Christian Biblical Counsel: ABORTION

Background

Abortion has divided our nation like no other issue in recent times. While people on one side of the issue stress a woman’s right to choose whether or not to give birth, people of the other side stress the right of the unborn child to be born. Even sincere Christians may differ on whether or not abortion is ever justified, especially in difficult situations such as rape or incest, or when tests reveal that the unborn child has severe abnormalities.

The Bible places the highest value on human life. It is sacred and of inestimable worth to God, who created it “in His own image” (Genesis 1:26–27); who sustains it (Job 12:10); and who redeemed it (2 Corinthians 5:19). The Bible recognizes the unborn as being fully human: “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!” (Psalm 139:16, TLB).

 

Helping Strategy

As a Christian helper, there are several aspects of the abortion issue that you may be called upon to deal with: the woman who is considering having an abortion; the guilt of one who has already gone through that experience; parents of a pregnant girl; the unmarried father; medical personnel who have helped with or performed abortions.

 

The Woman Considering an Abortion:

1. Commend her for calling concerning her anxiety. You are happy to talk with her, and hope you can share some insights which will help her make a final decision.

2. Tactfully remind her that she quite possibly has strong feelings about the moral implications of abortion or she wouldn’t have called. Avoid being judgmental about her situation. For example, if she is young and unmarried, her pregnancy could be the result of having sought love, attention, and affection which she never received at home. At the same time, avoid minimizing the wrongness of her sexual conduct, because it is sin.

3. Question her about her feelings on abortion:

• What prompted you to call about your problem?

• What are your real feelings about abortion?

• What have you heard from others, Christian or not, regarding abortion?

4. Whether or not she believes abortion is wrong, present the Scriptures discussed above in “Background,” along with any others that you think would apply.

5. Ask her to consider the alternatives. If she is considering having an abortion because of the stigma of an illegitimate child, she may only complicate her situation and compound the guilt. Suggest that she consider having the child, asking God to bring good from the experience. He can do this as she commits herself and her problem completely to Him: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28, NIV).

If she is concerned about not being able to care for or support the child, ask her to consider adoption. There are many couples looking for a child to adopt who are able to provide love and a good home. There are many organizations to which she may turn for help. Suggest that she seek the counsel and advice of a local pastor, who should be able to initiate the process of arranging an adoption.

6. Ask her if she has ever received Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. If appropriate, present Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD

7. Suggest that she start reading the Bible. In order to restructure her life according to biblical principles, she needs to read and study God’s Word. Offer to send Your New Life In Christ Bible Study to help her get started.

8. Ask if she has a church home. She should try to identify with a Bible teaching church where she can find fellowship and encouragement, and can grow in her faith.

 

The Woman Who Has Had an Abortion and Suffers from Guilt:

1. Encourage her by saying that she has made the right choice in seeking help. We care and want to help in any way we can. God has an answer to every human situation, and she can trust Him to work for her good.

2. Don’t make a moral issue of her situation; at the same time, don’t minimize the seriousness of such a choice. The fact that she is willing to share her feelings of guilt is an indication that God is speaking to her.

3. Dwell on God’s forgiveness for those who are willing to repent and confess their sins to the Lord. To the woman taken in the act of adultery, Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11).

4. Should confession result, do not dwell on the past (Philippians 3:13–14).

 

5. Ask if she has ever received Jesus Christ as her personal Savior. If appropriate, present Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD

6. Suggest that she seek fellowship with God through Bible reading and prayer. Forgiveness is immediate, but a sense of restoration and acceptance will come in due time. Through commitment to this important discipline of prayer and Bible study, she will grow in her relationship with God.

7. Suggest that she seek, or restore, fellowship with a Bible-teaching church. There she can counsel with a pastor, hear God’s Word taught, and find strength through Christian relationships.

8. Pray with her. Ask God for forgiveness, commitment, and strength for the future.

 

Scripture

 

The Wonder of Life:

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward” (Psalm 127:3).

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!” (Psalm 139:13–16, TLB).

 

Forgiveness:

Psalm 32:1–5 (Look up these verses, which were written by one guilty of adultery and murder.) “Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion” (Psalm 103:3–4, NIV).

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

 

Courage and Strength to Carry On:

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11, NIV).

