Abortion: Caring for mothers and children in crisis pregnancy situations

Click here for more messages from the Hot Button Topics series.
Click here to return to the Sermons page.

Psalm 139:13-16

INTRODUCTION: Today is the first message in our new series on Hot Button Topics. These are hot button issues in society today where the culture often speaks a different message than God does in his word. And if the culture is speaking about these things, then the church needs to speak as well.

As Christians we need to know what the Bible says about each of these issues. We need to be equipped to make right decisions and to help others make right decisions. A lot of these issues also involve policy and legal matters. And so, our understanding of God’s word should affect our involvement in public process and how we vote as well.

In dealing with these issues, it’s important to remember that these all deal with people – real people with real questions, real hurts, real feelings. These are difficult issues, and we need to be sensitive to people and how these issues affect them.

Our first hot button topic is abortion, which I know is a very sensitive issue for many people. We are going to be saying some very difficult things about abortion this morning, so let me begin by saying if you have had an abortion in the past, please know that God loves you. We will see that abortion is indeed a sin, but God loves you and offers you forgiveness through Jesus Christ. We will be saying more about that throughout the message, but I want you to hear that word of forgiveness right up front as we get started. (Read Psalm 139:13-16 and pray.)

———————–

Abortion is one of the biggest hot button issues in our country today. The statistics are horrifying. From 1973 through 2011, nearly 53 million children in our nation were legally aborted. Abortion is the most frequently performed surgery on women in America. Four out of every ten unintended pregnancies end in abortion, and twenty-one percent of all pregnancies in the U.S. end in abortion. Most abortions do not take place because the mother’s life is in danger or even because of rape, but rather out of convenience. It’s been well said that the most dangerous place in the United States for a human being is inside their mother’s womb.

Around the world, more than forty-two million abortions occur every year. That works out to 115,000 abortions every single day. It is estimated that approximately one-third of American women have had or will have an abortion at some point in their lives. (Platt, Counter Culture, p. 59, 61)

So, this is a huge issue that the culture speaks out on constantly and the church must also address. Mothers and children are suffering from abortion every day in America. So how do we care for mothers and children in crisis pregnancy situations? We will look at three ways this morning. (See outline with resources on back.) We must protect the lives of unborn children. We must support mothers in crisis pregnancy situations. And we must share the good news of forgiveness in Christ.

I. Protecting the lives of unborn children

First of all, we must protect the lives of unborn children.

   A. The unborn child is a living, human being (science)

There are a lot of issues entailed in the abortion debates – viability, a women’s body, a women’s right to choose – but the number one issue that must be decided before we can even discuss these other issues is the status of the unborn child. Is the unborn child a living, human being? This is not a subjective question. R.C. Sproul notes: “The fetus is either alive or not alive. The fetus is either human or not human. The fetus is either a person or not a person.” (Sproul, Abortion Rational Look, p. 57) As Gregory Koukl points out, “If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary…. [But] If the unborn is a human person, then no justification for abortion is adequate.” (Platt, Counter Culture, p. 66)

Every science textbook on human reproduction you read will tell you that from the moment of conception a new human life with its own unique DNA has begun. The embryo is alive, not dead, and the embryo is human, not other than human. Hence, the unborn child is a living, human being. Dr. Alfred Bongiovanni, a professor of obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania, states, “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception . . . human life is present throughout this entire sequence from conception to adulthood . . . any interruption at any point throughout this time constitutes a termination of human life.” (Alcorn, Why Pro-Life, Kindle Location 282)

Scott Klusendorf, in his excellent book, The Case for Life, introduces the acronym SLED as a helpful way of understanding the main differences between the human child in the womb and human beings outside of the womb. S stands for size, L stands for level of development, E stands for environment (or location), and D stands for degree of dependency. None of these differences entail a difference of value for the unborn child.

