One of the first issues I was in favor of was Roe v. Wade back in 1973. I thought this was a breakthrough for all human kind! It was touted as the great fix for unwanted pregnancies. Since there was only tissue in the womb, and the baby wasn’t born, a life wasn’t being taken. Life didn’t begin until birth, you see. I was thrilled when the law was passed.
What I didn’t know at the time, was truth. I didn’t know what was going on inside the womb during pregnancy. I believed the newspapers and media people who said that providing women a choice about pregnancy was the right thing to do. I didn’t know what standard was used to determine if this was a right or wrong choice. I didn’t know what an abortion was. I knew that there were some women who “got rid of the baby” in secret.
In the ensuing years, I have learned that no state had an abortion law equal to the new law as it was set down by the Supreme Court. The new law permitted abortion on demand in any stage of pregnancy.
My education grew considerably with my employment at a military hospital. The hospital photographer and I enjoyed many theological discussions. Oh yes, I was a Christian. He and I didn’t agree totally on the abortion issue. One day, he brought me a photograph. Military hospitals were performing abortions as part of the medical treatment provided for military personnel and military dependents. The photograph was of an aborted baby in a bucket. It was quite well developed. I was shocked. No words could describe my confusion. I had been told that the contents of the womb was tissue, but not a baby. That was a rather naïve theory in hindsight. Did the tissue suddenly take on the shape of a baby during delivery? I had obviously believed a lie; in fact, I had believed what I had wanted to believe. I felt incredibly stupid!
As a Christian I was embarrassed and ashamed because I had supported the killing of babies. I consoled myself with the thought that at least I hadn’t had one-abortion that is. I knew that I needed to pray, to tell my Lord about my stupidity, ignorance, and betrayal of His law and His will. It was a bitter task. However, my Lord forgave me and restored my inner peace with my confession of my guilt. He removed my shame. I had been guilty of helping along a piece of legislation that was wrong. Yet, I was not emotionally involved, so getting over my stupidity was relatively easy.
MY EXPERIENCE AS A CRISIS PREGNANCY COUNSELOR
Years later I had an opportunity to counsel women who were struggling with an unplanned pregnancy. I received training through my local “crisis pregnancy center”. It was a Christ-centered ministry that operated through donations, supplied with volunteers who were willing to learn the truth and teach it to others. I served with a fine group of ladies for three years.
During my time, I heard many stories of unwanted pregnancies. A couple were the result of rape, but most were just untimely. The age range was mid teens to thirties. I personally counseled with several girls who had had an abortion and were pregnant again. Yes, they knew about birth control. As a Christian, I could never advise someone to use a birth control method because I felt that interfered with God’s divine will. However, for curiosity sake, I did ask if they used a contraceptive. Most did not. The reasons centered on convenience. There was an interesting argument, however, that I was told many times: if the girl was prepared with contraception, then she felt like she was being immoral, knowing all the while that an intimate relationship was planned. If no contraception was used, then her moral standards were intact because she could fool herself into believing that it was a spontaneous event. No one wanted to be considered immoral, but did want to engage in intimate relations at will. There was obviously a lot of guilt about the illicit behavior. More guilt built up when a pregnancy was involved, and even more guilt over giving the baby up for adoption or having an abortion. The baby confirmed the act of immorality.
For some, a pregnancy was a way to hold onto a straying boyfriend or husband. For those girls who felt unloved, a baby was someone to love, someone that belonged solely to the girl. These girls seldom wanted an abortion, but oftentimes felt the pressure from the boyfriend to have an abortion. Amid many tears, these girls would give in and have an abortion to save a relationship.
Thankfully, many of the tests we performed were negative. The relief was tangible. We used the opportunity to talk about the “what ifs”, and again, to speak the truth.
I remember one time after showing a young woman a color photograph of a developing baby, that she expressed total shock and amazement! She had just come from another counseling office-a non-Christian office. Her counselor told her that there was only tissue inside her womb, not a baby. For some reason, this young woman wanted a second opinion to confirm her pregnancy. She came to our Center. After talking with her about her experience earlier in the day, I received confirmation of rumors I had heard that other counseling centers did not always have the truth. I feel gratified to know that today’s technology has made possible the opportunity to know how life is formed within the womb. With this knowledge, old rumors can be laid to rest. Be assured that with this knowledge now comes responsibility. We can no longer claim ignorance as an excuse to do what is convenient to us; that is to abort the unborn child. Sources may differ as to the exact timing of various fetal developments, but there is no longer any doubt as to when that one fertilized cell becomes human.
