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The Sanctity of Life

Not since the controversial issue of slavery ripped America apart at the seams has one subject troubled our country like abortion. It is virtually impossible to pick up a national periodical or, for that matter, a daily newspaper without seeing an article, a column, a story, or an editorial either directly or indirectly related to abortion. Physicians and politicians, educators and newscasters, radio and television talkshow hosts, feminists and lobbyists alike are never

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far from discussing the subject. The heat is rising and there is every reason to believe the intensity of the debate will only increase. Like slavery, abortion will neither solve its own dilemmas nor quietly go away. There is every reason to believe it will be the significant topic of debate for many years to come. Not even the President of the United States can sustain a noncommittal stance.

    In light of all this, an enormous amount of emotion swirls in the abortion arena. Shouting matches at abortion-clinic sit-ins are commonplace. It isn't unusual for some representing the pro-life position to spend time behind bars for blocking entrances to abortion clinics. Others, with even greater passion, have set clinics on fire. And those representing the proabortion position, with equal vigor, declare that women are free to choose . . . that such a choice is their right. Perhaps the statement most commonly expressed in the heat of the debate comes from those who declare, "I may not choose to have an abortion, but I'd never force my opinion on another," as they back away from the issue altogether, refusing any involvement in the debate. All the while, babies continue to be aborted by the thousands every day.

    If the issue of slavery had been handled in that manner, to this day there would be shacks out back, the mistreatment of blacks, and a majority of Americans still looking the other way. It may be more comfortable to adopt a passive stance with regard to the abortion issue. It certainly would be the least offensive response. But who, with a clear conscience, can

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sit back, say little, and do nothing while babies continue to be killed? If the mistreated blacks needed strong-minded advocates in the mid-nineteenth century, how much more do unborn children need strong-minded advocates today. It has come to the time where the most dangerous place to be in America is not in the inner city where gangs threaten innocent lives or in angry prisons where only the fit survive . . . but in the womb of a mother who is being told if she doesn't really want the baby, an abortion is the solution. May I ask?  How would you like to be that baby inside the womb of a woman who isn't sure she wants you to live any longer?

   John Willke, president of the National Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, asks the right questions:

   . . .  Since when does anyone's right to live depend upon someone else wanting them? Killing the unwanted, is a monstrous evil . . .

    So, should a woman have the right to choose? I have a right to free speech, but not to shout "fire" in a theater. A person's right to anything stops when it injures or kills another living human . . .

   The pivotal question is, should any civilized nation give to one citizen the absolute right to kill another to solve the first person's personal problem? 1

My Purpose in Writing This Book

In light of these conflicting voices on the horizon and the undeniable reality that the issue isn't going away and will not automatically solve itself, why

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would I write on something this controversial, this thorny? Four answers come to mind:

    1.  To inform you of the facts.

    Surprisingly, many still do not know the scoop. Though the subject is the hot topic and occupies space in all the media, I am convinced that most have not been sufficiently informed of the facts. Due to limited space, I am forced to stay lean on statistics and stories, but be assured what I do present, though limited, is accurate and it represents only a tip of the iceberg. Perhaps my brevity will help to bring to the surface those matters that are of critical importance. I'll restrain the rhetoric for the sake of plain facts.

    2.  To help you gain courage.

    It is easy to be intimidated. The thought of stepping into an arena as volatile as this one is not pleasant; it takes courage. Women who are pregnant and find themselves in an unhappy and/or unhealthy situation will naturally be tempted to "solve" their dilemma by getting an abortion. As one young mother-to-be once told me: "After all it's legal, it's available, and it removes the responsibility of having to deal with all the hassles." My hope is to give such women the courage to say no to an abortion.

    On the other hand, there are some who have gotten an abortion and cannot pull out of the depression or get beyond the guilt. If you are in that particular situation, you need the ability to go on, you need the assurance God offers anyone who has

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made a regrettable decision and cannot seem to recover. My hope is to provide a "courage transfusion," which will give you some needed light at the end of this dismal tunnel. My next chapter focuses attention on that very real need.

    Furthermore, courage is needed in all our lives if we plan to do more than just sit back, shake our heads, and think about how tragic these things really are. Right thinking leads to tough decisions, which are followed by some kind of action. My hope is to increase your level of courage so that you will respond in ways that are both appropriate and effective.

    Another area of needed courage — perhaps the most important of all — is the courage to be sexually pure. Since such a high standard of morality has been ignored or scoffed at so often in the past decade, the thought of embracing it seems out of the question. As one so-called authority recently put it, "It's so obsolete, it's laughable." I disagree; you may, as well. But to model moral purity, one needs courage. Hopefully, the latter half of this book will help stimulate that into action.

    3.  To motivate you to be involved.

    As I mentioned earlier, action follows thinking and deciding. Certainly, we need to be people of prayer. No major change ever occurred unless and until God's people prayed. But there must be more than prayer if we hope to stem the tide of this national tragedy. And speaking of being involved, let

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me assure you that I do not advocate only one specific reaction. There are several options available to us, all of which are at our disposal. My hope is that you will be motivated to get personally involved . . . to spend a portion of your energy doing something about the issues, which will make you part of the answer rather than part of the problem. In matters as intense as this one, passivity is an enemy.

    Years before abortion had gained the public attention it now receives, my wife Cynthia and I were more than a little concerned about the plight facing unwed mothers. Over a period of several years, we opened our home to some of these young women. Each one lived among our family (four small children!) ate at our dining table, had a room she could call her own, and was given all the privileges our own children enjoyed: love, privacy, dignity, encouragement, and time to talk things through. Each woman carried her baby to full term and shortly thereafter released the infant to adoptive parents. Cynthia and I were there through it all — the loneliness, the discussions, the tears, the disillusionment, the reluctance, and yes, the courage. We shall never be the same, nor will our now-grown children who learned so much along with us. How grateful we are that we didn't stop with prayer. It as our involvement that made the difference.

    At the end of this chapter I will mention many of the options from which you may choose. It is extremely important that you (1) select one with which you are comfortable and (2) refrain from judging another person for not choosing the option you prefer. Great grace is needed here. I know whereof I speak! It hurt when I was told over the phone recently that because I chose not to participate in a certain way as the caller told me I should, I would "answer for it in the day of judgment." Such an exclusive, judgmental attitude polarizes an otherwise united front that various meaningful involvements provide. People need to be given the freedom to respond as God leads them.

    4.  To declare a biblical basis for issues at hand.

    Much has already been written on sanctity and morality. Most of those things in print are splendid, reliable, and sincere attempts at explaining what is happening and why. The logic and the conclusions make good sense. What concerns me, however, is not what is stated but what is left unsaid. There is technical data from the medical world and legal profession, psychological insights, political policies, even practical advice. But almost without exception, there is an absence of biblical foundation and theological justification of what is being set forth. Hopefully, these pages will help you realize that the Bible is neither silent nor irrelevant when it comes to the sanctity of life and the importance of sexual purity. Without being "preachy," I want to communicate how clearly God has already spoken on the things that are of utmost concern.

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    For sure, He has warned us that days such as these would come:

    But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Tim. 3:1-4).

The "difficult times" predicted in Scripture is not a pretty picture. By the way, that word "difficult" is eloquent. The original Greek term could be rendered "painful, tragic, grievous." In another section of the New Testament, it is the descriptive term used to portray two men who were demonized, and it is there rendered "exceedingly violent" (Matt. 8:28). Such are the savage times in which we live.

    Another equally vivid statement appears in the first-century letter to the Romans. We are told that people in these days will be characterized as being "without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful" (Rom. 1:31). How true! Putting it another way:

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    Having been in ministry for these many years, I am still amazed at the relevance of a Book as ancient as the Bible. A quick glance at those four synonyms is all it takes to see that they describe the thinking of a generation that is so self-absorbed, the mother's rights have eclipsed all other rights, even the right of that independent life within her which neither she nor her sexual partner created; God did. My passion is for folks to know how clearly Scripture speaks to these matters and then to encourage them to apply the truth God has revealed.

