Embracing Christian Views on Abortion and Life

Continuing in our series on tough topics, we’ve invited Chelsea Patterson Sobolik, policy director for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), to talk about abortion and being pro-life. What does the Bible say about abortion? Well, it says much about valuing life—and loving our neighbor. See how that applies to the abortion question in today’s post. —Hayley Mullins, True Woman Blog Content Manager

One of the greatest genocides of our day is abortion. Millions of babies are killed in the womb each year, both in the United States and globally. There are countries, such as China, where women are forced into abortions because of an oppressive two-child policy. A handful of countries allow for late-term abortion, performed after a baby can feel pain. Included in that list is the United States.

In addition to the lives of countless babies terminated through abortion each year, we also see the systematic devaluing of life that occurs everywhere—from gender persecution in places like India and China to how immigrants are often treated in our own country. Throughout human history and throughout the world today, lives are dehumanized and devalued, leading to those people becoming easy targets for further persecution and discrimination.

Caring for Life Imitates God

Each life is precious to the Lord. He is clear throughout Scripture that He values life, and Christians must follow in His footsteps by protecting and defending it. Not only is this simply the right thing to do, Christians have a biblical mandate to care for life. At the climax of Creation, God created man and woman and then declared that they are “very good.” And in Psalm 139:13–16, we learn about God’s intimate care for life in the womb.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

I’ve been the direct beneficiary of people who chose to value my life and my worth as a human being. My country of origin, Romania, was once one of the most oppressive Communist regimes in Eastern Europe. Because of policies created by a cruel dictator, thousands of children were placed into state-run institutions, sealing the fate of many. Time spent in an orphanage is devastating for a child’s emotional, mental, and physical growth.

My birth mother was a young teenage woman who didn’t have the physical resources needed to provide for me, so she made the courageous choice to place me for adoption. A couple from the United States traveled across the world and adopted me as their daughter. I grew up thinking adoption was normal; not only was I adopted, but so were all five of my siblings—from different parts of Eastern Europe. Through my personal experience, I learned the high price of valuing life because I grew up knowing how different my life could have been if I’d grown up in an orphanage rather than in a home where my life was cherished and valued.

Being Pro-Life Means Loving Our Neighbor

God commands us to love our neighbor. That commandment isn’t optional; we don’t get to decide whether or not we want to obey. The Bible is explicitly clear that life begins at conception, but the directive for caring about life doesn’t stop there. In Luke 10:25–29, Jesus is approached by a lawyer who asks what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks him what is written in the Law, and the lawyer responds, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” The lawyer is instructed by Jesus that he answered correctly, but he presses Jesus further by asking the question, “Who is my neighbor?”

Jesus goes on to tell the story of the Good Samaritan and concludes by saying that the one who showed mercy was the one that proved to be a good neighbor to the man.

May we expand our definition of “neighbor.” May we be people who show mercy.

When we start to view our neighbors as the Lord does, we gain a much richer understanding of what our lives as Christians should look like on Earth. Throughout the Bible, we’re directed to care for the vulnerable and the marginalized, but we don’t have to look far to see that the mandate to care for life isn’t being followed. Below are just a few examples of life being devalued around the world:

  • In India and China, baby girls are routinely killed through sex-selective abortion.
  • Iceland boasts that it’s almost entirely “Down syndrome free,” meaning they’ve eliminated all of their little babies with Down syndrome through abortion.
  • Millions of girls and women are sold into modern-day slavery.
  • Eight million children live in orphanages around the world.
  • 442,995 children are in the U.S. foster care system as this is published.

At the root of many issues in the world is a complete disregard for a person’s innate dignity and worth. Daniel Darling reminds us in his book The Dignity Revolution, “God is calling all of us not just to see that people have dignity, but to act accordingly. Not just to know, but to do.” Christians have a higher view of a person’s life and worth because of Scripture’s teachings, and we should seek to change the narrative that life is disposable.

Making Pro-Life Ethics Practical

A robust pro-life ethic should influence our mind and heart. In James 2:14–26, a discussion unfolds about the connection between faith and action, and we’re rightly reminded that they go hand in hand. The natural implications of our faith should be to serve others.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? (vv. 14–16).

Our good works help point others to Christ. The possibilities of ways we can love our neighbors are endless, and we should promote the value of every single human—from the womb onward. Below are a few practical steps toward getting involved in caring for the lives of others:

  • Consider volunteering at a local pregnancy resource center.
  • Mentor an at-risk youth.
  • Become a foster parent to vulnerable children in your city.
  • Financially assist those who are seeking to adopt.

In all of our efforts, may we not forget where our true strength and power lies—in regular prayer with our Father. Lifting up the unborn, the marginalized, and the vulnerable in prayer must be part of our advocacy. Martin Luther, a leader in the Reformation, was well-known for the high value he placed on prayer. He said, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

Brothers and sisters, may we be a people of prayer. May we commit to lifting up the vulnerable before our loving Father.

  • Pray for the unborn children.
  • Pray for women who are faced with difficult decisions.
  • Pray for the marginalized and the oppressed.
  • Pray for our legislators and lawmakers, that they will create and uphold pro-life policies.
  • Pray that the Church will love and serve.

Christ changes everything, including how we view life. Resolve to get involved in the lives of the vulnerable so that we might show the world the love of Christ.

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For more on Christianity and abortion, check out these other True Woman blog posts:

You can also hop over to the Human Dignity section on ERLC’s website. They provide news about and practical ways to get involved in pro-life advocacy.

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