Should Christians ever take a pro-choice position?

Questions about God, the Bible and the Christian culture 

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Question: I’m a conservative Christian who happens to be against the pro-choice movement (... although I understand that God doesn’t care if you’re a conservative or a liberal). But what about abortion? I’m sure God is against it, but what about the pro-choice arguments? They say women would still get abortions — but illegally and unsafely. Or that many of these pregnant women are just not economically ready to bring a child into the world. Is it ever okay to get an abortion or to support the pro-choice movement?

Answer: Greetings friend. Thank you for submitting such an important question about being pro-choice. It’s a timely one, too, since some states are passing laws that make it legal to abort a child at any time during pregnancy... and much to the joy of the pro-choice community.

I don’t think a Christian should support abortion — even in cases of rape or incest. But I don’t think we should shoot up abortion clinics either. That’s where most of us live — between the moral high ground and the act of abortion itself. So in reality, we don’t have the dichotomy that perhaps we should have. Although we hate abortion, we still live with it. This hurts us, but it is a win for those who support pro-choice

But here's the thing: it’s not an either/or decision where the rubber meets the road — and I think you sense this. Your question makes it clear that you see this as a complex issue… and the problem here is that complex issues usually don’t have simple solutions. But that’s on us. With God, the issue is indeed simple. What the pro-choice advocates consider a “product of conception” and a choice, God considers a person and a murder — and we are not supposed to kill any person — particularly the innocent!

“My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 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 139:15–16, NIV) (See also Galatians 1:15)

“If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (Exodus 21:22–25, NIV, emphasis mine)

“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13, NIV)

“Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty.” (Exodus 23:7, NIV)

Note also that we are culpable in this sin. Our laws — and our ability to push things to the back of our minds by calling sin something positive like pro-choice — may get us through the day… but they do not get us off the hook.

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” (Proverbs 24:11–12, NIV)

But here’s the thing: even here in the purportedly Christian USA, we are not governed by God’s laws directly. We are governed by a version of them that has passed through the filters of representative government and social expediency — and for people who want both freedom and comfortable lives, a constitutional republic is arguably the best choice... and it's the best choice if you're pro-choice.

But abortion is the price of this republic… as are jails, taxes and methadone clinics. As we grownups know, there is a lot of unpleasantness involved in maintaining our marginally pleasant lives. So, since Christians should not support anarchy (Romans 13:1-7), we shouldn’t be surprised when we find ourselves living with the tension of wanting what God wants… but doing it under an increasingly complex governmental structure that also represents people who don’t believe in God — let alone his law!

Now, the USA may be the most successful country in the history of countries — but make no mistake: it’s a moral swamp. Because we have a representative government, our society keeps getting redefined under the pressure of continually lower morality. This is how we have become (effectively) pro-choice. But here's the kicker: we only enjoy the safe and comfortable lives we live because of the vast reservoir of goodness stored up by those who went before us. But the water is getting murkier… and turtles make poor anarchists.

That’s us, by the way… creatures that thrive in a place that smells like a swamp to God — and legislating that we can murder the most innocent among us stinks! But doing so in the name of freedom — our nation’s hallmark? That makes it stink even more... and trying to sweeten it up with a positive sounding phrase like "pro-choice" does nothing to change this reality.

Now, it’s true that some women would have dangerous illegal abortions if none were offered legally, and it’s also true that having babies without any financial prospects is a bad idea. These are huge social problems. But let’s not lose our heads. Murder is a bigger problem than potential sickness or poverty — so let's not lose sight of this: pro-choice is pro-murder!

Please don’t misunderstand me. I hate it that pro-choice women (or any women) have to face these choices — and often without a man in the mix. But choosing the greater harm is both immoral and illogical. The problem is that it’s also expedient… and today, comfort trumps morality in our stinky little swamp.

But here’s the unfair piece: even the God-haters among us get to rest in the world’s morality. But where does our collective moral sense come from? From God. The irony is that the morality that helped build civilization gives people enough ease to do the unthinkable. Ninety-eight percent of abortions occur because the parents do not want the babies… not that they’ve endured rape or incest. It’s about convenience. How will our nation not be judged for that?

But you are also asking, how should we respond? That’s a personal choice. Many Christians do pro-life work as their main ministry. So, you could pray, send money and participate. But look at me. I hate abortion… but I only pray for the mothers occasionally and rarely support them financially. But I answer Bible questions. My point here is that I will not allow the grief I have over my country’s sin to keep me from doing the work God has given me. That’s the trick!

So, if the Holy Spirit is drawing you into pro-life work, then do that. Just don’t abandon the Great Commission in the process — and that can be a problem if you throw yourself into attacking these issues politically. But don’t get me wrong. It’s important to be a good citizen —  and for those aptly gifted, I encourage them to enter politics. But it’s never good to abandon the primary responsibilities of family and the Church to do so.

We need to perform a balancing act to be believers in this complex world. But make no mistake, any balancing act that supports the pro-choice movement also kills babies. Come soon, Lord Jesus.

Before you go, consider reading What does the Bible say about abortion? ... an article by Got Questions Ministries

I pray this helped you.

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