Many of the girls I talked with did not know what they would do if their pregnancy test was positive–confirming that a baby was on the way. Some were considering abortion as an option. If the girl thought her family would react negatively, then an abortion was considered. Many times peer pressure influenced the decision. However, once information about abortion is explained, an abortion decision was often reversed.
The method of abortion depends on the age of the fetus, and the law of the land. Many states allow abortions only up through a specific gestation period. A knowledge of abortion methods and risks can aid in making a choice about a pregnancy.
In this context, here are some of the facts about the developing baby in the womb, abortion, and abortion’s aftermath:
Week 1 Day 1
Fusion of one sperm and one ovum in the fallopian tube to form a single cell. This is the actual beginning of life. At this time the human cell contains 46 chromosomes, the sex of the human is established, inherited traits and characteristics are determined and cell division is begun.
Week 1 Day 2
The one cell divides to become two. Approximately every twelve hours the cells will continue to divide.
Week 1 Day 3-4
The zygote (fertilized egg) moves toward the womb. Cells begin grouping to form the body and the outer covering which will become the placenta.
Week 1 Day 6-7
Implantation into the womb occurs. At this time there are approximately 108 cells 1/100 inch in diameter.
Week 2 Day 7-14
The placenta forms and secretes the pregnancy hormone, HCG.
Week 3 Day 15
First menstrual period is missed.
Week 3 Day 18-20
Early brain development and formation of the cardiovascular system.
Week 3 Day 20
Thyroid begins to develop.
Week 4 Day 22
Heart begins to beat.
Week 4 Day 23
Early eye and ear developments occur.
Week 4 Day 26-27
Arm and leg buds are present.
Week 5 Day 31
Mouth begins to form.
Week 5 Day 30-33
Arm buds subdivide into shoulder, arm, and hand.
Week 5 Day 34-35
More rapid development of the nervous system and early development of spinal cartilage.
Week 6 Day 38
Upper lip is formed.
Week 6 Day 40-42
Arms bend at elbow. Fingerprint beginnings can be seen.
Week 7 Day 43
Brain waves may be recorded. The heart is formed essentially like an adult.
Week 7 Day 44
Eyelids begin to form. Initial buds of teeth are present.
Week 7 Day 45
Tip of nose becomes distinct. Toes begin to form. Cartilage and bone formation is beginning. Ears are finished. Body is padded with muscle. Liver and kidney function is present and lung development begins.
Week 7 Day 47
Genital membranes are forming.
Week 8 Day 50
Fingers become distinct.
Week 8 Day 51-54
External genitalia are developing.
Week 8 Day 55
Beginnings of all essential external and internal structures are present. Muscular reactions may be seen in response to stimulation. Complete skeleton of cartilage is present.
Brain and body systems are all completely present. Eyelids are completely formed and cover eyes. Baby (fetus) is 50mm in length.
Face has human profile, and early fingernail development occurs.
Vocal cords are complete. Taste buds and saliva producing glands appear. Baby begins to urinate and swallows regularly 1-3 cups of fluid a day. Baby becomes active. Heart beats 120-160 times per minute. Sex of baby can now be determined.
Week 13-16 (4 Months)
Rapid growth takes place. Bone formation shows clearly on x-ray. Early brain development still in progress. Baby is 6 ½ inches long and weighs approximately 4 oz.
Slower growth occurs. Baby’s movements felt by mother-kicks, curls toes, bends arms, forms tight fist with fingers. The baby is covered with a downy hair and a greasy cheese-like material called vernix caseosa. Eyebrows and head hair are visible. At the end of the 5th month, the baby is 12″ long and weighs approximately 1 lb.
Substantial weight is gained during this time. Blood in the capillaries is visable. All organs are well-developed. The heartbeat can be heard with a stethoscope. Eyes may open and are sensitive to light. Sounds can be heard. Baby can now survive outside the womb, but still has immature lungs which lead to a high mortality rate. Subcutaneous fat is forming under the skin. Fingerprints and footprints are now present. At the end of the 6th month, the baby is 14″ long and weighs approximately 2 lbs.
Baby may suck thumb. Taste buds are forming. Baby is 16″ long and weighs 3 ½ lbs.
Baby is getting plumper. Fingernails are growing. Baby is 18″ long and weighs approximately 5 lbs.
Baby’s skin is red and smooth. Downy hair is now only present on arms and shoulders.
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat, and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:26-31
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Genesis 6:5-6
“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man: at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.” Genesis 9:1-7
“And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” Genesis 18:13-14a
“And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb” Genesis 29:31a
“And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Genesis 41:52.
