Is it true that the Bible supports the pro-choice position when it comes to abortion? After all, the Bible is about making choices, including the choice of whether we go to heaven or hell. But the Bible is not about coercion, because of which, the argument goes, we should not pass laws forbidding abortion. That is the woman’s choice. How should we respond to this line of reasoning?
In recent days, well-known TV personalities like Whoopi Goldberg and Rev. Al Sharpton have made this argument.
Goldberg stated that God gave us “freedom of choice.”
Rev. Sharpton said,
“The Bible — if you’re using this as a religious argument — the Bible is about choice. You can go to heaven or hell; there’s nowhere in the Bible that says you have to go to heaven. So where do we get this theology of forcing something when the reality is that you can’t even biblically base that?”
“If you are a minister as I am, you can preach to people to convert them. You do not make laws to compel them.”
On the one hand, God did give us freedom of choice, and we should all be thankful for that. None of us want to be robots who are preprogrammed to behave in a certain way. None of us want to be automatons. In fact, next to our existence, the thing we prize most is our freedom.
It is also true that God does not compel us to follow Him.
He draws us and calls us and appeals to us and reaches out to us and admonishes us. But He does not force us.
As expressed by Moses in Deuteronomy,
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (Deuteronomy 30:19–20).
Or in the words of Joshua,
“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:14–15).
Or in the words of Jesus,
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13–14).
We choose the gate; we choose our fate. God does not force us to come.
But what does this have to do with making laws concerning abortion (or, for that matter, making other laws)? Absolutely nothing.
Laws are put in place for the good of society, to maintain order and to enhance safety.
That’s why it is illegal to drink and drive.
Yes, it’s your choice. But when your choice can potentially affect other people’s lives, there are laws that restrict your choices. Make the wrong choice, and you will pay the penalty.
In the same way, it is illegal to possess or sell heroin.
Yes, it’s your choice as to whether you put drugs into your body. But certain drugs are considered a danger to society, because of which laws are passed against their distribution and use.
More broadly, even though someone can choose to steal or murder, it is illegal to do so, and all of us (aside from the lawbreakers) are glad these laws are in place. Without them, society would collapse overnight. There would be chaos and mayhem on an unprecedented scale.
When it comes to our own bodies, we can shave our heads or pierce our tongues or cover our torso with tattoos. Theoretically, we could even cut off one of our fingers or toes if we chose to.
But we don’t have the right to do this to someone’s else body. And when it comes to abortion, the woman is making a choice about the body within her body. That is not her right.
Yes, she has the freedom to make that choice. But it is a choice with consequences, a sinful choice, a wrong choice in God’s sight, a choice that negatively affects another life.
In cases like this, the law should be here to protect the life of that baby in the womb. That is what righteousness and justice (let alone mercy and compassion) require. This is especially true when we realize that, according to the Bible, that baby is created in the image of God and is already a human being with destiny and purpose in His sight.
That’s why, when it comes to abortion, those who honor God and love His Word should be pro-life.