I’m sure many of us have had a heated discussion with someone on the topic of abortion. These kinds of exchanges can generate strong thoughts and feelings, especially if the dialogue takes place online where people can remain anonymous.
I recently had such a discussion on X (formerly Twitter) with a young woman. I’m going to call her Susan. She was in her early twenties and was boldly outspoken about her pro-choice views on abortion. You might find this interaction helpful in thinking about this controversial bioethical issue.
Here’s how the dialogue proceeded.
You are allowed to dislike abortions. You can even say it’s morally wrong. But you can’t expect someone else to not get an abortion because it goes against your personal morals. Your morals do not extend to other people’s bodies.
Morals often extend to other people’s bodies. To take the life of an innocent human being constitutes murder, which is immoral and illegal.
In a similar way, innocent unborn human persons have their own bodies that are in their mother’s body but still distinct from it. They also have their own fingerprint, blood type, and sex.
If the baby has its own body then it has no business being inside of mine—just remove it at nine weeks and it should be fine.
Generally speaking, you have a choice about whether you will get pregnant. Thank God your mother didn’t think it was a problem for your body (which was undergoing critical development) to be in her body until you could survive outside the womb. All human life is precious for we bear God’s image.
No, not all pregnancy is voluntary.
Correct. But please check the objective data about abortion. The majority of abortions are about convenience (birth control), not about the extremely rare cases of life of the mother, rape, and incest. I’m still glad your mother valued your life and my mother valued my life so we could meet together on X and dialogue about this important moral issue.
I knew someone who died in childbirth. Funny how the death certificate said postpartum hemorrhage and not sheer inconvenience.
I’m sorry for your loss, Susan. All human life is precious.
I’m grateful that science and medical technology, which was birthed in Christian Europe in the seventeenth century, has made childbearing much safer. I regret that any mother’s life is lost in childbirth. But the data is clear. The majority of abortions are about birth control, not about saving the life of the mother.
I would have rather been aborted than forced my mom to carry me against her will.
Again, I’m glad your mother didn’t see it that way. You can assert your autonomy today only because your mother protected you when you were small and vulnerable.
Your religion has nothing to do with me.
Actually, the Judeo-Christian view that all people bear God’s image and thus have inherent dignity and moral worth guided Western civilization—once called Christendom.
We should all be grateful that our mothers valued our dignity and worth.
Your views are biased by your religion.
Bias is not just a religious person’s problem. It’s a human problem.
The Bible’s broad explanation for the universal nature of bias and prejudice is called original sin. Thus, the Bible explains human beings quite well. We are an enigma of greatness (created in the image of God) and wretchedness (fallen into a state of sin).
Your approach to me is offensive. You have dismissed my identity and personhood all by saying abortion is about convenience.
Susan, I invite you to go back and review my responses and your responses. I think you’ll discover that I took your comments seriously and thoughtfully engaged with you as a person deserving of respect. And I treated you as I would want to be treated.
According to a Pew Report for 2020, the majority of abortions in the United States were obtained by unmarried women (86%)1 in their twenties (57%).2 According to a Guttmacher Institute report for 2004, the two major reasons given for abortion were “not ready” or “couldn’t afford a child” (48%)3, whereas “don’t want to be a single mother,” “not mature enough to raise a child,” or “would interfere with education or career” were other factors (19%).4 “Mother’s health” (4%) and “rape” (0.5%) were given far less as reasons for abortion.5
Many people, like Susan above, claim they are autonomous and can do what they want with their own bodies. As a result of this thinking, unborn humans who bear God’s image are routinely discarded as valueless lumps of tissue.
Christians view the body differently. Each body is a gift from God and one we hold in trusteeship throughout life.
As the apostle Paul proclaims in 1 Corinthians 6:19–21:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
- Kenneth Richard Samples, Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions, see chapter 16: “Don’t I Have a Right to Do What I Want with My Own Body?”
- Kenneth Richard Samples A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test, see chapter 10: “The Historic Christian View of Man.”
1. Jeff Diamant and Besheer Mohamed, “What the Data Says about Abortion in the U.S.,” Pew Research Center, January 11, 2023.
2. Diamant and Mohamed, “What the Data Says about Abortion.”
3. “Statistics on Abortion,” People Concerned for the Unborn Child, last updated December 2020.
4. “Statistics on Abortion.”
5. “Statistics on Abortion.”