Abortion, Science and the Bible
I was recently watching a conservative and a liberal brawling on a cable TV news station. The topic was abortion. The conservative seemed to be winning the round when all of the sudden the liberal delivered the final blow. The liberal turned to the conservative and said; do you think a woman should go to jail for having an abortion? The conservative was rendered speechless. On another similar show, someone from Planned Parenthood was going on about a woman’s right to choose when the host turned to her and said, “Most doctors refuse to perform abortions.” Her reply; “That’s because they’re afraid they might get blown up by someone on the right.” The host responded with a sobering fact. “No, it’s because they don’t believe it is medically beneficial.” But before the segment was over the liberal was quick to point out the alarming proposition of having abortions performed illegally with coat hangers, an equally sobering thought. She also reminded us of the obvious; a woman should be able to control her own body.
The abortion debate has become the most divisive and emotional issue in American politics. Because it is fogged with so many misrepresentations, we are just going to stick to the facts about the many issues surrounding the abortion debate. Now before I go on, I have to confess: I’m a man, which of course means I’ll never have to get an abortion. Some might think that puts me at a disadvantage when arguing for or against women’s rights. But I’m not arguing for a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body, I concede that point. I’m arguing on behalf of the human race and in defense of those who can’t argue for themselves; the unborn. Who given the “choice” would likely opt out of the abortion.
Let’s dig in to the issue by reviewing a bit of history. On March 6, 1857 in the infamous Dred Scott decision the Supreme Court of the United States finally answered the vexing question which had split America for so long. On that day it decided that slavery was legal because under the Constitution, a black man was not a “person” and therefore had no rights within our sovereign borders. When the church objected to the decision, the common theme from the Democratic Party was; if you don’t agree you can choose not to own a slave. But you shouldn’t impose your moral beliefs on others.
English Common Law, which the Colonies’ inherited, punished an abortionist with a misdemeanor if it was performed before “feeling life”. If the abortion was performed after that period it was considered a felony. Having discovered that life begins at conception, in 1869 the British Parliament passed the Offense Against the Persons Act, which made it a felony to perform an abortion at any time of development.1 Our individual States soon moved to pass similar laws. Despite the feminists’ modern day distortion which claims that if abortion were to be abolished, women could be charged with murder for simply having a miscarriage; that has never been the case. The woman having the abortion was never criminally liable. The person performing the abortion was charged with the crime which often carried a four year prison sentence. There is no evidence on record of women facing persecution for having an abortion in our courts.2
Industrialization in the 19th century increased prostitution in America. With nothing in the form of birth control, underground abortion clinics began to emerge all over the country. Abortion doctors driven by profit made lucrative livings performing abortions on prostitutes. By the turn of the century it was estimated that 100,000 abortions were being performed each year.3
In the early part of the 20th century one of the most outspoken defenders of abortion was Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood. Her radical views got her exiled to Europe where she was seduced by the teachings of economist Thomas Malthus, the first open proponent of eugenics. This practice encourages reproduction of the “most fit” and the elimination of reproduction among the “less fit”. Malthus opposed taking care of the weak and sick as it did a disservice to mankind. On her return to the States, Sanger opened abortion clinics for immigrants and publicly endorsed Lethrop Steddard’s book, The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy. Then she wrote a darling book of her own called, The Pivot of Civilization which incorporated the Malthusian views of a superior race. The book became an instant best seller. It urged the elimination of “human weeds” and the “cessation of charity” which worked to keep the weak breeds alive. She asserted that the “genetically inferior races” should be sterilized and advocated the “segregation of morons, misfits and the maladjusted”. Margaret endorsed Nazi purification along with all kind of sexual deviance and turned her Planned Parenthood movement into a national call for revolution. Margaret was a proponent of abortion, not only to enhance women’s rights, but to rid society of inferior races. She was a racist of the worst kind.
Public policy victories came in 1967 when Colorado and California became the first States to legalize abortions for cases of rape, incest, handicapped children or the life of the mother. Over the next three years 13 other States would follow suite. Then in 1970 New York became the first state to pass unrestricted abortion within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy. Thirty three other States debated the issue and chose not to pass such laws. North Dakota tried to pass a similar law by means of a referendum but 78% of the population voted against it. Outraged about the law in New York the people made every effort to repeal the law but the repeal was vetoed by Governor Rockefeller. The next election saw the removal of incumbents who supported the abortion law and in 1973 the new legislator was moving to repeal the law once again.