 

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

 

The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996

Abortion

Not a Choice, but a Child

by June Hunt

“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?… By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.… Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

—Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Presidential Prayer Breakfast, Washington, DC, February 12, 1994

I.     Definitions

A. What is Abortion?

The Oxford Dictionary states that abortion is “the procuring of premature delivery so as to destroy offspring.”  Abortion is an umbrella word for the different methods used to destroy a developing human fetus. Some of these methods are as follows:

•     The “Morning After” Pill … a chemical swallowed in the first trimester, within the first 72 hours of a pregnancy

This drug contains a high concentration of the chemical in birth control pills—but three or four times stronger. Although a female may not know whether she is pregnant, this pill is designed to stop a possible pregnancy by expelling the fertilized egg.

•     The RU-486 Method—“The French Abortion Pill” … a chemical swallowed in the first trimester, from four to nine weeks

The drug RU-486 is a synthetic steroid that destroys the hormone (progesterone) necessary to sustain life in the uterus. The baby starves as the nutrient-rich lining disintegrates. The mother is given the drug twice within ten days. She becomes violently ill, and the usual result (but not always) is the delivery of a dead baby.

•     The Vacuum-Suction Method—Suction Aspiration … surgery in the first trimester

The womb is dilated and inserted with pencil like tools (dilators) and inserted with a hollow tube (cannula) connected to a suctioning apparatus. The vacuum is so powerful that in early pregnancies the baby is instantly broken up and suctioned out. This is the most common procedure used for abortions.

•     The Dilation and Curettage Method—“D & C” … surgery in the early part of the second trimester—13 to 14 weeks

The womb is dilated to admit a loop shaped knife (carelle). The doctor uses the knife to cut the baby and placenta to pieces and scrape the uterus wall. Then the doctor scrapes the pieces out of the womb.

•     The Dilation and Evacuation Method—“D & E” … surgery in the second or third trimester

The mouth of the womb is stretched (dilated) to admit large forceps that are used to crush the baby’s head. The body is then cut apart and removed piece by piece.

•     The Saline Method—“Salting” or “Salt Poisoning” … a chemical injected in the second or third trimester

A needle is inserted through the mother’s abdomen and as much as a cup of the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby is removed and replaced with a lethal saline solution. The baby breathes in, swallowing the salt, and is poisoned to death within two hours. The baby dies of suffocation, brain hemorrhaging, and convulsions. The salt often burns the baby’s skin. The mother is then given a drug (pitocin) that induces labor. By this process the organs and tissues are burned, and the baby is delivered dead or almost dead. In most clinics, this method is no longer used.

•     The Prostaglandin Method … a chemical injected in the second or third trimester

This procedure is similar to the saline method except the baby’s skin is not burned. A woman’s body naturally produces prostaglandins, which assist the birthing process. An injection of artificial prostaglandin stimulates the uterus to contract, and the mother delivers her baby, whatever its size. This method can result in live births, but usually the baby is left to die. This method is no longer used in most clinics.

•     The Partial-Birth Method—Dilation and Extraction, “D & X” … surgery in the second or third trimester, after 20 weeks, most often between six to nine months

The baby’s leg is grabbed with forceps and pulled through the birth canal. The baby’s entire body is then delivered except for the head. Scissors are jammed into the baby’s skull and opened to enlarge the hole. A suction tube is inserted and sucks out the brain, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed. This procedure is used after 20 weeks of pregnancy, often between six to nine months. Opponents label this procedure “homicide.”

For those whose ways go against God’s will, the Bible says,

“Is this the way you repay the Lord, O foolish and unwise people? Is he not your Father, your Creator, who made you and formed you?”

(Deuteronomy 32:6)

B. When Does Human Life Begin?

Human life begins at conception. Biological and medical science provides us the following data.

Chronology of a New Human Life

•     First Month

—  Immediately upon fertilization, cellular development begins. Before implantation, the sex of the new life can be determined.

—  At implantation, the new life is composed of hundreds of cells and has developed a protective hormone to prevent the mother’s body from rejecting the unborn as foreign tissue.

—  At 17 days, the new life has developed blood cells. The placenta is a part of the new life and not a part of the mother.

—  At 18 days, occasional pulsations of a muscle occur—this is the heart.

