an “undifferentiated clump of cells”, the abortionist is able to visually confirm that that is simply not the case. He is without excuse.
- This brings up a 2nd point: lies women believe. Many women have fallen for the lies that the new life they carry is “just a clump of cells”, “similar to a polyp or cyst”, “not human yet”, “not alive yet”, or “a part of their body to do with as they please.” It grieves me to hear responses like those from women (and men who feel they are being supportive of “women’s rights” by parroting the abortion talking points). The case for life is robust, both philosophically and scientifically. But sadly, pro-abortion lies like “My body, my choice” can be chanted and carried on signs far easier than a discussion of the verifiable different DNA between mother and baby. But since women do believe these lies, and hence do believe that they are simply getting rid of something less than human, I don’t fault them for making a tragic decision based on the false information given them by groups like Planned Parenthood, NARAL, NOW and others who claim to have their best interests in mind. Rather, I, and so many other pro-lifers, seek to educate women (and men) everywhere on the amazingly complex development going on largely unseen in the womb. Education dispels ignorance, and science is strongly on the side of life. In fact, some of the most outspoken pro-lifers have been former abortionists who could no longer ignore the clear scientific facts staring at them from an ultrasound machine, or the clearly human remains they were disposing of (Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Dr. Joseph Randall, Dr. Anthony Levatino, among many others over the years).
- While the baby killed is clearly a victim in an abortion, many women do not leave the abortion unscathed. While there are the pregnant women who actually die in abortions, and other who suffer from medical complications afterward, I’m actually talking about the women who have regrets for an irreversible action that can’t be undone later; the women who suffer from guilt and wonder what that child might’ve grown up to be; and the women who suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts after the abortion, as found in a 1996 study in Finland .
- We have a standard in the US of “innocent until proven guilty”. While the abortionist is clearly guilty, the case of the women involved is not nearly so clear cut. The expectant mother has often been lied to and misinformed, and may be scared of the consequences of her pregnancy and unaware of life-protecting options like adoption. Therefore it is better to err on the side of giving them the benefit of the doubt.
- Some women are pressured into abortions by abusive husbands, boyfriends unwilling to man up and take responsibility for the child they helped create, parents threatening to kick their pregnant daughter out of the house unless she aborts, pimps who know how much money they will lose out on if one of the girls they prostitute is pregnant for 9 months, or the government in the case of China.
These are some reasons why pro-lifers reach out with compassion to abortive mothers. As Robert P. George so succinctly stated, “We are interested in saving babies, not punishing mothers. And we know that we don’t need to punish mothers to save babies.” So as Christians we follow Paul’s command to speak the “truth in love” [Eph 4:15], educating people who may possibly not understand the significance of what they do or advocate. And if you are considering an abortion, please call 1-800-848-LOVE to speak to a counselor or to find one of the 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers nationwide near you. They can help you make the best choice for yourself… and your baby.
 http://www.bmj.com/content/313/7070/1431.full. This result is interesting in a country that provides free abortions and isn’t noted for associating any stigma with abortion.
 https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2016/03/trump-is-no-pro-lifer. Regarding George’s main premise about Trump in his article, I will only say that I have been pleasantly surprised with Trump’s continued support of life and hope that Mr. Trump continues to prove us wrong who were skeptics of the genuineness of his seemingly recent pro-life views.
Last week, we looked at the first eight of sixteen statements phrased as fill-in-the-blank sentences that are showing up on billboards in Cleveland, Ohio supporting the barbaric practice of abortion. Today, I’d like to work through the remaining eight.
- “Abortion is life-saving. “ The irony of this statement would be comical if it weren’t such tragic disinformation. A successful abortion necessarily kills an innocent human. That’s not life-saving; that’s life-destroying. And while there are still cases where carrying the baby to term truly endangers the mother’s life, such as ectopic (tubal) pregnancies or uterine cancer where treatment may kill the baby and non-treatment may kill the mother, these are the exception and make up a minuscule portion of abortions. Interestingly, former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said in 1980, “In my thirty-six years in pediatric surgery I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother’s life.” Even Alan Guttmacher, former president of Planned Parenthood, stated in 1967 that “Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and, if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save, life.” And genuine life-saving technology has only improved since then, thus further reducing the likelihood of actually needing an abortion.