Abortion:  No Longer a Private Decision

There was once a time when the decision to have an abortion was so private, so secretive, nobody dared mention it in public. Not only was it illegal, it was considered the most intimate of subjects. It was not uncommon for family members to know nothing (which is still true) and for the medical profession to view it with disdain. The whole thing was a private decision and those who did know looked the other way. No longer. It is now big business, impacting three major professions of our world: the political, the legal, and for sure the medical.

    Several years ago one hundred professors of obstetrics signed a statement that declared abortion no longer a professional risk but a "medical responsibility."

    It would be necessary for physicians to realize that abortion has become a predominantly social as

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well as medical responsibility. For the first time, except for cosmetic surgery, doctors will be expected to do an operation simply because the patient asks that it be done. Granted, this changes the physician's traditional role, but it will be necessary to make this change if we are to serve the new society in which we live. 2

    I agree with the man who added this comment:

    Abortion is no more purely a medical problem just because the physician wields the curette than chemical warfare is purely a problem for pilots because they press the lever releasing the chemical. 3

    Some physicians may be willing to perform abortions, but many are not. In fact, an article based on the New York Times News Service appeared in a Los Angeles newspaper entitled, "Fewer Doctors Performing Abortions." It included a series of facts regarding the unpopularity of the physician who declares herself or himself as a doctor who will perform abortions. In the article are statements that reveal the trauma some physicians experience who have been involved in doing abortions. It certainly gives another side of the story not presented by pro-abortion activists.

    Many obstetricians and gynecologists acknowledge that they feel great conflict about abortion.

    A doctor who is an administrator at the National Institutes of Health — and is forbidden to speak for attribution about the time when she performed abortions — said she used to carry them out because she felt strongly that abortions should be available.

    But, she said, she had to prepare herself emotionally each time, and she often had a sleepless night before a scheduled abortion.

    "It's a very tough thing for a gynecologist to do," she said. The emotions it arouses are so strong, she said, that doctors "don't talk to each other about it."

    The doctor said she was performing an abortion on a 30-year-old doctor after she herself had just had a miscarriage.

    She had been trying for seven years to become pregnant.

    After the abortion, she said, "I just collapsed on the floor," overcome by her emotions. 4

Some Significant Statistics

But wait. Just how widespread is the practice of abortion? Are we making much ado about nothing, or do we have a full-scale issue deserving of our immediate attention? You decide. Only the senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless could read the following statistical facts and remain unmoved.

    To begin with, let's understand that medical authorities determine a person to be "alive" if there is either a detectable heartbeat or brain-wave activity. With that in mind, it is eye-opening for some to realize that unborn children have detectable heartbeats at eighteen days (two and one-half weeks)

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after conception and detectable brain-wave activity forty days (a little over five and one-half weeks) after conception. What is so shocking is that essentially 100 percent of all abortions occur after the seventh week of pregnancy.

    Why are children aborted? The Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned Parenthood) states:

    There are numerous related statistics I could include, but this is sufficient to help us come to one major conclusion: 95-plus percent of children killed by abortion are killed for reasons of convenience; not incest, not rape, not the physical condition of the unborn, and not the threatened health of the mother.

    When are children aborted? Fifty percent of all abortions are performed at eight weeks; 25 percent at nine to ten weeks; 14 percent at eleven to twelve weeks; 5 percent at thirteen to fifteen weeks;

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4 percent at sixteen to twenty weeks; and 2 percent after twenty weeks.

    How many children are aborted? Worldwide, 55 million unborn children are killed every year. If you are like me, you can't get your arms around that large a number. To help us do so, let me break it into days, hours and minutes. Around the world, every day 150,685 children are killed by abortion; every hour, 6,278; and every minute, 105. Those are the reported cases.

