Vol. 1 - No. 9 

September, 1982

A Doctor (Also A Christian) Takes A Look At Abortion

by Curtis J. Torno, MD

Nearly every state, including this our own great state of Texas, has now passed very liberal abortion laws. I cannot understand how the people in a state where there is a respect for Bible teaching would allow men to remain in office who thought so lightly of human life, but it seems that no one is really concerned.

For all of our national existence abortion has been illegal, disapproved of, and considered sin. Now suddenly, as if borne by a whirlwind, one state after another has adopted such liberal regulations that any woman of any age, married or single, who desires an abortion and is under twenty (20) weeks gestation, can have one.

I am sure that it is largely the product of "Women's Lib" and the "New Morality" (which is really the "Old Immorality," sans bra and in mini-skirts and hot pants.) It is also a part of the sexual revolution and sexual promiscuity that has loosened moral restraint in our times. Unfortunately, liberal misguided courts and judges and over-eager legislators, striving to please and placate these new elements in our society, have been a factor also.

All of this has combined to produce yet an-other problem for the Christian. Just as liberalized divorce laws do not change God's law, neither does these new liberalized abortion laws change God's law. Something that is right (a liberty) may be made wrong because it becomes illegal, but nothing that is wrong (immoral or against God's law) can be made right because it becomes legal. (i.e., Legal gambling, drinking, and divorce immediately come to mind.)

I suggest that abortion is immoral and sinful because it is the taking of human life. If the fetus has life it is a sin to take that life:

  1. As a physician, I contend that life begins when the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus. At that time it has all the elements necessary for it to develop into a full grown human, except time for growth. Nothing else is necessary. I can consistently point to no other time as the beginning of life. Life and the soul begin together.
  2. In Genesis 2, God breathed in the newly formed Adam "the breath of life" and he "became a living soul." In the first creation, man became a soul when he became alive. The fetus has life when it is implanted in the wall of the uterus. In the first creation, life and the soul came together and so it does now in God's law for the creation of new souls. God's law of procreation is not only for the production of new bodies, but for new souls as well. I conclude then that, like Adam, when life begins a soul is also created. Thus the fetus has life and becomes a soul at the time the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus. It then has all the elements for continued growth and life.
  3. Abortion is morally wrong and sinful because it is the taking of human life. Exodus 21:22-25 tells of a penalty for accidental interruption of pregnancy. If the accidental interruption is wrong, what would the penalty be for deliberate interruption. Several newspaper stories are in my files of abortion babies being sucked out showing signs of life and one even who survived for four (4) months. Any pregnancy past eight (8) weeks will have a fully formed baby, heart beats, muscular movement, and all signs of life.
  4. Please note that Exodus 21:22-23 has these elements, (1) A woman with child is hurt; (2) Her fruit (child) departs; (3) Yet no mischief (injury or harm) follows (no harm, period!! to the woman or child? There is nothing in the context to limit injury to the woman only); (4) then the guilty will be punished. But if mischief (harm or injury) follows (to whom --to woman or to child?); (5) Then punishment will be "life for life." (6) This would allow that injury to the unborn ("causing harm") would be punishable as "life for life." In abortion or miscarriage, the greatest danger is, of course, to the fetus, not to the mother.
  5. Please note Luke 1:41 -- Elizabeth was in her sixth month -- this is only four (4) weeks beyond our allowable abortion today, and yet life was there. Note that the "babe leaped in her womb." The word used here is the same one used for a child already born. It. had life and responded to stimuli while in the womb. It clearly had life -- when did it start? Medically, life has been present since the egg became implanted in the uterus.

Since abortion is the taking of life, needless to say, no Christian may participate in such, either to perform one or to procure one for himself. We must settle these things in our own minds. No one questions that abortion is the termination of a life. We all agree that life is there, we only disagree as to whether a soul is present. However, it is the taking of a life from another human being that is wrong. Since life is present, the taking of it would be wrong, even if the soul were not present.