- “Abortion is a parenting decision. “ If so, then it’s a tragic and often uninformed or misinformed parenting decision. Unfortunately, too many mothers believe the lies that their baby is simply a “clump of cells” or “a parasite”, or “only a potential human”, and make bad, irreversible “parenting” decisions. But parenting is more than just biology. A parent protects, nourishes, and loves their children, and prepares them for adulthood. To have the child killed is antithetical to the common idea of what makes a “good” parent, for it is opposed to a foundational goal of parenting: desiring the good of your children.
- “Abortion is liberty. “ I think this misunderstanding comes from the notion of liberty being unrestrained ability to do anything you desire. That is simply untrue. I am never free to murder my neighbor, nor am I free to steal his car for the fun of it. Liberty is the freedom to do what is right. Freedom of choice does not entail the freedom to choose wrong or to violate someone else’s rights, which is precisely what happens when the unborn baby is deprived of that most fundamental right – the right to one’s own life.
- “Abortion is a second chance. “ The hidden assumption of this statement is that bringing a new life into the world is a) a mistake, and b) one that can simply be erased like an Etch-a-Sketch via abortion. Even if a baby is “unplanned”, or “inconvenient”, or the result of a one-night-stand, affair, or even a rape – are any of these a good reason to kill an innocent baby? Where is the baby’s first chance to live and make a difference in this world?
- “Abortion is hope. “ Hope achieved at the expense of another’s life is not any kind of genuine hope to offer people, but is only the vice of selfishness repackaged as a virtue. Thinking the deliberate killing of a child brings hope is to assume the child is some kind of anchor holding the mother down, and that abortion can realize the hope of release from such a weighty burden. Yet this goes completely contrary to the beautiful, nurturing nature of motherhood, that routinely sacrifices self for the child. Our next generation isn’t a burden holding us down, but rather our successors that we give a step up to so that they can achieve more than we did, just as we tried to build on what our parents did for us. Abortion actually turns the advancement of civilization on its head.
- “Abortion is health care. “ Calling the ending of someone’s life without their consent “health care” is just as much Orwellian “newspeak” as calling a government propaganda department the “Ministry of Truth”. When the intent of a procedure is to take a healthy living human and make them dead, that is as far from health care as can be conceived.
- “Abortion is sacred. “ This is perhaps the most egregious of the slogans. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the intended meaning here was “entitled to reverence and respect” or “highly valued and important”, and not the religious uses of the word “sacred”. Even so, those are hardly words that should be used to describe what is at best a tragic loss of life, even in the rare cases when a mother’s life is in danger.
- “Abortion is right for me. “ Dear reader, if you are considering an abortion, I hope these previous 7 responses, and the 8 from last week, have helped you see why abortion is not right for you. All of the statements examined these two weeks try to deflect your attention away from one simple question: is the object of discussion an innocent… living… human… person? If it is (and I believe there are good reasons to say it is), then there are no good reasons that can justify killing it.
What are some alternatives to abortion that would be right for you? The times that stretch us beyond what we thought we could withstand are often the times we grow the most. If you don’t feel like you could take care of a baby, consider the generations of women before that opted to push through the trials and raise a kid amidst financial uncertainty, poverty, food scarcity, war, and a host of other struggles. How many of us were “unplanned”, and caused years of sacrifice for our parents? And yet, if that was you, aren’t you glad you got the chance to live? But if your situation really does preclude raising your child, adoption is another option. Is your pregnancy burdensome? As difficult as it may seem, it is a temporary burden, while abortion is an action with permanent consequences. Seek support during this difficult time and persevere until birth so that someone else can offer your child the opportunities you can’t. In closing, everyone comes to this decision with their own story, their own questions, and fears, and concerns. If you’re trying to decide between abortion and giving birth, let me point you to a nationwide toll-free number you can call or text anytime to talk to someone about your specific situation. There is likely a pregnancy resource center near you that may even be able to offer you services like ultrasound, but this number will get you started, wherever you are in the US: 1-800-848-LOVE (5683).
 Koop and Guttmacher quoted at http://abort73.com/end_abortion/is_abortion_ever_justified, accessed 2018-01-14. Although I prefer to set eyes on primary sources to confirm a quote is authentic and in context, I was not able to find the sources referenced online or for sale in print. If you have a copy of Guttmacher’s book Abortion–Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: The Case for Legalized Abortion Now (Berkeley, CA: Diablo Press, 1967), or the May 1980 issue of Moody Monthly that you would be willing to donate or sell me, please contact me.
 George Orwell, 1984. A good read, I might add.
