If there is one book you do not want to appeal to in support of abortion it is the Bible. Yet that is exactly what Planned Parenthood has done in its new “Pastoral Letter to Patients,” further identified as the Clergy Advocacy Board Statement.
The letter begins by stating that, “The decision to have an abortion is personal.”
That, of course, is true. In fact, abortion is one of the most personal decisions a woman (and the father of her baby) can make. But that does not mean that it is an independent decision. God certainly has an opinion about the decision as well.
The letter continues: “Though your reasons may be complicated and private, you’re not alone. As religious leaders from a number of religious traditions, we’re here to support you in your decision.”
The clergy is “here to support you in your decision”? That’s what clergy is supposed to do? Regardless of the reason for your abortion, regardless of the fact that there is a baby in your womb, regardless of how late in the pregnancy you are – we support your decision. Really?
I thought ministers were supposed to serve as moral guides to the flock, helping them make biblically informed decisions, rather than simply support whatever decisions their congregants make.
Several centuries ago, Jean Daille remarked that, “Ministers are not cooks, but physicians and therefore should not study to delight the palate, but to recover the patient.”
It appears that Daille’s words have been missed by the Planned Parenthood clergy.
The letter continues, “Many people wrongly assume that all religious leaders disapprove of abortion. The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures – Jewish or Christian – and there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision.”
Yes, I realize that religious leaders disagree on many different issues, but that hardly means the Bible is not clear on a subject. Some leaders simply believe that they know better than the Bible and that they are more enlightened than the human authors of the Scriptures.
The Clergy Advocacy Board would have done better to state, “It is true that many religious leaders disagree with abortion, using the Bible as their guide,” before explaining why they, for their part, support abortion. Instead, they wrongly claim that the Bible doesn’t address the issue.
Are they forgetting David’s words about being fearfully and wonderfully made by God, knit together by him in the womb? (See Psalm 139.)
Are they forgetting that the Bible ascribes personhood to babies in the womb, including Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:23), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5), John the Immerser (Luke 1:15, 39-44), and Jesus himself (Luke 1:39-44)?
Can anyone argue that, from a biblical perspective, a human life would not have been taken had Jacob or Esau or Jeremiah or John or Jesus been killed in the womb?
Perhaps the Clergy Advocacy Board should have sent their letter to Mary, the mother of Jesus, explaining that they would support her in whatever decision she made. After all, she was not yet married, she was just a young woman, the pregnancy would bring lots of questions with it, and it would definitely cause her lots of emotional turmoil. Why not terminate the unexpected pregnancy?
It is true that a passage in Exodus has been debated in terms of what it has to say about abortion (see Exodus 21:22-25), but on any reading, there is a penalty for causing a miscarriage, while the other passages just cited point clearly to the personhood of the baby in the womb.
Is it any surprise, then, that the early Christians opposed abortion and infanticide?
The letter continues, “The beliefs of each person are deserving of respect, and each person deserves care and compassion. No one should be allowed to force their faith teachings on anyone else.”
True, we should not force our faith teachings on others, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t encourage mothers-to-be to look at an ultrasound and see the little child growing within them and that we shouldn’t encourage them to choose life.
The letter then concludes by saying, “We believe this decision is yours, made with your doctor and anyone else you choose to bring into the conversation, such as a spouse, partner, parent, or clergy person. …
“God loves you and is with you no matter what you decide. You can find strength, understanding, and comfort in that love.”
Would Planned Parenthood encourage its Protestant clients to get input from godly, Bible-believing pastors, including evangelical pro-life leaders?
Would Planned Parenthood encourage its Catholic clients to ask the pope for his input, seeing that he stated that, “It is horrific even to think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day.” Pope Francis also described abortion as part of a “throwaway culture,” adding, “Unfortunately, what is thrown away is not only food and dispensable objects, but often human beings themselves, who are discarded as unnecessary.”
As for the Planned Parenthood clergy’s notion that “God loves you and is with you no matter what you decide,” it is true that God’s love towards us is constant. But he is certainly not with us no matter what we do, which is why Paul urged the Romans to consider both the kindness and the severity of God (see Romans 11:22). There are many things we do that are sinful in his sight, because of which we will one day give account.
If Planned Parenthood is serious about this pastoral letter, why not put Bibles in every one of its clinics in America? (I’m sure we could find funding to get it done.) This would also offer hope for those women who did choose to abort. There is mercy and forgiveness available for them if they turn from their sins through the cross.
It’s all laid out in God’s Book. Let’s not try to rewrite it to suit our own purposes.