January 21, 2008

Monday Morning Message - Life Is Precious

The good news is that the abortion rate in the U.S. is slowly declining. Consider the following statistics from the Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of Planned Parenthood.

  • 1990 - approximately 1.6 million babies were aborted (that's 4300 every day - almost twice the population of my fair village).
  • 2000 - approximately 1.3 million babies were aborted.
  • 2005 - approximately 1.2 million babies were aborted.
    • This number translates into...
      • 100,000 each month.
      • 3333 each day.
      • 138 each hour.
      • 2 each minute.

The news is good in that the number of abortions is declining but it is far from glorious good news. In the time it takes us to brush our teeth properly (according to the ADA guidelines) four unborn children will have lost their lives. What of these unborn lives? Should they have a voice? Are those "masses of cells" in a womans womb anything more than biological garbage? Does Scripture give any information that is useful to us? To each of these questions I believe the answer is a resounding "Yes".

In Psalm 139:13-16 David speaking to God says,

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I than you, High God - you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration - what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.
(The Message)

The overwhelming and inescapable teaching from Scripture is that life is precious to God. From beginning to end this message never changes. What is startling and informative for this discussion is that even pre-born life is precious to God. God tells Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you." (Jeremiah 1:5). Isaiah 44:24 speaks of the "redeemer who formed you in the womb."

It is interesting to note that not even a trained geneticist can tell the difference between the DNA of an unborn child and the DNA of a fully grown human being. All the stuff of life is present from the moment of conception. Even taking the traditional/clinical definition of life, a heartbeat and brain activity (when you don't have these they declare you to be dead), an unborn child has a heartbeat at 21 days and brain activity is detected at 40 days. Most women don't even discover they are pregnant until this time! If we define life outside the womb as having a heartbeat and brain activity should we not define it similarly inside the womb?

One writer puts it this way, "Whatever you wish to call the result of human conception, it is human: it is not animal, it is not plant, it is not mineral. If it is just “matter,” it is human matter. If it is just “tissue,” it is human tissue. It has never existed before, it will never exist again. It is undeniably distinct, irrepeatable, independent, living human life."

It is my firmly held conviction that this life, which is precious to God and which should be precious to us, must be protected. According to the 1996 world almanac 27% of pregnancies worldwide end in abortion. That is 1 out of every 4. I readily acknowledge that this number is skewed by the government mandated 1 child per family law of China but this will reap it's own harvest of social problems in the coming decades as increasing numbers of men find decreasing numbers of women as boy children are valued more than girl children.

There are various arguments raised in favor of abortion such as for victims of rape or in cases of fetal abnormalities or the health of the mother is compromised by a pregnancy. Again, the Guttmacher Institute's findings are instructive.

  • Less than 1% of abortions are for victims of rape.
  • Less than 1% of abortions are for fetal abnormalities.
  • 4% of abortions are Dr. recommended because the health of the woman would worsen if the pregnancy was carried to term.
  • 96% of abortions are, to some degree, for convenience.
"Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute." Proverbs 31:8 If ever there was a group unable to speak for themselves it is the unborn.


Paul Thompson said...

Thanks for posting these sobering stats. What have we let be done?

Paul said...

Thanks for this, John. You are so right about this! Recently I had a discussion with my son about abortion and about the conception of life. If you must draw the line, you must draw the line at the very beginning: conception. After that, it's a human being we're talking about. In the Netherlands they sometimes call abortion 'pregnancy interruption' as if we're only talking about 'giving a pregnant woman a break'...
People are standing up for animal rights, but who is crying out for the unborn babies? I trust we will all have to answer to our Creator one day.
In our country there are not as many abortions as in the USA (or in most other western countries for that matter - contrary to popular believe!) but every child is precious and irreplaceable.