Nowadays, pro-life advocates come under fire for saying abortion is wrong. Meanwhile, every year, around 56 million children are killed by abortion around the world, according to the World Health Organization. Between 2010 and 2014, 25% of all pregnancies worldwide ended in abortion.
Perhaps those numbers don’t seem like much because they’re hard to imagine. So let’s compare them to other mass killings throughout history.
World War I killed around 20 million soldiers and civilians, and the Holocaust during World War II killed around 6 million Jews. Historical records indicate Genghis Khan was responsible for the deaths of 40 million people.
These numbers don’t even compare to how many unborn babies are killed on average each year. So why do so many people vehemently defend abortion?
Many pro-choice advocates—many of whom may be sincere in their beliefs—claim that it’s a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion or not. “After all,” they reason, “it’s her body; she should be able to do what she wants with it.”
But is this true? Or is this merely a way to disguise the fact that abortion is wrong because it destroys a human being who is fearfully and wonderfully made?
Abortion was officially legalized in the United States as a result of the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade in 1973. Although abortion is a popular topic nowadays, we shouldn’t let that lead us to believe that it’s a new concept. People have had abortions throughout history, even when it was illegal. But that doesn’t mean abortion is moral or that we should accept it now.
On the contrary, God Himself ordained our right to life, and that right to life is at the core of a just society. This makes abortion much more than merely a political issue. It’s a religious issue, a philosophical issue, and a moral issue.
Please understand that as we discuss abortion throughout this article, we do not intend to shame mothers who face difficult decisions. Nor do we primarily refer to the rare cases where medical complications lead to the difficult choice of saving the mother’s life or her baby’s.
With that in mind, it’s important to understand that if we let go of the idea of the sanctity of life, we open the door for the exact opposite: a disdain for human life. We have seen the fruit of an utter disdain for life at several pivotal points throughout history. Just think of Hitler’s massacres and inhumane experiments during WWII. His disdain for human life allowed him to commit unspeakable acts.
We also saw this attitude in communist China during the 20th century. Mao Zedong did whatever it took to turn China into a socialist nation—even if it meant killing 65 million Chinese people. Zedong got rid of anyone who dared disagreed with him, often in cruel and horrific ways.
We see the fruit of that disdain for life even now, as China’s one-child policy, which began in 1979, led to numerous forced abortions. That policy ended in 2015 and turned into a two-child policy, yet its shocking effects still stand as evidence of what happens when we treat life lightly and forget that abortion is wrong.
For this reason, the abortion debate is a battle between worldviews more than anything else. As Christians, we believe God’s Word has the final say on moral issues, and in this case, the Bible affirms that abortion is wrong.
The Bible is full of passages that uphold the sanctity of life, starting in Genesis 1. Even in the beginning of the Bible, we see that God created mankind in His own image, making each human being precious and valuable in His eyes.
When God created Adam, He made it clear that he was in a separate class from the animals. God gave man a soul, moral choice, and self-conscious intelligence. In fact, God even put man in charge over the animals, indicating a clear difference between the two.
“Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26).
God’s intimate love for human beings begins even before their birth. Numerous passages refer to God forming people in the womb, planning their lifetimes, and placing a calling on their lives.
Consider Jeremiah 1:5, which says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”
And Psalm 139:13-16 says:
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
One passage many point to as evidence for life beginning at conception is Psalm 51:5. In this verse, King David points out that he was “brought forth in iniquity” and that “in sin my mother conceived me.” The most common interpretation of this verse is that David knew that, even at conception, he was a sinful person.
In Luke 1, we see John the Baptist responding to the presence of Jesus—and neither of them were born yet! Elizabeth describes John leaping in her womb for joy as Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, approached.
Some say this was a one-time miracle and not evidence for an unborn child’s personhood. But even if this were the case, it serves as a biblical example of an unborn baby expressing joy in the presence of God.
God loves children—we see this truth all throughout His Word. Psalm 127:3 calls children a blessing, saying they are “a heritage from the Lord” and “a reward.”
Jesus made a point to include children in His teachings and even upheld their humility as a trait for His followers to emulate.
When the disciples tried to discourage mothers with their little ones from coming to Jesus, He rebuked them. He made a point to bless the children, saying, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14).
Jesus also rebuked His disciples when they began arguing as to who would be the greatest. He picked up a little boy and sat him on His lap. He then said, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great” (Luke 9:48).
