By Flip Michaels
Without a doubt, we have entered a new chapter of American history—“the culture of death.” Romans 1 is for real. We all knew it was coming. Denial. Dishonor. Depravity. But no one would have predicted its arrival at such a reckless pace. The first page of this chilling chapter begins with New York pushing the pro-choice moniker beyond its usual unbiblical boundaries—where an infant can legally be killed moments before birth. Barely turn the page, and we hear Virginia’s governor condoning a child being killed immediately after birth.
Already, I want to put the book down. I dare not read it anymore, for I can see what will happen next as state after state will push and propose new abortion legislation without limits in an all-out-attempt to make this audacity a reality. But the pages keep turning. As of May 1, nearly 14 million abortions were performed worldwide so far this year (worldometers.info/abortions/). In this age, humans are dying from abortion more than any other cause of death.
As I write this, my heart breaks and my mind aches over the news that our United States senators have failed to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. This bill (authored by Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska) sought to “require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to: (1) exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) ensure that such child is immediately admitted to a hospital.”
Is this asking for too much? Apparently so. The pro-choice position is perilous.
A quick click to the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) website prochoiceamerica.org, and you’ll find $28 tees proudly proclaiming, “Pro-Freedom. Pro-Justice. Pro-Choice.” By combining and co-opting the words pro and choice, abortion advocates seemingly avoid any confrontation with what is nestled inside the womb (or now, moments outside the birth canal).
Or so I had thought. I must concede on this. Choice indeed is the right word. Abortion is about a choice. We just need to define what is being chosen. Abortion is a choice between two competing rights: the right of the woman not to be pregnant any longer, and the right of the child (unborn or born) not to be killed. It really is that simple.
Let’s look at the first part: the right not to be pregnant any longer. Most people would agree that a woman has a right to not engage in sex leading to a pregnancy, yes? But does this mean that she has the right to not be pregnant (via an abortion) after deciding to engage in that sex? If yes, then we are choosing convenience over compassion. Do you see the competing rights? The woman who answers yes has decided that the child does not have the right to live, to not get killed.
But before proceeding any further, it’s imperative that I briefly mention the absenteeism of fathers, attacks by men, and a mother’s health exception. Each of these is raised when wrangling rights.
First, deadbeat dads should be held to a much higher standard when women courageously choose life. Yet both inside and outside the church, these men are foolishly given a free pass. Additionally, rapists should receive some of the highest levels of punishment meted out in our judicial system. And women should be given greater access to firearms for their protection. A number of organizations consistently report that one in three American women will experience sexual violence in her lifetime. In disbelief, I kept searching for lower numbers but could find none.
Lastly, many an article has been written regarding the rare situation of a pregnant mother’s life being at risk (numbers hover around .05 percent). That is not my focus here, nor is it anything but a philosophical diversion from what we are truly discussing. Instead, my aim is to address the other 99.95 percent of abortions, which can result in high rates of depression and suicide.
We need to provide some real answers to the mother who believes that what is in her womb is not actually a “child.” She has genuinely misunderstood something, or it has generally been misrepresented so she will arrive at such a conclusion. If the church is prepared to respond promptly and thoughtfully, there’s still an opportunity to save these little lives by separating truth from error (Biblically), opinion from evidence (technologically), and fact from fiction (historically).
Separating Truth from Error
John MacArthur and the leadership team of Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California, assembled a book that responds to a number of today’s controversial issues. Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong serves as an excellent Bible reference on a variety of these moral dilemmas (add it to your Amazon wish list).
Here’s how God answers the question, Is it a child?
In some passages, the Bible speaks of an unborn child in the same way that it does of those who have been born—thereby showing that God views them both the same way. For example, in Exodus 21:4 and 21:22 the same Hebrew word translated “child” or “children” is used, despite the fact that verse 4 refers to a postnatal child while verse 21 refers to an unborn life.
The New Testament also uses the same Greek word for life before birth (Luke 1:41, 44) as it does for life outside the womb (Acts 7:19). It is not surprising, therefore, to learn that the unborn are often described in the same ways as those who are born (Gen. 25:22–23; Job 31:15; Isa. 44:2; Hos. 12:3).
For that matter, the prophet Jeremiah notes that had his death been prenatal, the womb would have been his grave (Jer. 20:17); and the pre-birth death of one of God’s prophets cannot be equated with the death of a non-person.
Separating Opinion from Evidence
God’s common grace of medical technology has afforded us the ability to separate opinion from evidence with great ease. Specifically, improvements have been made with ultrasound imaging in the field of radiology.
Ignorance is no longer an option, as sound waves are used (noninvasively) to create 3-D and 4-D images in fascinating detail. A heartbeat is found just three-and-a-half weeks after fertilization, with hands and feet seen developing at six. Another week later, a child can be seen sucking a thumb, sighing, and stretching.
It’s no wonder that pregnancy centers report maternal bonding rates as high as 59 to 90 percent for mothers who receive an ultrasound. Dr. Albert Mohler addressed this literal life-and-death issue on his daily podcast, The Briefing:
Going back to 1973, we need to keep in mind that most persons had no idea how to see that life within the womb. That was a vision that had not been allowed to virtually any previous generation. All that changed with the development of what’s now called ultrasound technology.
That imaging technology allowed a view inside the womb. This first came in generalized images that came of a mother with a baby in a womb, but eventually every expectant mother in the United States came to expect an ultrasound image, and that created something of an enormous problem for the pro-abortion movement.
It turns out that seeing the baby inside the womb, even at very early stages of development, instinctively informs the person seeing the image that this is not merely a potential life, this is life. This is not just a potential person, it is a person. This isn’t just a maybe baby, this is a baby.
The answer to the abortion argument begins with a Biblical one, backed by a technological (or observational) one. But there’s even more available for those who deny both.
Separating Fact from Fiction
Think back on Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, and Dachau. Do you know these names? We all should. Stop and Google. They were Nazi concentration camps. Killing centers for the sole purpose of exterminating approximately six million Jews (and other “undesirables”) from planet Earth.
Once again we are witnessing a genocide—this time by infanticide—on a scale never seen before in human history. It is a silent killer disproportionally among blacks, with many remaining pro-choice and unaware of what is taking place in our lifetime. Let’s look at the facts.
- The New York State Department of Health reports that between 2012 and 2016, 136,426 black babies were aborted, compared to 118,127 babies born. In fact, more black babies are aborted in New York City than are born each year.
- During an 80-year period (1882–1962) 5,000 black Americans reportedly were lynched. Even more appalling, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 6,300 black babies are aborted every week in America.
- The United States Census 2010 revealed that 62 percent of Planned Parenthood’s abortion facilities are located within walking distance of black neighborhoods and that when Hispanic/Latina populations are included, it rises to 79 percent.
Of the estimated 59 million babies aborted since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in 1973, nearly 40 percent (over 23 million) were black babies.
- Black Americans have suffered a long history of injustice, and I must ardently argue—none more so than through the horror of abortion. This was not Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, not even close. Here’s what he said: “The Negro cannot win if he is willing to sacrifice the futures of his children for immediate personal comfort and safety. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Ultimately, it is all a matter of choice, including every election cycle. Will those filling our churches choose to vote for candidates who deny the reality of life—Biblically, technologically, and historically? We need a new chapter where the church chooses to shine light and life into this world of darkness and death.
Flip Michaels (MM, Baptist Bible Seminary) spent 20 years in the broadcast industry before becoming associate pastor and staff elder at GraceLife Church in Annville, Pa. He is the author of Five Half-Truths: Addressing the Misconceptions of Christianity. This article was published in the July/August 2019 Baptist Bulletin.