NEW YORK – For many people, their favoring abortion stems from a concern for women’s rights. I think this analysis is not quite right. As a Christian, my opposition to abortion on demand stems from the commandment not to kill.
Since we as Christians believe that every person is created, has eternal life, and has an eternal soul, and thus has an ultimate relationship with God who not only created him, but died for him, my opposition to abortion is grounded in the belief to not kill any human being, particularly an innocent.
In the account of Abel, when he is killed by his brother Cain, God declares the wickedness of murder and thus lays a curse upon the murderer. More specifically, in Genesis chapter 9:5-6, there is the statement that whoever sheds the blood of a man by man shall his blood be shed for God made man in his own image. In Exodus 23:7, there is the statement “do not slay the innocent and the righteous.” In Matthew 5:21, there is the statement “You shall not kill.” The fifth commandment forbids intentional killing as being gravely sinful.
I have no doubt that human life must be respected in all stages and in every moment. Whether a person is dying, sick, elderly, or beginning life, that life has value. For example, in Jeremiah 1:5, there is the statement, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and before you were born I consecrated you.” In Psalm 139, verses 1-5, there is the statement “My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.” In Job Chapter 10, verses 8-12, there is the clear statement that we are made and created from the very beginning of our conception by God. There are other sections of the Bible that hold the same view.
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My opposition to abortion on demand stems from the conclusion that to throw any human being, even one not yet born, or just beginning, into a garbage can, is something that no person can allow. I also that in the book of Deuteronomy, 32:39, there is the statement that god both kills and makes alive. In Job 33:4, there is the statement “The spirit of God has made me and the breath of the almighty gives me life.” In Job 12:10, there is the statement “In his hand is the life of every living being and the breath of all mankind.” Finally, in Job 1:21 there is the statement “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.”
In sum, I want to make clear the abortion issue is not a rights issue, a woman’s issue or a man’s issue. The dying person, the disabled person, the sick person, the mentally challenged person, and the infant in the womb have the same and equal value. Further, the value that god attaches to all forms of human life cannot be measured.
If I am asked about the death penalty, and personally I have moral reservations concerning its use and application, it must be distinguished that the death penalty is a punishment by the state against the wrongdoer. This is different from the life of an innocent whose chance at a full life has been cut off.
I offer no solution to whether abortion can be outlawed. I only say that for me the moral issue is as I presented it here. Psalm 139:13-14 is the proof of god’s love for the unborn. It states, “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.”
This sums up this psalm and sets forth God’s love and knowledge for the unborn. There can be no doubt that this psalm concludes and ends the issue of unfettered abortion, its morality and the value that god attaches to all in their stages of life, the dying, the disabled, and the unborn. Perhaps the most convincing point and argument to present is that every person at whatever stage of life bear the stamp of the divine image.
This essay is taken in part and altered, from my book Essays on Faith, Culture, Politics and Philosophy, Chapter 13, entitled “A Final Word on Abortion,” pp. 99 and 100. published by the University Press of America.