Jesus also offered a warning, saying, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”
Some may argue that these Scriptures don’t indicate abortion is wrong. But if nothing else, they reveal the tender heart of God toward children—whether born or unborn.
One of the most powerful Scriptures revealing how God views the value of unborn human life is found in Exodus. In Exodus 21:22-25, we see God equate the value of an unborn or newborn child to that of an adult.
The law describes a scenario in which men are fighting and hit a pregnant woman. If the woman goes into labor and the children are unharmed, the man who hit her had to pay a fine. If harm did come to the woman or the unborn baby, though, the punishment was much more severe.
“But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exodus 21:24-25).
In this passage, we see God indicating that the life of an unborn child is just as valuable as the life of a fully grown adult.
While the Bible saying abortion is wrong is enough for Christians, it’s not always enough for secularists who argue the opposite. Yet even scientific evidence leans toward the idea that unborn children are just as human as children who are already born.
In fact, for pro-choice advocates, trying to define when life begins is incredibly difficult. Is it six months after conception? The day of birth? After birth? When does abortion turn into murder?
This line of thinking is what leads politicians to argue for day-of-birth abortions. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam created quite a stir when he voiced support for third-trimester abortions in 2019. Northam, a pediatric neurosurgeon, said:
“[Third trimester abortions are] done in cases where there may be severe deformities. There may be a fetus that's nonviable. So in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen," Northam told Washington radio station WTOP. "The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
This line of thinking may horrify people who are pro-life, yet it goes to show what happens when we push the boundary of when life begins.
One argument pro-choice advocates make for abortion is that a woman has every right to do with her body as she sees fit. The problem with this logic is that an unborn baby is not simply an extension of the mother’s body.
An embryo has its own unique DNA and blood type, showing it is its own person. In fact, embryos create a special enzyme called “IDO” that weakens the mother’s immune system so that the mother’s body doesn’t attack the baby as a foreign object. Sadly, sometimes this process malfunctions and the mother’s immune system does attack the embryo, which is the cause of many miscarriages.
Some argue you cannot determine when exactly human life begins, that this debate must be reserved for theology and philosophy.
But Ward Kischer, emeritus professor of cell biology and anatomy with a specialty in human embryology at University of Arizona, argues that scientific evidence can—and does—point to when human life begins. He contends that “virtually every human embryologist and every major textbook of human embryology states that fertilization marks the beginning of the life of the new individual human being.”
Recent scientific evidence indicates that unborn babies can feel pain at 20 weeks in the womb or earlier. In May 2013, Dr. Maureen Condic testified before Congress when the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was under consideration.
She told Congress that “there is universal agreement in the scientific community that an unborn child experiences fetal pain by at least 20 weeks old.”
Some studies are even showing that unborn babies can feel pain even earlier than that—and more intensely. This is because pain receptors develop early. This is why embryos flinch and retract from sharp objects. Even if a doctor is simply sampling blood from the liver, the embryo will move away from the needle.
Young embryos may feel pain even more intensely than newborns do because their pain mitigation systems do not develop until the latter trimesters.
Embryos also release stress hormones, just like adults do. Babies at only 18 weeks will experience a rise in stress hormones like B-endorphin and Cortisol when doctors take a blood sample.
If unborn children can feel pain at such an early point in gestation, how can we justify aborting them in often gruesome ways? And even more so, how can we justify abortion when these children are made in the very image of God?
In the Old Testament, King Lemuel’s mother gave him a solemn charge. She said: “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).
Proverbs 24:11 also challenges us to “rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.”
These Scriptures make it clear that Christians have a sacred obligation to speak up on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves—and that includes the unborn. To speak up for them means we must be willing to say unequivocally, “Abortion is wrong.”
Despite what modern culture says, abortion is wrong, and it always will be. We as believers in Jesus have a right and obligation to know understand why it’s wrong so we can speak up on behalf of the unborn.
At Answers.tv, we have dozens of videos about abortion and the sanctity of life. If you’d like to learn more about the abortion debate and what the Bible says, you may enjoy these resources:
180 featuring author and award-winning filmmaker Ray Comfort
The Sanctity of Life (a 6-part series)
7 Reasons featuring Ray Comfort
Abortion featuring Camille Cates at the 2015 Answers for Women Conference
Ex-Abortion Doctor Tells the SHOCKING Truth About Abortion featuring Dr. Levatino’s testimony in court
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