What Has Already Been Said
This post is the sixth part in a series (Part 5). The topic is what the Bible says about abortion.
- Part 1: The Case For Abortion — This post considered several articles that argue that the Bible either says nothing about abortion or that the Bible says abortion is okay. We showed these arguments to be wrong.
- Part 2: The Case Against Abortion — This post reviewed several articles that say the Bible teaches that the life in the womb is a baby. Here the authors quoted numerous Bible passages that show clearly that the life in the womb is a baby.
- Part 3: The Case For Ambiguity On Abortion — In part 3 we looked for those who claim to occupy the “moderate” middle ground. That took us to the web sites of the following churches: United Church of Christ, Episcopal, Presbyterian (USA), and United Methodist Church.
- Part 4A: The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice‘s Case For Abortion: What Does The RCRC Advocate? — In Part 4A we took an unexpected detour. We discovered that the so-called moderate churches all belong to the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC). After some research, we learned there is nothing moderate about the RCRC. The RCRC is plainly pro-abortion.
- Part 4B: The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice‘s Case For Abortion: How Does The RCRC Use The Bible To Explain Its Position On Abortion? — Part4B examined the RCRC’s claim that the Bible does not say there is anything wrong with abortion. Here we examined the supposedly scholarly articles the RCRC posts on its web site. We quickly discovered obvious errors in these articles.
This is the final post in this series, and the title below probably suggests more than I have to offer. Like many people, I don’t have a good answer for the problem of abortion, but I do have some thought you may find helpful.
What Can and Should A Christian Do About Abortion?
We have already large examined the ethical considerations. That is, we have looked at Bible, and we have determined abortion is wrong. What else should we do?
- We can consider the extent of the problem. That is, we can look at how many abortions there are and why?
- We can assess what the law says about abortion. This a matter of looking up the subject on a legal website and reviewing the Code of Virginia.
- We can determine what we can change. Here we have the problem of the intractably of human nature. Just because we make something against the law does not mean we have accomplished anything.
The Extent of the Problem
Various sources provide abortion statistics.
- Here is a link to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention article on the subject.
- The Census Bureau provides data here.
- National Right to Life summarizes the statistics here.
- ABORT73.com summarizes the statistics here. This website provides an easy to understand statistical breakdown.
Statisticians have processed through about 2008-2009. The Census Bureau says that in 2008 there were about 1,211,500 abortions in the United States (28,520 in Virginia). The CDC observed that about 18 percent of all pregnancies in the United States end in abortion. When?
In 2009, most (64.0%) abortions were performed at ≤8 weeks’ gestation, and 91.7% were performed at ≤13 weeks’ gestation. Few abortions (7.0%) were performed at 14–20 weeks’ gestation, and even fewer (1.3%) were performed at ≥21 weeks’ gestation. (from here)
The primary factor contributing to the decision to abort? “Family planning.” That is, doctors perform almost all abortions just to get rid of an inconvenient baby.
What The Law Currently Says About Abortion
1 : the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus
: the medical procedure of inducing expulsion of a human fetus to terminate a pregnancy
2 : the crime of procuring or performing an illegal abortion [a conspiracy to commit “W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.”] see also Roe v. Wade and Webster v. Reproductive Health Services in the Important Cases section
FindLaw also provides a brief history. Here is the crux of it.
After the founding of the United States, laws regarding abortions did not exist until the 1800s. Women at that time were not allowed to vote and were not allowed to be doctors or members of the American Medical Association, which, along with religious leaders, advocated the passage of laws outlawing abortion. Abortions in the nineteenth century were generally unsafe, and women who survived abortions frequently were left sterile. By the 1880s, all states had laws criminalizing abortions. These laws stayed on the books until the 1960s and 1970s. (from here)
Apparently, until the 1880s, abortions were so unsafe there was no point in outlawing them.
FindLaw observes (here) that since 1992 the Supreme Court has allowed states to impose some regulations on the practice of abortion (from here). These regulations cover subjects such as counseling, waiting periods, doctor and hospital requirements, gestational limits, parental involvement, and so forth.
What does Virginia law say? FindLaw summarizes Virginia law here. However, what is at this link (here) on Virginia’s Legislative Information System is more current. Essentially, Virginia allows an abortion without any restrictions until the third trimester. During the third trimester, only one key condition must be satisfied.
(b) The physician and two consulting physicians certify and so enter in the hospital record of the woman, that in their medical opinion, based upon their best clinical judgment, the continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the woman or substantially and irremediably impair the mental or physical health of the woman. (from here)
What does substantially and irremediably impairing the mental health of a woman involve? That is not clear from the law. Nonetheless, Virginia has joined with other states and made some progress in discouraging the practice of abortion.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has signed off on permanent regulations that will hold abortion clinics to the same building standards as hospitals, joining Arizona and Michigan as states looking to tighten their abortion-facility standards to among the most stringent in the nation.
The new regulations come amid 43 abortion restrictions enacted by states last year — the second-most on record, after 92 such measures were adopted in 2011, according to a report released Wednesday by the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute. (from here)
What Can We Change?
We tend to think of the abortion issue as a dispute over law. It’s not. It’s a dispute over cultural values. What do we believe is the difference between right and wrong and why?
Consider what makes a good law.
- We clearly understand what is required to obey the law.
- The vast majority of the population supports the law.
- The law is enforceable.
Unfortunately, in the United States a significant portion of our population sees nothing especially wrong with aborting the birth of a child. Even if we had a clearly stated law against abortion, the law could not be made to work. Because our legal system requires a trial by jury, trial would result in a hung jury. That means anyone charged with an abortion crime could not be convicted. The inability to convict would render any law against abortion unenforceable. Therefore, before we can make abortion illegal, we must convince the vast majority abortion is wrong. To do that, we must work to convince people to read the Bible. We must pray that the Holy Spirit will help those who do read the Bible to believe it.
What can we do until then?
- We can point again and again to the insane hysteria of guilt-ridden abortion advocates. Consider the legislation just passed in Virginia. Because they regard abortion as some kind of sacred rite, not just a medical procedure, for years Virginia has poorly regulated the practice of abortion. What irony! Supposedly, we had to make abortion legal to make it safe–to render back alley abortions unnecessary. Yet until now the schizophrenic desire of Socialist Democrats for a wholly unregulated abortion industry rendered any attempt to regulate abortions next to impossible.
- We can help parents take back control of their children’s education. We have put politicians in charge of our education system, politicians who insist upon secularized socialist schools devoid of Christian instruction. As Christians we know that is unworkable; we know we must give our children an education steeped in Bible truth. As Christians, we know our children must learn to love each other as God would have each of us learn to love our neighbor. Yet on the sayso of politicians–people we do not trust–we hand our children over to teachers we do not know. And these teachers just happen to be the members of labor unions that contribute to political campaigns.
- We can attend Bible-based churches. What is the point of going to a church run by men and women who ignore what the Bible says? Instead of helping to bring us to Jesus, that kind of church will just get in the way.
- We can study our Bibles and ask God to help us understand. We can read, and we can pray. When our own soul and the souls of our loved ones depend upon knowing the truth, we should not completely depend upon anybody else to tell us what the Bible says.
- We can take a stand. For example, check out the 2013 Virginia Stands for Life.