Some would argue that contraception then is taking life and therefore wrong. Quite the contrary; contraception is the prevention of the formation of life and is another matter altogether. Abortion is not a form of contraception, but rather is the termination of pregnancy after it has begun. Abortion may be a form of birth control, but it is not a form of contraception. Contraception is not wrong because it only prevents the formation of life. Abortion terminates life long after it has begun. By this definition, it is murder!!

There is a concept of abortion that considers the fetus as a part of the mother's body like an appendix that can be removed at her will, whenever she chooses. This is not a true analogy. The appendix is not a living soul. It does not have life in itself. It is not the product of a union of two life cells. There is no soul or life involved in removing an appendix. Thus the analogy is entirely without foundation.

There is also another concept that compares physical birth to the spiritual birth. This idea says that since there is no spiritual life until after baptism (birth), then there is no physical life until after birth. In Acts 14, Elymas the sorcerer was condemned and struck blind because he sought to spiritually abort Sergius Paulus (interfere with his spiritual conversion). If that analogy holds true, then it would still be wrong to interfere with the physical birth process, once it is initiated. Even if we use a spiritual analogy, it would prove that abortion would be wrong.

Let us look at abortion from the medical standpoint now. Spiritually and as a Christian I have tried to prove that it is a sin and condemned by God. However, let us look at some of the physical effects of abortion. In twenty-five (25) years of medical practice and experience, I have seen many instances where abortion resulted in a guilt-ridden conscience and even physical harm. I have rarely seen it produce any good. It does nothing to strengthen the individuals it touches. It does not have the redeeming value of working

patience, and making the person more under-standing and strong. It is rather the easy way out, the way of least resistance and the way that undermines character and integrity. Even in the tragic case of teen-agers and unwed pregnancies, I do not think it is often the answer. To have the baby; to give life and then to adopt it out (thus providing another home with a much wanted and loved child) is a strengthening and patience-producing experience for the person involved.

It takes mental preparation, growth and maturity to consider all the factors and then to bear the child and give it up to a good home of a Christian. It requires nothing but selfishness and the de-sire for personal gain and disregard for another life to have an abortion. I feel strongly that I have seen many young girls strengthened, matured, and helped by the experience of carrying through their unwanted pregnancies and being reassured that a pair of loving parents are available to care for the child. I have seen nothing but grief, disillusionment, tears, and spiritual and physical weakness from those who resorted to abortion. I am afraid the new liberal abortion laws will encourage many to resort to abortion, even in violation of their own consciences.

Psychiatrists are expressing concern about the effects of abortion on women who feel bereaved, but cannot mourn as they can when they have lost a child as the result of miscarriage or of a stillbirth. Of course, women vary in their response to abortion, depending on how they envisage a conceived child.

The woman who thinks of her unborn child, no matter how young, as an individual; the potential bearer of a name; having a soul and an innate personality, cannot lose that child without a sense of deep loss. These are long term problems. There are others as well. We are only beginning to under-stand what the different consequences of abortion are. Almost no one has asked about the effects on men's attitudes toward and feelings about the unborn child; toward the woman who has the abortion or toward themselves. Continuing conflict about liberalization and law enforcement cannot deflect our attention from these very serious issues.

Even though Margaret Mead is a very liberal thinker and an extreme feminist and rarely does she express any thoughts I could agree with, she does not stand for abortion. She said in an issue of REDBOOK,   For the truth is, reliance on abortion is at best a poor solution. It is humane to interrupt a pregnancy in certain circumstances --when a mother has suffered rape, or when disease threatens the normality of the fetus or the life of the mother. But abortion, no matter how phrased, is too close to the edge of taking life to fit into a world view in which all life is regarded as valuable" (p. 41, REDBOOK, July, 1971).

Let us keep our thinking correct and not be taken in by the notion that a thing is right be-cause it is legal. It is easy for the shallow-minded to be deceived by such thinking.