Some billboards are going up in Cleveland promoting abortion. Now, I’m used to the typical lines like “It’s my body” and so on. I can at least understand the confusion with ideas like that; the proponent assumes that just because something is inside one’s body, then it is one’s body. My response is simple – get a DNA test done on the baby (or fetus if you prefer), and if it comes up identical to your DNA, go for it. You would have my blessing to proceed with an abortion, for it would simply be part of your body. Of course, that is an impossibility, for the mother only provides half the chromosomes to the fetus. Therefore it is impossible for it to be part of the mother’s body. From within moments of conception, the baby is a genetically distinct human. But these new billboards are so brazen in their disinformation, that they require a response. The billboards simply show a short fill-in-the-blank sentence, “abortion is _____”, with the blank filled in with one of 16 different false conclusions. As the tragic anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches this month, and we mourn the loss of nearly 60 million Americans over the last 45 years, let’s look at the first 8 of these faulty arguments this week, and the remaining 8 next week.
- “Abortion is normal. “ The word “normal” can have a technical meaning in fields like statistics and engineering, but in everyday usage, normal means regular, common, or natural. Induced abortions ended approximately 19% of pregnancies in the US in 2014. Clearly, the regular, natural result of a pregnancy, if not interrupted, is childbirth, not abortion.
- “Abortion is necessary. “ Abortion is certainly not necessary, in general. If the human race is to continue to survive, childbirth is necessary, but not abortion. I’m guessing – hoping – they are referring to the specific cases where the mother’s life is in imminent danger. Is there any other case where the idea of a necessary death could even be contemplated? Even when presented with the apparent need to kill one to save the other, versus losing both, it is still a decision of last resort arrived at after exhausting other options. But those cases are the exception even in times and places of poor medical care. In light of current medical advances, there are becoming fewer and fewer cases where a nonabortive solution can’t be found. The primary case is ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, which is an almost guaranteed death sentence for both mother and child if allowed to proceed, although even in that dire situation, there are a handful of cases where mother and baby both survived an ectopic pregnancy (with 3 in the UK between 1999 and 2005). However, these are an extremely small percentage of abortions. If this is the scenario pro-abortion activists want to appeal to, then OK; let’s ban all abortions except where it is actually necessary. Since the vast majority of abortions are elective, I suspect the argument for necessity is simply a bluff needing to be called.
- “Abortion is your right. “ While abortion or a right to privacy are never mentioned in our Constitution or Declaration of Independence, the right to life is recognized and protected in both documents. But since the abortion supporters bring up the subject of rights, it’s worth reminding everyone of something R.C. Sproul used to say: nobody has the right to do what is wrong. It’s also been said in various ways since the 1800’s that the right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins. Rights come with responsibilities, and if your right to do something is reasonably restricted when it would only harm another person, how much more should that alleged “right” be restricted when it would kill an innocent person?
- “Abortion is gender equality. “ This is an interesting one because sex-selective abortion kills more females than males worldwide. After years of preferentially aborting baby girls, areas like China and India are beginning to see substantial deficits in the number of women compared to men. Just from a practical standpoint, it really makes no sense for feminist women to support a procedure that actually kills more women than men worldwide. But then today’s feminists aren’t like the real pioneering feminists who were staunchly opposed to abortion.
- Abortion is a family value. “ To say that killing a family member is somehow a family value is simply bewildering. Enough said.
- “Abortion is good medicine. “ Actually, abortion violates the Hippocratic Oath, from whence we get that most basic, founding medical principle of “Do no harm,” the idea that doctors should be about healing their patients, not harming them. But perhaps you might think Hippocrates was only referring to those who had been born. After all, he did live 2400 years ago and couldn’t possibly know what we know now about babies from genetics and embryology (which has only strengthened the argument against abortion, by the way). You might be tempted to think that, except that Hippocrates specifically prohibited a doctor from performing abortions in his famous Oath. Yes, it was bad medicine back then, and it’s even clearer now that things like ultrasound have opened a window into the womb.
- “Abortion is safer than childbirth. “ This is based on the presupposition that the mother is the only patient involved. When we correctly understand that the unborn baby is a living human person, then we understand that every successful abortion kills at least one of the patients (and sometimes both).
- “Abortion is a blessing. “ This is perhaps the most selfish of all the billboard slogans, for depriving someone of their very life, without their consent, is only a blessing if you don’t want that person alive. This slogan perverts the traditional view of children as a blessing and substitutes their death as the blessing.