—  At 19 days, eyes begin to develop.

—  At 20 days, the foundation of the brain, spinal cord and entire nervous system has been laid.

—  At 21 days, the heart begins beating.

—  At 28 days, the backbone and 40 pairs of muscles are developed along the trunk of the new life. Arms and legs are forming.

•     Second Month

—  At 30 days, regular blood flow is evident within the vascular system; the ears and nasal development have begun.

—  At 40 days, the baby’s heart is beating faster than the mother’s heart and produces almost 20 percent of the energy of an adult heart.

Week 6

—  The baby is one-half inch long.

—  At 42 days, the skeleton is complete and reflexes are present.

—  At 43 days, electrical brain wave patterns can be recorded. This is usually ample evidence that “thinking” is taking place in the brain. The new life may be thought of as a thinking person.

Week 7

—  The baby is three-fourths of an inch long.

—  At 49 days, the fetus has the appearance of a miniature doll with complete fingers, toes, and ears.

Week 8

—  At 56 days, all organs are functioning—stomach, liver, kidneys, brain—all systems are intact. The new life has all its physical parts and now needs only nourishment. All future development is simply that of refinement and increase in size until maturity at approximately age 23.

This stage is approximately two months before “quickening,” or the mother’s feeling movement. The mother will usually not feel the child’s movements until four months after conception.

•     Third Month

Week 9

—  The baby is two inches long. Fingerprints appear.

—  At 9 and 10 weeks, the new life squints, swallows, and retracts the tongue. The contour of the face and body look more like a baby’s, and the physical characteristics are obvious.

—  At 11 and 12 weeks, arms and legs move, while fingernails and toenails appear. Along with thumb sucking, the new life inhales and exhales amniotic fluid.

•     Fourth Month

—  At 13 weeks, hair appears on the baby’s head.

—  At 14 weeks, the baby brings both hands together and sucks on the thumb.

—  At 16 weeks, genital organs are clearly differentiated. Hands are able to grasp (see Hosea 12:3). The new life swims, kicks, and turns somersaults, although movement is often still not felt by the mother.

•     Fifth Month

—  At 18 weeks, the baby is 12 inches long, and the mother can feel her baby move. Vocal cords are working.… The new life can cry.

•     Sixth Month

—  At 26 weeks, the sensory organs are all working—the baby is able to hear, see, taste, and touch.

Although no one fully understands all the ways and works of God, He will do what is right on behalf of both you and your child. Each precious life in the mother’s womb is being formed by God, the Maker of all things.

“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who has made all things.”

(Isaiah 44:24)

C. Is a Developing Human Fetus a Human Being (Person)?

Yes. A human being is defined as a member of the species homo sapiens. Each individual human being has its own genetic code (DNA) that is singularly unique and established at the time of conception. The DNA of a human fetus is distinct not only from animals, fowl, and fish, but also from the mother’s DNA.

“All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.”

(1 Corinthians 15:39)

•     Scientific Evidence

The eminent geneticist, Professor Jerome LeJeune, M.D., Ph.D., at the Rene Descartes University of Paris Faculty of Medicine states:

—  “If a fertilized egg is not by itself a full human being, it could never become a man, because something would have to be added to it, and we know that does not happen.”

•     Medical Evidence

—  The Hippocratic Oath is a code of ethical values that has governed the medical profession since ancient times. A profession that has the power to kill as well as the “power to cure” demands a set of moral commitments that are nonnegotiable. Even within pagan cultures was an innate conviction that abortion was wrong, as evidenced by “the oath of Hippocrates,” which prohibits abortion. This oath, which has dominated western civilization since at least 400 BC to recent years, reads in part … “The regimen I adopt shall be for the benefit of my patients according to my ability and judgment, and not for their hurt or for any wrong. I will give no deadly drug to any, though it be asked of me, nor will I counsel such, and especially I will not aid a woman to procure abortion.”

•     Biblical Evidence

—  The personhood of the unborn child is clearly demonstrated by John the Baptist, who “leaped for joy” while still in the womb.

John’s mother, Elizabeth, exclaimed to Mary, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:44).

—  God is actively involved at the earliest point of a person’s development even before the unborn looks like a baby.

The Psalmist David said to God, “Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16).