Then on January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States of America made the decision for them. Without a shred of Constitutional precedence or the will of the people, the Court finally answered another vexing question which had split America. On that day it decided that abortion could not be restricted because under the Constitution an unborn baby was not a “person” and therefore had no rights under our sovereign borders. Abortion on demand became the law of the land. From this day forward the value of human life would be measured by his or her social and economic benefit.
David Kupelian documents in his brilliant book, The Marketing of Evil, the fact that this was the culmination of a well-orchestrated effort by liberals in America to divert our attention from the core issues of what abortion does to unborn children and their mothers. Instead they focused on the emotions of the growing liberation movement and packaged their product of death, as simply a liberating choice for women. Their radical agenda to further break down the barriers to sexual promiscuity seduced the American people and finally become public policy. In a democracy, things are not supposed to work this way. The Constitution says nothing of abortion on demand or the “right to privacy” which was used to justify the decision. The Declaration does say that we have the “right to life”. Yet that wasn’t enough to persuade those people already intent on imposing their position.
As the debate grew during the early 70s, the feminists cleverly selected the slogan “choice” to represent their movement. But let’s face it, everyone except ISIS believes in choice. We’ve all heard the rhetoric as the debate is now focused on a woman’s “right to choose”, arguing that a woman should have the right to do what she wants with her body. To do otherwise infringes on her civil liberties. I argue that restricting abortion does not eliminate a woman’s right to choose. She just has to choose before she gets pregnant. Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, when the debate was heating up, access to contraception was rare and therefore the argument had some merit. But today with the availability of contraception a woman has the “right to choose” not to get pregnant. In fact, contraceptives are far more effective at protecting against unwanted pregnancies than they are at protecting against STDs. By reducing the decision to abort a baby to the likes of choosing between Pepsi and Coke, the growth of abortions in America, despite the advent of contraception, has become unfathomable.
To grasp what is going on in America today I’ll cite excerpts from Kupelian’s book. Here an ob-gyn staffer Debra Henry describes a saline abortion. She notes; “The saline, a salt solution is injected into the woman’s sac and the baby swallows it. The baby starts dying a slow violent death. The mother feels everything and it is at this point when she realizes that she really has a living baby inside of her, because the baby starts fighting violently for his or her life. He’s just fighting inside because he’s burning.”
Here’s how David Brewer, MD, describes his experiences after ten years of performing the procedure, “One night a lady delivered and I was called in to see her because she was uncontrollable. I went in the room and she was going to pieces; she was having a nervous breakdown, screaming and thrashing. The nurses were upset because they couldn’t get any work done and all the other patients were upset because this lady was screaming. I walked in and here was her little saline abortion baby kicking. It had been born alive and was kicking and moving for a little while before it finally died of those terrible burns, because the salt solution gets into the lungs and burns the lungs too.”
He further describes the first time he witnessed a suction abortion during his early training, “I saw the bloody material coming down the plastic tube, and it went into the jar. My job afterwards was to go and undo the jar, and to see what was inside. I didn’t have any views on abortion….I was going to get to see a new procedure and learn. I opened the jar and took the little pieces of stockinet stocking and opened that little bag. The resident doctor said, ‘Now put it on the blue towel and check it out. We want to make sure that we got it all’ I thought, that’ll be exciting-hands on experience looking at tissue. I opened the sock up and put it on the towel, and there were parts of a person there. I had taken anatomy, I was a medical student. I knew what I was looking at. There was little scapula and an arm, I saw some ribs and a chest and a little tiny head. I saw a piece of a leg and a tiny hand and an arm and, you know, it was like somebody put a hot poker into it. I had a conscience and it hurt. Well I checked it out and there were two arms and two legs and one head and so forth, and I turned and said, ‘I guess you got it all.”
This ladies and gentlemen is how feminists, Democrats, atheists, liberals and progressives have come to define freedom in the 21st century. And while “choice” may summon the warm and fuzzies, this is the hard reality. Abortions are happening in our clinics almost 900,000 times every year. It has become the latest form of birth control in a nation where sexual pleasure trumps life itself.
