*Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Countercultural Living: What Jesus Has to Say About Life, Marriage, Race, Gender, and Materialism.
Starting with the death of Abel, God distinguishes between those who are killed by others and deaths that occur in situations such as wars, accidental deaths, and government-mandated capital punishment. Exodus 20:3–17 lists the Ten Commandments God gave the Israelites. The sixth commandment states, “You shall not murder” (v. 13). Honor killings, abortion, euthanasia, and suicide are forms of murder that God prohibits here because they involve the taking of an innocent life.
According to Genesis 4:10, innocent blood cries out from the grave:
“The Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.’”
Murder because of jealousy, to preserve family honor, or for any other reason is condemned by God: Proverbs 6:17 tells us that God hates “haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood.” In Leviticus 18:21, the Israelites are told, “Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.” Likewise, we read in Psalm 106:37–38 (NKJV): “They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood.”
These latter Scriptures should inform our awareness of nations, such as the United States, where courts and governmental entities have legalized abortion.
Legal Doesn’t Equal Moral
There are always consequences for great evil. As we know from the Old Testament, ancient Israel and its surrounding pagan nations suffered the wrath of God because of their detestable actions. As a young woman, I learned the hard way that just because an action is legal does not make it morally right. Like millions of other women around the world, I decided to abort an unplanned baby because of the burden I feared it would impose on my family.
I reasoned that if the medical procedure was legal, it must also be moral. I now know governments legalize many actions that are harmful to people as well as condemned in Scripture either directly or indirectly. I suffered some of the many adverse medical and psychological effects discussed in Erika Bachiochi’s path-breaking book The Cost of Choice: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion. Bachiochi’s book examines links between abortion and culture, women’s health, law, regulation of abortion clinics, and abortion alternatives.
Doctors and medical journals refer to unborn babies as fetuses, which can imply by some that they see unborn babies as a lesser form of humanity. This is not biblical. References to fetuses rather than unborn babies often dehumanize for the world the life growing inside the mother’s womb.
Pregnant women throughout the Bible are always described as being “with child.”
Unborn babies are recognized as sons and daughters. Each unborn child has a unique identity and destiny. God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5). Similarly, David writes in Psalm 139:13, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (ESV). In the cases of Jesus and John the Baptist, an angel named each child before he was born, giving names connected with some aspect of the child’s personality or destiny (Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:13).
In the modern world we continue to use language and concepts to obscure what is taking place. In America, for example, we face the concept of “reproductive rights,” which has been disseminated around the world as a positive goal. Yet we know that these “rights” are nothing more than a euphemism for abortion. No matter how one attempts to justify their actions, abortion is the violent interruption of a pregnancy that results in the death of the unborn child and an end to the child’s destiny and potential in the world. An abortion is nothing to celebrate or shout about with pride, as some women have done in recent years.
Unborn babies are recognized as sons and daughters. Each unborn child has a unique identity and destiny.
God Is a Forgiver
Those who choose abortion cannot escape the consequences of their actions. I know this firsthand. Men and women worldwide who have participated in abortion decisions are often racked with guilt, walking around deeply grieved and wounded.
Yet Jesus Christ offers hope for people who confess their sins and ask for his forgiveness through his shed blood on the cross. God forgave David of his cold-blooded murder of Uriah, husband to Bathsheba, for example (2 Samuel 11:14–18). That brings enhanced meaning to David’s testimony to God’s goodness, when he writes,
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven; whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1)
Colossians 1:14 reminds us that “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” If you are struggling with guilt associated with these issues, then it is important to seek help from mature Christians and spiritual advisers who can walk with you through the process of healing.
There are rare occasions in which doctors recommend an abortion to save the life of the mother. In those special cases, each person needs to seek God’s wisdom in the knowledge that he has enough grace and mercy to cover us in every situation we find ourselves. 1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
 Erika Bachiochi, The Cost of Choice: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2004).
 “Shout Your Abortion,” accessed May 24, 2021, https://shoutyourabortion.com/.
Excerpted from Carol M. Swain, Countercultural Living: What Jesus Has to Say About Life, Marriage, Race, Gender, and Materialism (Renew.org, 2021).