Exceptions for abortions?
Abortions in the "tough" cases.
By Mike Augsburger
On Sunday, November 27, we took questions based on our Genesis series. Pastor Jared Segerstrom and I answered questions from the congregation in all three services. Interestingly, the most prevalent question was regarding the number of children that a Christian family should have. Considering everything we’ve covered so far in Genesis 1, that was surprisingly the top question on people’s minds.
The most sensitive questions that came up deserved more time than we had in our Q & A. They regarded abortion in cases of rape or incest, and abortion in cases when a mother’s life is in danger. Those are broad topics, and I needed more time and an opportunity to look at some resources.
These cases are exceptions to the rule, yet in our culture they are put forth as an open gate for abortion. Rules should not be built on exceptions. With any of these “special cases,” I would urge someone to back up their view from Scripture. If you give permission for abortion, you had better find where the Bible gives permission to take life. (**Spoiler alert**) You will not find such justification. During the Q & A, one questioner thought it was unhelpful to focus on the big picture of abortion rather than these exceptions. However, the big picture must be settled and absolute, and will in effect govern the exceptions as well. Let’s look at these “tough” cases.
What about abortion when the mother’s life is in danger?
When the question was asked on Sunday, I was inclined to say that this is a false category. However, I wasn’t 100% sure, so I held my tongue. After further research, I have indeed (to the best of my ability) concluded that this is a false category.
The subtle deception used by abortion advocates is the use of the word “health” instead of “life.” If you listen carefully, they will say, “What if the mother’s health is at risk?” This is dangerous. “Health” is stretched to even include mental health. Under this definition, if a mother decides that having a baby is harmful to her mental health, should she have the right to murder the child? Absolutely not. Let’s be clear: what we’re talking about is the rare situation where there’s a choice between the life of the mother or the life of the child.
If such a scenario did present itself, the overall focus of the medical care is a life-saving procedure, not a life-ending procedure. By definition, abortion is a murderous, life-ending act. Therefore, this case doesn’t qualify in the abortion debate because a doctor is trying to save life, not destroy life.
Additionally, none of the laws that regulate abortions are designed to restrict life-saving measures a doctor might enact to either save the mother or save the baby. So, entering this into the abortion debate is a false premise. Even the most restrictive abortion laws do not restrict doctors in free practice in such an event.
In the rare event that such a terrible choice is presented, I believe the mother – if she is capable – should be the one to make the choice. If she is not able, then the next of kin should make the decision. This is a grim scenario we pray never happens. Again, this is outside the abortion debate.
For further reading on the subject, click here for a helpful article that discusses this issue in more detail.
What about abortion in cases of rape or incest?
To begin, we must acknowledge that deplorable sins like rape and incest do occur, and sometimes, they result in pregnancy. This is absolutely outside of God’s created order and we weep with those who weep. People who have been sinned against carry an immense weight and deal with ongoing emotional and physical consequences, and for that, we have compassion. Let me share five observations why abortion, even in tragic cases, is still not justifiable.
First, as Christians, we must think clearly about these issues and not get caught up in the emotional tidal wave that is thrown at us. In Scripture, God gives permission to take a life for capital punishment and in warfare. That’s it. If you open another door – like abortion in cases of rape – it’s imperative you find biblical justification to do so.
Second, allowing abortion (murder) in cases of rape is assuming that it somehow rights the wrong of the rape. This is false. Rape is sin, and so is murder. To murder the baby doesn’t mitigate the sin of the rape. Rape is a sin against an innocent victim. Abortion is a sin against an innocent victim. God is never pleased when we repay evil for evil.
Third, abortions in cases of incest are nearly non-existent. In fact, there is so little data, it is impossible to actually obtain an accurate percentage. Abortions in cases of rape constitute less than one-half-of-one-percent of all abortions. I don’t say that to minimize the atrocity of rape. The reason for quoting the statistic is because it’s used as a constant headline for why we should legalize abortion. Humanists are trying to build a rule based upon very small exceptions.
Fourth, opening the door for abortion in the case of rape unwittingly creates a category of an “unwanted life.” This is no different than the German doctors in the 1930s who operated by the philosophy of “life unworthy of life.” As Christians with a Christian worldview, we believe that all life is worthy of life because all life is a gift from God and is sacred in his sight – even life conceived in rape.
Fifth, we need to remember that God gives and takes life. We don’t have permission to capriciously decide which lives are worthy of life. Every life exists by the sovereignty of God. Every life has been brought into existence for a purpose, and God has a plan for every life. Though life conceived through rape is tragic, a Christian worldview submits to God’s sovereignty even in the ugliest situations.
On a side note, I personally know people in this church who exist today because of rape. I’m glad they are here. They are glad they exist. God is honored because they exist. He is sovereign; we are not. For further reading, click here for a helpful article. If abortion is part of your past, you need to know that there is no sin too great for God to forgive. Run to Christ, run to the cross!
God is God, and we are not. It’s difficult to maintain a consistent Christian worldview in the middle of a godless, rebellious culture that is constantly trying to destroy the very building blocks God designed in creation. It’s not always easy to maintain a Christian worldview, but it is always the right choice, and the blessed choice.