The Issue of Abortion: Where are we now?

One of the criticisms of the Pro-Life Movement is that the Church only got involved with the abortion debate after they entered into politics in the 1980’s. People who think that are historically illiterate.

Almost 2,000 years ago in a 1st Century Christian document called the Didache, the Church made clear its attitude about abortion. This manual of Christian discipleship said this:

There are two ways: a way of life and a way of death. There’s a great difference between them. In accordance with the precept of the teaching, “You shall not kill,” you shall not put a child to death by abortion or kill it once it is born. The way of death is this: They show no compassion for the poor. They do not suffer with the suffering. They do not acknowledge their Creator. They kill their children and by abortion cause God’s creatures to perish. They drive away the needy and oppress the suffering. They are advocates of the rich and unjust judges of the poor. They are filled with every sin. May you ever be guiltless of all these sins.

Justin Martyr, one of the great Church Fathers, put it bluntly. He said, “We’ve been taught that it is wicked to expose newly born children. For then we would be their murderers.”

A Christian by the name Athenagoras, made a political appeal to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the first recorded political statement about abortion from Christianity. He said,
We say that women who use drugs to bring on an abortion commit murder and will have to give an account to God for the abortion. For we regard the very fetus in the womb as a created being and therefore an object of God’s care. And we do not expose an infant because those who expose them are chargeable with child murder.

What’s interesting is, historically the Church’s defense of life turned out unexpectedly to be hugely popular in the ancient world where games of Christians being eaten by lions was considered delightful entertainment. We are not late-comers to this issue of abortion. We have been foundational since the dawn of Western civilization in fighting this fight.

In fact, this week 200 years ago, the first statewide pro-life law was passed in the state of Connecticut, the first law of its kind in the United States. There were no laws before that because it was believed that abortion as murder was a self-evident reality. It was only after a scandalous case that took place in Connecticut. It was pastor who seduced a young teenage girl, got her pregnant and then enticed her, really compelled her to get an abortion. When he went to trial, the courts only gave him two years of local jail time and no more serious charge. The legislature of the state of Connecticut was so outraged at the light sentence given to this scandalous preacher, that they created this law against abortion to provide much more severe penalties for what they considered to be a crime against humanity.

Pro-life laws began to flourish in the 19th Century saving estimates of millions of lives by making abortion illegal. Doctors, interestingly enough in the 19th Century led the way. There were articles written by doctors with titles like, “A Plea for the Protection of the Unborn” and the “The Rights of the Unborn Child.” Doctors argued that the scientific discoveries of the 19th Century showed that life begins at conception as a matter of science and not just a matter of faith.

Women doctors in particular were influential in this area. In 1889 a Dr. Prudence Sawyer wrote in a book titled Maternity, this quote,

That embryo is alive and hence quick from the moment of conception, modern science has abundantly proven. It follows then that this crime is equally great, whether committed in the early weeks of pregnancy or in a more advanced period.

Doctors argued that abortion was murder. And it wasn’t based, as we say today on the stage of development. The reality is, we don’t have laws that change the definition of murder or the penalty for murder if you murder a ten-year-old, a twenty-year-old, a thirty-year-old, or a forty-year-old. Murder is murder. And so, to end human life in the womb, the stage of development should have nothing to do with the reality of that crime.

One doctor in the 19th Century said this, “The influence of Christianity has ever been to banish the practice of abortion. But as Christianity becomes weakened or destroyed, this fearful evil reappears and extends.”

Folks, that’s where we are today. Let me give you these numbers. In President Biden’s new $1.9 trillion COVID 19 Relief Package, notice the title: COVID 19 Relief Package. Now, that implies that this bundle of money, almost $2 trillion, is to help the country get back on its feet after the COVID 19 pandemic. When you get inside that bill and break down where the money’s going, you may not have heard. I’m sure the main stream media hasn’t told you that in that 1.9 trillion, President Biden has proposed $467.8 billion, almost half a trillion dollars of money made available for abortion and abortion businesses in that industry.

Not only that, he’s made this money available expressly excluding the prohibitions that are already set into law like the Hyde Amendment and the Helms Amendment. In his first 100 days he added an additional 12.1 billion to the abortion industry through executive actions. In other words, when you run the numbers, in 100 days President Biden has proposed government abortion funding that is 19 times higher than the most money President Obama ever gave to the abortion industry.

