I noticed you feel great compassion for women in crisis. While this is commendable, I am concerned by the lack of similar concern for babies. You mentioned a woman’s right to abortion eight times and a child’s right to life once. And that your prescription for limiting the number of abortions is based on government welfare programs for the mother. I did not see any provisions for making adoption easier and faster. Nor did I see any provisions for the church to provide more support through pregnancy centers.
I read your article “As a Christian, I Want to Reduce Abortion, Not Overturn Roe.” I noticed you used the phrase “As a Christian” three times to buttress your moral authority in this area as you pled for both abortion availability and yet fewer abortions. As a brother in Christ, I have concerns over unbalanced compassion, exegetical acumen, and a surrendering of God’s Law to modern culture.
I noticed you feel great compassion for women in crisis. While this is commendable, I am concerned by the lack of similar concern for babies. You mentioned a woman’s right to abortion eight times and a child’s right to life once. And that your prescription for limiting the number of abortions is based on government welfare programs for the mother. I did not see any provisions for making adoption easier and faster. Nor did I see any provisions for the church to provide more support through pregnancy centers. It’s almost as if supporting government welfare policies is a key component of a compassionate character.
God has made each person as a free, moral being. Joshua commanded the people to make a choice about who they would serve: “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Jos 24:15, NASB-95).
Each of us makes choices, Adam. Unfortunately, those choices often end with tragedy for ourselves and others. The Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 17 asks:
Q. Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?
A. The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery.
You pointed out cases of rape and incest. These are terrible tragedies brought about by sin that cause great misery, but why is the most innocent victim, the child, the one who bears the brunt of the tragedy? Abortion advocates often claim that every child should be a wanted child. So, is it compassionate to impose the death penalty on a child because the mom chooses not to love? We are told a child should not suffer from poverty. But that’s how we choose to treat suffering animals; we put them out of their misery because they cannot understand what is happening. Not so human beings. And God’s Word affirms that babies, even in the womb, are people:
“Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.” (Psalm 51, NASB-95)
People can choose to learn from suffering and can choose to rise above it, given the opportunity, unless that opportunity is pre-empted by another’s choice. Consider the story of Lazarus; a poor beggar covered in sores. He had a terrible life, and no one looked at him with compassion. In the end, for all eternity, Lazarus found compassion and comfort (Luke 16: 19-31).
I commend you on the compassion you have toward women in crisis but I implore you to extend that same compassion to the babies in the womb.
As a brother in Christ, I was glad to see that you are meditating on Rom 12:12, and I hope you continue to mediate on this verse. By applying proper exegetical methods, you will discover that the word conformed in Greek is suschématizó and means to assume “a similar outward form (expression) by following the same pattern” (Strong’s). The word transform in the Greek is metamorphoó, which means “changing form in keeping with inner reality” (Strong’s). Paul is calling on each of not to copy the current godless culture, but to be transformed, truly, from the inside by God’s Word (properly interpreted). So, respectfully, I disagree with your conclusion that this is a call to be counter cultural. This is a call to be a genuine Christian, one who knows and lives by God’s law, regardless of the personal cost that might entail.
I found it ironic that you used Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees to make a point that by placing the health of babies in the womb in extreme jeopardy, i.e., death, we can avoid policies that place expecting mom’s health in jeopardy. A closer look at Luke 13:10-17 reveals that the Pharisees are hypocrites because they exult in manmade standards of righteousness that even they cannot keep. Has not support for abortion become the same litmus test for a righteous character in secular society?
As a brother in Christ, I plead with you to consider God’s law as opposed to man’s law. In Psalm 19, God tells us He has given us supernatural revelation:
“The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.” (NASB-95)
The more a society’s laws reflect God’s laws, the better, kinder, more compassionate that society is. I wonder if you ever researched how Greek and Roman cultures practiced their respective laws? There was a marked difference in culture as Christianity grew in influence and the moral authority of God’s Word was practiced. Here’s how Aristotle framed it:
“As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared; but on the ground of number of children, if the regular customs hinder any of those born being exposed, there must be a limit fixed to the procreation of offspring, and if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it (the child)” (Aristotle, Politics 7.1335b ).
Or Cicero: “Deformed infants shall be killed” (On the Laws, 3.8). Cicero considered an unwanted child to be deformed.
God gave Moses this commandment: “You shall not murder” (Ex 20:13, NASB). I’d rather live in a society that respects life, protects its most vulnerable members, and has laws that reflect those values.
Al Taglieri is a Ruling Elder in the Providence Presbyterian Church in York, Penn.