Sunday, November 25, 2012

Open reply to M: Why abortion cannot be a matter of personal choice

Here is an opinion on abortion that I have received:

I'm not sure what the medical facts are and I'm not pro-abortion but I think a woman needs to be given the choice and the right to terminate a pregnancy, if she wishes to. Also, doctors should be given the freedom to say no to perform an abortion. As a Christian, I would not abort my baby but I cannot expect every woman to share my beliefs and I would not want the government to make and execute laws based on a certain religious affiliation. The burqua or hijab is legal in some countries and I denounce that. It equally annoys me that just because a country is 'Catholic' they would base legislations on their faith.
I've been thinking about abortion a lot lately. My maid's sister-in-law is getting an abortion tomorrow. She's in her sixth month of pregnancy and found out, through a scan, that the baby does not have legs. The parents do not want to bring up such a could be many reasons - religious, financial and emotional. I'm glad that they are not forced to keep the baby and forced to raise a child they never wanted. I do not support their decision but I understand. This is a big change in thinking for me. Before I became a mom, I was anti-abortion. It was black and white for me. Becoming a parent has made me less judgemental and also respectful of other mums' choices. Over 90% of mums who find out that their baby (most likely) has Down's Syndrome abort their babies (in the US/UK, if I'm not wrong). I cannot conclude that they are all bad parents and do not have morals. I'm sure it was a tough choice for them. What about rape? If I got pregnant from a rape, I would certainly terminate the pregnancy. I'm sure God would understand that. I have thought about what God would think of me...a murderer? Or, would he understand and forgive me? A rape victim is traumatized for life and in some cases, may never be the same again. Having a child born out of rape is difficult even for the most courageous of will God not be merciful and understanding? Who knows what God thinks and how He will judge! So let's leave that between an individual and God.

Dear M,
Thank you for your comments. What I understand you to be saying is that while you would not personally abort your baby, you feel a woman should be given the right to make a choice to terminate a pregnancy.

Actually, your views are not new, or unique. This is one of the more common positions held by those who are both personally religious and pro-choice, and so I have opted to reply in an open blog post.

You say, “As a Christian, I would not abort my baby.” Let me ask, why not? Why would you not abort your baby? Think carefully before you reply.

Because you are a Christian? Or because of what you understand an abortion to be?

I would hazard a guess that you feel abortion is wrong, because it takes the life of a human being. I think that you can probably see past the euphemistic terms used by other pro-abortion activists (“products of conception”, “human fetus”, “fetal tissue”, etc,), and know that this unborn organism within the womb is, in fact, a unique human being. The paternal sperm and maternal ovum have combined at conception to form a brand-new human, with a unique DNA make up that has never been seen before, and will never occur again. This human baby is living, rapidly-growing, and special.  

So then, are you actually saying that while you would not personally kill this baby, you believe it should be legal for somebody else to choose to kill their baby?

This is not a religious issue, equivalent to choosing to wear (or not to wear) a hijab. Ultimately, the question boils down to, “What is the unborn?” There is only one reasonable answer, whatever your religion. And if you answer that the unborn is human, and alive, you cannot avoid reaching the conclusion that abortion means killing a human being. You would also be unable to give anybody else the right to perform that killing.

Perhaps you say, “This is my personal opinion, and I cannot impose my views on anybody else.”


Do you think that if somebody else disagrees or has another opinion, the unborn will cease to be human and living? Does the reality of the baby’s existence depend on our perception of it, or our own personal opinion? 

Is truth absolute, or are there different truths for different people?

Do you really think that governments should not protect the rights of these, their weakest and most helpless citizens, but rather abdicate their duty, while trusting in the goodness of human beings to make unselfish choices?

Do you think we should be allowed to kill babies because it is inconvenient, or because it will be difficult to bring them up? If abortion is alright for babies with Down’s syndrome, or for babies without legs, why is it wrong for parents to kill their fetal daughters, who may be similarly unwanted, or inconvenient, placing a financial, emotional and social burden on the parents?

Do you think all ‘imperfect’ babies should be killed? We could start with the ones who have Down’s syndrome, and then move on to the ones with club foot and cleft lip, and then on to thosewho have a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, theft, and disobedience toparents. If it is okay to kill babies with Down’s while they are in the womb, what is wrong in killing them after they are born? Or when they are older? Why not kill all those who are less perfect than us, like Hitler did?

Do you think that because the choice is difficult, it is alright to make the wrong choice?

What about the child who is conceived as a result of rape? Does that make the child less human, less alive, or less precious? The truth is that this child, too, is a victim of rape, and while the mother has, indeed, gone through a harrowing experience, and faces a difficult choice, the solution is not to kill the other victim. That approach makes this terrible situation even worse.

Please do not think I have been provocative, or unnecessarily hard-hitting. I have been trying to communicate my thoughts as persuasively and forcefully as I can. I do this because I am convinced this is a crucial issue. I would go as far as saying that this is probably the most important social issue of our generation, and Christians ought to be at the forefront in speaking up for these voiceless, just as our heroes before us spoke up against slavery, racism, and apartheid.

Finally, let me also admit I have a personal stake in this discussion. You know the story of my family. I know a little more about the stories of our children, and I am so blessed that they had courageous biological mothers who were willing to make difficult choices to allow these precious children to live.

Let me suggest to you that giving their babies for adoption is an unselfish, and immensely difficult decision that women who are going through the trauma of going through an unwanted pregnancy can be strengthened and enabled to take. 

Related posts:

Image bearers

Is Genetic Selection our Moral Obligation

Only 0.006 percent of abortions are done to save the mother's life


  1. Hi Pradeep, I'm surprised that no-one has commented on this. I was expecting to see a number of comments accusing you of being hard-hearted and not being ever able to understand the pain of the families. I think the fact there are no comments speaks of the clarity with which you have presented your view. And of course, you can speak from a truly personal experience on this issue. Thank you for this post. I had read it a long time back and reading it again has clarified many things for me. May God bless you and may He protect all the unborn babies who are in danger of their lives through people like you who can speak so clearly on this issue.