Select Wisdom Brand

Does a Christian worldview allow for any exceptions for abortion?

by Stephen Davey

When you discuss abortion with someone who supports their personal “right” to an abortion, one of the first things they will argue is the instances of rape, incest, and the life of the mother. These situations are cited so frequently that you would think they make up a significant proportion of abortions in America each year. You may be surprised to find in researching the topic that the percentage of abortions following rape, incest, or life of the mother is around 2 percent of abortions nationwide. 

Instances of Rape, Incest, and Life of the Mother

The overwhelming majority—98 percent—are elective decisions made primarily because the baby is unwanted. Certainly, social, relational, and financial decisions weigh into the decision of mothers who abort their babies, but less than 2 percent have anything to do with the rare circumstances of crime or physical crisis. 

In spite of the rarity of these exceptions, I do want to say a brief word about these three circumstances. What can we learn from God’s Word about how to respond to them? 

Abortion in the Instance of Rape or Incest

First, let me affirm that abortion in the instance of rape or incest is still wrong. This is not to minimize the horror and immorality of sexual assault or incestuous relationships, but we must remember that “two wrongs don’t make something right.” In other words, responding to the criminal act of rape or incest with another criminal act— murder—does not correct the first crime. The wrong committed by a man who sexually assaults a woman is not “made right” by taking the life of the baby. 

According to God’s Word, even evil committed against us takes place under the sovereign plan of God who can take the sinful actions of man—which God is not responsible for—and fit them into His ultimately good plan. 

In Genesis 19, the two daughters of Lot conceived children by their father; and while this incestuous act was a violation of God’s design for procreation, one of the results of this sin was the birth of Moab. Moab became the patriarch of the Moabites, from which Ruth, the great-grandmother of David, would later come. 

Consider the crimes against Joseph who suffered in prison, only to learn later that God had complete control of the evil actions committed against him. Consider David’s adultery, murder, and polygamy, in adding Bathsheba to his harem, which God used to bring Solomon into the world. 

While I deeply sympathize with the victims of sexual violence, the sin committed does not justify committing yet another sin against the unborn child. 

Pregnancy Complications and the Balancing of Lives

In some pregnancies, complications arise which may risk the life of a baby to save the life of the mother. The most common example is an ectopic pregnancy, in which the embryo does not implant in the woman's uterus. Ectopic pregnancies must be monitored closely. If it does not resolve itself, a doctor may need to surgically deliver the baby prematurely to save the mother's life. This procedure should be handled in a loving and careful way. Even when measures are taken to save both lives, the baby may not survive. 

In these instances, parents face the difficult decision of balancing two equally precious lives, the mother's life and the baby's life. Let me offer an observation and an encouragement to anyone in this circumstance. 

Keep in mind: the life of the mother is not the same as the health of the mother. Putting the life of an unborn baby at risk can only be morally considered when the doctors and parents determine that the mother's life is in imminent danger. If there is any way that both the life of the mother and the baby can be saved, that avenue must be taken. 

Rejecting Abortion Based on Genetic Disorders

Additionally, women need to reject the advice of any doctor who encourages an abortion because the baby has a growth defect or a genetic disorder. A baby with autism or down syndrome is still an image-bearer of God and deserves life. Quality of life does not justify an abortion but saving a life through ending a pregnancy is not an immoral decision to make. 

Counsel for Those Faced with Difficult Decisions

If you or a loved one is faced with this situation, let me offer some counsel. Get a second opinion from a pro-life doctor, one who shares your worldview and your perspective on the value of the unborn. You will want expertise and medical counsel from someone who shares both your values and your priorities in this matter. Pray for God’s wisdom to lead you to the right decision. 

Finding Encouragement in the Midst of Loss

Lastly, be encouraged by this: even if a mother loses her baby in order to spare her life, a reunion will take place one day. We believe the Bible is clear that aborted and miscarried babies are immortal souls upon fertilization; so eternity with them is just ahead in Heaven. 

And on that day, sorrow and death will be but a distant memory. 