As Klusendorf explains: “Men are generally larger than women, but that doesn’t mean they deserve more rights. Size doesn’t equal value.” As far as level of development: “Four-year-old girls are less developed than fourteen-year-old ones.” Level of development has nothing to do with your value or worth. As far as environment: “Where you are has no bearing on who you are.” Your value doesn’t change according to your location. Your value is the same whether you are in one county or another. Your value is the same whether you are inside or outside the womb. As far as degree of dependency: “If viability makes us valuable human beings, then all those who depend on insulin or kidney medication are not valuable, and we may kill them. Conjoined twins who share blood type and bodily systems [would] also have no right to life.” (Klusendorf, Case for Life, p. 28)

Science also confirms the amazing development of the child within the womb. The following comes from Moore and Walker’s excellent book, The Gospel and Abortion. “A baby’s heart will beat approximately 54 million times before birth. Pain is detected by the fetus in the first trimester. By 10 weeks, all of the baby’s organs are developing and some of the vital organs—such as kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver—are starting to function. By 11 weeks, the baby is almost fully formed. Your baby’s just over 2 inches long and weighs about half an ounce. By 22 weeks, a baby, with a little bit of help, can live outside the womb.” (Moore & Walker, Gospel & Abortion, Kindle Location 408)

How about early in the process, when the embryo is just beginning to develop and the cells are first dividing? Some people say, “Well, the child doesn’t look like a human being when they are in the earliest stages of life.” Actually, that is exactly what a human being looks like in the earliest stages of life. That is what every human being looks like in the earliest stages of life. That is what you looked like in your earliest stages of life!

The science is unmistakably clear on this. The unborn child is a living, human being from the moment of conception, and every abortion ends a human life.

   B. The unborn child is created in the image of God (Scripture)
   – Genesis 1:26, 9:6, 25:22; Psalm 51:5, 139:13-16

Of course, all science can tell us is that the unborn child is alive and human. It takes Scripture to tell us the value or worth of a human being. And so, we turn to Scripture next to learn that as a human being, the unborn child is created in the image of God.

We read in Genesis 1: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image….’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27) In Genesis 9:6 God goes on to say: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” (Genesis 9:6) This verse teaches us that human life is sacred because men and women are created in God’s image and that no human being has the right to take the life of another human being. When Rebekah was pregnant with Jacob and Esau we read in Genesis 25:22: “The babies jostled each other within her.” (Genesis 25:22) The word translated “babies” in this verse is the just the normal word for son or child. Scripture makes no difference between the child in the womb and the child outside of the womb.

David writes in Psalm 51:5: “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) Only human beings have moral, sinful natures. Randy Alcorn writes about this verse: “Each person has a sinful nature from the point of conception. Who but an actual person can have a moral nature? Rocks and trees and animals and human organs do not have moral natures, good or bad.” (Alcorn, Why Pro-Life, Kindle Location 3,070)

Psalm 139 beautifully describes God’s personal involvement in creating the child in the womb: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16) Psalm 139 teaches an unbreakable continuity between the human child in the womb and the life that the same human being goes on to live outside the womb.

   C. The unborn child is worthy of all the protections of human life (law)
      – Exodus 23:7; Proverbs 6:17, 24:11-12

Scripture and science are clear. The unborn child is a living, human being created in the image of God and therefore is worthy of all the protections of human life. Notice how we have moved from science to Scripture and now to the area of law. Once we know that the unborn child is a living, human being, and once we understand that the unborn child is created in the image of God, next we have a responsibility to make sure that the unborn child is given the same protections of life that are given to other human beings.

Scripture is clear about our responsibility to protect human life. Exodus 23:7 says: “Do not put an innocent … person to death.” (Exodus 23:7) Proverbs 6:17 says that “The Lord hates … hands that shed innocent blood.” (Proverbs 6:17) God tells us in Proverbs 24: “Rescue those being led away to death … if you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?… Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?” (Proverbs 24:11-12)

Our own Declaration of Independence states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Every human being has the right to life. Notice that the Declaration does not say that we are born with this right but that we are created with this right. And as we have seen from science and Scripture, every human life is created at the moment of conception, and every human being is created in the image of God.