    If you are an American citizen, no doubt your greatest interest is in your own nation, as is mine. Let me break the abortions down to a national statistic: 1,600,000 babies are aborted in these United States every year. Per day, that's 4,383; per hour, that's 183; per minute, there are 3. That's correct, in America alone 3 children are killed every minute. 6

    Because I am a military veteran, for years I have been especially interested in Americans who were killed in combat. The number of American war casualties is a gripping reality, for sure. But when compared to the number of unborn children who have been killed since abortion was legalized, the contrast is shocking.

    The chart on the following page makes the point better than I could ever describe. Read it and weep. Admittedly, these figures on abortion are now obsolete (remember 4,383 are killed every day), but they illustrate the awful truth many would like us to ignore.

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American War Casualties 7

[Editor's note: in the book, this is a chart with a cross to represent every 25,000 people killed. We will forego the cross symbol due to lack of one on my keyboard.]

REVOLUTIONARY WAR          25,324

CIVIL WAR          498,332

WORLD WAR I          116,708

WORLD WAR II          407,316

KOREAN WAR          54,246

VIETNAM WAR          58,655

WAR ON THE UNBORN         20,000,000
...since abortion was legalized in 1973 (up to 1990)

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    This is no minor skirmish that is happening. This is war. And the pathetic tragedy of it all is that those who are being killed can neither represent themselves before a court of law nor defend themselves from sure death. Lives are being taken brutally, tragically, and thoughtlessly. It has come to the place where, more often than not, abortion is little more than a convenient method of contraception.

Some Insightful Scriptures

I can hear a few passionate pro-life activists urging me to turn to the verse that says, "Thou shalt not get an abortion," so everyone will understand that the issue, so far as the Bible goes, is a slam-dunk. Only one problem with that request: There is no such verse. How simple it would be if all injustices were clearly addressed in objective verses of Scripture . . . but they are not. In fact, many of the evils and struggles of society are not that clearly defined in the Bible. Since that is true, we must search for principles in God's timeless Word that assist us in coming to correct conclusions. By thinking through the logic, or if I may, the syllogism of logic in the Scriptures, we are often able to arrive at positions that are virtually airtight.

    Let's take a look at several scriptural statements that will give us an understanding of how God views these issues.

    In the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1, we find some helpful, uncomplicated information that will give us insight into the issue.

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    The first chapter of Genesis is the account of God's creative actions as He originated all things. God has created matter. He has made the world and its surrounding universe. He has separated night from day, earth from sea, mountains from valleys, plants from fish and fowls and cattle, and now He comes to that epochal moment where He is about to create human life. In Genesis 1:26 we read the words of the Godhead, speaking together, "Let us make man in Our image." Never before has such a statement appeared in Scripture, nor will it ever appear related to animal, plant, or any other life, including life that might be in the planetary spaces. This is limited to human life. Only human life — by God's design — possesses the image of God.

    Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." And God created man in His own image . . . (Gen. 1:26, 27).

As lovely, beautiful, colorful, and full of variety as the plant or animal kingdom may be, none of that has been created in God's image . . . only human life. Therefore (and it can be repeated time and again throughout Scripture), only human life can walk with and talk with and fellowship with the Creator. Animals cannot. The fish cannot. Only

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human beings enjoy this privilege because only they possess God's image.

    It should not surprise us, then, when we turn to Exodus 20:13, that we read, "You shall not murder." Why? Because there is something distinctly precious and unique about human life. In God's estimation, it is so precious and so unique He commands that it must be protected, it must be preserved. It alone represents "the image of God." This precious human life is not to be treated violently by other human beings. The One who creates life certainly has the right to appraise it. Simply speaking, it is God's way of saying, "Life is so important no one has the right to murder it. Don't end it. Let it live. Because all humanity represents My handiwork; it is Mine to do with as I please. My image is, in mysterious ways, stamped into human life."

    If you think that is an exaggerated statement, listen to the psalmist.

    What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him: And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? Yet Thou has made him a little lower than God, and dost crown him with glory and majesty! (Psalm 8:4-5).

While I am not able to explain what all this means or declare the full spectrum of all it includes, I do know that such a statement is never made concerning an animal or a plant. As beautiful and full of variety as those creations are, neither of those categories has a

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glory and a majesty that is "a little lower than God." Such a statement is reserved only for human life.

