A. This Tuesday, January 22, 2008, marks the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in our country.
1. Since then untold numbers of babies have been aborted. At a rate of 1.6 million a year, the total would be over 56 million.
2. This is not a topic that I enjoy thinking about or talking about, but it is one that needs to be addressed.
3. I want you to know that even though I have strong convictions about this issue, I also want to communicate with humility and compassion.
4. There very well may be some among us this morning, both men and women, who have had something to do with an abortion.
5. Please understand that my purpose is not to intensify your pain or guilt.
6. I have a feeling that if you could go back and do something different, knowing what you know now, you probably would make a different choice.
B. My purpose today is to educate and motivate.
1. We can get so use to the way things are that we come to accept everything as good and right.
2. I realize that there are many related issues that tend to complicate the central issue.
3. It sounds reasonable to make the point that it is better to abort a baby than to have one born to a person who does not want the baby, or to one who is too young or too poor to raise the baby properly, or to one who is a drug abuser, or a child abuser, or a prostitute or a rape victim.
4. And all of that is true, we would rather not have babies being born to people who have those attitudes or are behaving that way or are in those situations.
5. But none of those things change the central issue – abortion is murder.
6. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
7. Abortion stops a beating heart and ends a person’s life.
C. One thing I know for sure – the issue of abortion evokes strong emotions.
1. Those who approve it vehemently demand their right to privacy and their freedom of choice.
2. Those who oppose it argue that it is the taking of a life and that no society can prosper and be blessed by God who kills their unborn babies.
3. This week, in Washington, D.C., both sides will again try to make their point with massive demonstrations.
4. And I’m sure that during this election year, this issue will be raised as an important issue.
D. Today, I want us to examine the issue of abortion from two vantage points – Revelation and Reason.
I. Arguments from Revelation
A. Regardless of any arguments that can be made about any subject, for the Christian, what God says about it is final.
1. We might come up with 100 reasons why something is right, but if God says it is wrong, then it is wrong.
2. So, when we read our Bibles, what do we find about abortion? What has God said?
3. For starters, the word “abortion” does not appear in the Bible, not in the OT nor the NT.
4. It would be much easier for me this morning, if I could point to a text that said, “Thou shalt not abort a child.” Or the opposite “abortion is nothing. It matters not whether you abort or don’t abort.”
5. But there is no such text. So, what do we find in the Bible?
B. First, We find evidence for the sanctity of human life.
1. We discover that humans are a special creation of God, set apart and above the animals.
2. Genesis 1:26-28 reads, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’”
3. Genesis 9:5-6 says, “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.’”
4. In both testaments we find the command, “thou shall not kill (Ex. 20:13; Mt. 5:21).
C. Second, We find evidence that human life is sacred from the moment of conception.
1. In numerous passages from the Bible, like Ps 139; Jer 1:4, Luke 1, we see God at work in the developing unborn person. He has given them an identity, and his purposes are already at work.
2. It is significant to note that the Greek New Testament uses the same word to describe an unborn child as is used to describe a little child – brephos – God sees them as the same.
3. Luke used the same word, brephos, to speak of John the Baptist in his mother’s womb (Lk. 1:41), and Jesus as a newborn baby (Lk. 2:12), and the little children Jesus prayed for (Lk. 18:15).
4. Likewise, the Hebrew language used the same word, yeled, for all children born and unborn.
D. Third, When we look at the Bible we see evidence that abortion is something that God hates, because it is the destruction of the helpless.
1. Proverbs 6:16-17, “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood…”
2. God’s sense of justice and righteousness causes him to be concerned about and defend the cause of the weak and helpless. Numerous commands are given for the people of God to do the same.
a. Ps 82:3-4, “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
3. Proverbs 24:11-12; “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ Does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?”
4. God’s judgment is against those who harm and oppress the weak, the helpless and the needy.
E. A fourth piece of Biblical evidence has to do with the word pharmakia which may refer to abortifacient drugs.
1. What English words do you hear in the Greek word pharmakia? (Pharmacy/pharmaceuticals)
2. Abortion is not a new issue, it is an ancient practice.
3. It was practiced in both ancient Greece and Rome and was universally condemned by early Christians.
4. One of the most famous physicians in history, Hippocrates, who wrote the Hippocratic Oath, said, “Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly, I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion.”
5. The common practice for causing abortion in the ancient world was the use of pessary or drugs.
6. One article listed twelve pages of abortifacient drugs that were used by the ancient Greeks.
7. Hermann Strack says that one of the reasons Jews believed entering a Gentile house would make them impure was that the Gentiles practiced abortion and threw their aborted babies into the drains, so the house was defiled by corpses.
8. The Didache, an early Christian handbook, written between A.D. 100 – 120, says, “Thou shalt not procure abortion, nor shalt thou kill that which is begotten.”
9. Turtullian, who lived 160 – 235 A.D., wrote, “It does not matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. In both instances, destruction is murder.”
10. Clement of Alexandria, writing in A.D. 200-215, wrote, “But women who resort to some sort of deadly abortion drug kill not only the embryo but, along with it, all human kindness.”
