Editor's Note: Names have been changed to protect anonymity.
Imagine it's your first night hosting a national call-in counseling broadcast. The program is live, your calls aren't screened and no topic is taboo. The theme music plays ... the producer counts down the seconds ... "three, two, one, you're on!" Then, you hear these exact words:
"I was attacked two months ago, and I am pregnant through rape."
So began my first "Hope in the Night" radio broadcast in 1996. "What are you thinking about doing in regard to this child?" I asked the young caller named Sarah, who revealed she'd already visited a clinic. "I was thinking about having an abortion," she replied.
I expressed sincere sorrow over Sarah's situation and gently probed for more information. Sensing her conflict about abortion, we began discussing common arguments and answers, such as:
The Morality of Abortion
• Argument: "Abortion is not morally wrong."
Answer: Since human life begins at conception, then abortion by choice becomes premeditated murder. Exodus 20:13 says, "You shall not murder."
The Status of a Fetus
• Argument: "A fetus should not be regarded as a baby."
Answer: A fetus is not a mass of tissue. God's Word does not distinguish between a "potential baby" and a "newborn baby." In the Bible, the same Greek word brephos, is used to describe . . .
- a fetus. "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb" (Luke 1:41).
- babies. "People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them" (Luke 18:15).
The Reproductive Rights of Women
• Argument: "Every woman should have the right to control her own body."
Answer: Yes, she should, but in pregnancy there are . . .
- 2 different bodies
- 2 different heartbeats
- 2 different brain wave patterns
- 2 different genetic codes (DNA)
- often 2 different blood types
- often 2 different sexes
A woman should have the right to control her own body, but a woman should not have control over ending another's life. First Corinthians 6:19-20 says, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."
The Viability Factor
• Argument: "Abortion is permissible when a fetus is not 'viable.' A fetus that is incapable of sustaining life outside the womb is not a viable person and does not deserve protection from society."
Answer: To define viability as a person's ability to survive without assistance is dangerous because a person's viability can be lost as a result of age, illness or serious injury. A 3-month-old girl cannot sustain life on her own. Nor can a 60-year-old man who is dependent on a respirator.
But do their situations negate the personhood of these people? No! Should these persons be candidates for destruction? No! Those who insist on a viability standard remove protection from those who need it the most. The viability factor is not a valid argument. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says, " I have set before you life and death. ... Now choose life, so that you and your children may live."
Biblical truth, delivered compassionately, can help an abortion-minded woman change her course, as can other critical information. For example, I always recommend an ultrasound to those contemplating abortion, aware that at least 84 % of the time, a woman will choose to keep her baby if she can see its image in her womb.
Discussing fetal development is another powerful way to help women think of their babies as living human beings rather than soulless masses of matter. For instance, if I learn the new mother is 12-weeks pregnant, I'm likely to say, "Twelve weeks – how wonderful! We know, then, that your baby's arms and legs are now moving, and little fingernails and toenails have already appeared. Your baby is now inhaling and exhaling. In fact, she may be sucking her thumb right now!"
I am also aware that a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy may have many immediate, practical needs – from prenatal care and a safe place to live ... to transportation and maternity clothes. Offering referrals to pregnancy resource centers and appropriate social service networks can be a tremendous encouragement, helping her see she's not alone nor out of options.
I didn't have time to cover all of this ground during my half-hour call with Sarah. As the program drew to a close, however, I left her with this parting thought: "Do realize that there is the option of adoption. Moses was adopted. And the way we even come into the family of God is by adoption. That is not unworthy for a child if that is God's will. Since it is God's will for you to keep the child, then God will give you the wisdom to know what to do each step of the way."
Thinking I'd never know "the rest of the story," you can imagine my surprise when, the very next night, Sarah called me back to tell me she'd decided against the abortion. Months later, she called again to update me on the status of her beloved baby girl. What a joy!
The Bible says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:13). Helping abortion-minded women understand the issues and options surrounding an unwanted pregnancy is one of the most meaningful opportunities – and ministries – any Christian could embrace.
Learn more about June and Hope for the Heart by visiting hopefortheheart.org/CP. Here you can connect with June on Facebook and Twitter, listen to her radio broadcasts, or find much-needed resources.