A Matter of Life and Death

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Abortion deaths are down significantly from the 56 million global average between 2010 and 2014.[1] Nevertheless, abortion remains the world’s leading cause of death, killing more than 42 million innocent babies in 2019.[2] To put this into perspective, the total number of deaths by every other cause in 2019 was 58.6 million.[3]

However, abortion deaths are not considered a legitimate cause of death by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Heather Boonstra, director of public policy for the reproductive health research organization Guttmacher Institute, explains to Snopes, “Abortion is a legal, constitutionally protected medical procedure in the United States. It’s not considered a cause of death by CDC, WHO and other leading authorities, and statistics on induced abortion are excluded in the CDC’s national fetal-death statistics.” According to the World Health Organization, ischaemic heart disease and stroke remains the leading cause of death, accounting for more than 15 million deaths annually.[4] In 2019 cancer claimed the lives of 8.2 million, smoking related illnesses 5.2 million, and HIV/AIDS 1.7 million.[5]

Abortion deaths do not receive the attention they deserve because “the medical community does not confer personhood upon fetuses that are not viable outside the womb.”[6] This is the heart of the issue. Wired magazine writes, “Make no mistake, the ultimate question is, when does a fetus become a person—at fertilization, at birth, or somewhere in between?”[7]

Here in America, where approximately 1 million abortions are performed every year, the question of when a developing human being should be granted the status of personhood is increasingly at the center of party politics. In fact, this last week provided a kind of split screen look at our options in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

During a Fox News town hall event with Democrat presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Kristin Day asked the mayor, “I am a proud pro-life Democrat. Do you want the support of pro-life Democratic voters? There are 21 million of us. And if so, would you support more moderate platform language to insure the party of diversity and inclusion does include everybody?”[8][9] Mayor Pete responded by saying, “I am pro-choice and I believe that a woman ought to be able to make that decision. … The best I can offer is that if we can’t agree on where to draw the line, the next best thing we can do is agree on who should draw the line and in my view it’s the woman who’s faced with that decision in her own life.”[10][11]

This is consistent with Mayor Pete’s 2019 appearance at a Fox News town hall event. At that time he was asked by Chris Wallace, “Do you believe, at any point in a pregnancy, whether it’s at six weeks or eight weeks or 24 weeks or whenever, that there should be any limit on a woman’s right to abortion?” Mayor Pete answered, “I think the dialogue has gotten so caught up in when you draw the line that we’ve gotten away from the fundamental question of who gets to draw the line. And I trust women to draw the line.”[12]

This is not only Mayor Pete’s view, it is the position of the Democratic Party. This became evident when Kristin Day told Chris Wallace:

He did not answer the second part of my question and the second part was: the Democratic platform contains language that basically says that we don’t belong, we have no part in the party because it says abortion should be legal up to nine months, the government should pay for it, and there’s nothing that says that people who have a diversity of views on this issue should be included in the party. In 1996 and several years after that, there was a language in the Democratic platform that said that we understand that people have very differing views on this issue, but we are a big tent party that includes everybody, and so therefore we welcome you, people like me, into the party so we can work on issues that we agree on. So, my question was would you be open to language like that in the Democratic platform that really did say that our party is diverse and inclusive and we want everybody?[13][14]


Incredibly, Mayor Pete responded by saying that pro-life Democrat views are not welcome within his party, “Well I support the position of my party, that this kind of medical care needs to be available to everyone. … Hopefully we will be able to partner on other issues.”[15][16] Based on this statement and others made by prominent Democrats, it appears that the morality of abortion is not open to debate within the Democrat Party. Presently, little to no consideration is being given to the prospect of granting personhood status to unborn children. Moreover, the Party has determined that only women have the right to determine the morality of ending a baby’s life—not medical experts, not government officials, not even God Himself. This position has now been affirmed by all the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.[17][18]

In stark contrast President Trump made history only two days earlier when he showed solidarity with those who seek to protect and preserve the life of the unborn by being the first sitting president to address the annual March for Life rally.[19] “All of us here today understand an eternal truth,” declared President Trump, “Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and sanctity of every human life.”[20]

Unlike Mayor Pete, President Trump believes it is only God who has the right to “draw the line” regarding when abortion is acceptable. He told half a million people gathered at the March for Life rally, “When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation. … As the Bible tells us, each person is ‘wonderfully made.’”[21]

Unequivocal in his support of the pro-life movement, President Trump announced, “Unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.”[22] He then proceeded to back his statement with tangible measures his administration has taken to protect and preserve life. What was unknown at the time was that a new measure was being enacted that very day. The Health and Human Services Department Office for Civil Rights (OCR) sent a message to the state of California explaining that they would lose federal funding unless they stop requiring health insurance companies to provide abortion coverage.

The letter stated, “OCR is issuing a Notice of Violation to the state of California, formally notifying California that it cannot impose universal abortion coverage mandates on health insurance plans and issuers in violation of federal conscience laws. California has deprived over 28,000 people of plans that did not cover elective abortion, but now must cover abortion due to California’s mandate.” According to the OCR, California has violated the Weldon Amendment, which “has been added to federal spending bills since 2004, [and] specifies that federal funds may not be provided to any state or local governments that subject ‘any institutional or individual healthcare entity to discrimination on the basis that the healthcare entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.’”[23]

Certainly, there are other issues with their own pros and cons to take into consideration when we head to the polls in 2020, but on this particular moral issue, our choices couldn’t be more diametrically opposed, nor could the stakes be higher. The abortion of unborn babies is a shedding of innocent blood, which is something that God hates (Prov. 6:16–17) and is something for which God judges nations (Jer. 19:3–6). The Bible frequently speaks about how the shedding of innocent blood makes a nation guilty in God’s sight and pollutes the land until the guilt of that murder is purged from the land (Deut. 19:10; Psa. 106:37–38).

