This is a seminar given on abortion by a Christian sister. She has extensive experience working in crisis pregnancy centers and has seen the effects of abortion firsthand. The following is an in depth look at what the Bible says about abortion. You can use this abortion counseling material as needed to encourage everyone to value life as God does.
Christianity and Abortion – Counseling Material
- What does God’s Word have to say about His view on human life and the taking of that life?
Abortions happen so often that society is numb to them. We have been taught that they are necessary, they are no big deal; they are a part of life. Many reasons are given for why abortions are “needed”-The couple isn’t married; they are married, but already have one child; they can’t afford a child at this time; the child is a girl, and they want a boy; tests show that the child might have physical or mental problems…and on and on the list goes.
As Christians, we should not allow our consciences or our actions to be dictated by what the world thinks. Romans 12:2 says- “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” So it is imperative that we discover what God’s opinion, His will, is on the subject of the value and treatment of human life.
First of all, conception is an act of God. Scripture gives many examples of how He opens and closes the womb. Hannah is one instance of that. 1 Samuel 1:5-6 says, “But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.” God was the one who closed Hannah’s womb, preventing her from having children, but then in 1 Samuel 1:19-20 we see “Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the LORD.’” The same God who had earlier prevented Hannah from having children now opened her womb and blessed her with a son.
Throughout the Bible, various men worship God as the Creator and Giver of life. Job says in Job 31:15 “Did not He who made me in the womb make him, and the same one fashion us in the womb?” and again in Job 33:4″The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” The psalmist writes in Psalm 22:9-10 “Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb,” and Psalm 104:30 “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the ground.” God Himself tells of His role in the conception of babies in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
What about babies who have handicaps or physical deformities? Surely God didn’t mean for these things to happen, and would understand aborting them so they and their families don’t need to “suffer,” right? That’s not what Exodus 4:11says- “The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” God has created every child, even “imperfect” ones (and we are all imperfect), for a purpose.
John MacArthur says— “Conception then is the act of God whereby a person is created by God’s sovereign will, a soul is breathed into the living tissue by the Holy Spirit. That soul’s destiny is already known to God and determined by Him before the foundation of the world. Abortion then becomes a violent anti-God act. It is not only a murder of the individual; it is an affront to the Creator.”
The next point we need to understand clearly is that every human is created in the image of God, and is therefore valuable in His sight. Genesis 1:26-28 says- “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” We see here that not only were we created in His image, but we were created higher than animals, to rule over them, and also with the commanded purpose of bearing more children to populate the earth. Inherent in that is that we are NOT to kill the children that we do bear.
Even before God forms us in our mother’s womb, He has written out a plan for our lives.
Psalm 139:13-18 beautifully illustrates the care He takes in creating every single life and planning their days- “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.”
Can a God who puts such tender care into forming and planning for each new life overlook an act of violence on that little one? Absolutely not, and that brings us to our next point- The helpless are special objects of God’s loving care. Psalm 82:3-4 gives us one example of God’s response to the weak who are in danger (and who is weaker than an unborn baby?), “Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”
Does the Bible deal with killing the unborn directly? Yes! Exodus 21:22-25 says,
“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” What does this mean? Basically, if two men were fighting, and a pregnant woman was injured (even accidentally) in the fight, there were varying levels of consequences. If the woman gave birth prematurely, but the baby lived and was healthy, then the man who hit her would be fined for the suffering she went through as the judge saw fit. But, if the baby was born with a damaged eye, then the man’s eye would be damaged. If its foot or hand were lame because of the fight, than the man’s foot or hand would be made lame. And ultimately, if the baby was killed because of this man’s actions, then the man would also have to die. If God was so careful to protect the life of the unborn against accidents like this, how do you think He feels about the purposeful killing of babies through abortion?