We are rightly horrified when we look at China’s abortion policies where parents routinely abort young girls because they would prefer a male child. But as David Platt argues in his book Counter Culture, “If it’s not right for people to discard girls in China or India for the sake of their convenience, then why is it right for us to discard children in America for the sake of ours?… This is not only an issue when it comes to the sex of a child but also when it comes to disability in children… We aren’t pro-choice about rape. And we aren’t pro-choice about burglary. We aren’t pro-choice about kidnapping children.” (Platt, Counter Culture, pp. 69-73)

Randy Alcorn notes: “At the Medical University of South Carolina, if a pregnant woman’s urine test indicates cocaine use, she can be arrested for distributing drugs to a minor…. That taking these drugs while pregnant is a felony gives explicit recognition of the unborn as a person with rights, deserving protection even from his mother…. In America today it’s illegal to harm your preborn child, but it’s perfectly legal to kill her.” (Alcorn, Why Pro-Life, Kindle Location 604)
The laws in our country concerning the unborn don’t make any sense. As someone else has noted: “If a pregnant woman gets in her car to drive to the abortion clinic and, while driving there, a drunk driver hits the car and kills her baby, that driver gets charged with homicide.” (Walker & Moore, Gospel & Abortion, Kindle Location: 493)
Scott Klusendorf notes: “In the past, we used to discriminate on the basis of skin color and gender (and still do at times), but now, with elective abortion, we discriminate on the basis of size, level of development, location, and degree of dependency.” (Klusendorf, Case for Life, p. 66)

What is the first step in caring for mothers and children in crisis pregnancy situations? We must begin by protecting the lives of unborn children. The unborn child is a human being created in God’s image worthy of all the protections of human life. Science confirms this; Scripture reveals it; and the laws of our nations should uphold this.

II. Supporting mothers in crisis pregnancy situations

But as Christians we need to be concerned about more than just protecting the child in the womb. We must also support mothers in crisis pregnancy situations.

   A. Mothers in crisis pregnancy situations need various types of support
      – emotional; material; spiritual

It’s important to recognize that the mother in a crisis pregnancy situation needs various types of support. She will need emotional support. Many times, the woman will feel vulnerable and alone. She is making difficult decisions in very difficult circumstances. The father of the baby may or may not be involved in her life, and if he is, he may be encouraging abortion. She will need emotional support as she seeks to choose life and bear the child in her womb.

She may also need material support. She may have financial or health care needs. She may need help with clothing for the baby and various baby items. She may need a place to stay. She may need material support not only during pregnancy but following the birth of her baby as well. Having a baby costs a lot of money and sometimes the financial concerns weigh heavily on a young mother.

She will also need spiritual support. She may be wondering how God relates to her current situation, and whether he can help her. She may have all sorts of questions about God and life and pregnancy and marriage.

   B. Mothers in crisis pregnancy situations need loving counsel and care

Which leads us to the next point. Mothers in crisis pregnancy situations need loving counsel and care. They need someone who can come alongside them to help. They need someone who can tell them the truth about the baby they are carrying. They need someone who can help them to know their options. They need to know that there are alternatives to abortion.

This is where the many crisis pregnancy centers across the United States are so important. According to a recent report, over a six-year period Care Net pregnancy centers provided 579,322 free ultrasound scans, 1.8 million free pregnancy tests, and 723,597 individuals received parenting support and education. (Walker & Moore, Gospel & Abortion, Kindle Location: 1,153)

Mothers also need to know that adoption is a viable option. Adoption is a difficult decision, a painful decision to make, but it is a much better choice than abortion. Adoption is a choice that is win-win. It’s a good choice for the child who gets to live. It’s a good choice for the mother who cannot keep her child but does not want to have an abortion. It’s a good choice for the many parents who would love to adopt a child into their home. In one report it was estimated that as many as 1.3 million couples are waiting to adopt a child. Yet almost the same number of children are being killed by abortion each year. (Alcorn, Why Pro-Life? Kindle Location 2,597)

There is really no such thing as an unwanted child. Every child is wanted by somebody, and mothers in crisis pregnancy situations need to know that there are viable alternatives to abortion. Mothers in crisis pregnancy situations need loving counsel and care, and crisis pregnancy centers in our nation provide a vital service in this area.