Abortion is often a sensitive and emotional subject, but that is because the stakes are so high. It’s either no big deal and all these billboards trying to justify it are needless, or the human race has killed 1.4 billion of its most defenseless members without provocation – just since 1980  – and it’s actually the most important issue facing humanity. There really is no in-between. If the unborn baby is a living human person, innocent of any wrongdoing, then abortion is murder, and abortionists are not doctors but serial killers. And if we continue to ignore the holocaust happening right in front of us, our generation will be just as shamed in future history books as the households of American slave owners and the Germans who lived near the Nazi death camps and looked the other way.
 Preamble to the US Declaration of Independence, and the 14th amendment to the US Constitution.
 See www.numberofabortions.com for more tragic abortion stats.
We often don’t make the best decisions under stress. Salespeople often count on that impulsiveness to make a sale. That’s why, when faced with a big decision like a major purchase, the old advice is to “sleep on it.” Don’t make an impulse buy, but take some time to deliberate on it first. Sometimes, though, major life decisions are forced on you without warning. Sometimes, you’ve done everything right,
and despite your best efforts to avoid bad situations, you find your self in a tough spot, having to make a life-altering decision. Although you can’t prepare for every conceivable scenario, it’s still a good idea to work through how you would respond to a tough situation before you get in that situation. For instance, you’re less likely to cheat on an exam or steal something, regardless of the circumstances, if you’ve made the conscious decision that you won’t in advance, away from the pressure of the moment. You’re less likely to cheat on your spouse if you’ve thought through the tragic consequences of an affair before you find yourself in a tempting situation, where hormones tend to push reason out the window. But what if you’re the victim of a crime? Not just any crime, but a rape, that most invasive of crimes? What if you’re now pregnant with the child of your rapist?
Abortion is a sensitive subject that arouses strong responses on both sides of the debate. One of the most sensitive points in that debate is the case of a pregnancy resulting from rape. While this actually accounts for a very small number of abortions, it is nonetheless an emotionally powerful example. But let’s step back from the heat of the fight, and look at that case calmly and reasonably, and perhaps see a flaw in assuming abortion is a good solution for the rape victim. While a rape is, by definition, involuntary, how one responds is within one’s control. In the aftermath, it may be tempting to get rid of the most obvious effect of a rape-induced pregnancy: the baby. But here’s precisely where one needs reason to avoid a very permanent mistake. Rape is often used as an “obvious” justification for abortion, yet who is being punished here? The guilty rapist, the perpetrator of the awful crime? Unfortunately, no. The innocent baby is getting the death sentence, not the deserving rapist. While the rape is certainly a traumatic experience for the mother, aborting the baby is tragically misplaced retribution that won’t bring genuine healing to her and most likely won’t even affect the rapist. Surely, the baby should not be required to take the punishment for the rapist’s crime, and pay with her life? This only takes one wrong, and adds another to it. Yet, as they say, “two wrongs don’t make a right.” The abortion does not change the fact of the rape, and only adds to that wrong the death of one who had absolutely no say in how they were conceived. So how could one turn this wrong back to right?
The concept of redemption is a huge part of the Bible. Indeed, the Bible is the record of God’s redemption of humankind as it has played out through history and on into the future. He brings good out of the most vile situations. Likewise, the act of choosing life for the baby can redeem even that vile act and turn it to good. In fact, I saw a speaker recently, Monica Kelsey, who is a firefighter and medic. She was also the result of her mother’s rape, and almost the victim of an abortion. But because her mother chose life for her innocent baby at the last minute, that baby has grown up and is saving lives as well. As she says, “her life was saved so she can save others”. It’s easy to talk about abortion simply as an act of compassion for the mother that was attacked before you meet people like that and realize there are 2 victims in those cases, and you don’t help the first victim by killing the second.
Lastly, I want to say, if you, dear reader, are already in this situation, and considering abortion, I ask you to hit “pause” for a moment, and reconsider. Call 1-800-848-LOVE, 24/7/365 or visit http://www.nrlc.org/help/ to learn about the life-giving options available. You and your baby don’t have to be defined by what happened to you.
Previously, I detailed scientific reasons why abortion is, in fact, murder. In that post (here), I mentioned that these are reasons to support the Christian position on abortion. But what is the Christian position on abortion? In the past, I would’ve said it was a unanimous agreement that abortion is wrong. But in researching this, I found there are segments of Christianity that do support having the option to abort a baby under some conditions. So it would seem that Christians aren’t unanimous on this question. For us, it always comes back to what the Bible says, and sure enough, Christians supporting abortion choice do try to justify their view with the Bible. Let’s dig into that today and see if there is a biblical case for abortion. Here are a few of those attempts to justify this practice.