    Elsewhere, the psalmist writes that the Lord has been his God forever, even from his mother's womb:

    Yet Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb; Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother's breast. Upon Thee I was cast from birth; Thou hast been my God from my mother's womb (Psalm 22:9-10).

Look closely at those words. David is seeing himself within the womb and coming forth from it as being answerable to the God who created him and developed him during the nine months he was within the womb.

    Did you know that the sin nature within the heart of human beings is present even within the life of the child in the womb? David says: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me" (Psalm 51:5). Some would read that and think, "Sounds to me like the act of sexual intercourse, the cause of his conception, was sinful." No, that is not what he meant. The Amplified Bible helps: "Behold, I was brought forth in [a state of] iniquity; my mother was sinful who conceived me [and I, too, am sinful]." One of the most capable linguistic authorities I have ever met — a Hebrew scholar par excellence — is Bruce Waltke (a Ph.D. from Harvard University) and one of my mentors during my seminary years. He writes of this Psalm 51:5 passage rather clearly, first quoting from Edward R. Dalglish's authoritative work on Psalm 51:

    In Psalm 51:5, the psalmist is relating his sinfulness to the very inception of life; he traces his development beyond his birth . . . to the genesis of his being in his mother's womb — even to the very hour of conception. 8

Dr. Waltke then adds:

    . . . in tracing his spiritual condition to the time of conception, David goes on to note that already in his fetal state the moral law of God was present in him. 9

    Even in an embryonic or fetal state there was this sense of God's hand and God's accountability in the psalmist's life. This is vividly illustrated in the most eloquent passage supporting life in the womb in all the Old Testament: the central section of Psalm 139. I'm referring to verses 13-16.

    For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have

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seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

It is as if the Spirit of God had taken a divine fiberoptic probe and reached into the womb, revealing the tender, all-powerful presence of God at work in the fetus.

    For Thou, [this is God] didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb (v. 13).

His word picture describes the internal network of tiny organs that were formed by the Creator while the psalmist was in the womb of his mother.

    Verse 15 mentions "my frame," clearly a reference to the bony structure, the skeleton, the bones, which would have to do with the height, the stature, the physique of the unborn child.

    I wish time and space permitted me to describe the anatomical beauty, the variegated colors that are represented in the Hebrew words. It is pictured in the original language as if the bones and the arteries, the muscles and the structure of the body, are all divinely woven together. In addition, his personality was being designed along with other details like facial features, color of hair, and color of eyes, right down to toenails and fingernails, eyelashes and eyebrows. Small wonder he exclaims that he is "fearfully and

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wonderfully made"! Though tiny, the fetus receives God's careful attention.

    Let me pause and summarize the three major points we have discovered thus far:

1.  God sets apart human life as unique, distinctive, and valuable.

2.  He therefore preserves and protects human life as no other life on earth.

3.  That kind of life begins at conception and continues to develop in the womb where God is at work, shaping the child into the precise kind of person He desires him or her to be.

    Moving into the New Testament, we come to the story of the Lord Jesus and His birth. Do you recall?

    Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save

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His people from their sins." Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US" (Matt. 1:18-20).

    Luke later mentions that what was being formed in Mary, the mother of Jesus, was, in fact, "the holy offspring" (Luke 1:35), not mere "fetal tissue." And when Mary later stands before Elizabeth, her relative, and informs her that she is pregnant, do you remember what occurred within Elizabeth, who was also pregnant? "The baby leaped in her womb" (Luke 1:41). Blobs don't leap, neither do tissues and tumors . . . only life leaps!

    There is far too much scientific evidence to deny that the fetus is, in fact, life . . . separate, independent, God-created life. Whether or not the mother-to-be planned or expected to be pregnant (Mary certainly didn't) she is carrying a life within her that has as much right to live before birth as the child does after birth.

