Abortion – What would Jesus say about New York’s new law?
Jesus said a lot of things. There are things we know he said (his words recorded in the Bible), there are things that did not make it into writing (for example John 21:25), and there are things that we must infer that he would say if he were walking around today. As a society living thousands of years after Jesus’ ascension, we are left trying to figure out how best to live according to what the Bible tells us. Regardless of how you feel about Jesus as a religious figure, there is no doubt that he was a strong moral teacher. It is with this in mind that we must try to determine what Jesus would say about New York’s abortion law.
Late-term abortion was approved in New York State.
The big topic of discussion recently is the new abortion law that passed in New York by Governor Andrew Cuomo (Other states seemed to suddenly produce their own related bills as well, some of which were entirely opposite of what the liberal governor decreed). I live in New York so this hits closer to home than some other political debates out there. My intention is not to spark a political debate. Neither do I want this to be a religious post where we all have our own opinions. Instead, I want to look at how Jesus would expect us to respond to laws that go against the law of the Lord, and in particular this one on abortion.
Submit to authority?
Paul and Peter make references to submitting to authority (including governing authorities). Jesus made a mention of some form of submission (See: Submission to Human Authority, and Matthew 22:21). However, this cannot be a universal truth. If the government told you to kill all Christians obviously we would not submit. Therefore, we have to figure out where or when to biblically submit to authority.
Personally, I think that the only time we can rebel against government is when it directly goes against God’s will. If the laws of the land say we should not do something that means we are to submit to it unless God’s word says otherwise. For example, if the government tells us to break a ten commandment we should oppose it. However, even in that there may be some wiggle room. Such as, what is the definition of murder? Governments wage war. There were plenty of wars lead by God in the Old Testament and yet it didn’t fall into the category of murder.
On the other hand, this does not mean we can reject a law just because we don’t agree with it. The Bible says nothing about a legal driving or drinking age. However, since our government has established such laws, we are to follow them. We may not like the law, but the Bible tells us to abide by it because the governing authorities have said so. That said, I also believe we have the right to try and change laws we do not agree with. For example, if you feel all children under the age of 18 need a curfew, you have that right. You may have a lot of teenagers get mad at you, but as far as God is concerned I think you are good.
Abortion is wrong.
That said, I believe that God is “pro-life”. It doesn’t matter how that life formed. Never was an abortion seen as a viable option in the Bible and there are a lot of crazy things in there. Children are born from prostitutes, out of rape, with a lack of love, to people who were too young and to people who were too old. Never once did God say to destroy the child. Instead, God says things like:
6“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind. 7As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”Genesis 9:6-7
Abortion sheds human blood by humans. God makes fetuses in his image. Finally, people are to be fruitful and multiply. This means to increase the population. Sure, this message was directed to Noah and his family who were the only humans living on earth at the time, but the principles are still there and we know that God doesn’t change.
But God controls the womb!
Now, there is some argument about God opening and closing the womb. This attempts to put the blame on God for a pregnancy happening. (People use this to reject birth control as well). Despite hearing this from a biblical context, I cannot find scriptural support. If you know of any please, leave me a comment so I can research. However, if you tell me Isaiah 66 I am going to tell you to read the context. This is an analogy of a nation being born from God and doesn’t really say God opens and closes the womb. Maybe God closed Hannah’s womb in 1 Samuel 1. He then later opened it. However, this is a singular instance and far from a universal biblical truth.
God allows us to live with the consequences of our actions (and the actions of others in the sinful world). I do believe that if God truly didn’t want a woman to have a baby he would have stopped the pregnancy from happening. Especially in cases of rape, teen pregnancies, and other forms of malicious pregnancies. After all, the simple act of getting pregnant in and of itself is a small miracle. One that God could easily prevent if he chose. But he didn’t. He allowed that woman to get pregnant according to his plans.
In the Bible, God is never against a pregnancy. (Unless you count Matthew 24:19, but it still isn’t a sin to have the baby). On the other hand, ending the heartbeat of a human is a sin (again, outside of the confines of war, or punishment) in both the Old and New Testaments. In other words, if a woman was to approach Jesus and ask him if she should have an abortion, I can’t see any reason he’d say yes.