by John Ellis
Abortion is either the murder of babies or it’s not; it can’t be a little bit of both. I do realize that our justice system has varying levels for categorizing the intentional killing of a person. Yes, the courts view first degree murder differently than third degree murder (voluntary man slaughter, which is generally crimes of passion). But, I’ve never heard anyone say, and I would bet lots of money that you haven’t either, “Look, if you must kill that person, don’t first degree murder them, third degree murder them.”
Intentionally killing someone is murder. Period. And it’s wrong. Period.
According to many, however, abortion is an act that exists in the moral equivalent of a no-man’s land and is merely, at best, some sort of nuisance, or, at worst, a necessary evil that society would do well to phase out, but only, and I do mean only, after a litany of social ills are cured first. For those people, if you’re not willing to adopt an unwanted child or personally feed a village of single mothers, you better darn-well make sure that you don’t say boo about abortion. (Can I get an “amen” from Rachel Held Evans?) Well, if abortion isn’t the murder of babies, then I fail to see why it should be phased out or even discouraged in most cases. If it is the murder of babies, then it’s a moral evil of such magnitude that society’s collective sins in other areas have no immediate bearing on its abolition.
I’m not denying that there are complicated issues swirling around the edges of abortion. Of course, society should express the utmost concern for unwanted babies, single mothers living in poverty, etc.; society should also engage in acts of mercy for the expressed purpose of caring for women and children in need. But, if abortion is the murder of babies, and, to be clear, I unequivocally believe that it is, the failure of people to love their neighbors in these or any other areas does not justify, in any way shape or form, abortion. Nor do our individual and/or collective sins justify society’s legal sanction of abortion.
With all the noise that’s competing for ear-space around abortion, and with the acknowledgement that I’m not so naïve as to think that I can cut through most of it, I want to address four groups of people.
The Christian Who Believes that Abortion is the Murder of Babies
Thank you for your boldness in decrying our epoch’s heartbreaking and disgusting moral evil of murdering babies. Thank you for standing up for the rights of “the least of these.” Thank you for having the courage to state what should be the obvious truth that women do not have the right to murder babies. Please don’t stop. Please don’t allow yourself to be cowed into silence by the slings and arrows of others, whether coming from professing Christians or not. Of course you’re a hypocrite; we’re all hypocrites, even those calling you a hypocrite are hypocrites; this is one of the reasons why we all need Jesus. But, being a hypocrite does not invalidate your righteous cries for the abolition of the murder of babies.
The Christian Who Doesn’t Know if Abortion is the Murder of Babies or Not
I’m unsure of how to convince you that abortion is the murder of babies, and, by God’s grace, I’m trying to be charitable and not assume motives on your part. For me, as a Christian who believes that humans are made in the Image of God and are distinct from animals, it’s self-evident that a baby is an Image Bearer, whether inside their mommy’s tummy or not.
Setting that conversation aside for another time, I want to ask you two questions, or, rather, one rhetorical question and one real question.
Claiming to be unsure about abortion being the murder of babies means that you believe that there is a chance that abortion is the murder of babies, right? Assuming that the answer is “yes,” shouldn’t you be erring on the side of not risking supporting the murder of babies? In other words, it seems to me that the morally prudent position for you would be to avoid the risk of making the claim that, as His ambassador, King Jesus supports the murdering of babies- if you’re not sure, that is. It’s odd hearing people declare, “Well, abortion may be the murder of babies, but until I’m sure, I’m going to support a woman’s right to abortion, even though that means that there’s a chance that they’re murdering babies.”
The Christian Who Uses Social Justice Issues to Shame Abortion Foes into Silence
Once again, abortion is either the murder of babies or it’s not. If you disagree with my belief that abortion is the murder of babies, say so; tell me that I’m wrong and that I should stop interfering with women’s rights to a morally neutral medical procedure. At that point, our disagreement changes and we can dialogue because you’re being honest about what you believe. If you’re unsure of what you believe about abortion, read, again, the section above titled, “The Christian Who Doesn’t Know if Abortion is the Murder of Babies or Not,” and then scroll back to here. But, if you do agree with me that abortion is the murder of babies, stop trying to shame me and others into silence because we’re not spreading grace in the ways that you define grace.
Stating that abortion is bad, and then claiming that “it’s complicated, and the Church needs to begin taking care of orphans and single mothers before worrying about abortion,” makes you sound like those who used to say that slavery was bad and all, but that it was a necessary evil that should be gradually phased out until society found a way to solve the other issues surrounding slavery.