11. The pharmakia word group has the dual meaning of “medicine” and “sorcery.”
12. Ancient physicians were often a combination of physician and sorcerer, similar to the “witchdoctor” of Africa, or the “medicine man” of the American Indian.
13. We don’t have time to get into the different uses of pharmakia in the NT, but one will notice that it usually appears among lists of sins that Christians should avoid, and it is often right next to sensuality, fornication, and murder. (Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 9:21; 21:8; 22:15)
14. If there is any one practice that would be related to these three sins and would involve drugs, it is abortion.
15. So those are some of the arguements we have from Revelation, now let’s talk about reason.
II. Arguments from Reason
A. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 that the Texas law banning abortion was unconstitutional.
1. Its judgment inhibited all regulation of abortion during the first three months of pregnancy, and during the second and third trimesters, regulated it only in relation to the mother’s physical or mental health.
2. In essence, this ruling implicitly permitted abortion on demand at every stage of pregnancy.
3. How could they hand down that decision?
4. The answer is that they bowed to the pressure of those who were calling for “abortion on demand” as a legitimate right.
5. That’s exactly what happened on the bench about 100 years earlier when the Dred Scott Decision relegated blacks to the status of non-persons.
6. In that decision in 1857, seven out of nine Justices on the Supreme Court declared no slave or descendant of a slave could be a U.S. citizen, or ever had been a U.S. citizen. As a non-citizen, the court stated, Scott had no rights and could not sue in a Federal Court and must remain a slave.
7. Certainly, no one here this morning would defend such a ruling as that one.
8. But in 1973, by exactly the same margin, 7-2, the Supreme Court decided the same thing about the unborn – they are non-persons and have no rights.
B. What the pro-choice crowd has tried to indoctrinate us with is the notion that the fetus in a woman’s body is merely tissue, the impersonal “product of conception,” and that it is not a person.
1. That it is her body and she can do anything she wants with her body.
2. Medically speaking, we know that the fetus is not merely the mother’s tissue.
3. On day one of conception, the unborn baby has its own genetic make up.
4. A sperm and an egg each have 23 chromosomes, but the new unborn, human being has 46 chromosomes.
5. A geneticist can distinguish between the DNA of the embryo and the DNA of the sperm and egg.
6. The DNA of the developing embryo and the DNA of the fully grown human being it will be someday, are exactly the same. Nothing changes along the way.
7. At conception, they are the same person DNA wise, that they will be their whole life.
8. By day 18 to 21, the baby inside of the mother has a beating heart. (less than three weeks)
9. By day 28, the baby’s arms, legs, eyes and ears have begun to develop.
10. By day 40, brain waves can be detected. (So before 6 weeks along in the process the developing baby is having its own brain waves).
11. It is interesting that we determine whether someone is alive or dead by the heart beat and the brain waves.
C. Another thing to consider is the “why” of abortion. Why are children aborted?
1. The Alan Guttmacher Institute (a research arm of Planned Parenthood) states that:
a. 1% of abortions are for the victims of incest or rape.
b. 1% are for fetal abnormalities.
c. 4% had a doctor say that their health would worsen if they continued their pregnancy.
d. The other 94% said things like they didn’t want to be a single parent, couldn’t afford a baby or that the child would interfere with their lives or career.
e. C. Everett Koop, the former Surgeon General, stated that during his 35-plus years of practicing medicine, “Never once did a case come across my practice where abortion was necessary to save a mother’s life.”
2. Abortion has become just another means of birth control.
3. The numbers certainly have skyrocketed from 20 thousand a year in 1969, to as I have said, as many as 1.6 million per year.
4. And as you might guess, there is a prevalence of repeat abortions.
5. In 1999, 45% of women who had abortions in the U.S. had at least one previous abortion. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Abortion Surveillance Report – 1999)
D. One of the things that has not changed over the years is the fact that the abortion industry is a very profitable business, with much of the profit coming from tax payer dollars.
1. Planned Parenthood’s latest annual report released June 6, 2007, revealed it made $902.8 million in the fiscal year 2005-2006.
2. It reported “excess of revenue and expenses” of $55.8 million. (that’s profit)
3. This marked the 34th year in a row that Planned Parenthood has reported a profit.
4. Adding it up over the years, they have made a total profit of $700 million.
5. Tax payer money now accounts for 34% of Planned Parenthood’s income.
6. I wonder how much of their lobbying in favor of abortion is to protect their own profits, rather than protect a woman’s choice.
E. Some of the wonderful things that have happened in the last 35 years, are the many medical advances that allow the pre-born to have surgery in the womb, and to be born earlier and earlier in their development and survive.
1. Here is a picture of Amillia Sonja Taylor with her mother, Sonja Taylor, she was born after just under 22 weeks in the womb.
2. That is among the shortest gestation period known for a live birth.
3. Here is a picture of her little feet. She was only 9 ½ inches long and weighed less than 10 ounces when she was delivered.
4. Many abortions happen well after 22 weeks.
5. Full-term births come after 37 to 40 weeks.
F. Sadly, the real issue for most as they think of a child inside a pregnant woman, is whether the child is wanted or unwanted.