Our next point is that we should have compassion on ALL of God’s creation made in His image. God’s Word is very clear on how we should treat those around us—with love. Galatians 5:14 says “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Romans 13:8-10 similarly says, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” If anyone has any idea that it is more loving to kill a child than to let her live, the verse we just read should show otherwise. Of course it’s not loving to murder! Definitely, to murder someone is to harm or wrong them. God is love, and if He chose to give them life, it is the loving thing to do. If He chooses to take that life through miscarriage or death later, that is also loving, but we are not to put ourselves in the position of God by making those decisions.
I want us to be very clear about how God feels about murder, so let’s cover a few more verses on it. Proverbs 6:16-17 says he hates it, and it is an abomination to Him-“There are six things which the LORD hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood.” Proverbs 24:11-12 talks of His judgment of it, and the fact that we cannot claim ignorance when we do it, because He sees our hearts—“Deliver those who are being taken away to death, and those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, “See, we did not know this,”
Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?” In Deuteronomy 27:25 we see Him say, “Cursed is he who accepts a bribe to strike down an innocent person.’ And all the people shall say, “Amen.” Whether it’s an abortionist who is accepting payment for killing a baby, or a parent who aborts their child because of job or financial pressures, God says that they are cursed. If there was any hint of doubt left on God’s feelings of murder, Exodus 20:13 should clear them up. He very simply commands— “You shall not murder.” There is no “Unless…” or “Except when…” It is forbidden in every situation.
Now, I want us to look at the story of how a family reacted to government pressure to kill their child. What? You didn’t know that was in the Bible, did you? When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, God blessed their numbers and caused them to multiply to such an extent that the Egyptians were worried that there were too many Israelites. Let’s see what happened after that— Exodus 1:15-2:10 “Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; and he said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this thing, and let the boys live?” The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get to them.” So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied, and became very mighty. Because the midwives feared God, He established households for them. Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you are to cast into the Nile, and every daughter you are to keep alive.” Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him. The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her. When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
What we see in this story is a government trying to control an increasing population by killing babies, especially males. First, the ruler asked the midwives (nurses who helped the women birth their children) to kill all of the baby boys. But becausethe midwives feared God more than they feared man, they did not obey the rule, but allowed the baby boys to live. Since that method was not working, and the population continued to grow, the ruler told families to throw their baby boys into the Nile River; killing them. This Levite family, however, was not willing to obey this command, but hid their son away, sparing his life. When they could no longer hide him, they carefully (and I’m sure prayerfully) left him where he had a chance of being found and saved. As his sister watched, Pharaoh’s own daughter found the baby and adopted him. Mercifully and miraculously, God provided a way for the baby’s own mother to nurse him and care for him through his early years. This baby that first the midwives and then the family refused to kill was Moses, one of the greatest leaders Israel ever knew, and the one who eventually led them from slavery to the Promised Land. See how wonderfully God rewarded them for fearing God more than they feared man and sparing the life of this precious baby!
So, if God doesn’t want us to kill the unborn or view them negatively, how should we view them? Quite simply, as a gift. Psalm 127:3 says, “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward.” There is no qualification there. Children are not a gift if they are wanted, or if they are convenient, or if they are one sex or another, or if they are “perfect;” they are always a gift.
- When does life begin? What is the baby like during her different stages of growth in the womb?
Now that we’ve established the biblical and most important reasons not to abort, I want to share with you other information that is very helpful in counseling someone who is considering an abortion. I have found it effective to utilize as many different types of information in educating the woman as possible, because I never know which information is going to seem important to her and change her decision to abort the baby. We will go over when life begins, what the baby is like during her different stages of growth in the womb, the abortion procedures, the physical effects of abortion on the baby and the mother, the emotional and spiritual effects of abortion, and Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (which is a combination of post-abortion side effects). I have handouts to help lay out the different information we will be covering, so please be sure to get one of each of them to take home with you.
Let us be clear from the very beginning, life begins at conception. From the moment the sperm enters the egg and God fuses the two sets of DNA into one totally unique individual, life is present. Even though the life is smaller than a grain of salt, the genetic information for every characteristic is already there—color of hair and eyes, fingerprints, gender, height, skin tone, personality; everything that makes them a one of it kind human is already there.
