“My body, my choice,” right? One of the biggest controversies in our culture today is the debate of pro-life vs. pro-choice, so it’s important we know how to think through it with a biblical perspective. In this message, we test three common arguments for abortion against what God’s Word has to say about it.
Welcome, friends everywhere, wherever you're tuning in, from El Paso, Fayetteville, Houston, Fort Worth. Get excited. We are continuing this series Divided States of America, week two, as we are launching into a conversation around some key issues and divisive issues in our country and what a Christian perspective is and how to think about these things and what the appropriate biblical lens is to think through.
Let me start by framing up our time together by a little bit of a story. Before we started Awaken Conference, we used to do something called Launch Retreat. Launch Retreat was out at Camp Sky Ranch in Van, Texas, and every year we'd have a different theme. A thousand young adults, party by the lake, really fun weekend.
One year, our theme was Party in the USA. We went through the nines on "Hey, we've got to have decked-out America, USA, all this different gear, decorations…everything." And what else do you need to have if your theme for a huge party at a weekend is Party in the USA? That's right: a bald eagle. I thought, "How do you find a bald eagle?" Turns out they're not as easy as you would think, but that didn't stop me. I'm not a quitter. I'm an American. Party in the USA.
So I decided, "Man, we're going to go full tilt, all about getting a bald eagle." I called up a bunch of different places, and they were like, "Yeah, that'll be 50 grand." I was like, "Okay. That's not happening." Then I was told, as I was calling someone, that there was a wildlife preservation group in East Texas near the retreat location that had recently rescued…that's right…a bald eagle. So I got ahold of their phone number, called them up, explained, "Yes, I'm a pastor, but I'd like to see your eagle," and walked through that.
The guy was like, "I can't bring you the bald eagle. In order for us to do anything with it, even for us to go rescue it, we had to get a permit from the United States government," because these are such restricted, protected animals you can't even approach one, you can't go up to one, you can't touch one, even if you're out in the wild, without risking getting a fine.
In other words, if you're camping one day in the wilderness and you stumble upon a bald eagle nest, if you decide, "I'm going to take a selfie right here with this bald eagle," the government, if they find that selfie, is going to find you and fine you up to $250,000 and five years in prison. Think about that. This has actually happened. People have actually gone to prison for messing with a bald eagle egg or a bald eagle nest. Think about that.
Can you imagine being in prison? Everyone is going around at lunch with their tray telling about what they're in for. "Yeah, I robbed a bank." "I knocked a guy off." And the other guy is like, "Yeah, I took a selfie with a bald eagle egg, and now I'm in prison." How bad is that story? Well, how did that law get passed? There was a group that decided, "We think that because it's an endangered species, we need to pass legislation and advocate and raise our voices and have elected officials pass laws that protect bald eagles and bald eagle eggs."
What does that have to do with what we're talking about tonight? Tonight, we're going to move into a divisive topic in our country that is related to the protection of rights on both sides. In other words, a divisive issue in our country right now is around the conversation, or the issue of abortion, or pro-life and pro-choice, the rights of the unborn versus the rights of the woman.
Let me say up front… Because immediately, even saying that word, I just know it's such a loaded term. For some of you, even the word abortion… You're flooded with shame, guilt, and condemnation. I want to make abundantly clear: those emotions are not from the Lord. If you are a Christian, that doesn't define you. No sin is greater in terms of the fact that any sin in our lives requires the death of Jesus.
So, if for the next little bit you feel any amount of shame and condemnation beaten over your head, that's not where we're going, and that is not from the Lord. That is from Satan. Additionally, the term triggers a bunch of people going, "Hey, you guys don't talk nearly enough about this issue." So, we're going to venture into a tricky topic and talk through what it looks like to be pro-life versus pro-choice, or pro the rights of the unborn and, some would say, pro the rights of the woman.
The reason I say it's tricky is there's a lot of energy around this issue, and Christians will have a lot of energy around this issue. You'll be not cool with abortion but totally cool with sleeping with your girlfriend. You know that's what leads to an unplanned pregnancy. Right? So, as we move into this conversation, I want us to look through the lens of what God's Word says about this topic. How should we respond, and how do we stay informed, and how do we be advocates for life, period?
We're going to walk through three ideas, three questions, as it relates to this topic. The first one is around…When does life start? There's a common phrase out there that "Hey, it's just a clump of cells up to a certain point." So, we're going to talk through and begin the discussion and evaluate "When does life start? When does it move from being an embryo or something more into actually a human life?" It's a crucial question to begin to ask.
Before I go into that, I want to invite to the stage a couple of friends of mine. This is Lauren and Jordan. Lauren and Jordan are 20 weeks pregnant. They have not had a sonogram because of COVID. They are about to have their very first sonogram and find out what their baby looks like on the stage right now. They are with Farrah and Meredith from Thrive. Thrive is a ministry that helps with unplanned pregnancies and couples that are walking through that and women who are walking through that.
They're going to be getting ready, and I'm going to walk through, and we'll keep talking over here. This is Lauren and Jordan. How exciting is this? They're about to see their baby for the very first time. Goose bumps. You got your money's worth. But while they're getting all set up, I want to walk through, and let's just talk about when life begins. Is it just a clump of cells? That's the first question I want to walk through as they're getting ready.
