SHOULD WOMEN BE TRUSTED TO DRAW THE LINE ON ABORTION?

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc. 1:9). The issues of abortion and infanticide in America date back to the settlement of Jamestown in 1629.[1] In the mid 1800’s, anti-abortion activists such as Dr. Alexander Semmes warned that if they failed to stop the practice of abortion, it would eventually become “a characteristic feature in American ‘civilization.’”[2] Fast-forward to the 21st century, and one cannot help but marvel at the prescience of Dr. Semmes. Indeed, nearly two dozen candidates seeking the office of the presidency have openly lauded the virtues of abortion at any stage for any reason.

 

Touted as “women’s rights” and “reproductive health care,” abortion-on-demand has even been embraced by Mayor Pete Buttigieg—a self-professed Christian who has made morality the centerpiece of his campaign. Indeed, Mayor Pete frequently presents his radically progressive agenda as the only acceptable set of policies for a moral Christian,[3] and the Bible has proven to be his favorite weapon for bludgeoning those who question the viability of the Green New Deal, the wisdom of open borders, the need to double the minimum wage, and the morality of same-sex marriages. According to Mayor Pete, a proper understanding of the Christian faith leads to progressivism,[4] and a day of reckoning is coming for Christians who have allowed their conservatism to blind themselves to the moral imperatives of progressive leftist ideology.[5]

 

In an interview with The Breakfast Club, Mayor Pete Buttigieg suggested the Bible teaches life only begins after a baby can breathe air on its own, “[Pro-life people] hold everybody in line with this one piece of doctrine about abortion, which is obviously a tough issue for a lot of people to think through morally. Then again, there’s a lot of parts of the Bible that talk about how life begins with breath. Even that is something that we can interpret differently.”[6]

 

This is not a new argument. In 1870 Dr. O. C. Turner addressed this notion that “there is no life in the fetus until respiration is established after birth” by writing that if life does not begin until “the child is entirely separated from the mother,” then there is a problem of definition when “the child respires and the cord pulsates before it is tied.” He concluded:

Surely the child is alive then. It cannot be the mere act of tying the cord that produced life. Then when did life begin? With respiration? That is only one function. There was circulation previously, and the power of nervous action and motion. Why is not a fetus alive when it is diving and plunging in its mother’s womb? Simply because its lungs are not inflated? Out on such nonsense! One might as well say that a child born blind was not alive because it did not use its eyes. It is on the record, I believe that children have been born by the Caesarean section, after the death of the mother. If there was no vitality in the fetus previous to respiration, then why was it not dead, like the mother? There can be no doubt of it, there was vitality or life. Then if we acknowledge that the fetus had life, how can we say at what period of gestation that life commences? The period of quickening varies, and I do not see why a fetus is not quite as much alive just before it moves as just after.[7]

Dr. Turner concluded, “I stand firm in the opinion that there is life in the minutest ovum, and the burden of proof rests with the one who denies it.”

 

Nevertheless, Mayor Pete relies upon this flawed argument that life begins at first breath after birth to lend weight to an even greater error. Buttigieg concluded his comments to The Breakfast Club by saying, “No matter what you think about the cosmic question of how life begins, most Americans can get on board with the idea of, ‘I might draw the line here. You might draw the line there.’ The most important thing is the person who should be drawing the line is the woman making the decision.”[8]

 

Likewise, when asked at a Fox Town Hall, “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.”[9] In other words, 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—only women.

 

This too is not a new argument. Speaking on the subject of abortion, Andrew Jackson Davis—an influential but fraudulent medical “expert”—argued in 1856 that “the female has the right to control all the manifestations of love.”[10] Similarly, Dr. W. C. Lispenard wrote in 1854 that abortion “is exclusively the affair of the mother. She alone has a right to decide whether she will continue the being of the child she began. Moral, social, religious obligations should control her, but she alone has the supreme right to decide. We may not approve of the decision; we may look with horror upon the act—but God alone has the power to judge.”[11]

 

The belief that women alone have a right to determine if and when they should have an abortion was a favorite argument among Spiritists during America’s spiritism movement of the mid-1800s. During the 1850s and 1860s, Spiritists frequently met and passed resolutions that embodied their new faith, such as the belief “that the most sacred and important right of woman, is her right to decide for herself how often and under what circumstances she shall assume the responsibilities and be subject to the cares and sufferings of Maternity.”[12]

