Abortion: Four Foundational Questions
The abortion debate in our country continues to escalate and divide people, and we’re seeing the number of social media posts multiply and intensify. As we’ve been able to read an array of stances from Facebook friends and the like, we can’t help but notice that many of these passionate opinions are rooted in misinformation and logical inconsistencies.
Are we the experts on the matter? Far from it. What we can say is that we were encouraged to abort our son Abel, and the families we serve at Abel Speaks are consistently pushed to ‘terminate the pregnancy’ as well. For that reason, we have put a significant amount of time, energy and effort in to equipping ourselves on the topic of abortion over the past few years.
We want to help simplify the abortion debate. This is a highly controversial topic, but we think it would be a mistake to let the controversy imply complexity. This is not a complicated debate when we simply ask the most basic questions, so we wanted to create a short post addressing a few of them.
These four foundational questions are explored and accompanied with bullet-points and a short video for each. We believe you must process and answer these questions in order to be conversant around the topic of abortion today.
What is an abortion? (What actually happens?)
What is the unborn? (Is it a human being or not?)
Shouldn’t a woman have the ‘right to choose’? (To control her own body?)
Shouldn’t abortion be allowed in certain situations? (Rape, incest, life-limiting diagnoses, etc?)
Questions 1-2 are entirely rooted in objective scientific facts and disconnected from any religious conviction or political persuasion. Whether pro-choice or pro-life, if we wish to be legitimately informed, we must start here.
Questions 3-4 are admittedly informed by the “pro-life” perspective that we hold, and are intended to equip people on how to respond to two of the most common pro-choice arguments for abortion.
We hope this post will help you process and internalize WHAT you believe and WHY you believe it.
We hope it can equip you to humbly and cordially articulate your perspective to others.
We hope it will offer a winsome, well-informed perspective amidst a largely “pro-choice” generation.
We hope it might even be a resource that you might share with others on either side of the debate.
Note: There are several other important topics surrounding the value of lives outside of the womb such as immigration, sexual assault, foster care, and the like. Every person should care about and engage with these matters, but in this post we are just going to focus on topic of abortion because we believe it is the least complicated and most straight-forward. We’ve seen those separate issues detract and confuse the very straight-forward debate around abortion, so we wanted to start here but would love to move on to other important issues as well on a different occasion.
The post will conclude with some personal reflections as well as additional videos/articles, but by no means is this an exhaustive resource. With that said, we move to the first foundational question.
Q1: What is an abortion? (What actually happens during an abortion procedure?)
Let’s first recognize that when an abortion procedure is performed but the baby emerges alive, we call it an “attempted” abortion, or a “botched” abortion, or a “failed” abortion. An abortion is “successful” and not merely attempted when and only when the child is killed prior to delivery. Success is determined by taking something that is alive and making it not alive anymore. A successful abortion stops a beating heart and ends an innocent life.
If you desire to have a truly informed and educated position on abortion, you MUST see what one. The 4-min video below is from an OBGYN who has performed over 1200 abortions (find videos for all 3 trimesters at www.abortionprocedures.com). The illustrations are animated so the content is not graphically explicit, but it’s still not easy to watch — and that’s exactly the point. You’ll see that an abortion is a violent procedure that rips off the baby’s arms & legs and crushes its skull. That’s not dramatic language, that’s what occurs.
Respectfully: If you identify as pro-choice and yet you’re unwilling to watch this, you need to refrain from asserting your opinions on the internet until you actually know what it is you’re championing. If you have educated yourself and you would like to talk offline, we would love to engage in a mutually respectful conversation. Please email us at email@example.com.
Q2: What is the unborn? Is it a human person or not?
Before you can know if it is RIGHT or WRONG to take the life of something, you need to know what that ‘thing’ is. If it’s not a human being, no justification for abortion is even necessary. However, if it is a human being, no justification for abortion is adequate. We don’t kill innocent defenseless human beings for the reasons that people give when having an abortion.