According to Princeton University, at conception, a baby's sex, hair color, eye color…essentially all of its DNA is present from the very moment of conception. In fact, further studies have shown that at the moment of conception, sperm and egg meet, there's a flash of light, and from that moment all of the baby's unique DNA…hair color, eye color, everything…is fixed for the rest of their life.
According to the Mayo Clinic, in the first trimester, the first 13 weeks, the baby's toes, fingernails, nose, head, and hormones are developed and the heart begins to beat. Twenty-one days after conception, you can detect the heartbeat of the baby. It will beat 54 million times between now and when it's born, and you can detect the heartbeat. At 6 weeks, you can detect brain waves that are functioning inside of the child's brain.
At 8 weeks into pregnancy, the baby will begin to express through touching. There will be squinting, jaw movement, grasping motions, thumb sucking, and toe pointing, and it can even smile at you. This is just from secular biology. This is what we know in terms of research. At 9 weeks, the baby has fully developed its own set of fingerprints.
A doctor around this time can identify the sex of the baby, and the baby is even now producing its own reproductive cells. If it's a girl, she's already developing her uterus and ovaries that will have the eggs that will have the children that, if she has children, will be there for the rest of her life. By the end of the first trimester, the fetus has every organ… Fetus, by the way, is a word we think means something… It means offspring. It's a Latin word for offspring.
At the end of the first trimester, it has every organ it will have throughout its entire life. At 12 weeks, the baby can actually cry in the womb. At week 13, it can feel pain and will try to move away from any procedures or doctors or anything that is happening as people move in, whether that's an abortion or another procedure.
Of biologists in America, 95 percent believe life begins at conception. So as we're talking about this, it's just what biology says. I'm not saying it's what you have to believe. This is what biology is pointing out they believe. How's it going back there, guys? Oh, they just saw it's a baby girl! Scroll on, ladies! Oh, you're ready? Man, let's do this. Get the popcorn ready. Come on!
Meredith: This is the baby's heartbeat.
David: That's the heartbeat. Twenty weeks old.
Meredith: And that heart has been beating since it was 3 weeks old.
David: As you move it around, what are we looking at?
Meredith: What we're looking at right now is the baby's face. That's the baby's nose. There are the baby's eyes. You'll see the stomach is a little round circle. Babies swallow the amniotic fluid, so it's important for us to see that stomach right there. That happens in the first trimester, 9 to 10 weeks. Baby's feet. Baby is pretty much folded in half right now. The legs are all the way up by the head. Are those your feet, Jordan? They're huge.
As a baby girl, by 16 weeks she has all of her eggs in her ovaries. Pretty amazing. This machine is amazing. When moms come in for these sonograms, it gives 3D and 4D images. I have to tell you, as great as sonogram machines are, we see babies that are the size of a poppy seed. When a baby's heart is beating for the first time, we can see that on sonogram, and it's the size of a poppy seed. That's tiny.
Remember when you get a hamburger and it has the little poppy seeds? That baby's heart is already beating. It already has a spinal cord. It already has the hand and foot plates ready to form its hands and feet. It's amazing. This is a 3D, and it all depends on the direction the baby is pointing. There's the nose and the eyes and the little mouth right there. They'll get pictures of all this to take with them.
David: That is amazing.
Meredith: Yeah, it's pretty sweet. This is life. This is 20 weeks.
David: That's amazing.
Meredith: I think one of the hard things right now to think about is this baby has all of its organs. It's fully developed. It's now just going to grow until it's born. This is the age that you can still have an abortion in Texas and most states. All the way up to 21 weeks and 6 days a mom can have an abortion. I think David is going to talk more about that later, but just to kind of give that impact of what's going on in our culture and our country today and speak to what you're talking about, what we're voting for.
David: Thank you, guys. Thank y'all so much for being here. I feel like she has to be named "The Porch" or something now. Oh, "Meredith." That's right. Awesome. Let me keep going. That's what biology shows us, but what does God's Word say about this? In Psalm 139, David writes and describes how God's relationship with him began and where it began. He says this in Psalm 139:13-16:
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together… Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
David says God was weaving him together, like he wove you together. Your personality, your hair color…everything about you was being formed all in the womb. You're extroverted because God formed you that way. You're introverted because he formed you. You have brown hair not just because you dyed it but because, originally, God wove you together, and he formed you in your mother's womb and fixed those things.
Jeremiah 1:5 says (God to Jeremiah), "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…" In Exodus 21:22-25 it describes that if two men get into a fight and accidentally hit a pregnant woman and it does damage or takes the life of the baby, the life of the person who did that action is required.
"If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."
Exodus says it is a child in the womb. Even legally in the state of Texas… Again, listen to me very closely. If you feel shame and condemnation, that is not the voice of the Lord. I'll explain even more of that in a second. If you're feeling those things, if you have trusted in Christ, those don't define you and you can be free from that. All of us are sinners. Yet we have to have an important conversation about a really key issue.
