Can I be forgiven for having an abortion?

Abortion has recently been a major topic of conversation in the Everlasting Truths ministry. The Biblical view of abortion is that it is always the willful murder of an innocent human life. Abortion is a horrible thing, the slaughter of one of society’s most innocent and helpless. These truths should sting, but they should not drive anyone to despair. The tragedy of abortion is not exhausted in the extermination of unborn babies but also in the guilt, shame and emotional turmoil of millions of women who have had abortions. Many of these women wonder if she can ever be forgiven. To that anguished heart, Bible shouts a joy filled answer. The resounding cry echoing out of the pages of the Bible is, Yes, you can be forgiven. Whether you have had an abortion, talked a partner into having an abortion or performed abortions, forgiveness is not out of reach.

The Biblical promise of salvation is not limited those individuals who have been basically good. There is no such thing as a sin God will refuse to forgive, nor a level of sinfulness beyond God’s grace. The promise of the Bible is clear, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19) The Israelites were guilty of a wide range of wicked sins, including sacrificing their infants and young children to idols. Despite the greatness of their sin, God offers a blanket promise. He will give full forgiveness to those who turn from their false worship to Him. He gives the same promise to all men today. No matter the magnitude of your sin, if you will turn from your sin to Him, He will have compassion and cast all your sin into the deepest seas. In Isaiah God promises, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) You may have a scarlet letter emblazoned in fiery letters on your heart, always reminding you of the wrong you have done. You may feel as if there is no way you can ever atone for your sin. The promise of God is you don’t have to make atonement or purge your guilt. Atonement has been made. The judge stands ready to erase all your guilt.

The promise of Jesus is that your abortion will never be remembered by God. You do not have to live in shame or guilt. You can be fully forgiven. When you turn from your sin to Jesus, God promises to remove all your sin. Jesus took on Himself the entirety of the punishment you deserve and gives His righteousness to all who believe. When you place your full dependence on Jesus, the Son of God who died, was buried and rose again for your sin, God will look on you differently. No longer will you be condemned. You will be a righteous daughter of God who is covered by the blood of Jesus. Despite the awful tragedy of abortion, it is not the unforgivable sin. Penance is not required, shame can be set aside, guilt is removed because the full penalty has been paid by Jesus.

Why do Christians insist abortion is murder?

The news has been buzzing with reports of secretly recorded video showing abortion providers discussing the best way to dismember a baby to maximize the possibility of getting salable parts. The apparent callousness has stirred up intense conversation about abortion and Planned Parenthood. The callous treatment of such a barabarous practice has shocked many. The abortion industry’s hypocrisy is made evident by these videos. One defense offered for harvesting organs from the unborn is that the material is not from a living person, but a mass of tissue that has the potential to become a person. Many Christians respond that the “product of conception” being aborted is a living human being who possesses all the necessary traits of personhood. To kill the baby in the womb, even if it somehow results in saving lives by furthering medical research, is just as murderous an act as killing the infant in the crib.

Why do Christian’s make such a claim? Don’t scientists disagree about when life begins? Don’t philosophers and psychologists disagree about what makes a person a person? Despite the appearance of a lack of consensus about life and personhood, the Christian declares abortion is murder because of the teachings of the Word of God. The abortion debate does not center around whether it is legitimate to kill an innocent, defenseless person. Very few argue it is right to kill someone for convenience sake. The abortion debate centers around the origin of life and the beginning of personhood.

The origin of life is not an easy topic to discuss, but one point is most defensible as the true beginning of human life- fertilization. When the mother’s egg is fertilized it begins the journey that will naturally end in the birth of a human baby. From that point on a myriad of things happen, but each event is just the next step in a series that begin at fertilization. Some have argued the baby is not really alive until after birth, but modern science, including ultrasound technology and surgical procedures on infants en utero, has show the impossibility of that argument. Defining life based on a stage in the pregnancy, whether it be weeks, trimesters or developmental milestones are all equally specious. Why is a baby at the very end of the first trimester not life, but the next day is a life? All marks are arbitrary except one. Life begins at conception and grows progressively until it reaches maturity. The Levitical passages regarding the protection of the unborn child show the Bible definitely views the baby in the womb as alive.

The harder question is that of personhood. When does a life in the womb become a person? Several Biblical characters evidence marks of personhood in the womb. Jacob and Esau fought together in the womb. While still in the womb, John the Baptist leapt for joy when Mary, the mother of Jesus, visited Elizabeth. Other individuals, including Jeremiah, were called out by God for ministry before their birth. All these actions and emotions- jealousy, anger, joy, spiritual awareness and calling to ministry- are evidences of genuine personhood. The strongest Biblical statements on the personhood of the unborn are found in the Psalms. Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” The Psalmist was declared by God to be a sinful creature though still in the womb. God does not hold a lump of tissue guilty, only persons. God does not hold a collection of cells as sinful, only a person. Indvidual and unique personhood is declared by God in His Word.

The fetus is a living human being who possesses all the attributes of personhood. Abortion is murder because it is the immoral destruction of an innocent human life. Abortion crushes the life of a person made in the image of God. Abortion rips apart the life of the most innocent persons on our planet. Abortion is murder most heinous.