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Why Many Christians are Critical to Abortion (Even Though It isn’t Mentioned in the Bible)

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“You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten.” – Didache 2:2

This verse is from the ancient Christian book Didache, written in the first century. That is, at the same time or briefly after most of the New testament. This is the first time we hear a Christian opinion on abortion, because if you haven’t noticed it – the Bible never mentions abortion! Not even once.

Yes, Psalms 139 talks about how we are created in our mother’s womb and how God looked at our “unformed body” (v. 16) as He created us, and based on this many Christians have concluded that abortion is equal to killing a baby. Technically though, the Bible does not condemn abortion – the Didache is the first Christian writing to do that.

On the other hand, the Didache is extremely early and accurately represents ancient Christian morals and teachings on a great variety of issues, and throughout most of church history it has generally been a consensus in the global church that abortion is immoral and sinful.

“Well, that’s because the church has been run by a literal patriarchy who ignore the rights and safety for women”, some may argue. And yeah, sadly it has. But abortion is not just about women’s rights, since there is also a baby, or a soon-to-be-baby, depedning on how you view it, that is also involved. Some of you may have heard about how the American NGO Planned Parenthood, who run abortion clinics, sell tissues from aborted fetuses:

This has become quite of a scandal, to say the least, over there in the US. Interestingly though, here in Sweden the media has hardly mentioned it. Sweden is as you may know a very progressive country where most people are pro-choice, and the only scandals here related to the issue is when the leader of the Christian Democratic party suggested that maybe midwives that don’t want to partake in abortions due to conscience should not be forced to do so, but stick to their ordinary work (that is, helping women to give birth). Many protested, arguing that this is the first step of a slippery slope banning abortion altogether, and the proposal was scrapped.

Yet, few people I believe will be able to watch the videos above, seeing Planned Parenthood officials talking about selling livers, lungs and heart tissue as they drink wine and dream about getting a Lamborghini, without getting the sense that something’s wrong here. It’s pretty gross what they’re doing. And pretty inhumane. I mean, it’s frightening how easily humans can decide that other humans aren’t humans. They point out some differences between them and what they want to kill and then argue that stopping their pulse and cutting their brain activity isn’t killing them, and if it is it isn’t worse than killing off a fly.

It is OK to question this. My fellow MennoNerd blogger Benjamin L. Corey, who is much more progressive than me theologically, has written a very good post called You Don’t Have To Be Afraid To Be A Pro-Life Progressive. Rachel Held Evans has developed similar thoughts on her blog, as has activist theologian Shane Claiborne. They recognize that abortion rates should be decreased because abortions aren’t very good, while also paying huge respect to the women involved in such decisions.

They call for more care for single mothers from the church, more information to the youth about birth control and pregnancy, and to be consistently pro-life “from the womb to the tomb.” After all, life doesn’t end at birth and many conservatives are quite hypocritical in condemning abortion but supporting war and death penalty. Jesus stands for life, life in abundance, and as His followers we should always choose life.

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13 Comments

  1. I feel like it is important to point out that we still don’t have reason to believe Planned Parenthood actually sells anything. The video was heavily edited and there are apparently repeated cases of PP staff saying in the unedited version that they do not sell the organs. When they’re talking about money, it’s the cost to transport the donations. Organ donation is typically praised as a good thing saving lives and as far as we know, that’s all PP is doing.

    I agree with your core point here, but I don’t think it’s helpful to spread what is probably a deliberate lie. A lot of people end up being ok with abortion because of these kind of lies supposedly in the name of Jesus. Let’s be honest that we think a fetus is a life worth saving, do what we can to save that life (giving the mother the needed support), but let’s not spread unsubstantiated rumours.

    • Hi Ryan!

      I understand that there is a debate on what’s the money for and if they make a profit and so on, but that wasn’t my point here. I, like Benjamin Corey, am very disturbed by how the PP representatives talk about human organs in the videos. And I think that people who are deeply pro-choice also will be disturbed, at least I hope they are. These organs aren’t from a person who happened to die but from a fetus that is aborted, it is not by someone whohad agreed upon this before his or her death but from someone who never saw daylight. If someone isn’t disturbed by that, I think that person has been subject to dehumanization logic.

      Blessings!

  2. jonte95 says:

    Well, with today’s technology, we can know if the baby is a male or female while it’s still in the womb. If it wasn’t considered a human by then, to tell that it was a male or female before conception wouldn’t make sense if it was only considered a fetus.
    If a baby in the womb is considered to be created by God, then how can killing it be okay?

    The Bible might not explicitly condemn abortion, but it sure does it implicitly. It condemns murder, and if a baby in a womb is considered a human, then killing it must be murder.

    When Luke 2:5 talks about Mary being pregnant, it doesn’t say that she “was with fetus”, but that she “was with child”. In other words, it’s considered to be a child before conception.

    I’m yet to hear a pregnant woman say “I’m with a fetus”. No she says “I’m with child”.

    For a “fetus” to become a human only after conception, doesn’t make sense.

    Here are some more verses proving the value of a child, even in the womb:

    “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13 NKJV)

    “He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)

    Why didn’t Luke tell us “He will be filled with the Holy Spirit when he’s X months old in his mother’s womb”. The verse shows that it was always considered a human no matter how old it was in the womb.

    There’s nothing in between here, either it’s a “fetus” in the womb or it’s a human.

    These verses seem to condemn taking a bird mother with her young/eggs:

    “If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall surely let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.” (Deuteronomy 22:6-7 NKJV)

    Now if even a bird’s egg has that much value in God’s, how much more value doesn’t a child in the womb have?

    Abortion can even have effects on a woman’s health. Many experience depression etc. So there’s the psychological arguments as well.

    • Jon says:

      The original Greek of Luke 2:5 does not say wither “with child” or “with fetus. It doesn’t say “with” anything. The word literally means “swelling inside” and is better rendered simply as “pregnant” (from the Latin term used in the Vulgate version of this passage) than with the archaic English phrase “with child.”

      • Jon says:

        “Fetus” is a Latin term that applied not only to an undeveloped unborn child, but also to the recently delivered infant. In fact, the term was also described a pregnant woman, or a woman who had given birth recently enough to still be nursing.

  3. Sara says:

    You are not really discussing the issue of abortion. When arguing against it I feel more like that you are condemning Planned parenthood and their true, or not, illegal activities.

    What are your thoughts about the fact that 47000 women die every year from illegal abortions? Why are you not protecting their lives? Women will always, until the day that every woman is free, find themselves with unwanted pregnancies.

    This is a very complex question. And I want you to address why these women are having abortions. They are not evil.

    • jonte95 says:

      Unwanted pregnancies doesn’t justify abortion

    • Hello Sara!

      Thank you for your comment. I wouldn’t say that I only talk about Planned Parenthood, I also bring up the Bible, Didache and what some progressive evangelicals say about abortion, and the reason I mentioned PP was primarily to make a point about how we view fetuses and their organs. I totally agree with you that death is horrible and life is what we should promote – it’s terrible that so many women die from illegal abortions andI welcome all sorts of actions that can prevent that. But it’s also horrible that their babies die in abortion.

      See, even if one would view a fetus as a clump of cells, which i find very hard to do, it is still undeniable that it will become a human like you and me, with legs and arms and laughter and spirituality. It’s not a dolphin in there or a banana – it’s a human! And so when it comes to human deaths, it’s not the pro-life camp that’s responsible for most of them, as you can tell from their name. Yes, stupid policies and judgemental approaches from pro-lifers have sadly been common, but the philosophical foundation of the pro-choice camp – that fetuses aren’t human beings – doesn’t make much sense, especially if one cares for future generations when it comes to other issues, like the environment.

      Blessings!

  4. ricklamascus says:

    Jonte95: Excellent reply. But it will fall on deaf ears to those who do not accept the Bible as the Word of God. They look for loopholes and ways to defeat the Bible and the real Christians. These part-time Christians delight in turning Christianity into a club that supports their own behavior. In their world…just do what you want and interpret the Bible so that it supports
    whatever you choose to do. Don’t follow Jesus or accept Jesus….but challenge Jesus with your own ideas.

  5. ricklamascus says:

    So….unless Jesus specifically addressed a topic….you are free to do whatever you feel like. Jesus did not say to not drive a car while drunk and cause wrecks and kill people. Jesus not speak out against credit card theft, so i guess that is ok. Real Christians find ways to accept the Bible and accept all that Jesus expected by way of His words and actions.

    • Sara says:

      I just think that this argument is not acknowledging the fact that women are dying. Like for example the very known case of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland who died because she was miscarrying her baby and was denied an abortion. In her case she wanted her baby but she wanted to live too. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-20321741

      That’s what happens when abortion is illegal. You can go on and on telling me about how I don’t believe in the Bible, which you know nothing about, but I just want you to address the fact that this is a complex issue and women are dying.

      • Linda Rosenblum says:

        yes this is a complex issue but the overwhelming majority of abortions are not to save the life of the mother. They are because of unwanted pregnancies.

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The author

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Check out my YouTube channel!

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