Even legally, we have crossed the threshold where, as a nation, in 38 states, we inconsistently… While we allow that she could go drive right now and have an abortion, if on the way to that abortion clinic she and Jordan get in a wreck and are hit by a drunk driver who's on the way there and it ends up killing Lauren and the baby, legally, it would be a double homicide. Even legally we go, "Yep, it's a life." We have crossed the threshold. The Bible and biology seem to be clear. Life begins at conception.
The second question that's often asked is… Maybe not "Is it a life or is it not a life? Is it just a clump of cells? It's not maybe a clump of cells, but it's in her body. It's her choice, so who am I to say anything about that?" The argument goes, "Hey, it's my body. I get to do what I want with my body. It's my choice."
Biblically, as Christians (I'm talking to Christians), it's clear in passages like Exodus, chapter 21, and even the fact of Genesis 1:27, that is not just her body. There are two bodies, two DNAs, two blood types, two sets of fingerprints all wrapped up in her body. It's not just her body. It's another human made in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says, "In the beginning God created mankind in his image; in his image God made them male and female." It is abundantly clear that it's not just her body in the womb.
If you're wrestling with, "Well, you know, I'm not really sure where I stand on that," I want to give a few suggestions. Here's an acronym on just thinking through "What does determine the life in the womb?" Some people will be like, "Well, it's not really a person because it's way too small," like there's some threshold, and because it's too small, it's not really a life.
To that I would say…What makes the life of someone smaller less valuable than someone bigger? I have a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. My 4-year-old son is 38 inches tall. My 2-year-old daughter is a strong 20. Is she less valuable than him? No. That's crazy. You would go, "No, that's silly." Well, just begin to back it up. At what point does size determine someone's value?
Or level of development. Maybe you're going, "Well, they haven't developed. They haven't finished growing. They're not fully formed. They don't have any teeth yet." At what point does level of development determine someone's value? Is someone who hasn't gone through puberty less valuable and of less worth than someone who has because they've not developed as much?
Or the argument of environment. Because the child is in the womb of a mother, the environment determines that it's less valuable. On what occasion would somebody rationally say the environment in which someone exists determines how valuable they are? If they're in the mountains versus on the beach. What significance does that have toward their value? Location and environment.
Maybe the most common one is related to dependency, or viability, which is around 22 weeks, so right around this time. You're going, "Well, it's still her choice. It's still her body. She still gets to do so. Who am I? The baby is entirely dependent on her." The degree of dependency is crazy. I'll just use my 2-year-old daughter.
My 2-year-old daughter is totally dependent on us. She can't open the fridge, can't give herself food to eat. She is totally dependent on another human in her life. You'll be going, "Yeah, but they're not attached and totally in the womb." A 1-year-old baby is still entirely dependent on another human, and if it's going to survive, it will require being dependent on someone else.
Not just that. When you start getting into the degrees of "Hey, if you're dependent, then the person you're dependent on gets to decide whether you live or die," you are playing with some dangerous fire. That's a slippery slope toward saying, "You know, they're on a ventilator for their lungs, and technically, I have the ability to decide whether or not I want to have that ventilator plugged in. I have the ability, because I'm around them and they're dependent on some other machine, to decide whether or not they have the value and are worthy of life."
I have a friend whose son, tragically, got bacterial meningitis when he was 1-1/2 years old, and he went from an incredibly blossoming, growing, smart young boy, and he went into a coma, and his brain fried for the rest of his life. He's now 6 with the mental capacity of a 1-year-old. He may never speak. He will live with his parents. Is his life less valuable than yours because he's dependent? You begin to play with some dangerous fire that has some things in common with people who have done some of the most atrocious things in history.
Then desirability would be the final one. So, SLEDD if you went through all of that…size, level of development, environment, dependency, and desirability. Maybe the mom doesn't want it. Does that mean it's not worthy or valuable of life if someone doesn't desire it? Think about the reactions people have to the same circumstance. A friend calls you. They got pregnant. You bust out in tears, and they're in tears, and they're afraid, and they're not sure what they're going to do. "If I have the baby it's social suicide. I don't know what to do. I'm looking for another option to take." And you're heartbroken with them.
That same friend, two years later, if they were married and called you and said, "We're pregnant," you're going to be over there. You're throwing balloons. You're doing a gender reveal party. You're going up to the belly talking to them, like, "Hey, big guy!" because the desirability, we've bought, determines whether it's worthy of living or not. The Bible says it is worthy of life because it is made in the image of God.
The second idea of "Hey, it's my body…" Biblically, again, for Christians, the Bible says it's not your body; it's God's body, and so is the body of the child. First Corinthians 6 says, "You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Honor God with your body." As Christians, this is an argument we cannot embrace or allow or tolerate.
Again, if you're feeling condemnation, that is not from the Lord. It's from an Enemy who wants you to feel shame and guilt. As it relates to the idea of "It's my body, it's my choice," as Christians, we advocate there are other choices all of us can make. I know I'm talking to both guys and girls and the pain involved from past experiences with abortion. There are one in four girls who are involved. There are one in four guys who are part of that as well.
In terms of the choices that are promoted for the Christian faith, there are a few of them. One of them would be: don't have sex outside of marriage. Through the sake of "I'm just going to do whatever I want to do," we have taken sex outside of God's design, which is to take place in the context of marriage. Sex is designed to take place in the context of marriage, a lifelong commitment and covenant to one another, so that when it leads to life, it leads to a celebration.
The second option would be to give the baby up for adoption. Listen to me very closely. For every one baby who is waiting to be adopted, there are 36 families on a wait list. There are people waiting to adopt who will wait years and years, hoping to be picked by the birth mother, and they'll never be able to adopt. For every 36 families, there's one child. There is such a vast shortage of babies waiting to be adopted.
If you make the decision, and you end up finding yourself in that circumstance, and it's hard and tragic… I know it's so scary, but many of you, those connected to Watermark and those we just hear from all the time who have made that decision that "I'm going to go through with this; I'm going to make an adoption plan take place," I am so proud of you. You decided, "Because of my conviction, I'm not taking the easy road out, and I am going to let this child live."
Those of you who didn't, God is not done with you. God loves you. Your sin is no grosser than mine or anyone else's. But the second option or choice involved could be to give it up for adoption. The third would be to raise the child, to decide, "I'm going to raise the child in my home." In 2018, Kylie Jenner uploaded a YouTube video called To Our Daughter. She had just recently given birth to a baby she had had with the rapper Travis Scott.
Inside of the video, she talks about her child Stormi who's about to be born. As we see Kylie go in for the ultrasound with her mother, she hears the heartbeat, and her friend is in the background, and she says, "When you're 20 years old…" Which is how old Kylie was when she found out she was pregnant. "…you're just figuring out life. You don't know what you want. You're basically an indecisive teenager. You're just becoming an adult. But there was one thing your mom knew she wanted, Stormi, and that was you."
In 2019, Kylie told Vogue magazine in Australia, "I feel like having a daughter has made me love myself more, and I want to be an example for her." The idea that "Hey, it's my body. I can do whatever I want. It's my choice, and if you're a male you have no right, or the government has no right to tell me what I can do and what I can't do…" The government tells all of us what we can do and can't do all the time. Think about that.
There are certain things you can't do right now. Try it on for size and respond with, "It's my body, my choice." In other words, leave these doors, go on the highway, take all of your clothes off, and walk around naked, and when the police show up say, "Hey, officer, it's my body, my choice." See how that works. We live underneath the regulations of laws all the time. There are a ton of things you or I can't do just because it's our body. When it comes to this issue, the Bible is emphatically clear.
One of the lies that is attached to this is that abortion is an empowering thing to women, and if you want to fight for women's rights and fight for women, you need to be at least open to and kind of see how they get there. "I don't want to be against girl squad, so don't come at me like that." I am all for empowering women. I am married to a godly, strong woman. I am the son of an incredibly strong woman. I have a daughter who I hope comes up incredibly strong and empowered.
Abortion does not empower women. If anything, it empowers and allows society and men to get away with sexual irresponsibility, taking advantage of women's bodies without any consequences, or just sexual indulgence on both sides. We have a culture that celebrates it. In 2019, Michelle Williams stood up at the Golden Globes and gave a speech.
Receiving this golden statue, the Golden Globe, here's what she said: "I would not have been able to do this [win this award] without employing a woman's right to choose." She said that to roaring applause in the audience. If that is a life, I want you to think about what she just said to thunderous applause from a culture and how sad it is. She essentially said, "I would not have been able to win this golden statue had I not killed the growing child in my womb."
We have a culture that applauds it, and they will hate you and call you anti-woman and call you a misogynist or sexist, even if you're a woman, if you say, "I believe life starts at conception. It may be a part of my story, and abortion is part of my past, but God is healing any of that, and because God is clear on this, I want to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves." Our culture sells the lie that this is empowering to women. If anything, it is empowering to many gross men in society.
Harvey Weinstein loves abortion because it allows him to decide "Hey, I'm going to sleep around, do whatever I want, and then just give her $500 and get rid of it" and treat women like they're a mule. The grossest men in society love abortion because they can abuse, get away with things, and have no consequences. Sadly, there's a toxic strand of feminism that empowers men like that through fighting for the decision.
Empowering women's rights… What about the 50 percent of children aborted who are women? When it comes to the idea of "My body, my choice" the Scripture is abundantly clear. That is not the case. In 1994, Mother Teresa was invited to the White House. Hillary Clinton was the president's wife. At the lunch they were having, Mother Teresa… She's a nun. She was just legend. She came to the White House. She was meeting with Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton asked her, "Why do you think we haven't had a woman president yet?" Mother Teresa, so savage, doesn't miss a beat. She says, "Probably because she was aborted." She was saying we are ending the lives of millions and millions of babies…60 million since 1973. That's more than Hitler and World War II and Stalin. Again, if you hear condemnation, listen to me as clearly as I can say it: that is not the voice of the Lord.
I want to show you, when I talk about the choice that's being made, an animation video of the most common way abortion takes place. It's a video that displays the most common way. I do this not to be over the top, but it was through powerful images, like Emmett Till in the 1950s… Don't get lost there, but through seeing what's happening…
There's a reason the concentration camps in Nazi Germany were put outside of Germany. They didn't want the German people to see and know what was going on, because they knew if they saw it, if they knew what was going on, they wouldn't be okay with it. Videos like the one we're about to see that's less than a minute long they basically outlawed in terms of public spaces, because the more and more that people see it, the more difficult it is to tolerate and be okay with what's taking place.
Male: The baby has a heartbeat, fingers, toes, arms, and legs, but its bones are still weak and fragile. The abortionist takes a suction catheter like this one. This is a 14-French suction catheter. It's clear plastic, about nine inches long, and it has a hole through the center and is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. The suction machine is then turned on with a force 10 to 20 times more powerful than your household vacuum cleaner.
The baby is rapidly torn apart by the force of the suction and squeezed through this tubing down into the suction machine, followed by the placenta. Though the uterus is mostly emptied at this point, one of the risks of a suction D&C is incomplete abortion…essentially, pieces of the baby or placenta left behind. This can lead to infection or bleeding. In an attempt to prevent this, the abortionist uses a curette to scrape the lining of the uterus. A curette is basically a long-handled curved blade.
[End of video]
That video was easily the most tame of the different trimester abortions they have. It is happening every year, and a million children will lose their lives to that taking place. So, as it relates to "Is it a life?" the Bible, even biology, seems to be abundantly clear, saying, "Life begins at conception." Ninety-five percent of biologists agree. "My body, my choice." Is that a reasonable argument to allow…? And not just allow abortion. It has become a bandwagon, and it has become something that is the issue for many people. It's celebrated, and it is a tragedy and an affront to God.
Finally, "Isn't abortion just the lesser of two evils? I mean, yes, it's an unexpected pregnancy, but why would you have another wrong by bringing a child into the world when the circumstance that led to them being born was rape? Or why would you bring a child into the world when it's such terrible circumstances? His mom is on drugs, and it's just a terrible upbringing. He'll have no father, will just end up being in prison someday. Why would you bring a child into that?
Or you can't tell a woman to carry a child and give it up for adoption. Do you know how emotionally taxing that is? Do you know how emotionally painful it would be to ask a woman to go nine months and then give a baby up for adoption? It's social suicide. That's crazy. The lesser of two evils. It's not great, but abortion is the lesser of two evils. Right?"
I want to talk about some of these cases. Let's talk first about the idea of rape. Less than half of a percent of abortions that take place are related to rape. Rape is tragic. If you were sexually abused, if it's a part of your story, God didn't intend that. God can use that. It's not your fault. You're not damaged goods. There are plenty of men and women who have that a part of their story, and God is healing and using their stories for good.
Less than half a percent of abortions are related to rape. The vast majority are related to decisions like Michelle Williams had, but even in those situations where a person does have rape that leads to conception, the Bible would still say it's the taking of a life. If you're in that situation, we can walk alongside you. We want to care for you. We want to come and be there with you every step of the way. We just don't think the death penalty should be given to the baby.
The rapist should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and if anyone should get the death penalty, it's not the baby. There's a friend of mine… She was actually serving at The Porch not long ago. During one of those situations, she ended up getting raped, and she conceived and had a baby. She made the decision to have that child, and now that child attends on Sundays. She goes to Sunday school, and she is 6 years old, and she's coloring pictures of Jesus and Moses with other children in the class.
How tragic would it have been if in the course of people around her who said, "Man, this is just not right. It's not your baby. Every time you see it, you're going to think about him," she had made that decision? Now she's a beautiful girl being raised by a godly father and godly mother (the mom eventually ended up getting married), has a little brother, and spends her Sundays in Sunday school at church coloring pictures of Jesus because her mom made the decision "It's a life."
"Some of these are such bad environments, how could we even justify bringing them in? I mean, the world is so broken already. It's almost loving or kind or compassionate to not bring them into the world. I mean, that's worse." Basically, when that argument is made, it's saying, "Hey, some lives are not even worth living, because that would be such a bad circumstance to bring them up in."
One of these lives that was not worth living was born to a woman who had gotten pregnant, and she was basically addicted on drugs. She'd found herself in a relationship that was toxic, and everyone in her life told her, "You should get the abortion." She ended up moving in on government assistance and finding herself in a home, and she carried through and decided to have the child.
That woman's child is named Justin Bieber. Society would have said, "You're in a stinkin' home. You're on government assistance. The father was a drug addict. There are clearly broken circumstances. This is not a loving thing to do. I'm not sure that life is worth bringing in." I don't know Justin, but my guess is he would say, "I'm sure glad my mom brought me into this world." The idea of "It's just too bad of an environment…" Who are we to decide that?
"Hey, it's too emotionally traumatizing to ask a woman to go nine months and to give the baby up for adoption." I am not invalidating. That is a difficult, challenging, really hard decision to make. As the body of Christ, we want to come alongside, and we want to care for. We do everything we can to provide care for women. There are so many resources we'll point you to both in a minute and then after this message.
But the trauma of walking through an abortion, statistically, studies show, is far greater than making an adoption plan and giving a child up for adoption. In other words, the least loving thing you can do is encourage "Hey, you should have an abortion, not an adoption, because the challenges that happen in life skyrocket."
Here's what the study from CBS News found from the British Journal of Psychiatry when it looked into abortion and connection to mental health. It found that women had an 81 percent increased risk of mental health issues when they had an abortion compared to adoption. The study also found that women who had an abortion were 110 percent more likely to abuse alcohol, 155 percent more likely to commit suicide.
It concludes, interestingly enough, this completely contradicts the pro-choice narrative that only if women get the abortion they want will they be able to live happy, fulfilled lives. Evidence points to the contrary. It is women who do not get the abortion but give them up for adoption who are more likely to lead healthy, happy lives.
Finally, there's a sentence that I think a lot of us fall into. As Christians, we're trying to love people. We want to care for people. We want to be compassionate and empathetic to really hard circumstances we've never walked through. Sentences like this will be said: "I would never have one, but who am I to say that a woman doesn't have this type of right? You and I don't know how hard it has been and everything they're walking through, and who am I to impose my beliefs on them?"
I want to remove that sentence from your vocabulary, not because your attempt in saying so was not from a heart of compassion or a heart of care. I believe it is. I just believe it is continuing to be silent on an issue the Bible is emphatically clear on and may be the greatest moral blind spot in our country's history, and certainly the greatest blind spot today.
Saying, "I wouldn't, but who am I to say that?" is essentially the Pontius Pilate argument. Do you guys know who Pilate is? Pilate was the governor of the area where Jesus, when he lived, hung out and walked on this earth. He was the governor at that time. Think Greg Abbott, state of Texas. Pilate, Judea. So, Jesus was there. He ends up getting arrested. He's going to be crucified. Pretty important. You know that part of the story.
He's put on trial. Who is over the trial? Pilate, this Roman official. Pilate goes up to Jesus. These Jewish people are like, "Yeah, he's crazy! You should kill him!" Pilate is like, "All right. Hey, they're saying you're crazy. Should I kill you?" And Jesus is like, "No. I've healed people, and I've brought people back from the dead." He goes through his résumé. Pilate is like, "He's a pretty stand-up guy. I'm not really sure we should kill this guy."
But the Jews were like, "No, we've got to kill him. He claims to do something." Pilate makes an infamous decision. He says, "I see no reason to crucify this man, but I wash my hands of this thing." Essentially, what Pilate was saying was, "I have reservations about whether to take Jesus' life. I'm personally opposed to putting this man on a cross, but who am I to impose my beliefs on others? I'm not going to carry it out. That's my personal view. But if others want to, they can."
As Christians, we are not to take that stance when it relates to any issue of injustice, of life, of caring for people. Proverbs 31 says you and I are called to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. It says in verse 8, "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute [in need] . Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy."
It says you are to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. I don't know a single group in society who cannot at all speak for themselves to a greater degree than the unborn child. I know this is a tricky topic. This is not a political thing. This isn't a Republican thing. This is a Christian thing. It is a life, and we are called to advocate for life. There's no group that is more at threat… The number one killer of people in America today is abortion…more than cancer, more than heart disease. Abortion.
The parallels to times in the past where society… I know this is tricky and no one around us celebrates it. Those are some times where Christians, despite the fact that society and culture is like, "No, man. Who are you? You have no right to say that. Stay out of this…" Those are often the times where Christians, despite going against the culture, are in the right. The parallels to the issue of slavery on this one are uncanny. Before you tune out, I want to be very sensitive and very clear on what I mean by that.
In 1860, there was a candidate by the name of Abraham Lincoln. Do you guys know who he ran against? A gentleman by the name of Stephen Douglas. Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln ran against each other. They were debating each other for president of the United States. The nation was on the threshold of war over the issue of slavery. Both these two men ran. They both had interesting platforms they ran on.
Part of Stephen Douglas', Lincoln's opponent… Do you know what part of his thing was? Pro-choice. Not around the issue of abortion. His thing was, "Look. I personally would not advocate for slavery." You can go back and read the debates between Stephen Douglas… Just like we have debates and the craziness that that is right now, you can go read the debates of Lincoln and Douglas. They talk about this. There was a pro-choice era and movement and platform that he ran on.
He said, "I'm against slavery, but it's a big country. We have a lot of states. Who am I to say people in Georgia can't decide whether or not they should have slaves?" Lincoln said, "I am for choice, but when the choice involves something as immoral as slavery, it is wrong." To say that a black person can be chosen by the person who owns them over whether their value is anything other than a human life… If the black person is not as valuable as a human life, then, sure, choice is involved, but when it comes to a person being a human, being pro-choice about that is not an option.
This is a debate that has been going on for a long time. Even the parallels as it relates to culture and society… It was really split. There were some who were like, "Yes! I'm so for slavery." Others were like, "No, I'm so against slavery." Then there was this huge swath in the middle, many of them Christians, who were like, "I'm pretty neutral. I don't really want to speak out about it. I don't want to be inconvenienced about it." And they were wrong.
If you think you would have stood and fought against slavery, you would have stood and fought for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr., and you won't fight for the right of the unborn, I just want you to consider. Do you think you really would have, or would you have been in that middle group where it's neutral and "I just kind of want to stay out of it"? As Christians, we are called to speak up on this issue.
