Pro-Life, With Exceptions


[This article was written by Bryan Matthew Dockens.]

For years, political candidates have attempted to appease conservative voters by claiming to be “pro-life”, while moderating their positions to appeal to the mainstream by claiming three exceptions, namely: rape, incest, and the mother’s life. Is the pro-life position one that can bear exceptions?

In the case of rape, it is certainly true that someone deserves to die. That would be the rapist. The Old Law stated plainly, “If a man finds a betrothed young woman in the countryside, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lay with her shall die” (Deuteronomy 22:25). Although the Law of Moses has been done away with, capital punishment remains a valid penalty for crime (Romans 13:4).

Under what rationale can it be argued, though, that the unborn child, conceived in rape, deserves to perish for his father’s sins? In the Old Testament it was written, “The fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deuteronomy 24:26). The baby in the womb is entirely innocent of the sin his father committed against his mother. Spare that child the pain of death. Punish the sinner, not one of his victims.

Incest hardly merits attention apart from rape insomuch as forcible instances of incest are, by definition, rape cases. Rarer cases of non-forcible incest amount to nothing more than fornication.

Including incest as an excuse for infanticide is merely meant to provoke disgust at the thought of inbreeding. While inbreeding does increase the risk of birth defects, the probability rises no higher than seven percent, not outrageously higher than the three or four percent among the general population. Executing that defenseless child under the pretext of sparing him from the potential of disability is no kindness. When asked why a certain man was born blind, Jesus explained it presented an opportunity to reveal the works of God (John 9:2-3), then proceeded to heal the man. Such adversity as lifelong physical defect can lead to amazing opportunities to show God’s love and power.

The most reasonable cause proffered to excuse abortion is when pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. An effort to preserve one life appears, superficially, to be a still “pro-life” position. Yet, it remains invalid.

God decreed, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). The Lord here authorized ex post facto punishment for homicide, not preemptive attacks against unarmed infants. In those extraordinarily rare cases in which pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, the occupant of the womb is never directly, personally responsible for that woman’s health. However, in all cases in which a woman terminates pregnancy, she is completely, unavoidably responsible for that child’s welfare. The woman who aborts her baby “sheds man’s blood”; not so the child to the mother.

Women are taught “to love their children” (Titus 2:4). Jesus declared, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). Christians are called to replicate Christ’s love in personal conduct: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1st John 3:16). A woman who dies, refusing to end the life of her child, demonstrates the highest measure of love.

Abortion is murder no matter what excuses are made for it. Remember, “God hates… hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:16-17).

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  1. Greg Carlile says

    I really appreciate Andy’s comments and pointing out what side of the debate God falls on. I had a long discussion with a friend who was upset with me because this issue influenced the way I vote. She, like many others view pregnacy as a medical condition and that responsibility for a living person does not start until birth. She also feels that as a man I don’t have a say in the issue as it is about a woman’s body.

  2. Thanks for the comment Greg. Just to be clear, I did not write this article. It was written by Bryan Dockens. I agree with his points, which is why I am sharing it here, but I don’t want to take credit for his work in putting this together.

    That being said, understanding the great importance of this issue should naturally influence our vote (should we choose to participate in the election process), for two reasons:

    First, this is a moral issue before it is a political one. Christians may have different views on certain political issues, but moral issues are far more important than political ones.

    Second, we must understand the role God has ordained for government. Romans 13 teaches the responsibility of civil authorities to punish evildoers. Implied in that is the need to protect the innocent. What group is more innocent and defenseless than the unborn? So not only is abortion an abomination morally, but civil leaders are also divinely obligated to punish those who deliberately end the life of one of these children.

  3. Pat Hagerman says

    I find it very two faced by pro choice people that when a fetus is not wanted it is acceptable to abort but when a woman is happy and excited about having a baby and her fetus dies accidentally those same people are so sorry that she lost her baby. A fetus when unwanted and a baby when wanted. hmmmm.