   C. Mothers in crisis pregnancy situations need the support of church and family

Finally, mothers in crisis pregnancy situations need the support of church and family. Church especially needs to be a safe and welcoming place for mothers who are pregnant, no matter what the circumstances surrounding their pregnancy. We can’t be pro-life and condemning of women who are pregnant at the same time. There is a time to deal with sin, but a woman who is pregnant, frightened and vulnerable needs her church’s love, care and forgiveness, not condemnation and judgment. Every child is a precious creation of God, and churches need to do what we can to help and support mothers who are pregnant.

I get tired of hearing accusations that Christians only care about the baby in the womb, and that they don’t really care about pregnant women or about the children after they’re born. Nothing could be further from the truth. So many Christians give so generously of their time and money to help young mothers and children in crisis pregnancy situations both before and after the child is born.

Did you know that Christians are more than twice as likely to adopt a child as non-Christians? (Walker and Moore, Gospel & Abortion, Kindle Location: 1,160) And as Randy Alcorn observes: “While those who offer abortions charge women for them, those who offer abortion alternatives give their assistance freely, lovingly, and almost entirely behind the scenes.” (Alcorn, Why Pro-Life, Kindle Location 204)

Mothers in crisis pregnancy situations need various types of support – emotional, material and spiritual. They need loving counsel and care. They need the support of church and family.

III. Sharing the good news of forgiveness in Christ

How do we care for mothers and children in crisis pregnancy situations? First of all, by protecting the lives of unborn children. Secondly, by supporting mothers in crisis situations. And then thirdly, by sharing the good news of forgiveness in Christ.

Mothers and fathers who have made wrong choices concerning abortion in the past need to know that God’s forgiveness is available for them through Jesus Christ. And this is where the gospel is such good news for all of us.

   A. We have all sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23)

First of all, the Bible tells us that we have all sinned. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) That’s the bad news. We have all sinned in many ways, and we are all in need of a Savior.

   B. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for all our sins (1 Peter 2:24)

Here’s the good news. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for all our sins. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24) Jesus already paid the price for your sins on the cross. That means you don’t have to. You can be forgiven. You can be healed. You can get a brand-new start. You can be free of all guilt and shame in your life. Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for all our sins.

   C. No sin is too big to be forgiven (1 Timothy 1:15-16)

And here’s the third thing that’s so important. No sin is too big to be forgiven. The apostle Paul wrote: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:15-16) Paul persecuted Christians to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison. (Acts 22:4) If God could forgive Paul, then God can forgive you.

If you have had an abortion in the past, know that God loves you and he offers you complete forgiveness through Jesus Christ. I believe with all my heart, that the child you aborted is with God in heaven right now, and if your faith is in Christ you will see him or her someday. And in that tearful, joyful reunion, you will not only know God’s forgiveness, but your child’s forgiveness as well.

CONCLUSION: Millions of children are aborted every year here in the United States and around the world. Children in the womb cannot defend themselves or speak up for themselves. And so, we need to speak up for them. I pray that as a result of this message you will commit yourself to stand against abortion, to support mothers in crisis pregnancy situations, and to share the good news of God’s forgiveness in Christ with others.

© Ray Fowler

You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this message provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and that you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For any web postings, please link to the sermon directly at this website.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copies:
By Ray Fowler. © Ray Fowler. Website: http://www.rayfowler.org

Click here for more messages from the Hot Button Topics series.
Click here to return to the Sermons page.

————————————

Recommended Resources on Abortion

Books (* = highly recommended)
Abortion: A Rational Look at An Emotional Issue by R.C. Sproul
*The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture by Scott Klusendorf
Counter Culture: Following Christ in an Anti-Christian Age by David Platt
The Gospel & Abortion by Russell D. Moore and Andrew T. Walker
*Why Pro-Life?: Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers by Randy Alcorn

Community Resources
Hope Women’s Centers hopewomenscenters.com
4 Kids of South Florida 4KIDSofSFL.org

Messages
For audio of the messages in this series: pccflorida.org/sermons/
For full text manuscripts of the messages in this series: rayfowler.org/sermons/hot-button-topics/