Here’s what we know scientifically about the unborn:
The unborn is alive and that this life is growing, which is the whole reason abortion is sought out.
The unborn is NOT the mother (different tissue, DNA, fingerprints etc) and has its OWN body.
The unborn is a human if the mother is a human, since creatures reproduce according to their own kind.
The unborn’s nervous system is established by 6 weeks gestation, and the unborn can feel pain.
Therefore, an unborn baby is a living, growing, separate, individual human being that looks exactly like all human beings look like at that stage of development.
“Science has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that each human life begins at conception. From this point on, the developing being is a unique, irreplaceable member of our human family. Sound public policy must reflect this definitive scientific consensus, safeguarding the right to life for every human being at every stage of development…”– The Charlotte Lozier Institute
Consider the irony: A woman can currently drive to Planned Parenthood and legally end the life of her child. However, if the pregnant woman is hit by a drunk driver on the way in a fatal car accident, that driver will be charged with DOUBLE manslaughter. In the involuntary death, our government recognizes that baby’s humanity. And yet, when the mother consents, our government not only permits but helps FUND Planned Parenthood to accomplish the same deadly outcome. Which leads to the third question…
Q3: Shouldn’t A Woman Have the ‘Right to Choose’? (To Control Her Own Body?)
Should we support a woman’s right to choose? It depends — to choose what?? To wear blue? Sure. To be a lawyer? Yes. To harm an innocent child? Never.
We have to finish the sentence in order to answer the question.
There are plenty of things we tell women (and men) they cannot do with their bodies — prostitution, aggravated assault, public intoxication and child abuse to name a few.
Civil societies say that you must not directly and intentionally harm or kill an innocent human being. If it’s wrong to use my body to harm a born human, it’s also wrong to use my body to harm a pre-born human.
This is not a women’s rights issue. This is a human rights issue.
That human child should have the same human rights as its parents.
Civil societies expect parents to help and not harm their children. As a human race, we feel an overwhelmingly strong desire to protect children from harm, and we know this is a moral absolute.
Why would we NOT expect parents to protect their vulnerable children from harm in the womb as well?
If we’re consistent, we DO expect this, which is why a woman smoking a cigarette with a pregnant belly is met with concern for the wellness of that unborn child.
Civil societies expect parents to care for their dependents, and hold them accountable to do so — even if parenting comes with great cost and struggle, as it often does. (Note: we acknowledge that our society should come alongside and support parents in need of help and assistance.)
A parent who doesn’t feed their 18 year old won’t be charged with neglect, but the parent of a toddler WILL be charged. Why? The young child is still dependent in ways that the teenager is not.
The complete level of dependence of an unborn child on the mother actually heightens the parents’ level of responsibility, it doesn’t lessen it.
Q4: Shouldn’t Abortion Be Allowed in Certain Situations? (Cases of Rape, Incest, Poverty, Disability, Life-limiting Diagnoses, etc.)
There are no perfect words when speaking into heartbreaking scenarios such as these. But however imperfectly, it is important that we balance our response to the head with a response to the heart. When someone is hurting, we don’t lead with scientific facts — we lead with empathetic hearts.
When someone asks about abortion following a rape, they’re not asking if the baby is human; they’re asking if the pro-lifer is human.
Do we care as much for the person in front of us as we rightly care about the person in the womb?
We need to acknowledge that a person has been victimized or is suffering and we need to have the utmost of compassion. We also need to recognize that abortion will NEVER un-victimize or remove the sorrow from what they’ve gone or are going through.
I have never met a woman who regretted giving birth to a child. I know many who regret having had an abortion. One woman’s testimony shares, “It was harder to heal from my abortion than my rape — because I didn’t choose my rape, but I did choose my abortion.”
Musician Sean Feucht makes a provocative but convicting observation in this Instagram post: “So many of these children being born right now were actually conceived in rape by ISIS fighters across Iraq. We play with them during every refugee camp visit. They are gorgeous. How much has our Western society and theology been invaded by humanistic reasoning and worldly wisdom? How much have we deviated from God’s overwhelming redemptive plan for LIFE through any horrible situation?”
