In 1973, the Supreme Court decided the infamous Roe v Wade, a ruling striking down various Texas laws restricting abortion. It is estimated that since that ruling, 63 million unborn babies have lost their lives due to abortion in this country. Recently, the court overturned that ruling by deciding the case Dobbs v Jackson affirming the constitutionality of a Mississippi law which states, "[e]xcept in a medical emergency or in the case of a severe fetal abnormality, a person shall not intentionally or knowingly perform . . . or induce an abortion of an unborn human being if the probable gestational age of the unborn human being has been determined to be greater than fifteen (15) weeks.” This ruling opens the way for states to make their own rules on the legality of abortion within that state.
We have been led to believe that the abortion debate has created a great political divide. Perhaps that is true at the level of national politics but there is some surprising agreement among many everyday Americans. (See article linked below.) But how should we understand this issue theologically?
There are several Biblical passages one can turn to including in Psalm 139, "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." Or Psalm 51:5, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." But perhaps the most beautiful understanding of life in the womb is found in the incarnation of Jesus Himself. The Dobbs v. Jackson ruling was announced on June 24th, which the church for centuries has celebrated as the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. This feast day commemorates the visit of the pregnant Virgin Mary to her also pregnant cousin Elizabeth as recorded in Luke 1. Elizabeth says to Mary, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” The unborn Jesus was Elizabeth's Lord and John's. Even in the womb, John knew that he was in the presence of the Lord. Life in the womb is human life. Our God took on the flesh of an unborn child in the womb of His mother, showing that such life is precious to Him.
This is a Letter to the Editor I wrote that was published in the Wise County Messenger earlier this month. The links below are some of the source material for that letter: