Abortion has been a hotly debated topic in American culture for the past forty years. Proponents on both sides wave statistics and viewpoints that many sincerely believe to be the only right way. For the sake of clarity, let’s define the terms “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” For the purposes of this article, “pro-choice” will be defined as “the belief that a woman should have the legal right to abort her unborn child at any point in the pregnancy.” Pro-choice advocates believe abortion is a personal decision and should not be limited by the government or anyone else. “Pro-life” will be defined as “the belief that every human life is sacred and no one, including the mother, has the right to end an innocent life.” Pro-life advocates hold the view that life from the moment of conception should be protected.
So, should a Christian be pro-choice or pro-life? A Christian, according to the Bible, is someone who has accepted God’s offer of forgiveness through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Salvation is a gift of God through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9). What we believe about other things is a matter of growth, not of salvation. However, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” When we give our lives to Christ, He begins to change us: our way of thinking and our way of behaving (see Isaiah 55:7). Our bodies become the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). Our minds are renewed through the truth of God’s Word (Romans 12:1-2). Our attitudes, perspectives, and behaviors gradually change to be more like those of Christ (Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:22).
This transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Many Christians are still what the apostle Paul called “carnal” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; Romans 8:6). Carnal Christians trust in Jesus for salvation, but they still think, act, and react like the world. Often, they are new to the faith or simply have not allowed the Holy Spirit free access to every area of their hearts. They are trying to live the Christian life in their own strength, while still being heavily influenced by the world’s way of thinking. The carnal mind has not been fully renewed by the Word of God and still seeks compromise with the world (James 4:4). Carnal Christians allow the persuasive viewpoints of the ungodly to sway their opinions on many things, including abortion. Spiritual growth requires us to shed our old ways of thinking as we become more like Christ. We begin to see things the way God does, and the closer to Him we become, the less we agree with the world’s system (Psalm 1:1-2). If a person continually refuses to allow the Word of God to transform his thinking, chances are great that he is not really a Christian (Romans 8:14).
Pro-choice advocates state that the Bible does not address abortion, so the decision should be the individual’s. While it is true that the term “abortion” does not appear in the Bible, the principles about the value of life are there. In Exodus 21:22-23, God wrote into His Law protection for the unborn. If a pregnant woman was injured, causing her to lose her child, then the one who caused the injury was to be executed: “a life for a life.” The phrase “life for a life” says a lot. God considers the life of the unborn just as valuable as that of a grown man.
God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5). It was God who created him for a specific purpose. Psalm 139:13-16 gives us the clearest picture of God’s viewpoint on the unborn. David writes, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . . My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret. . . .Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, before one of them came to be.”
The Bible is clear that all human life is created by God for His purpose and His pleasure (Colossians 1:16), and a Christian who truly wants to know the heart of God must align his or her viewpoint with God’s. When we start justifying evil according to our understanding, we dilute the truth of God’s Word. When we rename adultery an “affair,” homosexuality an “alternative lifestyle,” and murder of the unborn a “choice,” we are headed for serious trouble. We cannot redefine what it means to follow Christ. Jesus said we must first “deny ourselves” (Matthew 16:24; Luke 9:23). Part of denying ourselves is letting go of comfortable lies the world has fed us. We have to let go of our own understanding and allow God to change us (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Some pro-choice advocates argue that they are not pro-abortion. They say they hate abortion, but support a woman’s right to choose. This makes as much sense as saying that you personally hate rape, but support a man’s right to commit it. The rhetoric sounds nice—the mention of “choice” makes it more appealing—but underneath is a direct conflict with God’s viewpoint in Scripture.
Pro-choice advocates often state that their position is “compassionate” and that pro-lifers don’t care about the woman or her child. This argument is a red herring. Whether pro-lifers “care” or not is irrelevant, just as it is irrelevant whether those opposed to robbery “care” about the banks being robbed. Robbery is against God’s moral law. So is abortion. And that’s the issue.
The Bible is clear: since God is the Creator of human life, only He can determine who lives or dies. And every person who claims the name of Christ has the obligation to make certain his or her views line up with His Word. Is it possible for a born-again Christian to be pro-choice? Yes. Is it likely that such a person will remain pro-choice? Not if he or she is allowing God’s Word to transform and renew his or her mind (Romans 12:2).