Listen to this quote from the President of the Family Research Council. He writes,
On his 100th day in office, it’s more than clear that President Biden has not only returned to the pro-abortion policies of the Obama administration and is eliminating many of the Trump administration’s pro-life polices, but he has expanded abortion funding far beyond the level of any previous administration. In his 100 days sprint to the left, President Biden has forced tax payers back into a partnership with the abortion industry both at home and abroad. He has made clear that he places no value on the inherent dignity of human life. His actions deny the truth that every human life, born and unborn, possesses inherent dignity and deserves to be treated with respect. President Biden has prioritized spending tax payers dollars on abortion at such a level that it makes President Obama look moderate by comparison.

Well, where’s the Church in all of this? Well, let’s go back to our foundation. In Psalm 139 the Bible has some things to say about why human life matters. In Psalm 139:13,14 it says this,
"For You, O God created my inmost parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You because I am awesomely and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it well."

The witness of the Bible from cover to cover is that human life is intentional. When you look at the content of microscopic cells, the information that goes into the makeup of each cell that comprises human life, what you find is that this testimony that God created our “inward parts, our innermost parts.” It’s a testimony that only a God of rationality, a God of design capability, a God who was a Master Craftsman could fashion something as distinctive and unique as human life.
Human life is not only intentional, it’s personal. In verses 15 and 16 the Psalmist says,
My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret and skillfully formed in the depths of the earth. Your eyes have seen my formless substance; and in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them.

In other words, there’s a point of description here when the Psalmist says, that I was formed in the depths of the earth. He’s using a poetic description to describe the hiddenness of the womb. It was in that secret place that God fashioned and shaped and created. God does not leave the work of creation to some mechanistic form of nature that like a machine turning out parts for some complex machinery that just cuts them and sends them on. God Himself fashions each life in the secret place.

The Psalmist says, all of my days are orchestrated circumstantially. In other words, God had scheduled a lifetime before the first day was lived. You see, we even with all of our technology have trouble seeing exactly what happens in the secret place of the womb. But isn’t it just like every great artist who does their best work in secret and only unveils it when the finished product is ready to be put on display? That’s what happens with human life.

Human life is intentional. It’s personal. But it’s also relational. In verses 17 and 18 of Psalm 139 it says this: "How precious also are Your thoughts for me, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sand - when I awake, I am still with You."

The Psalmist is praising God. He’s describing the majesty of God, the Creator, the wonder of the work that He does in secret. And because of his exhaustion from praise he apparently falls asleep. But when he wakes up, his testimony is, I woke up only to find that God’s presence is still there. That His thoughts toward me are endless. Folks, we have to recapture what Western civilization has always held. And that is that life is sacred. It is a unique creation made intentionally and purposefully by God in the womb.

If you want to know just how far we’ve come, not only do we have a President spending billions of dollars to promote abortion, there is now in Australia a company that is taking fertilized, unused fertilized human embryos, that is children at the embryonic stage of development, and turning them into jewelry. A company in Australia called the Baby Bee Humming Bird Company has for years made keepsake jewelry by fashioning jewelry that contained drops of breastmilk or a baby’s first tooth. But they have now crossed over into taking frozen embryos, unused usually through the in vitro fertilization process. The mother sends in her left-over embryos, which are contained in what’s called a “straw.” The straw is reduced to ashes and then set in resin. The jeweler then designs a piece of jewelry around it and the company calls it “Sacred Art.”

One woman commented in an article in the New York Times, “My embryos were my babies frozen in time.” When she and her husband felt they’d had enough children she said, “It just wasn’t in my heart to destroy the extra embryos. Now they are forever with me in a beautiful keepsake, a pendant I wear next to my heart.”

Yeah. But she had to kill her babies to do it. The founder of Baby Bee Humming Bird makes no apologies for her so-called sacred art. “What better way to celebrate your most treasured gift, your child then through jewelry?” she asked.

Well, I’ve got an idea. How about letting them live, grow up, contribute to the world, marry, have their own children? Rather than destroying embryos. You see, the pro-life movement is not only about abortion. It speaks to this issue as well. Let me suggest this. Rather than destroying embryos to fashion sacred jewelry, parents might consider allowing other couples to adopt their embryos through an organization called Night Light Christian Adoptions, or by contacting the National Embryo Donation Center. Because every human being from conception until natural death is made in the image of God. They’re worthy of life and dignity. And in a heritage that we have received that is 2,000 years in the making, we will stand and debate and fight for life.

This is TruthCurrents.

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