- By Day 18 of pregnancy (often before the mother has even realized that she is pregnant), the baby’s heart is already beating.
- Week 4- The baby is 10,000 times larger than the original fertilized egg. Her backbone and muscles have already formed. Arms, legs, eyes and ears have begun to show.
- Week 5- The baby is about 1 cm long. Her skeleton has begun to form. Brain waves have been detected since day 40.
- Week 6- Baby is 1.5 cm long. Eyes are wide open. Fingers and toes are beginning to form, and growing quickly.
- Week 7- Baby’s liver is functioning, and her brain is beginning to control muscle and organ movements. The jaw forms, including teeth buds in her gums.
- Week 8- Every one of her organs is now formed. Everything that will be found in a grown adult is now present within the baby. Her stomach and kidneys are functioning, and her heart has already been beating for more than a month.
- Week 9- Fingerprints are evident in the skin, and the baby will grab an object placed in her hand.
- Week 11- Baby is 5 cm long. She breathes amniotic fluid so that her lungs will develop.
- Week 12- Her features are now becoming more defined. Her lips open and close, she wrinkles her forehead, she raises her eyebrows; she turns her head. Fingernails and a spinal column are growing.
- Week 14- Sex of the baby becomes apparent.
- Week 16- Baby is more than 15 cm long.
- Week 18- She can now suck her thumb, which prepares her for feeding after birth. She is active and energetic, and goes through the motions of crying, though she cannot make a sound without air.
- Week 20- She is 30.5 cm long, and weighs 450 grams. At this point, the mother will definitely feel movement, and can even feel the baby’s hiccups.
- By Week 22- There is a chance that the she can be born and survive. With every week that passes, as her lungs develop and her layer of fat thickens, she has a better chance of surviving and living a long, healthy life outside the womb.
- Week 28- Faith was born at 1 kg. Look at her now, 18 years later!
Women often view unborn babies as a “blob of tissue” or merely an inconvenience. I think we can see from these facts and these pictures that from the very earliest stages of pregnancy, in fact, from conception, a baby is a life formed by the God of the universe.
- What are the abortion procedures?
This next topic is one that is not easy to talk about or hear, but I think it’s necessary. What are abortion procedures like? Women need to fully understand what they are doing to their bodies, and what they are doing to their babies. The most common form of abortion is called Suction Curettage (DNS). This involves dilating the mother’s cervix in order to insert a suction tube with a sharp cutting edge into the uterus. This tube like knife cuts apart the baby and the placenta as it is rotated around the uterus. Then a powerful suction machine is attached and sucks out the parts of the baby, placenta and fluid into a container.
Another form is called Dilation and Curettage (D&C). Again, this form of abortion involves dilating the mother’s cervix and inserting a sharp loop of steel into the womb to scrape the baby out.
Once the pregnancy has gone beyond 13 weeks, other forms of abortion are necessary. Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) involves dilating the mother’s cervix, cutting the baby to pieces, and trying to find and remove all of the pieces.
Even at the very end of pregnancy, Partial Birth Abortions are practiced. In these horrible operations, a baby is delivered feet first, and then, while the head is still inside the mother, a pair of scissors or another sharp instrument is stuck into the base of the skull, the baby’s brains are sucked out, and the head is crushed, delivering a dead baby.
These are just a few of the popular methods of abortion, though there are more. Why am I telling you these things? Because many women just think an abortion is a simple, painless procedure. They have not been educated about the horrible pain to themselves will experience. Knowing more about the procedure might be instrumental in encouraging the mother to save the life of her child.
- What are the physical effects of abortion (baby and mother)?
In addition to being neither painless nor simple, abortions lead to many physical risks for the mother, and of course, for the baby. Why do I mention health risks of the baby? Because they’re a person, too. In almost 100% of the cases (though not all, there are instances where a baby survived abortion and even grew to adulthood), the baby dies. It is not a quiet, painless death, but a horribly painful one. As early as 7 weeks, a baby in the womb can feel pain.
