Abortion: And Then There Is This


For years the issue of abortion has basically lain dormant. After all, Roe v Wade. That settled the issue, right?

Lots of people thought so, until President Trump appointed two conservative Justices to the Supreme Court—those who looked at law through a conservative or “strict constructionist” lens. Meaning they believe laws should be judged by their adherence to the Constitution as the Framers intended. No “living document” extrapolation or Justices legislating from the bench. Which, of course, is why President Biden has assigned a committee to look into expanding the number of Justices on the Court. From nine to thirteen, I think. Meaning he could appoint four liberal judges who would see the Constitution in the same light as the progressives do.

But all that is a side point, yet it explains why there has recently been some kickback against the Roe v Wade ruling in state legislatures, notably in Texas. As I understand it, Texas passed a law that made abortion only legal until the heartbeat of the baby could be detected, which generally is around the six-weeks mark. The pro-abortionists are up in arms.

There has been some effort to get Congress to pass a sweeping “abortion protection” law which would mean that states could no longer pass restrictions and that abortion would be legal at any point during a pregnancy, if a medical professional determines that a pregnancy would be harmful to the mother’s health, including her mental health. (in other words, a friend who is a nurse could say, I see you are dreading having a baby. For your mental health, you should get an abortion. This approach could also include aborting a baby because the parent wants a boy instead of a girl or vice versa.) So far, I don’t think that bill is getting any traction.

To be honest, I care most about what the Bible has to say about abortion, or more accurately, about the existence of life in the womb. Now, in the 21st Century, we have the science to know that life does in fact begin at conception. But apparently that isn’t enough for abortionists. They want this life to be viable, or valuable, or somehow meaningful. Expanded to its logical conclusion, that position would also mean that a child, teen, or adult who is not viable—the disabled, for instance—or valuable or living a life society concludes is meaningful, could one day be treated in the same way as the newly formed baby in a mother’s womb.

But again, what matters most is what the Bible says. And it says a lot. At least, more than most people think. Probably the most well-known passage is in Psalm 139 in which David said  in v 13, “For You created my innermost parts;/You wove me in my mother’s womb.”

There are at least 14 other such passages. Some are admittedly troubling, like Psalm 58:3-4: “The wicked have turned away from the womb;/These who speak lies go astray from birth./They have venom like the venom of a serpent;/Like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear.” So God knows wicked people even when they are in the womb. That certainly undermines the idea of “innocent children” or the popular modern idea that babies are “clean slates.”

On the flip side, a number of people in Scripture were called by God while in their mother’s womb. Samson, for instance, was called to be a Nazarite while he was in his mother’s womb, recorded for us in Judges 13:5. Isaiah also mentions more than once people, including himself, being formed in the womb. He culminated this point by saying he was also called from his mother’s womb: “The LORD called Me from the womb;/From the body of My mother He named Me.” (49:1b)

The list continues, including Jeremiah, the Apostle Paul, and an unnamed Psalmist who wrote Psalm 71:6, “I have leaned on you since my birth;/You are He who took me from my mother’s womb;/My praise is continually of You.”

But the greatest example, I believe, is John the Baptizer. Many Christians know that John’s mother, Elizabeth was an older woman, past the age of giving birth, yet God miraculously enabled her to get pregnant. She was six months along in her pregnancy, when a young relative of hers, named Mary, was also miraculously impregnated. Mary was a virgin and her Child was implanted in her womb by God.

When an angel told Mary this would take place, he also mentioned that Elizabeth, who was beyond child-bearing years was also pregnant. In fact she was entering her third trimester. Mary left her home and went to Elizabeth. Did she want verification? Did her parents send her to help out? We don’t know her motive for going, but she stayed there for three months, right up until the time that Elizabeth would have her baby.

But here are the important parts of this story. First, an angel told John’s dad, Zacharias, that John would be, much like Samson, special even before he was born:

your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice over his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb.  (Luke 1:13b-15, emphasis added)

So, here’s little unborn baby John, full of the Holy Spirit, and along comes Mary, barely pregnant.

she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit . . . . “behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. ” (vv 40b, 41 and 44)

I could be wrong here, but I suggest that the unborn John, full of the Holy Spirit, responded in joy to the little life growing inside Mary. In other words, a little life which had only just days earlier begun to form. It’s possible John was joyful because of Mary’s arrival. But clearly, the Holy Spirit within him made it clear that Mary wasn’t just another relative come to see his mom. This young woman was already special. And what made her different? She had a special life growing inside her. She was carrying the Son of God.

So here are two unborn children at two different stages of development. They were as valuable then as they would be after they were born. They both had to go through childhood and learn and grow before they entered into the ministries God had for them, one as the Baptizer, the other as the Savior. But clearly their formative years included those beginning moments inside their mothers wombs.

Christians don’t need to wonder what God says about the beginning of life. The Bible makes it clear.

Published in: on October 21, 2021 at 4:47 pm  Comments (5)  
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