The separation of church and state thing… Maybe you're like, "Yeah, but who am I to impose…?" Nobody ever hates on Martin Luther King Jr. for bringing in his religious beliefs and convictions to say, "Based on what I believe the Bible teaches, it is wrong for someone to be judged on the color of their skin, not the content of their character. Let justice flow like waters…" He quoted from the book of Amos on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and nobody had a problem with it.
Christians, over and over, are called to go against whatever culture says if it contradicts the Word of God and to raise our voices and fight for the needs of those who cannot fight for themselves. I want you to really think about that. If you're listening and you won't fight for the rights of the unborn who are called, "It's less than human," the parallels to slavery of "Hey, they're not exactly on the same…" are shocking.
Do you really think you would have fought against Jim Crow? Do you really think you would have fought against slavery? Because this is your time. This is your age. This is your era. This is the time for you and me and Christians everywhere to say, "We will see abortion end in our generation. We're going to fight for life, womb to the tomb. We're going to care for people no matter where they are on the spectrum of life. We're going to care for the immigrant. We're going to care for all people."
There is no group that is being killed at the rate the unborn are, and society is applauding it and allowing it and fighting for it and enabling it. It is the most moral blind spot we have ever had. America has more pro-abortion allowance than almost every country on earth. We are some of the most radical as it relates to "You can kill a child up to 39 weeks" in many places in our country. Think about that.
In terms of France, Spain, Germany, the limit is 12 weeks, and you have to go see a counselor for three days to even have it before you can do that. They look at America, and they're like, "Dude, you guys are…" We're right there with China, Russia, and North Korea. Are those the nations you want to be mentioned with?
Yet so many Christians… And it's candidly because this has been hijacked by this, like, "Women's rights. We've got to stay together, guys." It is an affront to God. I am all for women's rights. Whether you're a man or woman, black, white, Hispanic, whatever, we have to come together and say, "Whatever our differences are, we are going to be united on this."
In conclusion, what is the application from this? First, if this is a part of your story, God isn't done with you, and I want to invite you to recover. We have a ministry here that is entirely devoted to helping you… Just like all of us have sexual sin in our past and issues in our past where we just need to recover.
There's an entire ministry that's devoted called Life Initiative. It's about post-abortion care. You can go to watermark.org and type in "Life Initiative" or you can just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll connect you, and you'll find other women there who have walked alongside, and God is using their story. He's redeeming it.
Some of the most godly women I know have that as part of their story. It doesn't define them. They are redefining the way our society and women and people in general understand where life is found, which is in Jesus. So, the first thing would be recover. We have volunteers and men and women tonight who are here who have that as part of their story who would love to talk and connect with you.
Secondly, we have to pray. We have to hit our knees and pray, not just in election year but every day and every year, "God, will you end abortion in our generation? You ended the atrocity of slavery in our past. You ended what happened in Nazi Germany. Will you end again what is taking place in our land?" It is insanity that if you touch a bald eagle egg it could cost you $250,000, but if you kill a life in the womb it is a constitutional right. That is insane. We have to pray, because our nation's conscience is seared as it relates to this.
Thirdly, use your voice. Just like I said, speaking out, knowing where you stand on this issue, advocating for it, and raising up our voices. Just like they did with bald eagle eggs, we're going to raise up our voices and advocate that legislation happen to protect this, that we would raise up our voices.
Fourthly, vote. Whether this is a part of your story or not, every time you vote… This is not just the president. This isn't an issue that no matter what happens on November 3 is going to go away. This is an issue that we have to be people who say, "We are going to stand firm on this, and we're going to hold you accountable. We're going to see that we pass legislation." Life is beginning to win again in America.
The generation that is right here, young adults, is beginning to turn the tide on their perspective on "Yeah, this is pretty messed up." In 1973 with Roe v. Wade, they didn't have 3D sonograms. They didn't have the ability to go, "Oh yeah, that baby is smiling at me right now." Now is our time to begin to vote, hold people accountable, and push. This is an issue that cannot be one we give in on.
Fifthly, you can bring the baby to us. If you or someone you know… Listen to me very clearly. If you find yourself in a situation where you're pregnant, have an unplanned pregnancy, or you know someone who does, I want you to bring the baby here. We will take care of your baby. We'll come alongside that person.
If they just need help and care and they're trying to walk through that, I want you to tell them they can bring the child here. We will take them and walk with them every single step of the way. So, if you're like, "I don't know what to do. What are even our options? This feels so crazy," you can tell them, or you can know, you can bring the child here. We will care for the child and find a place and help make an adoption plan to find a home for them.
Sixthly, serve. Some of you have this as a part of your story, or you don't and it's just a passion point. There are opportunities we'd love to let you know about, whether it would be through Thrive, which is the ministry Meredith and Farrah are a part of that weekly helps women who are in that situation that is such a terrifying one to be in, helps them take the next step in their unplanned pregnancies, put together an adoption plan, put together a plan for care and walk alongside of them.
