The following is an excellent video of Dr. Voddie Baucham, pastor of Grace Family Baptist Church in Houston Texas. In the first few minutes of the interview, he speaks to the issue of abortion in the cases of rape, incest and other difficult circumstances from a very personal vantage point. Many who identify themselves as “pro-life” seem to take a detour at these important junctures, but Dr. Baucham addresses them with clarity and conviction.
I wrote a post a while back called Thank You for Not Killing My Sister: Abortion and Down Syndrome. In it I quoted an article that said:
Although no national data are available, the abortion rate of fetuses with the condition [of Down Syndrome] was found to be 59% in one California study and 92% in an English study.
If you have not read my post, I argued that abortion is not the way to deal with Down Syndrome and that it is a mistake to kill these precious children. One of my main arguments springs from the experience I have had with my sister Heather. There are many people in America that are believing a lie that Down Syndrome children are “defective,” but this idea is totally contrary to my experience of growing up with a sister who did not mess things up but instead enhanced and brought joy to my life.
I am sad to say that since I wrote this post, on August 10th my beautiful, wonderful sister died in a Montana hospital. Heather beat the odds, lived to birth, and then continued to live an amazingly full life until she was 33. It happened very quickly. One night she woke up with severe nausea, was rushed to the hospital, and died later the next day. The diagnosis was unexplained bleeding on her brain. Needless we all were (and still are) shocked that she is gone.
The funeral was held in Colorado, where she lived most of the year with my parents. Though I recognize that I am prone to crying at these kind of things, I chose to speak anyway because I wanted to honor Heather. I was one of five people that chose to share about Heather’s impact on our lives and one of 200 in attendance of her funeral. Like the other speakers, I told the misty eyed crowd of the many ways in which my life was better because of Heather. It was through Heather that I first learned of God’s love for the weak and helpless. Heather taught me how to weep with those who weep. She showed me a boldness that could walk up to a man twice her size and tell him about Jesus as though he were an 80-year-old Sunday School teacher. And she taught me what Jesus meant when he said “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
I figured out pretty early on in my address that I could not look at the section where my family was seated. And the couple times I forgot to avoid eye-contact, I could not contain my tears. There in the section closest to the stage were some of the strongest people I knew sobbing like children. These who were the most “inconvenienced” by her condition were the ones who were crying the most. Why were they weeping? The same reason I am crying right now. We miss Heather. We loved Heather. We loved having her in our lives. As I spoke, I was looking into the eyes of people that would do anything to have just one more moment with her. People longing for one more chance to say something silly just to hear her laugh again. Most of whom, like myself, never even got to say goodbye.
Time for Reevaluation
So, in a world where the vast majority of babies with Down Syndrome are killed before they could ever take a breath, sat a church full of people thankful for every breath Heather took. I recently spoke to my mom about Heather and she commented that we have all been so impacted by Heather. She has had a positive effect on hundreds of people. And yet, so many pre-suppose that having a child would Down Syndrome would be a negative thing. Why? If that is true, where are the parents of children with Down Syndrome who are saying that they wished they would have aborted?
There are many reasons not to kill an unborn child with Down Syndrome, but I mainly just want to combat one lie with this post. It is the lie that if you have a baby with Down Syndrome, neither you nor your child will ever have joy. It is the lie that says that deformity and retardation equal suffering for the child and his or her parents. I can honestly say that I have never met a more joyful person in my life than Heather. Her middle name was Joy and truly that is what characterized her life. Yes, she was made fun of in elementary school. Yes, she had many more surgeries in her life than I have. Yes, she lived in her parents’ house until her death. But the amazing thing is that she never wanted to leave their house and my parents never wanted her to go. Heather not only lived a life full of joy, but she radiated it to others. Our lives were not worse because of her, they were better. And, to put it as my brother did, she was not defective, we are.
So, let us think about what is true today. Whether you are the one considering an abortion because the doctor told you your baby is deformed or a sidewalk counselor seeking save the lives of those with special needs, consider the irony of this story. Thousands of men and women killing children with Down Syndrome, and hundreds longing for more time with one.
A video celebrating the life of Heather.
Many American’s think that abortion is wrong in the third trimester because it kills a baby, but that it is permissible in the first trimester because it only eliminates a clump of cells. This video educates and defends the humanity of first-trimester fetuses…
As the video said, “At any stage of pregnancy, abortion kills a rapidly developing, genetically-distinct human being.” And, as we say again and again, every human being is unique and made in God’s image and thereby has intrinsic value no matter their size or development. Therefore, every human facing murder and oppression is worth defending. Let’s pray harder and speak louder!
Oh the audacity of pro-lifers who show up on the streets and tell me what to do with my body. Not only that, but men stand in the streets, holding their Bibles, telling me what I can and cannot do with my own body. Unless they have a uterus, they have no right to tell me what to do with mine. It is my body, my sexuality, my uterus and therefore abortion is my choice.
Anyone can observe this line of reasoning loudly displayed on bumper stickers, T-Shirts, on the TV and in front of abortion clinics around the country. At first glance, it is logical. It is not culturally acceptable to go over to a stranger’s house and tell them what clothes they should or should not wear. It would also be unthinkable to tell someone standing in line at Starbucks how they should take their coffee, and so on.
However, what if our bodies are not actually our own? What if there is a God who uniquely made every feminist and every pro-choicer? What if this God has expressed his opinion on how he wants them to use the bodies he’s loaned to them?
The Biblical Perspective
God unashamedly claims that everything in the world belongs to him, not us.
- Job 41:11 Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.
- Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD’s, and all it contains, The world, and those who dwell in it.
Thus, the ideology that claims that a woman’s body is her own is entirely incompatible with the Bible (despite the claims of compatibility by groups such as The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice). So, according to the Bible, my body is not my body, but instead it belongs to God. And since it belongs to God, what does he tell me to do with it?
Made to Glorify God and to Serve
We were made to glorify God in everything—including who we sleep with, do not sleep with, in eating, drinking, and in regards to the issue of abortion. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31). We are also called to use our hands as “instruments of righteousness,” to help the poor and needy, to use our speech to encourage others. We are called to serve other people, to die to ourselves for the good of others, and so on.
As this applies to abortion, God tells us to use our bodies, speech, and entire lives to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and, more specifically, to “defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Therefore, not only does the Lord prohibit us from taking the life of another human, but positively, he tells us to use our bodies to defend the helpless, in this case the unborn.
Therefore, to the girl walking into the abortion clinic wearing a My body, my choice! shirt: your body is not your own, it belongs to God. And God has commanded you to bring him glory with that body and to use it to love others.
Christianity is Better
Oh the irony. While people are loudly declaring ownership over what is not their’s (i.e. their bodies), God is saving those who have faith in Jesus. Even more, he promises to give these people new, eternal bodies. As followers of Jesus, we humbly acknowledge that our bodies, our time, and our lives are not our own. We imperfectly devote our lives to using our bodies to glorify the Lord. And yet, we eagerly await the day when we will be given new, perfected bodies that will life forever. They will be free from sinful impulses, free from sickness, free from death, made to live in a home built for us by Jesus himself. We refuse to claim ownership of our earthly shells, but instead delight in the reality that God will one day give us new, perfected bodies.
Repent of the ways you have misused the body God has given you. Trust that through Jesus you can be forgiven. And then serve God with your body now. Use it to defend, not destroy, the unborn. Live for the next life. Because being a Christian, in the long run, is far better.