Here are four statistics:
–38% of women in the UK have at least one abortion in their lifetime. 1
–1/3 of all pregnancies in New York City end in abortion. 2
–In the last four years, China has performed over 336 million abortions. 3
–Every week, a dozen or so women get abortions at the Merseyside BPAS on Parkfield Rd., two miles away from Aigburth Community Church. 4
What should we think about all this?
Steve has agreed to let me write a few posts on Aigblurt about abortion. In coming weeks I want to think biblically about this sensitive and incredibly weighty issue. Before wrestling with what we should think about abortion, though, I want to point out that at present most of us don’t think about it at all.
Why is that? Here are a few possible reasons:
For the most part, abortion is out of sight, out of mind. The media doesn’t talk about it much. It’s not a regular topic of conversation. Abortions take place in specific medical facilities, usually alongside sexual and reproductive healthcare, so you’re as unlikely to be confronted with abortion as with the fact that prenatal vitamins are a thing. Very little in our daily lives draws our attention to abortion.
Even when abortion does pop up in our cultural dialogue, it’s not seen as morally significant. If and when the morality of abortion is discussed, legal abortion is heralded as a flagship victory for women’s rights in the past century. Besides that, the fact that abortions happen regularly nearby matters as much as the fact that appendectomies are going on in the nearest surgery. We see abortion as an unremarkable, if perhaps slightly regrettable, reality—certainly nothing to warrant attention or concern.
Maybe as Christians we differ from the views of our broader culture on abortion but steer away from thinking about it because we don’t like to think about things that make us sad. I know this is true for me. Thoughts of women in tough situations and the fate of their unborn children threaten our happiness, adding to stresses and sorrows that already beguile us. I’m not saying we need to be sad all the time or that wanting to be happy is bad, but could we be dodging an issue that God calls us to face soberly?
It could be that we don’t think or speak about abortion because we don’t want to displease people. Society is already miffed at Christians for being ‘intolerant’ and ‘bigoted’, so why poke the status quo in the eye by bringing up abortion? Won’t that inhibit our gospel witness? We probably know lovely people who’ve had abortions in the past (I do), and would hate to hurt or offend them. I’m not saying any of these impulses are inherently wrong. It’s probably a really good thing to want to be inoffensive. The question is, is abortion something worth speaking out about—even at cost? Does our public silence actually cost us (and others) more than it gains?
Whether or not any of these concerns resonate with you, I’d wager a guess that this article prompted the first thoughts you’ve had about abortion in quite awhile. I don’t bring it up because I enjoy talking about it. With regard to the reasons mentioned above, abortion makes me very sad (though, honestly, not sad enough), and I get no joy whatsoever from upsetting people.
There is one good reason for talking about it, though, and that reason outweighs any of the costs mentioned: God cares about human life.
God made man in His image (Gen. 1:27), and He takes very seriously what His image-bearers do to one another (Gen. 9:6). God cares about the pregnant mother, the unborn baby4, the baby’s father, the abortionist, and everyone else touched by an abortion. As I hope we’ll see, abortion involves the killing of innocent human life. God is not indifferent toward that, and neither should we be.
God hasn’t kept silent about how He feels for fear of offending people. God’s word does not avoid the hard reality that our sin brings death and guilt and heartache in its wake. Of course, the grace of the gospel can fully and completely atone for the sin of abortion, as it can for all our other offenses, so that we truly are ‘white as snow’ before our all-seeing Lord (Is. 1:18). But gospel forgiveness and transformation begin as we acknowledge our guilt before God, not as we cover it up. We cannot safely ignore what God’s word has to say about abortion just because it’s uncomfortable.
We need to take time to think about this serious issue in light of God’s word.
- https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/abortion-statistics-england-and-wales-2014 ↩
- https://www.turningpoint.news/cdc-new-york-city/ ↩
- https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/china-admits-to-the-greatest-slaughter-in-human-history/ ↩
- If you disagree that a baby is involved, please read next week’s post—or, if you’re an ACC church member, I am very willing to talk about this in person. ↩