—  Scripture explicitly states that God not only forms the unborn child in the womb, but also has a plan for his or her future even before conception.

“Before I [God] formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

D. What Are the Two Main Positions in the Abortion Argument?

•     The Pro-life Position

Some believe that a human fetus is a person from the moment of conception and that the unborn baby should receive constitutional protection of life.

This position is in agreement with the Biblical position, which values the life of the unborn baby the same as the life of the mother.

“If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (Exodus 21:22–25)

•     The Pro-choice Position

Some believe that a fetus is only a “potential person” (Roe v. Wade, 1973) and therefore should not be entitled to constitutional protection. They believe the decision about the life or death of the unborn baby should be solely the choice of the pregnant mother. This position invites God’s great disfavor because it provides no protection for the innocent, unborn life.

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood.” (Proverbs 6:16–17)

Question: “The Bible says Christians are to submit to the governing authorities (1 Peter 2:13).Therefore, if the law of the land allows abortion, how can any Christian justify demonstrating against abortion clinics?”

Answer: In Nazi Germany, the government sanctioned Hitler’s regime. In spite of the culture, many Christians defied their government in an attempt to rescue those being led away to death. Christians involved in peaceful demonstrations are those who do not break the law, but rather those who believe they have been given a Biblical mandate to be rescuers.

“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?” (Proverbs 24:11–12)

Question:“People have been murdered by ‘pro-lifers.’ How can anyone associate with such a wrong ideology?”

Answer:Anyone who commits murder or any act of violence breaks the law of the land, as well as the law of God. A true “pro-life” person would never take the life of another human being. God is opposed to violence, even in the name of “pro-life.”

“Give up your violence and oppression and do what is just and right.” (Ezekiel 45:9)

Question:“Do Christians have a responsibility to minister to women who have had abortions or are considering having an abortion?”

Answer:Yes. Women who have had an abortion or are considering having an abortion often feel emotionally distraught and wounded. They need a caring, compassionate person to help them in their time of need.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

II.    Characteristics of Those Who Have Abortions

A. What Is Post-abortion Syndrome (P.A.S.)?

P.A.S. is a traumatic stress disorder that many women experience following an abortion. This woman may have an inability …

•     to process her emotions involving the abortion

•     to go through the process of grief over the loss of her baby

•     to be at peace with God, herself, and those involved in the abortion decision

•     to accept her own God-given worth

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”

(Psalm 38:4)

The Stages of Post-abortion Syndrome

There are four stages a woman generally experiences following an abortion.

•     Relief

A welcomed sense of freedom that the difficult decision making process is over and the painful problem has disappeared.

•     Rationalization

A mental rehearsing of logical explanations and excuses for having had the abortion.

—  “I wouldn’t have been a good mother. It’s better that the baby wasn’t born.”

—  “I may have been upset at the time, but I’m okay now.”

—  “It’s legal; therefore, it is certainly okay.”

•     Repression

A blocking out of the details, the painful memories, and the emotions surrounding the abortion. The grieving process can be so repressed that a woman can actually “forget” she had an abortion.

•     Resentment

Hidden or repressed anger toward herself and those involved in the abortion results in depression and bitterness. If this anger is not dealt with, her relationship with God and her interaction with others is hindered.

Question: “What can be done to heal the emotional wounds of one who has had an abortion?”

Answer: With an understanding of what has happened emotionally since the abortion, she can take certain steps to start the healing process.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

B. What Inner and Outer Symptoms Could a Woman Experience Following an Abortion?

Inner Conflicts Outer Evidence
•     anger •     disruption of relationships
•     anxiety •     sleeping and eating disorders
•     bitterness •     hostility toward self and others
•     depression •     alcohol or drug abuse
•     distrust •     sexual dysfunction
•     fear •     avoidance of abortion subject
•     grief •     anniversary reactions
•     guilt •     reliving abortion experience
•     hopelessness •     increased risk of suicide
•     profound regret •     poor bonding with children
•     reduced motivation •     distorted thinking, preoccupation
•     rejection •     paranoia
•     shame •     uncontrollable crying
•     suppressed feelings •     psychosomatic illness
•     trauma •     nightmares and flashbacks
•     unworthiness •     detachment and withdrawal

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

(Hebrews 4:13)

