Can Christians be pro-choice?
THE BIG ISSUE
In part 1, we looked at the issue of life in the womb and the image of God. In this post we will look briefly at another one of the most popular arguments for abortion, which is the concept of “bodily autonomy”. Essentially this concept (in the context of abortion) says no one has the right to use your body against your will, even a baby in the womb. The rights of the strong, autonomous mother trump the rights of the weak, unborn baby. Here’s how one woman explains her situation in an article entitled “Let’s Just Say It: Women Matter More Than Fetuses Do“:
“During both of my pregnancies, I have monitored the weeks available for legal abortion with the same precision that I used to keep track of when to get the nuchal screening, the amnio, the gestational diabetes test. To me, abortion belongs to the same category as the early Cesarean I will need to undergo because of previous surgeries. That is to say, it is a crucial medical option, a cornerstone in women’s reproductive health care. And during pregnancy, should some medical, economic, or emotional circumstance have caused my fate to be weighed against that of my baby, I believe that my rights, my health, my consciousness, and my obligations to others ”including to my toddler daughter”outweigh the rights of the unborn human inside me.”
THE BIG QUESTION
For the Christian, we must ask, how does this line up with the nature of God and the gospel? To answer this question, let’s look at 2 observations from a short passage in the New Testament, Romans 5:6-9, and get a sense of how the word of God handles this issue:
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person”though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die” 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
- WHILE WE WERE STILL WEAK “ In verse 6, Paul explains the condition we were in when Jesus died for us: “weak”. The NASB translates this helpless, and the NLT says utterly helpless. The word used here is used used elsewhere in the New Testament to mean sick, debilitated, or disabled. This is what we were like when Jesus gave his life to save us. Jesus is the Lord of Lords, and his rights eternally outweigh ours, and yet his response was to save us not kill us. Abortion says “because you are weak and have no rights, you die for me so that I can live”. Jesus said “because you are weak and have no rights, I die for you so that you can live”. This is unthinkable grace, but it is the reality of the gospel. Jesus didn’t wait for us to become strong or independent or “worthy”. While we were weak and ungodly, Christ died for us.
- WHILE WE WERE SINNERS “ In verse 8, Paul elaborates on our condition. Not only were we still weak, but we were still sinners. Not only helpless, but rebellious. God saw our sin and his response to us was grace. To save us from our sin, and from the wrath of God (verse 9). In light of this, our response to those who have had abortions is grace, mercy, and love. The gospel not only calls us to stand for the lives of the unborn, but to fight for the souls of those who do not love God and do not value life the way God has intended us to.
THE BIG ANSWER
Considering our passage, it is clear that the nature of the gospel is not to think “my rights are more important than this person’s rights”, but rather to “in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). Jesus’ rights trumped ours, and yet he gave his life in order that we might live. To be like Jesus, we must see the weakness of others as cause to give mercy. Even more, we must see the sin of others as cause to give grace and share the gospel with our words, and show the gospel with our lives. Christians are called to promote the life of the unborn, and to promote the everlasting life found in Jesus, that is the hope of every sinner. Christians are called to be pro-life. And Christians are called to love those who are not pro-life.