The New York state legislature and women’s rights activists have celebrated loudly at the signing of a law strengthening abortion rights, but our mourning should be louder. A law that was introduced decades ago, presumably to enable action by doctors caught in a moral dilemma – whether to save a mother’s life or her baby’s in an either/or situation – has now been expanded to the point where interpretation allows a baby to be put to death when present is neither a moral dilemma nor a doctor.
In short, the womb has become a potential death chamber wherein the single factor determining life or death for a baby is this: make it out of the womb alive and you get to keep living – for now.
The marking of the event at One World Trade Center, the monument and memorial for thousands lost to a terrorist military strike, is ironically fitting for this horrific celebration. After all, the few places in Scripture we see babies being slaughtered in the womb is in military conquest. You want to completely decimate your foe? Go beyond destroying his armies and take out his next generation. The prophet Elisha saw this coming for his people and wept (2 Kgs 8:12). One of his own people’s kings later committed the same heinous act (15:16). God declared through Hosea and Amos that this deed would not go unpunished regardless of the perpetrators (Hos 13:16; Am 1:13). Why in Amos were the invaders committing these atrocities? To “enlarge their territory.”
Who is the conquering force in this legal action? Whose territory stands to be enlarged by this law? I’ll leave the reader to sort that out.
But the perspective that a location differing by inches and seconds makes for a baby the difference between humanity and something less, i.e. survival and execution, is completely opposed to God’s perspective. When he gave his people an ethical system, he treated the unborn as fully human (Ex 21:22-25). A coherent biblical ethic informs the medical professional how to wrestle through what action to take in true medical either/or dilemmas. The vast majority of abortion cases are not dilemmas at all.
The womb is to be a place of life, and we are persons known by God even there (Ps 139:13-16). John the Baptist, who announced the Savior’s coming, was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in the womb (Lk 1:15) and was the first to celebrate the Incarnate Lord while both were yet unborn (v.44).
The womb should be more like a blossoming garden than a cold cell at Auschwitz. Those who use this law as occasion for murderous convenience will not go unnoticed by the Lord. Thankfully, the law does not prescribe abortion, but only allows for it. We who live out the life of Christ must carry the gospel to the lost around us and pray and work so that such a law becomes moot from disuse. We must not vilify the women who are being lied to. Instead, we must compassionately share the truth with them. Let us walk alongside those who have been drawn into abortions in the past, to help them find forgiveness and healing through Christ. And let's praise God for and support those Christian ministries who work to show them options for life!