III.   Causes Leading To a Woman’s Choice of Abortion

A. Why Do Some Women Choose Abortion?

Those who choose abortion are convinced that it is the easiest and most practical way out of a difficult dilemma.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

(Proverbs 16:25)

B. What Are Some of the Situations That Cause a Woman to Believe Abortion Is a Reasonable Choice?

The ten primary influences for choosing abortion are …

•     fear of parental response

•     fear of rejection and ridicule

•     fear of financial responsibility

•     fear of the inability to care for the child

•     fear of a pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest

•     feeling rushed to make a decision by parents, the baby’s father, or an abortion counselor

•     feeling it is wrong to bring an unwanted child into the world

•     feeling it is just another means of birth control

•     feeling that a fetus is only a mass of tissue

•     feeling no moral conviction because of a lack of knowledge of God’s Word

C. Root Cause

Wrong Belief: “Abortion is a simple procedure designed to remove a mass of tissue from a woman’s body, and a woman should have the right to determine what happens to her own body.”

Right Belief: The unborn life within a pregnant woman is a separate, unique human being, created by God at conception. A woman does have rights over her own life, but she does not have the right to destroy an innocent life.

“This is what the Lord says—he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you: Do not be afraid.” (Isaiah 44:2)

Every woman should have the freedom of choice over her own   life, but not the freedom to destroy the life of the developing human being   within her.For it is the Lord who said,“Before I formed you in the womb I   knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1:5)—June Hunt

D. Do You Want Hope?

The Hope Diamond is the largest deep blue diamond in the world (measuring 45.52 carats) and considered priceless by many. Can you imagine what would happen to its value if someone were to cut this diamond into pieces? The parts would still have worth, but nowhere near its original worth because the unique size and design of the diamond would be destroyed.

Within your body you have something like the Hope Diamond—you have a unique, priceless, unborn baby designed by God for a specific purpose. Not only does God have a plan for your baby’s life, but also a plan for your life filled with hope.

Everyone wants hope. Everyone needs hope—hope that is found in a secure relationship with God. Your hope can be secure when you are in the family of God.

How to Have Hope That Lasts Forever

#1  Your Problem—Sin keeps you from being adopted into God’s family.

The Bible says that we all have sinned. Not one of us is perfect. We have all willfully chosen to go our own way, not God’s way.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

#2  Your Position—Your sin separates you from God.

God is perfect and without sin. But, because we are not perfect and we’ve chosen to sin, the consequence of our sin is separation from God.

“Your iniquities have separated you from your God.” (Isaiah 59:2)

#3  Your Provision—God has provided hope for you to receive His full forgiveness.

God the Father sent His own Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins—a penalty that we should have paid. Jesus, who is God (God the Son), left heaven, came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross because He loves you. You need to know that Christ died as your substitute in order to save you from being eternally separated from Him.

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

#4  Your Part—You need to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

By trusting that Christ died as your substitute and by yielding your will to His will, you are forgiven for all your sins. And when God forgives you for all your sins, you are saved from being separated from God! The heavenly Father adopts you as His very own child and gives you eternal life with Him in heaven.

“To all who received him [Jesus] … he [the Father] gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

You have a choice of yielding control of your life to Christ—to the One who loves you and knows all about your past, present, and future. If you open your heart to Him, you will find that He has a personalized plan that includes not only His purpose for creating you, but also His promise to fulfill you … to satisfy the deepest hunger of your heart.

If you desire to be adopted into God’s family, you can tell Him in a simple prayer like this:

“God,   I need a real relationship with You and real security. I admit that I have   sinned and that my sin deserves to be punished. Jesus, thank You for taking   the penalty of my sin and for dying in my place. Right now I receive You as   my personal Lord and Savior. I give You control of my life. Come into my life   and make me the person You created me to be. Lord, thank You for loving me,   for forgiving me, and for adopting me into Your family. Thank You for giving   me the hope of a new life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

If you sincerely prayed that prayer, then …

Welcome to the family of God!