 

The Spiritists of the mid-1800s accepted a woman’s right to choose because of the belief that “no external authority, and no code of human laws can justly bind [women’s] affections, or interfere with their liberty to follow the impulse of their personal affinities.”[13] Having freed themselves of all moral obligation to anyone besides themselves and the pursuit of their own self-actualization, it was a woman’s “God-given right to rectify any mistakes they may have made, and do so as often as such mistakes occur.”[14]

 

“My body; my choice” has been a prevailing mantra among abortionists for nearly 200 years. Today’s proponents may be new faces, but the underlying arguments remain unchanged. Those supporting abortion want us to believe that only women have a right to decide if and when to kill their own baby. Incredibly, some—such as Pete Buttigieg—even want us to believe that this is biblical. However, the Bible clearly refutes this centuries-old lie.

 

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).

 

Pete Buttigieg is right to ask the question: who gets to decide when it is acceptable to kill a human baby? Unfortunately, his answer flagrantly defies God’s word. Women have no right to make this decision. Only God has the right to determine whether or not to destroy His image and to shed the blood of the innocent. And in every instance, God has ruled that we as human beings are obligated to protect and preserve such life.

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Timothy Zebell

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. Winthrop, John. Journal [History of New England]; Original Narratives of Early American History. James Hosmer, ed. New York: Scribner’s, 1908, pages 210–211. Source: Olasky, Marvin. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1992, page 20.

2. Stone, French. Biographies of Eminent American Physicians and Surgeons. Indianapolis: Carlon & Hellenbeck, 1894, page 495. And Mohr, James. Abortions in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978, pages 151–155. Source: Olasky, Marvin. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1992, page 118.

3. Desanctis, Alexandra. “Buttigieg Calls Climate Change a ‘Moral’ Issue, Says a ‘Reckoning’ Is Coming for Republicans.” The Corner. National Review, September 5, 2019, 3:21 p.m. https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/buttigieg-calls-climate-change-a-moral-issue-says-a-reckoning-is-coming-for-republicans/.

4. Powers, Kirsten. “Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Countercultural Approach to Christianity Is What America Needs Now.” Opinion. USA Today, April 3, 2019, 3:15 a.m., ET. Last updated April 4, 2019, 1:40 p.m., ET. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/04/03/mayor-pete-buttigieg-christian-right-2020-democratic-primary-trump-column/3342767002/.

5. Desanctis, “Buttigieg Calls Climate Change a ‘Moral’ Issue, Says a ‘Reckoning’ Is Coming for Republicans.”

6. Desanctis, Alexandra. “Buttigieg Defends Abortion by Suggesting the Bible Says ‘Life Begins with Breath.’” The Corner. National Review, September 6, 2019, 4:33 p.m. https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/pete-buttigieg-defends-abortion-suggests-bible-says-life-begins-with-breath/.

7. Turner, O. C. “Criminal Abortion.” Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Vol. 5, April 21, 1870, pages 299–300. Source: Olasky, Marvin. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1992, page 121–122.

8. Desanctis, “Buttigieg Defends Abortion by Suggesting the Bible Says ‘Life Begins with Breath.’”

9. 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/.

10. Davis, Andrew. The Great Hamonia, Vol. 4. Boston: Sanborn, Carter, and Bazin, 1856, pages 426–445. Source: Olasky, Marvin. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1992, page 74.

11. Lispenard, W. C. Private Medical Guide. Rochester: J. W. Brown, 1854, page 194. Source: Olasky, Marvin. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1992, page 110.

12. Proceedings of the Free Convention, Rutland, Vermont, July 25–27, 1858. Boston: J. B. Yerrinton, 1858, page 9. Source: Olasky, Marvin. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1992, page 67.

13. Hatch, Benjamin. Spiritualists’ Iniquities Unmasked. New York: Hatch, 1859, page 24. Source: Olasky, Marvin. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1992, page 62.

14. Hatch, Benjamin. Spiritualists’ Iniquities Unmasked. New York: Hatch, 1859, page 24. Source: Olasky, Marvin. Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1992, page 64.

 

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.