The Choice of Life or Death

In Deut 30:19 God says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”

A previous article on contraception in the bible naturally leads to the question, is abortion a form of contraception? What is the definition of abortion and does it match the definition of murder?

Contraception and conception are opposites. Con means “together, with” and contra means “opposition to”. Conception has the two sexes creating together. Contraception prevents creation, it is not destruction. It is the difference between deleting a digital file and never saving it, to begin with. Contraception could help eliminate the call for on-demand termination. Murder is sin, fornication is sin, but contraption is not a sin. If a married couple uses contraception the results are the same as if one of the spouses was infertile/sterile. No one is required to make babies since eunuchism is allowed (Matt 19:11-12). Contraception is never called sin in the bible. I have an article explaining this here.

I think one of the major problems with this topic is that politicians are redefining medical terms. What is an abortion? It can only be murder if it takes a healthy innocent person’s life. So a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy is not an abortion of actual life, since the baby was either already dead or going to die. However, killing a healthy unborn child just because they aren’t wanted is murder by definition. This is no different from a mother killing a toddler since a baby is a living human being before and after they are born. A living being is alive, before and after birth, and murder is taking life. Again mothers whose lives are in danger because of a pregnancy gone wrong (ectopic pregnancy), would be an exception since we are preserving mom’s life. An ectopic pregnancy is when the zygote gets stuck in the fallopian tube rather than going down to the uterus. Its premature growth in the narrow tube could break and be fatal for the mother if medical attention isn’t administered immediately. Since the baby can’t get any nutrients without attaching to the uterus, the baby will die from malnutrition. In this case, since the baby was going to die anyway it is not an abortion of life but sparing of at least one of two lives in danger. Likewise cleaning out leftovers after a miscarriage or a stillborn, can’t be considered murder because the baby is already dead. These issues are not intentionally ending a child’s life unnecessarily so these circumstances cannot be equivalent to murder.

Definition of Life:
You’re not dead before you’re born. If the baby is dead in the womb then it is going to come out stillborn (dead). If the baby is alive in the womb then it will come out alive. Babies are not non-living things that become living the moment they breathe air. There would be no growth in the womb if they were non-living or dead because only living things grow. The Law of Biogenesis states that life arises from pre-existing life, not from nonliving material. Before the law of biogenesis was discovered people believed that small creatures like bugs and insects just spontaneously generated (popped into existence). Francesco Redi disproved spontaneous generation with an experiment that proved that maggots appear on meat because flies laid eggs on them, not because they just popped into existence. Later, the theory of spontaneous generation was still applied to microbes, however, Louis Pasteur confirmed it also applied to microorganisms, by doing a similar experiment, but with beef broth in the flask. Two living humans have to submit gametes in order to make a new human life because humans reproduce sexually. Therefore, babies are alive from conception, because they have to be living beings in order to be alive when born, life doesn’t come from non-life. Since they are living beings in the womb with a human genome and have 46 chromosomes, they are humans, not gametes, and would have the right to life under any country whose laws protect the “right to life”. Something else to ponder, why is it that the dead have legal rights through their last will and testament for estates and trusts, but babies before they are born, deserve no rights as living humans?

Contraception as a partial solution:
If people don’t want kids, but won’t stop having sex, they should have access to affordable contraception and sterilization. We can save lives and prevent unwanted pregnancies if we look into better, safer, and more affordable forms of contraception for men and women. If there is a drug that prevents conception then that is fine, but if it kills the zygote then that is the termination of a life. An ideal birth control method would be something that can be applied in the womb pre or post-sex, that prevents sperm from surviving in the uterus or at least prevents them from detecting the eggs in fallopian tubes and swimming into them. Like what an IUD does, but less intrusive and with fewer or no side effects. This could even in theory prevent pregnancy from rape. Until this exists we must use the contraceptive methods we have and not hinder people from getting access to them. Easier methods to prevent conception would eliminate the need for abortions of healthy babies in healthy pregnancies.

Most Pro-life people I know, don’t have a problem with better contraception methods, they just don’t consider abortion contraception. The Bible itself is against people taking the life of people that haven’t done anything to warrant death (Ex 20:13, Deut 5:17). In addition, most countries around the world have some form of laws against murder, so it would be a contradiction to legalize murder for one set of people (the unborn) without making it legal across the board, which is clearly a bad idea. Removing the child and then incubating them in a machine or a surrogate mother who wants children until the baby is fully developed (approx. 9 months) would be one option but that seems expensive and not practical. People that simply lack self-control (primarily men) need encouragement and access to contraception and possibly sterilization, in order to prevent situations where an abortion is brought up as a final solution. Sex crimes against women are a factor in all of this, so this is not just a women’s issue since men are part of the problem and need to step up and be a part of the solution. Although, it may be worth considering sterilization for repeat offenders of sex crimes. In addition, there are times when a woman wants to keep a baby but the sperm donor or his family pressured her to terminate.