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)

IV.  STEPS TO SOLUTION

When faced with the decision of whether to have an abortion, check what God says first. If you are seeking to help people gain God’s perspective on abortion, the most beneficial thing to do is to take them to the Bible. Many have never heard or read God’s Word to find out God’s heart for the unborn. It may be that those who favor abortion are believing a lie because they have not been exposed to the truth.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

A. Key Verse to Memorize

Realize that the unborn are known by God in a personal way.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

(Jeremiah 1:5)

B. Key Passage to Read and Reread

Psalm 139:13–16

God is Sovereign over—

Length of Life

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”         v. 16

Inmost Being

“For you created my inmost being.”        v. 13

Frame

“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.”       v. 15

Embryo

“You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”    v. 13

C. Pre-abortion Counsel

How would you advise a mother, pregnant with her fifth child, based on the following facts?

•     Her husband had syphilis.

•     She had tuberculosis.

•     Their first child died.

•     Their third child was born deaf.

•     Their fourth child had tuberculosis.

The mother is considering an abortion. Given all the facts, would you advise her to have an abortion? If you responded yes, you would have just killed one of the world’s greatest and most gifted composers, Ludwig Von Beethoven. Never sacrifice God’s principles for emotional arguments of situation ethics!

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

Arguments and Answers

•     Argument: “Abortion is not morally wrong.”

Answer: Since human life begins at conception, then abortion by choice becomes premeditated murder.

“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13)

•     Argument: “A fetus should not be regarded as a baby.”

Answer: According to God, a fetus is not a mass of tissue. God’s Word does not distinguish between a “potential baby” and a “newborn baby.” In the Bible, the same Greek word brephos, which means “babe,” is used to describe …

—        a fetus

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb.” (Luke 1:41)

—        babies

“People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them.” (Luke 18:15)

•     Argument: “Every woman should have the right of control over her own body.”

Answer: A woman should have the right to control her body, but in pregnancy there are …

—        two different bodies

—        two different heartbeats

—        two different brain wave patterns

—        two different genetic codes (DNA)

—        often two different blood types

—        often two different sexes

A woman should not have control over the death of another.

•     Argument: “Abortion is permissible when a fetus is not ‘viable.’ A fetus that is incapable of sustaining life outside the womb is not a viable person and is not due protection from society (the viability factor).”

Answer: To define viability as a person’s ability to survive without assistance is dangerous because a person’s viability can be lost as a result of age, illness, or serious injury. A three-month-old girl cannot sustain life on her own. A sixty-year-old man who is dependent on a respirator cannot sustain life on his own. But do their situations negate the personhood of these people? No! Should these persons be candidates for destruction? No! Those who insist on a viability standard remove protection from those who need it the most.

•     Argument: “The fetus must reach a certain level of consciousness for it to be considered a person.”

Answer: If consciousness is used as a criteria for personhood, then a man who is knocked unconscious or one who is in a coma must not be considered a person.

•     Argument: “Abortion should be allowed for a deformed fetus.”

Answer: Allowing abortion for fetal deformity is prioritizing “quality of life” over the “sanctity of life.” It is making a judgment that some lives are not worth living. Many people born with defects have lived happy, productive lives. They are often powerful influences for hope and encouragement to others.

•     Argument: “A victim of rape or incest should not have to consider giving birth to the child.”

Answer: When a woman is tragically victimized by rape or incest, certainly the father of the child is guilty, but the mother and child are innocent. The right response to this wrong is legally punishing the guilty, not killing the innocent. Compassion for the victim should never obscure the principle of right or wrong. Two wrongs never make a right. Regardless of the father’s identity, the woman is still the mother. Aborting the baby causes the woman to be victimized twice and destroys the opportunity to see God’s sovereign plan for both the innocent mother and child.

•     Argument: “Every baby should be a wanted baby. Legal abortion of the unwanted will reduce child abuse.”

Answer: When there is child abuse, the problem is the parent, never the baby. Child abuse has continually increased since Roe v. Wade despite the killing of millions of “unwanted” babies through abortion. Once an unborn child is in the womb, the sanctity of life should not be determined by the emotional “wants” of another. Should we also do away with all those who are “unwanted”—the criminals, the homeless, and the undesirables?

•     Argument: “Women will still get abortions. If we don’t make it legal, they will be forced to get back alley abortions, which are unsafe.”

Answer: The only time a woman is forced to get an abortion is when the abortion is performed against her will. There are no laws forcing a woman to abort her baby. Logically, if people willfully break the law and hurt themselves in the process, their injury is caused by their irresponsible, illegal behavior, not by the law.

