Reflections about Life, Love, Light, and Liberty (the 4-Ls) by Leroy Seat.
Monday, October 15, 2012
How Can a Christian Be Pro-Choice?
In spite of what he said in August about "legitimate rape" and
other controversial statements, Republican leaders are
still (or again) supporting U. S. Representative Todd Akin in his Senate bid
because he has voted the “right” way on selected House votes. That was the gist
of a Facebook posting I made earlier this month.
Soon this response appeared under
that FB posting: “My question is, what kind of Christian can possibly support
abortion? That’s way beyond my comprehension.” That pointed question and
statement caused me to think again about the issues surrounding the knotty
question of abortion.
(The person who raised the
question is the granddaughter of two of the finest people I have ever known; back in the 1950s they were core members of the first church I pastored, and
I remember when she was born during that time.)
Here is my response to her
pointed question, What kind of Christian can possibly support abortion?
(1) First, probably no Christian supports
abortion in the sense of thinking that it is a good thing. All references to
people, Christians or otherwise, as being pro-abortion are usually mistaken. It
is much more accurate to say that they are pro-choice.
(2) Many Christians realize that
we live in an imperfect world filled with sinful people. Thus, they can in good
conscience condone abortions when women, in consultation with their doctors,
think that there are compelling physical, emotional, or economic reasons why
they should not continue a pregnancy. In such cases the abortive procedure
should be done at an early stage in the pregnancy (preferably in the first
trimester) and in a safe, supportive environment. Ideally, every pregnancy
should be a wanted pregnancy, and every mother should be able to love, care
for, and nourish her child(ren) adequately. But, sadly, we do not live in a
(3) Most Christians, as well as
most non-Christians, who are pro-choice confidently believe that personhood
does not begin at conception but much later, probably not until the time of
viability. Thus, abortions done early in the pregnancy are certainly not
the same as murder, as the so-called pro-life people often charge.
(4) Because abortion is not
the “taking of human life” in any sense, many Christians (and others),
believing in the inviolable personal freedom of all people, affirm the right of
women to choose to end an unwanted pregnancy. That choice, of course, should
not be made rashly or in a cavalier manner. Certainly a woman contemplating an
abortion should talk with her doctor, her family, and, ideally, her pastor.
But, still, the final choice should be hers. She should not be forced (by the
government or anyone else) to continue an unwanted pregnancy.
(5) And then many Christians who
would countenance abortion under the circumstances mentioned above believe that
there are more important “pro-life” issues that need to be addressed, ones that
are often overlooked, or even opposed, by many anti-abortion people—issues such
as capital punishment and especially war, both of which are clearly the killing
of human beings. They also believe that hunger and poverty are rampant causes
of death, especially of young children, so impoverished women especially should
not be forced to carry an unwanted child—or to resort to “coat hanger”
abortions out of desperation.
So this is the kind of Christian
who can “support” abortion, one who is certainly pro-life, but not “pro-birth”
in every case.
* Born in Grant City, Mo., on 8/15/1938
* Graduated from Southwest Baptist
College (Bolivar, Mo.) in 1957 (A.A.)
* Graduated from William Jewell College
(Liberty, Mo.) in 1959 (A.B.)
* Graduated from The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary (Louisville, Ken.)
in 1962 (B.D., equivalent of M.Div.)
* Received the Doctor of Philosophy
degree in theology from SBTS.
* Baptist missionary to
Japan from 1966 to 2004.
* Full-time faculty member
at Seinan Gakuin University (Fukuoka,
Japan) from 1968 to 2004.
* Chancellor of Seinan Gakuin from 1996 to 2004.
* Adjunct professor at Rockhurst
University 2006 to 2014.
USPS address: 1307 Canterbury Lane, Liberty, MO 64068