I once spoke to a young college graduate well versed in the “choice” church choir. She said, “I personally don’t believe in abortion but I do believe in a woman’s right to choose.” I said, “Well, by supporting abortion laws don’t you think some people will choose to abort.” “Yes” she answered “but that’s their choice, I’m in no way condoning it or supporting it. I don’t believe in abortion, I believe in choice.” I replied, “would you support the right of pedophiles to choose rape and be guiltless as well?” Of course not, because inevitably some people are going to choose rape. You’re either for abortion or against abortion and therefore from here on I will refer to supporters of pro-choice as pro-abortionists.
Let’s speak briefly about the issue of rights. When we think of rights in the West, we understand that an individual’s rights have always been tempered by the competing rights of others. More precisely, I may argue for my right to drink and drive but that right is restricted by the right of another motorist’s right to live. On the issue of abortion, the right of a woman to choose has gone unhindered by the competing rights of others, primarily the unborn baby and the biological father. When people in a society lack a voice in their defense it has always been the responsibility of the commonwealth to defend their interest. In this case, the silent voices of the unborn (who would choose the right to be born) fall on the guiltless consciences of liberal America. The father who on one hand is faced with no less than eighteen years of financial responsibility and on the other may long to see his offspring take his first steps is equally denied the right to weigh in on the matter. Rights as we know them are hardly the issue.
Now let’s take this debate where it rightly belongs by answering the most pressing question of all; is an unborn baby a human being? By using the word fetus rather than baby, the feminists would like us to think that it is something less than a baby. If it is not a baby then, as many have asserted in the past, it’s just tissue. Life to them begins when the baby is viable or living outside the mother. Christians on the other hand believe life begins at conception.
If we take Biblical revelation out of the debate and rely strictly on scientific data, what do we know? We know that when the 23 chromosomes of a nucleus sperm cell meet the ovum’s nucleus with its 23 chromosomes they form one cell with 46 human chromosomes. And that’s it. At this point you have a girl or a boy which has never and will never again exist in the history of the world. Cell splitting will occur through adulthood, but only with the exact DNA. The only thing he or she will need from that point on is the proper nutrition.
During the 1970s we knew very little about the development of pre-born babies, but today with ultrasound imaging we’ve seen the unborn child in her natural prenatal environment. Here’s what we now know. The heart begins to beat within twenty days. In 21 days she pumps her own blood. The eyes, ears, feet and hands begin to form within four weeks. The brain begins to function within forty days. And within eight weeks when most abortions take place, thumb sucking is present along with all body systems.4 In 2007 baby Amillia survived outside the womb after just over 21 weeks when many abortions are still taking place.
The father of modern genetics, Dr. Jerome Lejeune testified before the Louisiana Legislature’s House Committee on June 7, 1990. Here’s what he had to say, “At no time is the human a blob of protoplasm. As far as nature is concerned, I see no difference between the early person that you were at conception and the late person you are now. You were and are a human being.” Testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee in 1981 Harvard University Professor Micheline Mathews Roth noted “It is correct to say that biological data cannot be decisive…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human begins at conception.” Professor Hymie Gordon of the Mayo Clinic testified as well, “By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” The Senate Report concluded; “Physicians, biologist, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being – a being that is alive and a member of the human species.” There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.
In the early 70s, as the debate heated up, liberals were quick to assure us that legalized abortion would reduce child abuse and out of wedlock births. Yet since then child abuse cases quadrupled and birth to unwed mothers tripled.5 We were assured that legal abortion would be safe and carry little risk. But we now know it can cause various complications such as hemorrhaging, perforation of the uterus, cardiac arrest, major unintended surgery, infections resulting in hospitalization, convulsions, undiagnosed tubal pregnancies, cervical laceration, uterine rapture, even death.6 A recent study found that seventeen percent of women who have an abortion experience physical complications such as abnormal bleeding and pelvic infections since their abortion, which would put that number at almost 200,000 nationally.7 Many studies have concluded that abortion can lead to complications in later pregnancies. The New England Journal of Medicine listed abortion as one of the risk factors associated with breast cancer.8
The evidence linking abortion to emotional damage is equally compelling; from increasing rates of post-traumatic stress disorder to increase rates of drug use and suicide. One medical study found that 60% of women experience some level of emotion distress after an abortion and 30% of them were classified as severe.9 Yet while these findings continue to pour in, pro-abortionists continue to oppose any measure that would attempt to disclose the side effects. They also oppose parental notification laws for minors, which would alert parents to possible sexual misconduct and the possible side effects.
So what would America look like if Roe vs. Wade was overturned? The issue would be left to the states and you can bet a drive to California would get you an abortion. The Planned Parenthood ads suggest women would resort to clothe hangers and dark alleys. But like so much of what they do, this portrait is misleading at best. Today there are inexpensive devices that can induce an illegal abortion which are much safer than a coat hanger and they know it. What about adoption, would that be a viable alternative? The National Council on Adoption reports that there are 200,000 Americans waiting to adopt but only 25,000 adoptions actually happen every year. The availability of more newborns and the reduction in waiting periods would likely increase the demand for adoption among families. Yet with over 900,000 yearly abortions that would still leave a deficit. A big reduction in that deficit would come from men and women alike acting responsibly by either abstaining from irresponsible sexual practices, or using contraceptives more effectively.
Once again, although contraceptives lack protection against STDs they have been proven very affective in avoiding pregnancy. The balance, if any, would hopefully arrive in the arms of a loving mother who would be moved to care for her precious offspring. Of course, in the event Roe was overturned most experts agree there would be exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother, quenching that whole argument.
The much talked about practice of partial birth abortion is the procedure in which a baby is partially delivered (the legs, arms and shoulder) so that the doctor can inserts a pair of scissors into the baby’s skull. He then induces suction into a hole and evacuates the brain, crushing the skull. The baby can now be removed from the mother. It is an issue which came to the forefront of the debate in March of 2003 when the House of Representatives voted 282-139 to outlaw the practice, with most Democrats voting against it. It was later signed into law by President Bush. What most Americans forgot is that President Clinton vetoed similar measures twice during his presidency. Partial birth abortion is a practice that was legal in America until 2003 and although a ban was passed, it was ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District judges in New York, Nebraska, and you guessed it; San Francisco. Well finally in 2007, the Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision and Partial Birth Abortion is now a crime in America.
Having said that, I don’t think anyone of us should take lightly the painstaking decisions women often face. For too many of them it is a very frightening time often combined with a boyfriend who is threatening to leave her or harm her. Nor should we take lightly the guilt many women bear having made the decision to abort their child. It is often a deep emotional scar that can go on for years and must be met with love, care, and compassion. Self-righteous attitudes about events that have come and gone are worthless attempts at self-promotion and have no business imposing themselves on the women who are carrying the wounds of their decisions. And for those reading this, I can assure you that the wide ranging forgiveness of the Cross has sufficiently covered your mistake. So pick yourself up and know that God truly loves you.
If you’re still unsure that abortion is murder, then I urge you to err on the side of life. We don’t bury someone who we are not sure is dead. If there’s a God and you get this one issue wrong you will be left to face Him on some very bad terms. The good news is that Americans, having tasted the bitter fruit of their decisions are now showing signs of life as most polls indicate young people are favoring restriction on abortion in larger numbers than even their parents. We are the only country in the industrialized world that has failed to put restrictions on abortion. And we better wake up soon, 43 million abortions in the past 33 years is abominable. Christians must respond to this blood bath with the grave reality that abortion kills, and the hope that we can do better as a nation and as human beings.
1 Dellapenna, The History of Abortion: Technology, Morality and Law, University of Pittsburgh Law Review, 1979
2 Dr. and Mrs. Willke, Why Can’t We Love Them Both. www.abortionfacts.com
3 John H. Warren, Thirty Years Battle with Crime, (Poughkeepsie, NY 1874), 37
4 M. Allen et. al., “The Limits of Viability,” New England Journal of Medicine Vol 329, No. 22 p. 1579
5 U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States, “Child Abuse and Neglect Cases Reported and Investigated by State,” (103 Edition 1982-1983)
6 Warren Hern, Abortion Practices, (Philadelphia: J B Lippincott Company, 1990), 175-193
7 Brenda Major et. al., “Psychological Responses of Women After First-Trimester Abortions,” Archives of General Psychology 57 (August 2000), 777-785
8 Katrina Armstrong, et. al., “Assessing the Risk of Breast Cancer,” New England Journal of Medicine Vol. 342, No. 8 (2000) 564-570
9 Hanna Soberberg, et. al., “Emotional Distress Following Induced Abortion: A Study of its Incidence and Determinants Among Abortees in Maino, Sweden,” European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology Vol. 79, No. 2 (1988) 173-177
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