I look at abortion in a large context of Bible teaching on the nature of God and the nature of human beings created in God's image. I have earned a PhD in Family Studies and MA degrees in Marriage/Family Counseling and Theology and have taught human development in university and college settings for 20 years. If we apply the ordinary use of language to the human fetus, we say both that it is "alive" and that it is "human." Common sense and common language tell us that. While none of us can 'prove' when essential human life begins, I think there is ample evidence from a broad range of Old and New Testament passages that one valid Biblical view is that it probably begins when a baby draws its first breath. Not only is reference to "the breath of life" made in many places, but the penalties under Old Testament Law for accidentally causing the death of an unborn child are limited to the damage done to the pregnant woman. I think we might talk most productively about this important subject if we look at underlying interests and concerns. I see at least three: a concern for a woman's welfare, a concern for human life, and a concern for society/community built on law. Law describes the ways we have decided to live together. It must bridge a concern for the individuals with a concern for the community itself. I believe that the decisions around a difficult pregnancy are not simple. They are much like decisions around war – in some cases there are no really good alternatives. As a society/community we need to care for and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Both a woman and a child at the edge of medical catastrophe are unable to speak for themselves, and logic has always held that the mother's life represents more potential to the family and the community for either help or hardship than the infant's does. When the difficult decision must be made to save one or let both die, I would choose to save the mother at the terrible cost of the infant’s life. In all other cases, I have two values that inform my thinking. The first is that moral choices have a deeper base than the convenience, preferances, or even needs of any individual. Our society has come to hold the individual and that individual's power to choose as the most important value. In my understanding, the real "sin" of many abortions, is not murder, but selfishness, pride, and the determination to take control of one's life rather than trust God for solutions that may be costly, but ultimately respect God and God's creation as well as the wonderful ability to choose that the Creator has given to humankind. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have over 60 years of personal experience that God provides and protects out of God's extraordinary, self-giving love for humankind. There are always solutions to problems beyond my immediate fears and limitations. I can trust a loving God, I don't have to control all of my world. As a counselor and former pastor, as a single-parent of four children, as a poor woman for much of my life, I understand that pregnancy makes a woman hugely vulnerable. Emotional and mental health are often just as precarious as physical health. The needs of a woman who has more than she can handle physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, relationally must be addressed by her community. The community that outlaws abortion must contribute to the care of the people affected. If we would humble ourselves and come together to listen to one another's concerns and fears and pain, I believe we could come to solutions around this issue that are far more moral than allowing the ending of human life for any but the most dire of painful choices between mother and child's survival. If we would humble ourselves and ask God to show us a way, the Creator has promised to respond to the creation. If we can learn from history and look around us, we will see that a society that takes human life lightly at its' beginning will soon take it lightly when it is damaged or difficult, when the society needs expendable lives for warring, and when it is near enough to its end to be considered non-productive for the society. Whenever individual convenience and choice is the top value, the society is in fatal trouble. Whenever there is no respect given to the needs and dignity of the individual, the society is in fatal trouble. We have the great blessing and opportunity in this society to come together to find ways to support one another through all manner of hardships and difficult circumstances so that all human life can be valued and protected.
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