1. If the child was wanted and something happened along the way and there was a miscarriage, we all mourn the loss. The child is often named and there is usually a funeral and burial.
2. But if the child is unwanted, then an abortion takes place and the unnamed child is simply discarded.
G. To show you how mixed up our country is as we address this issue, let me tell you about two interesting cases.
H. Despite a disclaimer that their ruling did not address abortion issues, a Feb. 2007 decision by the Brooklyn Court of Appeals seems to be at odds with almost all of the presuppositions that bolster legalized abortion.
1. The parents of Sarah Elizabeth Leighton sued the city for injuries she suffered as a 14-week-old fetus in the womb of her school-teacher mother.
2. Early in 1999, Sarah’s pregnant mother had her placenta ruptured when a toilet in her public school collapsed.
3. The injury caused Sarah to be born prematurely.
4. Sarah’s parents are convinced that her present learning disabilities and her asthmatic symptoms have been caused by her premature birth.
5. The court ruled that Sarah could make a claim because the injuries occurred after her conception and she was then born alive.
6. In other words, unborn Sarah was a person with legal rights and not just a blob of protoplasm.
7. Brooklyn Appeals Court Justice Gloria Goldstein tried to draw a fine line between Sarah’s case and those involving abortion by pointing out that aborted fetuses are not born alive.
8. But the distinction blurred when the Justice wrote, “However, if the abortion fails and causes injury to the fetus who is later born alive, the child may have a cause of action sounding in medical malpractice to recover damages for the injuries sustained.”
9. This makes no sense – if you try to kill a pre-born baby and fail, then they have rights, but if you try to kill them and are successful, then they had no rights to begin with.
I. Another example of the hopeless confusion about abortion involves a case from Lufkin, Texas.
1. On June 7, 2005 a young man named Gerardo Flores was convicted of a double murder and sentenced to life in prison.
2. This appalling tragedy began when 17-year-old Erica Basoria got pregnant.
3. She told authorities that 4 months into her pregnancy she decided she didn’t want her twins.
4. The reluctant mother-to-be tried several ways to abort her babies, but none of her crude methods of self-abuse worked.
5. So she enlisted the aid of her 19-year-old boyfriend.
6. At Erica’s request, Gerardo stomped on her stomach while she pummeled her belly with her fists. A week later she had a miscarriage.
7. Texas courts have sent Flores to prison for the rest of his life as a murderer, while the mother of the babies, the instigator of the crime, walks away scot-free.
8. She cannot be prosecuted, because she has a legal right to an abortion.
9. The thing that doesn’t make sense is that anyone with a medical degree could have aborted the two babies lawfully.
10. When a professional got through assaulting the twins, they would have been just as dead.
11. But unlike Flores, the doctor would have been paid a handsome fee, instead of being consigned to prison for the rest of his life.
12. Since when do we send people to prison for life simply because they practiced medicine without a license?
13. I believe that Flores should be punished for taking a life, but I believe that so should every abortionist.
A. Perhaps there is some good news on the horizon.
1. Just last Thursday, U.S. News and World Report posted an article with this headline – “U.S. Abortion Rate Falls to Lowest Level in Decades” By Kathleen Doheny
2. The article said, “The U.S. abortion rate has reached its lowest level in three decades, according to a new report released Thursday.”
3. "We don’t know why," said study author Rachel Jones, senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group that focuses on reproductive issues. The findings will be published in the March issue of the institute’s journal (Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.)
4. The actual number of abortions dropped to a new low, with 1.2 million abortions in 2005, compared to a high of 1.6 million abortions in 1990.
5. Among the trends they uncovered was an increase in medical abortions (RU-486) between 2000 and 2005.
B. A thing of great concern came to my attention this week.
1. Our Governor, Elliot Spitzer, is trying to push legislation through that will protect abortion rights here in NYS and guarantee abortion to minors without parental consent.
2. We need to let our legislature know that we are against this legislation.
C. I believe that the Bible clearly says that children, both the born and unborn, have a special place in God’s heart.
1. And ill treatment of these little ones will bring about God’s judgment.
2. God gives life and values life and so should we.
3. Satan’s modus operandi is “to steal, kill and destroy those made in the image of God” (Jn. 10:10).
D. Let’s pray that God changes the hearts and practices of the people of our country and the world.
1. Let’s stand up for the rights of the unborn, and be their voice.
2. Let’s teach the next generation to value the sanctity of life.
3. Let’s encourage every man and woman, regardless of the circumstances of conception, to let their babies live.
4. Let’s be ready to help them and the crisis pregnancy centers that support the unborn.
5. Over the years, we have had several of our young ladies become pregnant out of wedlock, and this is something that we regret, but each of our young ladies chose life and allowed their babies to live.
a. For this we are grateful, and we have tried to support them.
6. Let’s encourage adoption as an alternative, and I know that adoption is not a perfect solution, but it is better than abortion. (Approximately 40 qualified couples are waiting for every baby available.)
7. Let’s be ready to show mercy and support healing for those who have chosen abortion in the past.
8. Our God is a loving and merciful God, who offers forgiveness and peace to all who repent.
9. Praise God that there is hope for all of us, regardless of what we have done in our past.