Being on the wrong side of history is a popular statement, and, in regards to abortion, a very true one. Like those who supported chattel slavery, even if out of the sides of their wishy-washy mouths, not condemning abortion is going to land you on the wrong side of history. I know this, because as a Christian, I know that history is headed somewhere. Specifically to the return of King Jesus, and I promise you that He’s not cool with the murder of babies. So, good luck with that.
Abortion’s abolition, the termination of the holocaust of murdering babies should take precedence over every other issue. It’s the murder of babies. Of babies. Reaching inside what should be their safe place and crushing them, ripping them apart. … I had originally written two paragraphs trying to state more eloquently the fact that abortion is the murder of babies and trying to make vivid and clear the horrendous nature and disgusting stench of abortion. But, I realized that if the phrase “abortion is the murder of babies” doesn’t prompt a visceral response of sorrowful revulsion, no other words will.
So if you think that stopping the murder of babies should be put on hold until *fill-in-the-blank* happens, well, honestly, I’m at a loss. But, in order to give you the benefit of the doubt, I’m going to lightly assume some motives.
Here’s the thing, I’m not asking you to speak out against abortion, nor am I asking you to refrain from admonishing others to love their neighbors. I am asking you to stop preaching to abortion foes the self-righteous mantra that we have to fulfill all the law before we’re allowed to take a stand against the murder of babies. Claiming that we have to care about your thing before we’re allowed to care about our thing is a false dichotomy. For another thing, there are many times when I’m not sure where you stand on the issue of abortion to begin with. If abortion is the murder of babies, abortion is a non-starter. But it often appears that you are less concerned with the murder of babies than you are about promoting specific economic theories or pet social justice issues; in fact, in many instances, “less concerned” could be changed to “not concerned.” When you share blog posts and articles that excoriate conservative Christians for being opposed to abortion when they’re not doing *fill-in-the-blank,* I can’t help but wonder if you actually support abortion but are too much of a coward to come out and say it. Or, possibly more hypocritical and cowardly, you do believe that abortion is wrong but are gripped by the fear of man. Drinking beer and listening to rock music only scores you so many cool points, am I right?
If you believe that abortion is the murder of babies, you should be thankful for those who are willing to speak out against it. If you believe that many of those who speak out against abortion should be more engaged in other issues, continue to lovingly admonish them to more love and good works while encouraging and thanking them for their acts of mercy in seeking to keep babies from being murdered. It’s not an either/or.
The Non Christian
If you’ve had an abortion, know that God’s grace through, and only through, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ covers all sins, including abortion. Bowing the knee in faith and repentance before the Throne of Grace and accepting that the only way to have a relationship with God is through faith in Jesus removes all the stain and shame of sin, including abortion. The Apostle Paul presided over the murder of Stephen, among other murders. God forgave Paul and gave him a new identity in Jesus Christ. No sin or sinner is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and forgiveness that is found in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Abortion, while simplistic on one hand, is fraught with rhetorical pitfalls. How do we express appropriate outrage at our society’s stamp of approval of the murder of babies while simultaneously demonstrating the love of God? Well, God’s love is not defined the same way as many in the West define “love.” For Christians, the murder of babies should not be an issue that we shuffle into the larger deck of multiple issues. Stopping the murder of babies should trump most other social issues. Being bold and honest is not unloving. Going into Nineveh and declaring God’s coming judgment is not unloving. Defending the rights and the lives of babies is not unloving. Please do not fall into the trap set by others that you have to fulfill all of the law before you can seek to abolish the murder of babies. We are all made in the image of God, and are all worthy of being protected.
Please come quickly, King Jesus, and, demolishing the Tower of Babel named “Abortion,” save us from our sins and from ourselves. God have mercy on our souls.
 Self-defense, excluded.
 I guess that if we began parsing out and fitting together an untold number of possible variables, we could come up with some very specific circumstances where someone should be discouraged from having an abortion.
 If your answer was “no” to that obviously rhetorical question, why do you claim to be unsure?
 There are many judgmental assumptions wrapped up into your claims. For one, why are you so certain that your economic theories are the best or even only way to care for poor unwed mothers and their children? I’m not expecting to you alter your opinions about the best economic course of action, but stop assuming that those who are opposed to welfare, for a broad example, are unloving.
 When philosophical materialists use the argument “the wrong side of history,” they’re refuting their own worldview. In their worldview, history isn’t headed anywhere; it has no teleology. In their worldview, history only has winners and losers. History has no side; having wrong and right sides assumes an objective morality that exists outside of social constructs.