    Almost without exception today, the major part of the argument is that the woman's rights take over or have precedence over the life within her, as though she were solely responsible for the conception of life within her. She is not . . . not really. How often couples will have sexual relations again and again and again with or without the use of

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contraceptives — but there is no conception. And then one day God sovereignly causes life to be conceived. The couple can no more say they had the creative powers to begin that life within the woman than they can say they have the final authority to end it.

    Well, you may be thinking, what if her life is in danger? C. Everett Koop, M.D., formerly the Surgeon General, states that during his 35-plus years of practicing medicine, "Never once did a case come across my practice where abortion was necessary to save a mother's life." 10 As we saw earlier in the statistics, the percentage of such cases is so small, it is of negligible concern for the use of argument.

    I came across a rather interesting editorial cartoon several years ago. It was designed to make you think, not laugh. It contained six frames of the same woman.

First frame:   "He kissed me and I melted."

Second frame:   "My heart pounded at his touch."

Third frame:   "His embrace sent the blood coursing through my veins."

Fourth frame:   "I was overcome with passion. I couldn't refuse."

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Fifth frame:   "Well, now I'm pregnant and I want an abortion."

Last frame:   "After all, a woman should have control over her body."

If there is irresponsibility prior to pregnancy, the chances are greatly increased there will be irresponsibility afterwards.

    Just in case you are still not fully convinced that there is life within the womb, read this testimony of Paul E. Rockwell, M.D., slowly and carefully:

    Years ago, while giving an anesthetic for a ruptured tubal pregnancy (at two months), I was handed what I believed to be the smallest human being ever seen. The embryo sac was intact and transparent. Within the sac was a tiny (one-third inch) human male swimming extremely vigorously in the amniotic fluid, while attached to the wall by the umbilical cord. This tiny human was perfectly developed with long, tapering fingers, feet and toes. It was almost transparent as regards the skin, and the delicate arteries and veins were prominent at the ends of the fingers. The baby was extremely alive and did not look at all like the photos and drawings of "embryos" which I have seen. When the sac was opened, the tiny human immediately lost its life and took on the appearance of what is accepted as the appearance of an embryo at this stage, blunt extremities, etc. 11

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    Perhaps I should pause here and state the logical syllogism that has emerged from Scripture:

First:  God sets apart human life as unique and valuable since it bears His image.

Second:  Because this is true, God commands that all human life be preserved and protected.

Third:  Human life begins within the womb, where God personally and sovereignly superintends the development and maturation of the fetus before birth.

Fourth:  Therefore, since it is God's will that every child's life be protected after birth, it is certainly His will that such protection apply to the child in his or her prenatal state.

    The simple fact is this: Had your mother chosen not to have you at the time when she first became aware of your presence in her, you would not have known the joys you've had in life nor the privilege of growing to this present moment of your existence. For that matter, you would not be here reading these words and feeling those feelings you are experiencing at this moment. Thankfully, she determined you were worth whatever it took to give

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birth to you. Unfortunately, many are not making that decision today. Before you finish reading this book thousands of babies, permanently rejected by their mothers and fathers, will not be granted their God-given right to live, to laugh, to grow up, and to encounter the stimulating challenges of life. An abortion will bring all that to an abrupt and permanent end.

Some Suggestions That Call for Involvement

I am convinced that most who read this book are anxious to do something about abortion. But many of you are asking, "What?" I have seven suggestions, each of which calls for involvement.

    First of all, volunteer your time, energy, and financial resources. There are several excellent organizations that are clearly pro-life who exist because people voluntarily help support them with time, energy, encouragement, and financial assistance.

    Second, make your home available to unwed mothers and/or be of support to homes that are open to them. Give serious thought to this. You will discover, as my family and I did, that the small amount of privacy you may forfeit will seem insignificant in comparison to the investment you will make in another's life and future.

    Third, write letters and make phone calls. Get involved as a citizen in your local government and in the lives of those in national leadership who make a difference, especially those who are making a difference in legislation.

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    Fourth, participate in demonstrations of your personal preference. More and more are convinced that this is what they should do. Some in the church I pastor have chosen to participate in Life Chains or some other form of peaceful demonstration. Others have participated in public rallies and marches, declaring their disagreement with the proabortion activists. This is not for everyone, but it is for many. It may be for you. It may not be. But don't decide to do nothing because one particular method of public expression is not for you. Find something that is.

