The Pharaoh of Moses’ time ordered that every male Hebrew was to be slain at birth (Exo. 1:16, 22). He is remembered in Scripture (and by all right-thinking men) as an unspeakably cruel, immoral, and evil man (Acts 7:19). The ancient Greek pagans “exposed” their unwanted and helpless infants to wild animals and the elements to dispose of them, and most moderns call their behavior “barbaric” and “inhumane.” Herod the Great murdered all of the male infants living in and around Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth (Mat. 2:16). Even the irreligious justly recoil at his jealous blood thirst.
Mass Murderers in Modern Times
History remembers Adolf Hitler as a homicidal maniac on a grand scale for his destruction of 6,000,000 Jews in the Holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s. Josef Stalin is said to have murdered far more than this number of his own people. Chairman Mao slaughtered even more than Stalin. However, even Hitler, Stalin, and Mao were small time operators beside the perpetrators and advocates of legalized, casual abortion in our “civilized” nation. By the forty sixth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s most heinous decision (Roe v. Wade, January 22, 1973), 61,000,000 totally innocent, helpless babies will have been murdered—either in the womb or while partially in the birth canal—by abortion (http://www.numberofabortions.com/). This figure equals the current estimated populations of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, Tennessee, and Indiana.
By far, most of these killings take place for the convenience of the mothers-to-be and/or fathers-to-be—a sordid, grotesque (and intrinsically selfish) after-the-fact means of “birth control.” The seven black-robed justices (two dissented) who handed down this decision will one day learn that they were not the “Supreme Court” after all as they face the Judgment of the Creator of life, having hands dripping with the blood of these millions of innocents. Hands that “shed innocent blood” are an abomination to Him (Pro. 6:16–17).
In one of the all-time great ironies, the same court (though not all the same justices) that ruled in 1973 that it is not “cruel and unusual punishment” to kill the most helpless and innocent of their own kind later ruled (June 2008) that it indeed is “cruel and unusual punishment” to execute a child rapist. These two morally reprehensible rulings demonstrate the 2 irrational and wicked nonsense of our God-despising, morally topsy-turvy times, in which so many “call evil good and good evil” (Isa. 5:20).
When Does Life and “Personhood” Begin?
What about abortion? Is it infanticide or is it merely the removal of “expendable tissue”? For abortion to be “murder,” the unborn child must be a living person, temporarily dependent upon, but distinct from its mother. To the pro-death advocates of abortion, the content of the womb is merely a “piece of tissue,” such as a wart, a mole, or even a tumor, and therefore utterly expendable (merely an impersonal “fetus”). This leads to the question, when does life and personhood begin? It does not take a Solomon to see that this is the vital question of the entire discussion of abortion.
The abortion advocate answers, “At birth, or several weeks after conception at the earliest,” but God answers, “At conception.” God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified you…” (Jer. 1:5, emph. DM). Before he began to take skeletal or muscular form (i.e., at conception), while in the womb, God recognized Jeremiah as a living person. This is the consistent Biblical teaching (see Job 3:16; 10:11; Psa. 51:5; 139:13—16; Isa. 44:24; 49:5; et al.).
Medical science generally agrees life and personhood begin at conception. On April 23– 24, 1981, various expert geneticists and medical doctors testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding this issue. The “Father of Modern Genetics,” Dr. Jerome Lejeune, of the University of Descartes, Paris, testified: “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion…it is plain experimental evidence (emph. DM).”
Medical doctor and law professor at the University of Tennessee, Dr. McCarthy de Mere, stated to the committee: “The Exact moment of the beginning of personhood and of the human body is at the moment of conception (emph. DM).”
World-renowned geneticist, Theodosius Dobzhansky, though an atheist, stated: A human being begins his existence when a spermatozoon fertilizes an egg cell (emph. DM).
Thus, a separate, distinct human life and person (different from both father and mother in genetic composition) begins at the moment of conception rather than at several weeks later or at the moment of birth.
“Common sense” also argues that life begins at conception. Some abortion advocates recommend singing or playing music to the unborn on the theory that such will influence them. How strange. Do they really expect to influence a “wart” or a “mole”—a mere piece of tissue? Pro-abortionists recognize life in the unborn in other forms of animal life. Those who will gather by the thousands to champion the brutal “right” to slay their own kind in the womb will go on a hunger strike to protect the life of the unborn eagle (yes, they know it is an eagle, with eagle “personhood,” not merely a “fetus,” while it is still in the egg). In another gross irony, some who may violently oppose the state’s right to end the murderer’s life will staunchly demand the “right” to slay their own offspring in his or her most innocent and defenseless state.
If life, humanness, and personhood do not begin at conception, when do they begin— one day, one week, one month, or three months after the sperm fertilizes the egg? Upon what basis will this all-important question be determined, except ideology and/or fickle subjectivism? While many other crucial matters are involved in this issue, upon which abortion should most certainly be opposed, the determination of the beginning point of life and personhood is the very heart of it.
If life and personhood begin at conception (as certainly they do), abortion just as certainly constitutes murder—legalized murder, but no less murder—on the grandest scale ever known. How can a Christian favor this practice and be faithful to God? How can a Christian be guiltless who votes for a politician or a political party that favors this atrocity?
What can concerned people do?
Pray fervently that in the providence of God this slaughter will soon end by being overturned completely by the Supreme Court.
Let your legislators at both the state and federal levels know your abhorrence of abortion.
Vote for candidates at every level who oppose abortion and who will work to correct this tragedy. (Note: One major party has a strong pro-abortion, pro-death plank in its platform, while the other party has an anti-abortion, pro-life plank.)
Write “letters to the editor” for inclusion in newspapers and post messages on social media, opposing abortion.
Encourage anyone considering an abortion to not consider it at all.
Preachers need to keep the churches they serve aware of this tragedy through sermons, bulletin articles, and tracts.
Abortion is a monstrous “work of darkness” (Eph. 5:11) that we should oppose, confident that God will bless our efforts.
[Note: I wrote this article for and it was initially published originally in The Lighthouse, weekly bulletin of Northpoint Church of Christ, Denton, TX, January 24, 2016, of which I was editor. I updated the statistics on January 21, 2019.]