•     Argument: “To be consistent, a pro-life position that considers abortion to be the killing of a human being would also have to be against the death penalty.”

Answer: Pro-life is not inconsistent with capital punishment (a crime punishable by death). The penalty of death is administered when a criminal is found guilty of a capital crime only after due process of law. In abortion, the unborn is innocent of committing any crime, and death is not justified.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” (Genesis 9:6)

Since God is the Giver of Life, choose to value the sanctity of life! And since one of God’s Ten Commandments says, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13), we should all value the sanctity of life. The unjustified killing of human beings—the killing of the innocent—is always seen as wrong in the Bible.

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

(Deuteronomy 30:19)

•     Argument: “A woman actually has no realistic choice if she is faced with an unwanted pregnancy.”

Answer: There are three directions she can take.

—        Abortion … following human rationalization

—        Adoption … following the will of the Lord

—        Give birth and keep the child … following the ways of the Lord

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)

•     Argument: “A mother would feel very guilty if she gave her child up for adoption.”

Answer: When a woman allows her child to be adopted, she may be making a responsible choice based on what is best for the life of the child. Certainly adoption is not an easy choice to make. It is natural for you to grieve that your child is not with you. But you can rejoice that you are offering your child a chance at life. Even Moses, the great spiritual leader of Israel, was adopted. The choice to allow your child to be adopted for the child’s own good is not a sin against God. Any guilt you may feel is false guilt. But when a woman chooses to kill her unborn child, she will feel true guilt, for she has chosen to sin against God and her child.

“She [Moses’ mother] took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses.” (Exodus 2:10)

•     Argument: “A mother who is single and financially insecure or one who is a victim of circumstance should never consider raising her child herself.”

Answer: If a mother feels strongly led by the Lord to keep her child and provide unselfish love and nurturing, God is faithful to meet her needs.

“You, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:14)

D. Post-abortion Counsel

Most women who have experienced an abortion are left with a vague ache in their hearts, and many develop deep emotional conflicts.

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”

(Psalm 38:4)

Healing the Hurting Heart

God offers healing for every human heart—even after sin there is a Biblical way to be right with God, and we need to do what we can to be right with others.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

(Psalm 34:18)

•     Admit Personal Responsibility

—  Stop blaming other people or circumstances for the abortion.

—  Realize the decision is ultimately the mother’s choice.

—  Agree with God that abortion is wrong.

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)

•     Awaken the Memories

—  Choose to work through the denial.

—  Relive the negative feelings surrounding the abortion.

—  Talk about the experience with a trusted friend or sensitive counselor.

“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” (Proverbs 20:5)

•     Acknowledge the Grief

—  Name your child, realizing that a real live baby was aborted.

—  Conduct a short memorial service.

—  Commit your child into the loving hands of God.

“[There is] a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

(Ecclesiastes 3:4)

Question: “What happened to my child after the abortion?”

Answer: Although the Bible doesn’t specifically address this question, in principle you can conclude that your baby went to heaven. For example, King David was described as “a man after his [God’s] own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). When David’s seven-day-old baby died, he said, “I will go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Samuel 12:23). Like David’s baby, your child is in the precious presence of God—our just, merciful, compassionate God.

—  Receive God’s forgiveness by trusting in Christ’s payment of the penalty for your sins and by giving Him control of your life.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

—  Acknowledge that you have been forgiven through Christ. You are a new creation in Christ.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

—  Extend forgiveness to others.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

Acquire a Ministry

•     Express compassion to others in similar circumstances.

•     Advise others who are considering an abortion.

•     Be the light that leads a hopeless heart to Christ.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”

(2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

Healing through Husbands

Question: “My wife had an abortion. What can I do as a husband to help heal my wife’s emotional wounds?”

Answer: A husband can be there for his wife and love her through the healing process, but he cannot heal her no matter what he “does.” He cannot fix everything or make her okay. Jeremiah 17:14 presents the source of true healing, “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed.” What you as a husband can “do” is to depend on Christ to love your wife through you just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Pray for your wife. Christ can bring healing to her.

You can demonstrate the love of Christ to your wife in the following ways:

•     Listen to her with compassion.