Many major physical problems from abortion can also affect the mother. I don’t have time to go into the details of the list, but let me outline some of the side effects—
- Death (either by complications from the abortion such as hemorrhage and infection , or from suicide after); women who abort are more than 4 times as likely to die the following year as women who carried their pregnancies to term;
- Breast cancer rates almost double after one abortion and rise even further with each successive abortion;
- Uterine perforation;
- Cervical lacerations, often resulting in long-term reproductive damage, premature delivery of wanted babies, and complications in labor;
- Placenta previa in later pregnancies;
- Complications of labor in later pregnancies;
- Handicapped newborns in later pregnancies;
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease;
- Cervical, ovarian and liver cancer;
- Immediate complications, such as infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforating the uterus, anesthesia complications, and others;
- Increased risk for each additional abortion;
- Lower general health
- What are the emotional/spiritual effects of abortion? What is PASS?
Finding out the physical effect of abortion might deter some women for selfish reasons, but the emotional and spiritual effects are far worse. They are so well-documented as to be given their own name—Post Abortion Stress Syndrome. These effects often last throughout the woman’s life. I know of one 80 year old woman near the end of her life, in tears because of an abortion she had 60 years before. This act of violence on a woman’s own body, on the life of her baby, leaves a lasting impression. So what is Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, and what are its effects? Here is a list of some of them. Keep in mind that these will likely not occur at the same time, and not everyone will experience all of them, but many will experience a number of them-
- Guilt—many woman feel guilt violating their own moral code. After abortion, many women feel that any bad things that happen to them are because they “deserve it;”
- Anxiety—including mental tension (inability to relax, irritability, etc.), and physical responses (dizziness, pounding heart, upset stomach, headaches, etc.), and worry about the future, difficulty concentration, and disturbed sleep. She will often avoid having anything to do with babies;
- Psychological “numbing”;
- Depression and thoughts of suicide; includes—
- Sad mood
- Sudden and uncontrollable crying episodes
- Reduced motivation
- Disruption in interpersonal relationships
- Thoughts of suicide
- Anniversary syndrome—increased occurrence of symptoms around the anniversaries of the abortion and due date of the baby;
- Flashbacks to the abortion—during things like gynecological visits, or when a vacuum cleaner is going, or through dreams;
- Eating disorders;
- Substance abuse—turning to alcohol or drugs to solve the pain;
- Difficulty bonding with surviving children;
- Difficulty in relationship with husband/boyfriend—often due to pressure from them to abort or blaming them for causing the situation in the first place;
- And on and on the list goes. There is a handout of a more complete list of symptoms, plus a description of each of them. Please be sure to get one, because we don’t have time to cover all of the issues tonight.
I share with you all of these things, not to horrify you, although some of them are really horrifying, but to show you something very key, that not many people consider—Abortion is not only harmful to the baby, but it is also extremely harmful to the mother. I believe, as God does, that these helpless babies should be protected and cherished, but I also believe that in protecting those babies, women are also protecting themselves and their families. God’s way is the best way, always. If His way is best for the baby, of course it is going to be best for the mother, father, and the rest of the family. And once a baby the mother decided not to abort is born, she is considered a blessing and a joy rather than a burden in almost every single case.
- What can be done for someone who has and had an abortion?
I am sure in this group of women, there are some who already have one or more abortions in their past. The good news in all of this is that God’s redeeming grace is available to everyone involved in this tragedy. First of all, I am convinced that God redeems murdered infants, that His grace reaches out and takes those little ones to be with Himself because the Bible is so very clear that people perish in hell because they refused to believe, that hell is for those who rejected God and who rejected Christ; and an unborn infant could never do that. Since no attitude or action of the unborn child would cause God to send them to hell, and since they are clearly already a life, then it seems obvious that God brings them to heaven to be with Him forever. He is Father to the fatherless, and aborted babies are certainly that. What a gracious and loving Father!