The Religious And Secular Arguments Against Abortion


As we make the case for life, it’s important to remember that not everyone shares our presuppositions.

We may believe in God and affirm that the Bible is God’s Word, but others we speak with deny His existence and treat the Bible like any other book. How can we make the case for life to people of faith and to those who do not share our faith?

Ultimately, both the secular and religious arguments intersect at one essential point: There is a tiny human being inside that womb, and its life should not be terminated. But how we present our arguments will differ based on our audience.

Religious Point of View

From the perspective of Bible-believing faith, we start with the recognition that it is God who gives life and that, at the moment of conception, life begins.

From that split second, an intricate process of development begins, described vividly (and in non-scientific terms) in Psalm 139:13-16:

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Digging deeper into the Scriptures, we note that Isaac’s wife Rebekah was told that two nations were in her womb, pointing to the personhood and potential of her unborn twins, both of whom would become the ancestors of whole nations (Genesis 25:21-23,). 

Similarly, John the Baptizer leapt in his mother’s womb when Miriam (Mary) arrived, with the baby Jesus in her womb (Luke 1:39-43; see also 1:15, where John would be filled with the Spirit even from his mother’s womb). A clump of cells does not jump with spiritual excitement, nor can a clump of cells be filled with the Spirit.

In the same way, God told the prophet Jeremiah that He had selected him as a prophet before he was even in his mother’s womb (which was his point of origin; Jeremiah 1:4-5), while Paul said that God set him apart from his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15).

Put another way, when Jeremiah or Paul or John or even Jesus looked like a clump of cells in their mother’s womb (which is how and where all of us started), God had a purpose for their lives and there was divine destiny within them. To abort them would be to abort the divine purposes and unique destinies planned for their lives.

In keeping with this (although not in the context of abortion), there is a Jewish tradition that explains why.

When Cain killed Abel, the Hebrew speaks of Abel’s “bloods” (in the plural) crying out to God from the ground (Genesis 4:10). This, the tradition states, is because the text spoke of both Abel and his potential future descendants. All their blood cried out for justice from the ground.

In the same way, when a baby is killed in the womb, all its future is killed with it.

Secular Point of View

Coming from a non-religious point of view, the emphasis should be placed on science and humanity.

From the perspective of science, we demonstrate that there is a baby, not a growth, inside the mother. From the perspective of humanity, we tell the stories of those who survived abortion or were conceived in rape, along with the stories of the women (and men) who participated in abortions and were scarred for life because of it.

Recently, even non-religious people like Bill Maher and Joe Rogan have made statements recognizing the complexities of the abortion debate.

Rogan recently said,

“I am 100% for a woman’s right to choose. But as a human being, just a person observing things, there’s a big difference between a little clump of cells and a fetus with the eyeball and a beating heart. And for anybody to pretend there’s not. . . .”

As for Maher, he opined,

“It’s what you think, if you like babies, then you’re pro-life, and if you like women, you’re pro-choice. I like women. . . .

“I just — I feel like…abortion is unique. It is. Because people either — you just have this view that it’s murder — I could put the argument on a hat when people talk about a woman’s right, murder isn’t a right. If you think it’s murder — I don’t — again, crazy me.”

What can we do to help non-religious people recognize that there is a real human being inside that womb?

Many abortions take place when the baby is 8 weeks old, at which time the baby is just the size of a raspberry. But, according to the Pampers.com website (hardly a religious website), at this stage,

“hands and feet are forming tiny fingers and toes, and those arms are able to flex at the elbows and wrists. 

“At this point, eyes begin to develop pigment, and genitals are forming too, although it’s still too soon to know whether you’re expecting a boy or a girl. 

“These external features aren’t the only things developing — the internal organs are making strides, too. As the intestines form, they start to take up space in the umbilical cord because there’s not enough room in your baby’s abdomen yet. Even at this early stage, the intestines are working to carry waste away from the body.”

This is a living, developing, human being, which is why this section of the Pampers website, which is designed to be read by expectant mothers, is so filled with wonder and excitement. This is about your little girl or boy!

Looking at ultrasound images of babies in the womb is also quite powerful, making late-term abortions in particular sound all the more barbaric (which they are).

Our ministry even designed a meme comparing a powerful image that helped outlaw slavery in the British empire (with the chained slave asking, “Am I not a man and a brother?”) with an image we created (depicting a baby in the womb asking, “Am I not a baby and a sister?”).

That’s why expectant mothers grieve deeply over a miscarriage, even early in the pregnancy. They don’t need a doctor to tell them that they lost a child, not a tumor.

You can also ask a “pro-choice” friend if they’re familiar with the acronym POC, standing for “products of conception,” referring to the baby parts that get thrown away after abortion. Ask them if they’re willing to look at these babies and baby parts. Do they really support this?

Or consider the story of Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

As noted by in a medical law journal,

“During his tenure as director of the largest abortion clinic in the Western World, Nathanson presided over 60,000 abortions, and he performed more than 1,500 in his own practice. His studies of embryology and evidence from emerging technologies to monitor and examine intrauterine fetal development led Nathanson to question the morality of voluntarily interrupting pregnancy, thence to rejecting abortion procedures from his own clinical practice altogether, and eventually to become involved in anti-abortion, pro-life activities.”

And he had this change of heart as a non-believer, only later becoming a Christian.

There are also the powerful stories of people like Gianna Jessen, who survived a saline abortion, or the internationally-known evangelist James Robison, who was conceived in rape. (A story about him notes that, “At least 20,000,000 have been saved because one doctor said ‘no’ to abortion.”)

And there are the stories of those who had abortions, only to grieve deeply over the life (or lives) they had snuffed out. Abortion hurts everyone.

Let us, then, make the case for life. Let these children live!

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries and is the author of 40 books. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

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