“[There is] a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

•     Respond without anger when she is angry.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

•     Weep with her and for the loss.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15)

•     Support her with faithful and steadfast love.

“Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 3:3)

•     Treat her with respect as a creation of God.

“Husbands … be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” (1 Peter 3:7)

•     Remind her of her value.

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.” (Proverbs 18:22)

•     Assure her of her worth as a child of God.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

Growing in God’s Grace

Question: “How can a post-abortion woman know that she has experienced true healing?”

Answer: A post-abortion woman can feel confident that she has been healed and is growing in God’s grace when …

—  she accepts total responsibility for choosing abortion

—  she accepts God’s unconditional love and acceptance

—  she forgives those involved in the abortion

—  she is able to trust others and communicate her experience appropriately

—  she has a healthy sense of God-given worth and is able to live a fulfilling life

My Grateful Prayer to GodHeavenly Father,I come to You   as a person in pain.Throughout   my life I’ve wanted my own way, determining my own decisions.Many   decisions seemed right at the time, but they were not right in Your sight.Now   I see my loss in not looking to You first for direction.The   child I could have carried didn’t have the chance to live.…I   made the wrong choice.

The   blessing I could have brought to others never had the chance to breathe.…

I   made the wrong choice.

Father,   forgive me for my selfishness.

Although   I can’t change the past, I can change the future by making right choices now.

I   choose to release my life to You for You to work Your will in me.

I   choose to receive Jesus as my Savior, recognizing He sacrificed His life for   my sins.

I   choose to rely on the Spirit of Christ living in me to guide me from this day   forth.

Thank   You for taking care of my child, who is living in heaven with You.

I   bring all my guilt and grief and lay them at Your feet.

From   Your heart of mercy I accept Your full forgiveness.

Thank   You, Jesus, that You now are in me to live Your life through me.

You’ve   given me a new heart that will heal all my heartaches.

You’ve   given me a new life that is cleansed, forgiven, and free.

Thank   You, Lord, for Your unconditional love.

Lead   me to love others as You love me.

In   the Savior’s precious name I pray.

Amen.”

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

A.L.L. (American Life Lobby) Issues, March 1984, 19.

Alcorn, Randy C. Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments. Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1992.

Ankerberg, John, and John Weldon. When Does Life Begin? And 39 Other Tough Questions About Abortion. Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1989.

Cochrane, Linda. Forgiven and Set Free: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Women. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996.

Cochrane, Linda, and Kathy Jones. Healing a Father’s Heart: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Men. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996.

Everett, Carol, and Jack Shaw. Blood Money. Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1992.

Focus on the Family, The First Nine Months, LF177. n.p.: n.p., 1989.

Fowler, Paul. Abortion: Toward an Evangelical Concensus. Critical Concern. Portland, OR: Multnomah, 1987.

Hoffmeier, James Karl, ed. Abortion: A Christian Understanding and Response. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1987.

Hunt, June. Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Forgive … When You Don’t Feel Like It. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Handle Your Emotions. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Hunt, June. Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008

Koerbel, Pam. Does Anyone Else Feel Like I Do? And Other Questions Women Ask Following an Abortion. New York: Doubleday, 1990.

McDowell, Josh, and Bob Hostetler. Josh McDowell’s Handbook on Counseling Youth: A Comprehensive Guide for Equipping Youth Workers, Pastors, Teachers, and Parents. Dallas: Word, 1996.

Michels, Nancy. Helping Women Recover from Abortion. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 1988.

Mother Teresa. “We Must Give Until It Hurts: Mother Teresa Condemns Abortion as ‘the Greatest Destroyer of Love and Peace.’ ” World, February 12, 1994, 22–23.

Reisser, Teri K., and Paul Reisser. Help for the Post-Abortion Woman. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989.

Willke, J. C. RU-486: A Human Pesticide. Cincinnati, OH: Hayes, 1997.

Willke, John C., and Barbara H. Willke. Abortion: Questions & Answers. Rev. ed. Cincinnati, OH: Hayes, 1988.

Willke, John C., and Barbara H. Willke. Why Can’t We Love Them Both? Questions and Answers About Abortion. Cincinnati, OH: Hayes, 1997.[1]


[1] Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Abortion: Not a Choice, but a Child (1–20). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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