The ideal situation is that no human life is lost because of the recklessness of their parents. There would be fewer calls for abortion if women were allowed to get sterilized without permission from their husbands, as some places require. Isn’t it better if people fornicated and used protection without killing babies? No one can stop people from having sex, but there are tools for preventing pregnancy that doesn’t involve terminating one that has already started. In theory, if we eliminate the situations that people think require it, then no one would have any reason to fight for the right to do it. There is also the potential for abuse via gendercide. Gendercide is when babies, usually girls, get aborted because their sex isn’t wanted. This happens quite often in certain countries that have limitations on how many children a family can have.

Definition of Abortion:
The terminology related to the subject needs to be defined. If abortion simply means the removal of a dead body or the stopping of a failed pregnancy (like an ectopic pregnancy) to save the mother then that is where the definition ends. If we are talking about casual abortions for the sake of it that are not medical emergencies, then that is murder from a biblical standpoint which most nations have laws against anyway. Some on the pro-life side fear getting specific with terminology because they believe if we define the terminology, then people will abuse the system by forcing miscarriages, or doctors may lie about medical emergencies. Well, people abuse the system all the time. Politicians take bribes to ignore things like human trafficking or the sale of food or medicine that is dangerous to public health. All illegal yet it still happens. If countries that have civilian gun ownership rights were to ban guns, it wouldn’t stop people from buying trafficked guns which are normally used to commit violent crimes anyway. We can’t 100% stop criminal activity by making laws, and we can only enforce the consequences of breaking those laws when people are caught breaking them. If we don’t get specific, moms could die unnecessarily and that is NOT pro-life. If doctors are caught lying they can use lose their right to practice. If women are secretly forcing miscarriages they are probably doing damage to their own bodies, which seems like punishment enough. Enforcement of the law by human governments is limited since they are not omniscient. We must trust God to handle situations where people get away with breaking moral laws because the government fails. In the bible, the death penalty could only be executed by the people when there were witnesses (Deut 17:6), which means sometimes people got away with deadly offenses. Those situations are an act of God’s mercy.

In the bible, a woman had the opportunity to cheat on her husband and lie by saying she was raped. In Deut 22:22 it says if an engaged or married woman is caught in adultery then both participants get stoned. According to Deut 22:23-27, a man who rapes a married or engaged woman is put to death for adultery. Rape victims are seen as NOT GUILTY according to verse 26. Furthermore, verses 23-27 state that if it happens in the city, then it only counts as rape if she yells for help, but if it happens in the country where no one could hear her then, it can be assumed that the woman screamed and no one heard her. So the Bible teaches us to believe women unless there are witnesses to contradict them. This means that it’s possible for an ancient Israelite woman to commit adultery, in the countryside, but say she was raped because there were no witnesses. There is a test at the Tabernacle that could have exposed her in Numbers 5:11-31, but she will only be made barren not put to death. God is not mocked everyone will reap what they sow (Galatians 6:7). Liars and false witnesses will not get away with it (Prov 19:9). So if people lie and escape the law, we can trust God to handle them, that doesn’t mean we can avoid making just laws with reasonable enforcement.

Biblical principles:
God gives everyone a choice and he condemns or rewards everyone based on their choices. The church’s job is to warn people of the consequences of sinful choices but doesn’t have the authority to physically stop or condemn people, God will handle that (Deut 32:35). Meanwhile, the government is supposed to enforce laws that preserve life and stand for justice (Rom 13:1-7). However, it is made up of fallible humans so it can only enforce things within practical limitations. The government would have to remove the rights to freedom of speech and belief (in countries that promise these things), in order to enforce laws to an absolute standard. Law enforcement will never be perfect because humans are not perfect. Only God can be absolute in judgment but he chooses to be merciful (Ex 34:6-7, Ez 18:23-24).

Paul said he doesn’t judge the world because they don’t know God, and God will judge them, but he holds the church to a higher standard because the church should be following the bible (1 Cor 5:9-11). People (Christian or not) can make mistakes but a mistake is not a reason to kill a child. We don’t take the life of the child for the sins of the parent (Ezekiel 18:1-22). In the case of rape, the child can be given up for adoption if the mother doesn’t want to raise them, but taking their life because of how they are conceived is punishing the child for the sins of the father, which is something humans don’t have that jurisdiction to do (Deut 24:16).

Unbelievers are going to fornicate and live by their flesh because they don’t have the holy spirit (John 14:15-17, Rom 8:5-11). This is why contraception is a part of the solution, it’s for the people who won’t stop fornicating. Furthermore, if we really want to preserve life then that means responsibility on the church community to help these mothers (rape victims and otherwise) and provide resources for them to carry a baby to term. Like the pro-life pregnancy centers that provide resources for women in crisis pregnancies. The Bible says to take care of the poor among us including widows and orphans (Deut 10:18, Deut 14:28-29, Deut 27:19, Zech 7:8-10, Isa 1:23, James 1:27). While not all single mothers are widows, widows with children are single mothers. In addition, there would have been mothers who were raped in ancient Israel, so socioeconomically they are equal.