    Fifth, participate in community projects. More than ever, neighborhoods are organizing projects that make a statement to the whole city. Be open to the possibility of your participating in that.

    Sixth, practice in your private life what you claim to believe publicly. Model moral purity. Abstain from extramarital sexual involvements. If you find that you are pregnant, accept what God chooses for you whether or not you planned it or expected it. Another thought along the lines of doing something publicly you claim to believe privately . . . seriously consider adopting. I know, I know, it's a major decision, but what a statement it makes! Furthermore, just imagine the fulfillment of loving and influencing a child who might otherwise know nothing of the joy you could bring into his or her life.

    To encourage you even more, consider the words of a fourteen-year-old boy name Jason who expresses these thoughts to his adoptive parents:

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    Once when I was a lot younger I watched a television show on abortion. I saw how many thousands of women were aborting their babies before they were born. I remember how glad I was that my biological mother chose to carry me and my twin brother Josh to full term and give birth. Then she let us be adopted into a wonderful family. I might not even be here today, except that my biological mother loved me enough to let me be born. And my new family loved me enough to make a wonderful home for me.

    A lot of people think adoption is a bad thing. They think maybe the parents that adopt you wouldn't love you as much as their own kids. Sometimes this may be true, but in my family it is not.

    When my parents adopted me, they took a big risk. They knew in my biological family there was a problem called dyslexia, a severe reading disability. They also knew there was diabetes in my biological family. I was born with one foot turned in, and I had to have surgery to correct an indentation in my skull. My parents knew they would need to give me special attention. Knowing all this they still wanted Josh and me, even though twins are twice the work. My mom and dad didn't care that Josh and I were black and they were white. They loved us just the way we were.

    One good thing about adoption is I always know I was really loved and wanted, because I was chosen. When I get to be 18, I know I could look for my biological parents, but I would not. I already have a loving and caring mom and dad. Adoption is the greatest gift in life to me. 12

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    Seventh, pray, pray, pray, and PRAY! Pray for those who are on the front lines of the battle. Pray for the politicians, the pastors, the physicians, the ministers, pro-life leaders in the media, and those who lead anti-abortion organizations, all of whom face incredible pressure. Write them and assure them of your prayers. Last, but certainly not least, pray for the mothers-to-be . . . that more and more will be courageous and choose against abortion.

    I close this chapter with a true story. A couple married during the Great Depression. The man was middle-aged, and the woman was in her mid-twenties. Before they had been married a year, in fact, exactly ten months after their wedding day, God gave them their first child — a boy. It was difficult, but in spite of their financial restraints they handled it fairly well. Before they had been married two years, along came a second child — an infant girl. Lo and behold, in January, long before their fourth anniversary the following October, the mother conceived her third child, even though they were using a contraceptive. The other two children were still in diapers.

    It was a tremendously difficult time for this couple financially. The mother's health was not good and her energy level, understandably, was at an all-time low. Furthermore, she was not all that great with young children. She was depressed. Their financial burden was enormous . . . perhaps so enormous they could have been tempted to seek the help of someone who would perform an abortion.

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The time was early 1934, an era when abortions were illegal. However, the woman and her husband were convinced that they should accept whatever God sovereignly had planned for them. Sacrificially, they chose to have that baby — a boy — who was born in October of that year.

    I'm so grateful that they did, because I was that baby, my mother and father's last child. Our family came to know a joy in family life that the five of us would otherwise never have known. Little did anyone realize back then what God's plan for me would have been. Today, all three of my parents' children are engaged in vocational Christian service.

    I am more grateful than I can describe that my mother and father, both now deceased, agreed: "We'll have you, because we believe God is greater than our plans and our rights. We believe God's plan, though mysterious, is far more magnificent and important than a few inconveniences." Because they thought those thoughts many years ago, I am able to write these things today.

Chapter 2  ||  Table of Contents