From these verses we can conclude that God expects mankind to multiply. It is our Lord who causes a woman to conceive and to bear children. The natural forces of conception are in place and continue. There are also times that our Lord intervenes to bring about conception and the birth of a child.
“Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.” Exodus 13:2
An abortion usually robs God of His firstborn, the sanctified one. Statistics can show us that most women who have an abortion are often aborting their first child.
“And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: come on, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah: and he said, when ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.” Exodus 1: 7-10, 15
There are always those who decide that the babies must not live. In the preceding passage, it is the Pharaoh, who decides that the baby boys must be put to death. Later we see that it is the Hebrews themselves who offer their children as a sacrifice to the pagan gods of the nations who surround them.
“They did not destroy the nations, concerning whom the Lord commanded them: but were mingled among the heathen and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood. Thus were they defiled with their works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.” Psalm 106:34-40
The people became defiled because they practiced child sacrifice to the God, Molech. God exercised judgment against them for this great sin. Later it was Herod who sought to kill the baby boys. This time, the goal was to destroy the Messiah.
One of the ten commandments is “thou shalt not kill”. This refers to murder. Abortion is premeditated murder. Here are the penalties for murder mentioned in the Bible :
“He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.” Exodus 21:12
“If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life” Exodus 21:22
God’s Word tells us that life is in the blood. That is why the Hebrews were forbidden to drink blood or to eat flesh that had not been bled.
“For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof” Leviticus 17:14
“Only be sure that thou eat not the blood: for the blood is the life; and thou mayest not eat the life with the flesh.” Deuteronomy 12:23
Here is another interesting verse that might be applied on behalf of those live born babies who suffer deformities through an attempted abortion:
“And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death. And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him” Leviticus: 24: 17, 19
“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127: 3-5
“Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.” Psalm 128:1-3
“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: that you days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.” Deuteronomy 11; 18-21
God clearly has plans for the children we bear. We are to teach them. They are to be blessings and a reward to us for our faithfulness. They are not to be considered a burden.
“Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb, I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance,yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139: 13-16 ( a psalm of David)
“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard: and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord” Luke 1: 13-15a
These verses indicate to us that God knows who we are before we are yet formed in the womb, and He has a purpose and a plan for each of us. No life is given at random with no thought as to its future. Notice too that a child is considered by God to be a child even in the womb, even while being formed.
Abortion is not the answer to an unplanned pregnancy. An unplanned and unwanted pregnancy is often the result of a promiscuous relationship. God’s Word teaches us that fornication, defined as a sexual relationship outside of marriage, is a sin. A promiscuous lifestyle is sin, and the desire and act to be rid of the evidence, a baby, is another.
“…abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” Acts 15:20
“Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” 1 Corinthians 6:13b
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:2
“For it is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication…” 1 Thessalonians 3:3
“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh (homosexuality), are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Jude 7
To avoid the consequences of a promiscuous relationship, we must choose abstinence. We must choose to avoid sexual relationships outside of the marriage. We must choose not to have a sexual relationship with someone other than our spouse. An adulterous relationship is sin and can also lead to an unwanted pregnancy. Here is what God’s Word says about adultery:
“Who whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” Proverbs 6:32
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Leviticus 20:10
“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4
“But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28
“Knew ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adultereres, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Notice that the preceeding verse is followed by the following:
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
There is hope for the sinner. It is clear that God’s Word teaches us to value human life. We can conclude that abortion is a heinous sin which when committed justifies God’s judgment and punishment. Yet, it is not an unforgivable sin. As with all sin, we can come before our Lord and ask His forgiveness and receive it. We can be made whole and restored to a relationship with Him.
For those who do not wish to abort their baby and do not want to parent, there is the option of adoption. Adoption is becoming more and more commonplace in our society. There are various agencies located throughout the country who can offer their help in providing a loving home for a child. Adoption is always voluntary. Many agencies do allow a “change of mind” before placement occurs. Agencies may provide housing and medical care through the pregnancy. Education can be continued during the pregnancy as well. If you need help: National Right to Life
For those who wish to parent but feel that the financial obligation is too great, there are government resources available to help. Many local ministries can provide layettes, baby clothes, furniture, and food for the coming infant. For those who can not qualify for government help and who haven’t enough resources, help also comes through family, friends, and local churches.
- Choose Life Training Manual, unpublished
- Reardon, D. C. Life Stories. Wheaton; Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, 1992.