The Gospel is the good news that God wants a relationship with everyone on Earth and he’s offered salvation and eternal life through Jesus. Jesus promised God’s holy spirit who will renew our minds and help us overcome nature (Gal 5:16, Gal 6:7-8). People don’t typically want children aborted because they’re “murderous bloodlusted psychopaths” but instead because they’re scared that they won’t be able to take care of them. This is where God steps in and becomes the “ezer” (עֶזֶר) or “helper”, and those who have trust (or faith), won’t have any real reason to fear. Jesus, God, and even angels say “fear not” multiple times in the bible. Fears drive sin, but faith gives us the confidence that we won’t have to act in sin because God will take care of us. Governments are secular institutions so they don’t follow the holy spirit, so it is up to the body of Christ to influence the culture and change minds and give people hope by sharing the gospel.

Societal Application:
If there is a fatal medical problem then doctors can only do their best. Killing a child is murder both in the womb or out of it, and would technically be murder which conflicts with most countries’ laws. Politics has caused all kinds of issues with this topic since people keep redefining the definition of life or framing those that had an abortion as “Satan-worshipping psychopaths”. The gaslighting on both sides of the political aisle makes this worse than it needs to be. Loving women include loving little girls in the womb and mothers in crisis. We must acknowledge that some mothers have medical emergencies that were going to end up with a dead baby no matter what. Satan’s only involvement is in causing the medical trouble, setting up the negative circumstances surrounding the conception, and/or driving the fears that led the women to believe the child’s death is the only way out. There are many non-Christians who are personally pro-life like many Wiccans for example because they recognize the spiritual aspects of conception. People also have concerns about manipulators who have historically used this issue to target certain groups of people. Either to force population growth in poverty for easy manipulation (anti-abortion) or to control and limit populations because of eugenics (pro-abortion). If the focus was simply dealing with medical issues and letting healthy pregnancies go to term, then most rational people would submit to the idea.

Having responsible laws that restrict the definition of medical treatment to preserving life rather than ending it when it is medically uncalled for, is necessary for consistency with laws against murder. Women need reassurances that there will be resources available (prenatal care, child-care, etc) to help them carry a child to be adopted, or help them raise the child, especially in cases of rape. We should also attempt to limit the consequences of fornication with contraception. In addition, men need to be held to higher standards for the children they father. This may mean forgoing privacy laws on DNA testing, which is a necessary sacrifice that anyone who is truly pro-life should be willing to make so that men can be accountable. This should cause more men to think twice about fornicating without contraception or getting sterilized if they don’t want children. There needs to be some shared accountability for procreation in bad circumstances. People are going to break moral laws because sin nature has corrupted humanity, and the secular government has limitations. Therefore the church must cultivate a new culture based on the principles of the Kingdom of God so that people will have less reason to want an abortion and overcome and avoid behavior that leads to crisis pregnancies. There is a way out and that is following Jesus so one can be made free from sin and fear. The first target regarding this issue is the men because they are unfairly conceiving and abandoning their responsibilities.

Not all sins are equal since they have different punishments. In the bible, murder (Gen 9:5-6, Ex 21:23-25, Num 35:16-21, & Deut 19:11-12) and adultery (Ex 20:14, Deut 22:22) are punishable by death. Fornication and stealing were not punishable by death, the solution was marriage (Ex 22:16-17 & Deut 22:28-29) or debt (Ex 22:1-4). Murder is so serious that a murderer could not sacrifice for their sins because murder polluted the land and purification required the death of the murderer (Num 35:33-34). In fact, if the murder was unsolved the land still had to be purified with a special sacrifice (Deut 21:1-9). This implies that murder cases spiritual defilement in any land that accumulates it. Noah’s generation was flooded, and why the Canaanites were conquered by Israel, it was murder, even of children (sacrifices), that defiled the land spiritually. In the new covenant, Jesus’ death covered people’s individual sin, so execution is not necessary, even for murderers. Since Jesus took our death on the cross, God will forgive any sin for anyone who repents (1 John 1:9) because of Jesus. However, that forgiveness only applies to those who repented and entered the Messianic covenant by receiving Jesus as Lord (John 3:16-21). Unbelievers are going to keep sinning and get condemnation because of it (Rev 20:11-15). Remember, Gal 6:8 says, “Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.”

Final note:
Someone once made an argument that because we can freeze embryos, that stage can’t be human, because you can’t freeze a living thing and unthaw it later.

My response is:
1)The Wood Frog in Alaska, can freeze for the winter months, then thaw out, and continue living afterward. In addition, living bacteria have been found in glaciers. Living things on a smaller scale can survive colder temperatures. So being able to freeze a living thing and preserve it doesn’t mean it isn’t alive.

2) If we can freeze them then why isn’t that the alternative to abortion? Freeze them and implant them into people who can’t conceive the natural way, right? Why is abortion the only option? Wouldn’t this solution please all parties and resolve the problem?

Resources:
More on Ectopic pregnancies
The Redi Experiment – Microbiology sixth edition
Francesco Redi and Spontaneous generation
Crash Course: History of Science Microbiology (Louis Pasteur)
More on Franceso Redi