Every January many churches in the United States highlight God’s truth as it relates to unborn children, notably in memory of Roe v. Wade, the January 22, 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
Actually the term abortion includes the definition of “the expulsion of a fetus from the uterus by natural causes before it is able to survive independently,” denoting what is today termed miscarriage. This is not what most people mean when they use the word abortion, however. They mean the intentional termination of human pregnancy, abortion’s primary — but not exclusive — definition.
A more suitable term for that intentional act is aborticide, which is a perfectly legitimate English word and enjoys the rhetorical benefit of similarity to homicide, infanticide, suicide, regicide, and other words that denote the willful deprivation of human life. It’s a word that supporters of the act likely deplore for precisely the same reason that opponents would prefer it. Supporters want attention deflected from the (im)moral implications of the act and redirected to the benefits to the pregnant woman (“a woman’s right to her own body, etc.).
The Christian verdict on aborticide derives from the Bible, which clearly, if not explicitly, condemns it. All intentional deprivation of judicially innocent human life is murder (Gen. 9:6). Human life begins at conception (Jud. 16:17; Ps. 139:13–18; Jer. 1:5; Lk. 1:15). Therefore, aborticide is murder.
More specifically, biblical law requires compensation for a miscarriage unintentionally precipitated by violent human action (Ex. 21:22). Even if the child is miscarried as a result of violent actions that did not intend that fatal loss, the violent are guilty of what we term these days as manslaughter (not fetus-slaughter).
A human fetus is a human, created in God’s image, entitled to full legal protection.
Legalized aborticide, therefore, is nothing short of legalized murder, not materially different from Nazi legislation legalizing the extermination of Jews or Marxist laws allowing the liquidation of capitalists.
Aborticide is not a solitary horror foisted by political elites on a reluctant populace. While this act is nearly as old as sinful humanity, it became a sociopolitical policy in the West only after the 1960’s Sexual Revolution since aborticide is, in Mary Eberstadt’s language, contraception’s backup plan. It is this fact, and likely this fact alone, that accounts for the gradual reduction in aborticide: as contraception becomes more effective and widespread, aborticide decreases. This reduction should furnish cold comfort, however, since it almost surely means that most aborted babies are unwanted residue from illicit and self-centered sexual gratification. In short, the current reduction of aborticide does not signal increased respect for human life — quite the opposite.
A figure at which neutral investigations arrived for acts of aborticide performed in the United States since 1973 is 50 million. To set this figure in context, Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews. Stalin murdered 20 million of his countrymen. Mao may have murdered as many as 70 million. The number of acts of aborticide just in the United States since 1973 boggles the mind, and by these standards the product of the aborticide industry in the United States is nothing less than human holocaust.
It also invites God’s judgment. Spilling innocent blood brings God’s anger to a boiling point. Habakkuk 2:8 is entirely typical of many warnings in the Old Testament prophets to both the Jews and the surrounding nations: “Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.”
God measures out his wrath on a nation and culture that unrepentantly sheds innocent blood, and, while God is longsuffering, it is incredulous to believe that our nation will escape God’s judgment if we do not repent — and perhaps even if we do repent (2 Chr. 34:14–33). The blood of uneborn innocents, like that of Abel’s (Gen. 4:10), cries from the ground for God’s holy vengeance.
For this reason also, praying for God’s wrath on the perpetrators of this holocaust is not merely appropriate, but imperative (Rev. 6:9–11). As Kemper Krabb’s haunting song “A Malediction” intones:
The judges sat outside the law
And in their pride no evil saw
In setting teeth to Satan’s jaw
And feeding him our children
A curse a curse the Law it cries
A curse a curse on mankind’s pride
A curse on him who would deny
God’s image in mankind
To invoke God’s wrath on unrepentant murderers of judicially innocent children is to invoke his tender grace and mercy on the precious lives of preborn children whom they would, if unmolested, also snuff out. Alternatively, to shy from such imprecations under the motivation of sensitivity to butchers of babes is to twist the justice of God and turn his grace into lasciviousness (Jude 1:4).
All followers of Jesus Christ who, therefore, love his holy law and mercy and grace and justice must beg God to grant repentance to our blood-soaked nation — and level his wrath against those lawless judges and unrepentant aborticide providers who “set their teeth to Satan’s jaw and feed him our children.”
To do less is a cruelty to the most vulnerable among us, even if marinated in misguided piety.