- One site I found actually stated that abortion is okay because that word isn’t mentioned in the Bible. True, it’s not; but murder is, and it’s clearly prohibited. Also, while the word “abortion” may not be mentioned, neither is the word “embezzlement”, yet it is clearly unacceptable by the prohibition on stealing. For that matter, the word “Trinity” isn’t in the Bible either, but that hasn’t stopped us from recognizing the concept there and formulating a word for it.
- That same site also tried to say that abortion was an example of stewardship, and we are called to be good stewards of what God has given us. Now, this twisted logic is based on the mother being a “good steward” of her body and aborting her baby if it would cause her any negative effects like physical or emotional distress. If this version of “stewardship” seems a little self-centered, it is. Consider Merriam-Webster’s definition of stewardship: “The activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something.” The very idea of stewardship is that you are taking care of something that is not yours. Regarding the mother taking care of her body (at the expense of her baby’s), I would suggest that this is similar to the idea that “your right to swing your fists ends where my nose begins.” The baby is clearly not part of the mother’s body, as evidenced by different DNA, duplicate organs, and often different blood type and even gender. Therefore, I would say the mother’s right to be a “steward” of her body ends where such activity harms the baby. In fact, taking care of her body such that it prevents harm to the baby is generally recognized as a mother’s obligation. Hence, the warnings to not drink or smoke during pregnancy. In reality, motherhood is a beautiful example of stewardship, but abortion is actually to reject being a steward of what is consistently described as a gift from God.
- Genesis 2:7 is cited as biblical support for abortion in that Adam, the first man, did not become a living soul until God breathed the breath of life into him. This is taken to mean that babies do not become living souls until they take their first breath. Aside from the fact that babies are going through the motions of breathing amniotic fluid in and out of their lungs for months before they are born (as early as 10 weeks ), it should be pretty clear that Adam and Eve were unique in all of humanity. Neither went through through the birth process, and both appear to have been formed as fully adult humans, so applying their case to babies is to go beyond any reasonable support of the text.
- Numbers 3:39-43 is used to justify abortion because God commanded a census to be taken, counting all the Levites over a month old. This is taken as an insinuation that their lives didn’t count prior to 1 month. Not being counted for a census is not the same as not being counted as a human life. The first is a pragmatic consideration while the second is ontological. The census was concerned with counting a large number of people in a time of high infant mortality. The first month is a dangerous time for any baby, but especially in primitive Bedouin-type conditions. Babies that survived the first month were much more likely to survive to adulthood, thus warranting their being counted in a census.
- Ecclesiastes 6:3-5 is taken as meaning that a miscarriage is better than an unhappy life. Please note first that a natural miscarriage is a far cry from an intentional dismemberment. But even if this verse were an endorsement of abortion for “quality of life” concerns, Ecclesiastes is King Solomon’s search for the true meaning of life by investigating all the dead-end roads. One could come away with a lot of strange ideas if you read parts of Ecclesiastes, even extended parts, without reading the whole thing. The first and final chapter are the bookends that give the context for that experiment in folly, as Solomon finally concludes that the rest of his search for meaning apart from God was just that – folly. Don’t take a man’s depressed ramblings about the futility of life as endorsement for killing those yet to be born. Moreover, we have no way of knowing what the future holds for any of us as far as “quality of life”, so who are we to decide for an unborn baby that their future won’t measure up? I will tell you right now, there are physically deformed and/or mentally handicapped people out there with more joy in their lives than many millionaires with the world at their fingertips. Frankly, it’s rather arrogant for us to think we can correctly guess whether a baby with serious issues would grow up to consider his or her life “worth it” or not. That depends on their perspective, not ours. Let’s face it, a lot of people supporting abortion for “quality of life” concerns would probably have chosen to abort evangelist, motivational speaker, husband, father, and author, Nick Vujicic if they had known he would be born without arms or legs. So let’s not pretend we can “see the end from the beginning”; only God can do that.
There’s 5 attempts to justify abortion using the Bible. Hopefully, you’ve seen that these simply aren’t good reasons. Have you come across other justifications for abortion that you believe are legitimate? Share them in a comment and let’s work through them together. 🙂
 The United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Episcopal Church, to varying degrees. See 2013 Pew Report at http://www.pewforum.org/2013/01/16/religious-groups-official-positions-on-abortion/.
 http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stewardship, accessed 2016/08/24.