Abortion

Question:

Concerning last Sunday's sermon about abortion, how would you respond to an athiest's rhetorical question:  "Given the starvation in developing countries and high infant mortality in overpopulated areas, isn't it far more practical to abort the fetuses than to bring babies into the world where the majority of them will die within the first year anyway?  The question sounds severe, but I have encountered it and would like to hear how you would answer it.

Answer:

I would answer the question with several different statements.  First, the context of the sermon was our involvement in a local crisis pregnancy center, and dealing with the American problem of abortion.  Thus, any appeal to overseas problems is really outside the scope of what was being directly addressed.  No American child in the womb today will be born into a situation where they will starve to death, so the concern simply does not apply here in America.

Second, I would acknowledge there is a real problem around the world with infant mortality, hunger, disease, lack of medical care, and poverty.  I have been in Bangladesh, Niger, India, and some very poor places in Mexico and seen this first hand.  The solution to these real problems, however, is to address the problem itself - not add another problem to the list.  We should intervene and send food, medicine and other forms of aid when needed.  Furthermore, it is important to note that the reason there is hunger and disease in many of these places is not from a lack of food and medicine, but rather from injustice and cruelty from leaders who use food and medicine as weapons to keep people in line.  Murdering the unborn will not resolve this situation.  We must work hard to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and change the dire circumstances in which so many people live.  Furthermore, we must work for long term change to the things causing these problems (oppressive leaders, ignorance of what causes disease and of the benefits of medicine, lack of concern by those with resources, etc.) so that they do not simply recur every few years.  In any event, killing an unborn child will not do anything to resolve the real issues, and only puts the blood of the innocent on her hands.

Third, I would point out that the solution to these problems is not killing other human beings.  Undoubtedly, we could resolve starvation in places like Darfur, Sudan right now by simply killing the people who live there.  Yet, that is not a solution offered by anyone because to do so would not be merciful but heinous.  Murder and genocide is not a solution to human ills.  And the same fact holds in this situation, for as I showed, the unborn are no less human than you or me.  Therefore, to abort a child to prevent hunger is no different than killing a young child to prevent hunger.  They are morally identical acts.

In these answers I would try to be as gentle as possible, but I would not let the fact of the humanity of the unborn be shunted aside.  This is the fact which must not be missed. When it is understood, this idea, and many others offered as reasons to allow abortion,