Summary of Q&A
What is an abortion? A procedure that violently ends the life of an unborn baby.
What is the unborn? A living, growing, separate, individual human being.
What about a woman’s right to choose? Choose what? To end an innocent human life? Never.
What about certain difficult cases? Abortion doesn’t minimize sorrow & suffering; it compounds it.
It’s important for us to close by recognizing that while the facts surrounding abortion are clear and uncomplicated, the circumstances and emotions surrounding abortion are anything but simple. We remember all too well the rush of competing & confusing feelings we felt as we were encouraged to abort our son. But while feelings are real, that does not make them reliable.
The truth is that joy and hardship are not mutually exclusive. In fact, greater depths of one often produces greater depths of the other. The journey will be difficult, and it will be worth it. Many people thought it would have been an easier route for us to choose termination. The reality is that ending our son’s life prematurely would not have spared us an ounce of struggling or suffering — it would have only robbed us of the priceless memories that forever mark our season with Abel. Carrying a sick child to term brought lots of daunting unknowns, but in the end, it also brought unimaginable joy, sweetness and significance.
So we do have a choice in the matter, but the choice isn’t whether we should end the lives of our children. What WE CAN CHOOSE to do is push past that paralyzing fear. WE CAN CHOOSE to let go of the temptation to grasp for control. WE CAN CHOOSE to lean into hardship instead of running from it. And ultimately, WE CAN CHOOSE to see every child’s life as a gift, no matter the surrounding circumstances of its conception.
When we embrace a different story than the one we had planned, we’ll find that it’s possible to navigate this broken world with a redemptive perspective in the midst of life’s many challenges. Through Abel’s life, the story we dreamed of was replaced with a greater one — a harder one, and a greater one. His life has changed ours. God has used it to shape and sanctify and continues to do so. We can genuinely tell you that stewarding Abel’s life has been the greatest privilege of ours.
If abortion is part of your story, God is not mad at you. He loves you. He weeps with you. He wants forgiveness and healing and freedom to mark the remainder of your life, starting today. Listen to Holly’s story below, and click here to learn how hundreds of women like her have found hope & healing through the Someone Cares.
Additional Resources (still in progress)
Simple, digestable, undisputable facts about abortion — https://www.abortionfacts.com/
3min video: 1st Trimester Abortion Procedure (D&C) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5THDmys8z30
4min video: 3rd Trimester Abortion Procedure (this is what our elected officials in New York have championed): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Af8vIym2o&list=PLRCroccSjXWR9HVr_ooA3ErEAR0SifdwY&index=4
“Watch their minds change” – Reactions from watching those abortion procedure videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xWQHhqOAcg
GoogleTalks “Abortion: From Controversy to Civility” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzzfSq2DEc4
How to Reply: “My Body, My Choice” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcZ6IOjNbi0
How to Reply: “No One Knows When Life Begins” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnAbwc_pHSY&app=desktop
How to Reply: “I’m Personally Pro-Life, but Don’t Want to Impose My View On Others” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YzY5kuOhxE
“Is Pro-Life Anti-Woman? Part of the ‘War on Women’?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=6&v=T3KFXqOCE7c
Duke University Medical Study: The Psychological Benefits of Carrying a Terminal Child to Term” showing that mothers who carry their baby rather than aborting experience far less https://static1.squarespace.com/static/56b66b33cf80a1d7573d7f6f/t/572154eef699bbaf86a688ed/1461802222680/CTT_Cope_Prenatal+Diagnosis_2015.pdf
Lozier Institute: The Science of Fetal Pain” answering the question of how/when preborn babies feel pain – https://lozierinstitute.org/fact-sheet-science-of-fetal-pain/
Fetal Care Center: Experiencing Joy & Sorrow https://info.fetalcaredallas.com/blog/joy-and-sorrow