Add a Comment


Myra says:
This answered so many questions for me. I totally believe everything you said. This helps me to know how to answer the questions on abortion.
Nichole says:
Thank you for sharing this, Dr. Davey. I heard this sermon in the pulpit when you preached it and I appreciate you sharing it again in writing. As a daughter of two teenage parents, a 17 year old mother and a 19 year old father, I was born in 1974, one year after Roe v. Wade became law. It was not easy for my mother to have me. She was one of a few that did not choose to abort in her high school. She was forced to homeschool by her high school faculty during her junior year because of her pregnancy. However, my parents did marry and had me right before her senior year of high school. She was able to attend high school her senior year while my grandmother took care of me during the day and my mother graduated with her class. It was not easy, but God honored their faithfulness. I have now been married for 24 years and we have 3 children who are adults. God’s faithful plan has blessed our family beyond anything by mother could have imagined or hoped for back in 1973 when she first learned she was pregnant. I sincerely thank you for sharing the truth about abortion. I’m so thankful my mother chose life.
Terance Adkins says:
Well said and being 71, I'm saddened with what I did when I was 40 of getting a vasectomy. I had 4 wives and 4 children with the first 2 wives. One child in Heaven and now I'm single again with 10 grandchildren. I praise God for your ministry and stand for the rights of the unborn.
Cessi Bowles says:

I believe every word that you have said. And I thank you so much for giving me the answer to be able to articulate with authority and truth.

May the Lord continue to bless your ministry.
Daniel Perez says:
My Mom had 14 children, most of us from the same father. Growing up, we never new who our father was, and it never dawned on me that there was a need for a father. Our grandparents took care of us. My mom always pushed me away from her, I always felt rejected, unwanted, unloved. It seemed as if she did not want to look at me. (There is much more), it was not until Mom came to know the Lord Jesus Christ that she revealed who our father was, I was around 40 years old when she told me, The man we called Grandad, was actually our father, he was my moms stepfather. He was very controlling and abusive. I can’t imagine, I finally understood why I was treated that way by my mom, she saw him, that moment, each time she saw me.

Thanks to our Savior Jesus Christ , He brought healing between my mom and myself. A new beginning, new memories, joy of knowing her son was a servant to our Lord Jesus Christ. Mom was a great witness for Jesus Christ.

I often think what if she had an abortion. I am thankful she did not. I can imagine she went thru a lot of moments asking “why me?” In the end many of us, her children became Christians, and serve the lord in May areas in the church and community. Thank our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for life each day.

Romans 8:28
Jim says:
There will be no excuse at the judgement seat of Christ to justify murder against the unborn which we know are created in the image of God; only the acceptance of forgiveness offered by the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin in and by the grace of God can two wrongs be made right thus providing external life with our Lord and the unborn already in heaven. Pray God continues the ministry of Wisdom!
Gail says:
Thank you for this life affirming article. As a journalist, I had the blessing of writing a story for Mother's Day several years ago that related the experience of a young, unmarried woman who'd begun an abortion procedure but opted not to continue with the second set of shots. She delivered a beautiful baby girl, healthy in every way and the light of her life. I'm so thankful when a mother chooses life for her child despite difficult circumstances. In this case, the young woman continued to be harassed by the mother of the supposed father of the child and even the doctor from the abortion clinic [they both even called me to complain that I'd written the story though I didn't mention the name of the clinic or give any information about the father]. I was shocked to hear the vitriol over someone choosing NOT to kill her child.

I especially appreciate your addressing the question of a mother's life being in danger from the pregnancy. I learned from my parents that my father had to make that decision when my older sister was born, and that he told the doctor to save our mother if it came down to a choice. Thankfully, the doctor was able to save both.
Wanda says:
Thank you and I agree with this.
Elizabeth Loftis says:
I agree with you in all situations. It’s still murder to kill an unborn baby in any situation.
Dave Waters says:
Excellent article! I see this as very useful to leave with those who profess to have a Christian worldview, but for some reason have a differing view of abortion, likely in the case of nurses who have dealt with difficult pregnancies or rape/incest (I know several in our care community). Thanks Dave Waters
Jonie Neddo says:
Thank you for being willing to tackle the tough questions. The insight that the mother and the baby are two separate , individual lives. Created by God as His image-bearer. Who are we to decide whether they live or die. Both lives are in the hands of God and if we just trust Him, He will handle all things according to His will.
Nancy Plemons says:
Wonderful advice!!
Rebecca Marlow says:
Totally agree with your reasoning and appreciate your direct answers to very difficult questions. God bless you as your serve our Savior!