In God’s mind an unborn baby is a person (Isa. 44:24) capable of experiencing emotions and of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41, 44). More importantly, unborn babies are created by God (Psa. 139:13–14) after His own image (Gen. 1:27), and it is He who grants them life (Psa. 139:16). Because of this, nobody—including the child’s mother—has the right to destroy God’s image. One of God’s earliest commands can be found in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” And this command is repeated throughout Scripture (Exo. 20:13; 23:7; Rom. 13:9).

By no means is this an imperative to vote for Donald Trump in 2020 as there are many factors and other moral issues to take into consideration. Furthermore, no candidate will ever be without character and policy flaws. But how can we make such a decision if we aren’t willing to honestly evaluate the field and acknowledge where each candidate stands on the moral issues that either provoke God to wrath or engender His blessing? The point of this article is that we as Christians must not allow fear of sounding as if we are endorsing a particular candidate or Party to silence us on moral issues.

As citizens, we are faced with two very different national paths. One path affirms God’s rightful position to establish what is morally right and wrong, while the other seeks to transfer that authority to each individual woman. One path seeks to protect life, while the other is content to foster a system that nearly doubles the world’s annual death toll. One path seeks to avert God’s wrath, while the other invokes it. As Christians, we cannot ignore this reality. We cannot dismiss it as partisan politics or a women’s rights/health issue. America’s politicians have drawn a moral line in the sand, boldly proclaimed their positions on the matter of abortion, but if the church remains timid and silent, we will be found grossly negligent before the One who created life.

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Timothy Zebell

As a former missionary to Asia for twelve years and the author of several books, Timothy is passionate about helping people understand the relevancy of God's Word in today's world. His goals are to help Christians discern truth from error, empower Christians to speak into cultural matters with relevancy, and to help Christians capitalize on the opportunities that these matters provide for sharing the truth about God and His gospel message.
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1. “Preventing Unsafe Abortion.” World Health Organization, June 26, 2019. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/preventing-unsafe-abortion.

2. Freiburger, Calvin. “Abortion Again Tops Worldwide Causes of Death in 2019 at More Than 42 Million.” Life Site News, January 2, 2020, 4:28 p.m., EST. https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abortion-again-tops-worldwide-causes-of-death-in-2019-at-more-than-42-million.

3. Decision Magazine Staff. “Abortion Leading Cause of Death Worldwide in 2019.” January 2, 2020. https://decisionmagazine.com/abortion-leading-cause-death-worldwide-2019.

4. “The Top 10 Causes of Death.” World Health Organization, May 24, 2028. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death.

5. Decision Magazine Staff, “Abortion Leading Cause of Death Worldwide in 2019.”

6. Palma, Bethania. “Was Abortion the ‘Leading Cause of Death’ in 2018?” Snopes, January 3, 2019. https://www.snopes.com/news/2019/01/03/abortion-leading-cause-of-death.

7. Zhang, Sarah. “Why Science Can’t Say When a Baby’s Life Begins.” Wired, October 2, 2015, 2:25 p.m. https://www.wired.com/2015/10/science-cant-say-babys-life-begins.

8. “Buttigieg Responds to Pro-Life Democrat.” YouTube video, 4:06. Posted by “TheDC Shorts,” January 26, 2020. https://youtu.be/66H4UNTu2Io.

9. Kruta, Virginia. “Pete Buttigieg Tells Pro-Life Democrat He Supports Party’s Position against Pro-Lifers.” January 26, 2020, 9:13 p.m., ET. https://dailycaller.com/2020/01/26/pete-buttigieg-tells-pro-life-democrat-pro-lifers-dont-belong.

10. “Buttigieg Responds to Pro-Life Democrat.”

11. Kruta, “Pete Buttigieg Tells Pro-Life Democrat He Supports Party’s Position against Pro-Lifers.”

12. Desanctis, Alexandra. “Pete Buttigieg, Moral Tactician.” Religion. National Review, August 14, 2019, 6:30 a.m. https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/08/pete-buttigieg-christian-moralist-of-the-left.

13. “Buttigieg Responds to Pro-Life Democrat.”

14. Kruta, “Pete Buttigieg Tells Pro-Life Democrat He Supports Party’s Position against Pro-Lifers.”

15. “Buttigieg Responds to Pro-Life Democrat.”

16. Kruta, “Pete Buttigieg Tells Pro-Life Democrat He Supports Party’s Position against Pro-Lifers.”

17. “Abortion.” Politico, January 14, 2020. https://www.politico.com/2020-election/candidates-views-on-the-issues/health-care/abortion-contraception.

18. Zempel, Kylee. “Will Any 2020 Democrat Align with Americans on Abortion? ‘In a Word, No.’” Federalist, January 27, 2020. https://thefederalist.com/2020/01/27/will-any-2020-democrat-align-with-americans-on-abortion-in-a-word-no.

19. McCammon, Sarah. “President Trump Faces Friendly Crowd at March for Life.” NPR, January 24, 2020, 5:27 a.m., ET. https://www.npr.org/2020/01/24/798994515/president-trump-to-face-friendly-crowd-at-march-for-life.

20. Trump, Donald. “Remarks by President Trump at the 47th Annual March for Life.” White House, 12:41 p.m., EST. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-47th-annual-march-life.

21. Trump.

22. Trump.

23. Levey, Noam. “Trump Administration Moves against California on Abortion Covered by Health Plans.” Los Angeles Times, January 24, 2020, 11:09 a.m. https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-01-24/trump-administration-moves-against-california-on-abortion-coverage.


Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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