Maybe you serve in that or maybe you serve in Life Initiative. If this is a part of your story, if you're a follower of Jesus and it's there, you have no idea how powerful your story is to other women who feel covered in shame, covered in guilt, covered without hope. You and your testimony of God's goodness, despite all of our messed-up decisions and despite your story, is like a key that unlocks the shame and guilt and pain of people. You can serve in Life Initiative and share and use your mess to be a message for Christ.
In conclusion, I've said a lot. If you hear condemnation and shame and guilt, I want you to listen to me abundantly clearly: that is not from the Lord. How do I know that? There's actually a moment in John, chapter 8, we've talked about before where a woman is in sexual sin, and Jesus' response gives us some indication of how he'd respond to you if you just looked at pornography, how he'd respond to you as it relates to abortion or sexual sin with your boyfriend or girlfriend. It gives us how he responds to broken, messed-up people.
It's a woman who had been caught having sex with another man who wasn't her husband. Think about that moment. Somebody busts in the door, and they find this woman who's having sex with a man who's not her husband. They drag her half-naked, they throw her in front of Jesus, and this group surrounds Jesus who's in the temple teaching. They throw this woman down, and they say, "Jesus, we caught this woman in sexual sin, sleeping with a man who is not her husband. The law says we should condemn her. She should have the death penalty. What do you say?"
What would the Son of God say to your worst moment? I mean, you get caught having an affair with a guy who's married. That's a bad moment. What would Jesus, God in a bod, perfection in sandals, walking on the planet, eye to eye with this woman… What would he say? He bends over and begins writing on the ground. After a couple of minutes, he stands up and says to this crowd of men and this terrified woman on the ground half-clothed, disheveled, ashamed…
He says, "Whoever has no sin, let them throw the first stone." After a moment, the men begin to leave, it says, from the oldest to the youngest. Then it's just Jesus and the woman. He bends back down, the text tells us, and he lifts up her face and says, "Woman, where are your accusers? Does no one condemn you?" The woman looks around and realizes it's just her and Jesus. She says, "No one." Jesus responds, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."
He looks at a woman who had the equivalent of an abortion or adultery or pornography or sexual sin that's in my life, and he looks her right in the eyes and says, "I don't condemn you. I don't condone what you did, but I don't condemn you, and I am calling you forward. Go and sin no more, child." Whatever you have done, whatever sin you think puts you beyond the length of God's love, you have bought a lie.
Jesus would say to you, if that's a part of your story, the condemnation and guilt you feel is not from him if you're a follower of Christ. He has paid for it. That doesn't define you. You have been washed and cleaned in his love and by his love by what he did on the cross, and you can walk free in that. We can all together look around at society and say, "We don't condemn what you have done, but we don't condone it, and we are calling us as a nation… This has to end."
Whatever circumstance or whatever brokenness or whatever challenge or whatever you think is too far beyond God's reach or whatever circumstance you're in right now, there is nothing that is impossible for God to turn around and use for good. No matter how bad things look, he can take the most crazy unplanned pregnancy and use it for incredible good. How do I know that? Because the greatest act in human history was connected to an unplanned pregnancy.
Think about this. The greatest act in history… There was a young girl named Mary, 16 years old. She realizes despite the fact that she's engaged, never had sex with anybody, she's pregnant. Angel shows up and says, "You're going to give birth to the Son of God." How did that conversation go with her mom? "Yeah, Mom. I'm pregnant. No, we didn't do it. No handsy, no nothing. An angel."
It didn't go so well, because Joseph, who she was engaged to, decided, "Man, clearly you've cheated. People don't just get impregnated out of the blue, so I'm out," until an angel shows up and says, "She is with child, who will be the Savior of the world." An unplanned pregnancy that caught them totally off guard, they had no idea was coming, but God did. Every unplanned pregnancy that catches anyone totally off guard…they had no idea it was coming…is one that God did.
Just like he did in that situation, he can take even the most surprising, confusing, terrifying circumstance and use it for your good. He has already done it by what he did with his Son who gave his life and paid for all of our sins, every sin in your past, in my past, in your future, in my future…all of it, paid for. We receive that by trusting "You paid for me." Now we go advocate and speak for those who can't speak for themselves. Let me pray.
Father, I pray for anyone right now who has never experienced freedom from the pain and the shame, that you would be louder than any feelings of condemnation they feel, that they would hear your grace and your forgiveness, that you call them by name and you love them, you died for them, you're crazy about them, you're not done with them, you've forgiven them; that those would ring loudly.
I pray for any person who listens to this and finds themselves in that situation of an unplanned pregnancy, that they would take the steps that are in line with your Word and they would walk through either making an adoption plan or raising the child, and you would have them walk with that child in a full relationship with you for a full life. Father, would you end abortion in our generation?
Would you put in office men who don't just say they're pro-life but are pro-life, and would you capture the hearts and save men and women who refuse to do so? Would you awaken our country's conscience to this blind immorality that's currently amongst us, and would you help us, as your church, to be winsome, engaging, courageous, and loving as we do so and use our voices and point people to the one who saves all people, who created all people, and who gives offer of eternal life and abundant life now and forever. In Christ's name, amen.