If Abortion is “Murder,” then it’s a Crime — Right?
Unfortunately, in America abortion-on-demand is not considered a crime per se, but rather a “woman’s right to choose” — a decision based solely upon convenience. Abortion is part and parcel to the decree of sexual freedom in our declining civilization. It is the clarion call of inhumanity under the guise of humanism.
Full disclosure: I have no clue what the present limitations are on abortion. I know that partial-birth abortion was legal, but with all the flimflam in the Pro-life Movement, and all the various laws in the different states, it’s hard for me to tell anymore. I do know that abortion is still legal nationwide, and is therefore not considered “murder” by the federal and state governments — legally speaking, of course.
Do I consider abortion to be “murder”? Absolutely. The words are synonymous; abortion being a mere euphemism. It’s akin to infanticide, only it’s a distinction without a difference. Plain and simple, abortion is murder.
In legalese murder requires malice aforethought. Or as West’s Encyclopedia of American Law defines it, “The unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse.”
Neither of these definitions are helpful at first glance, but the encyclopedia goes on to elaborate stating that “murder comes in four varieties: (1) intentional murder; (2) a killing that resulted from the intent to do serious bodily injury; (3) a killing that resulted from a depraved heart or extreme recklessness; and (4) murder committed by an Accomplice during the commission of, attempt of, or flight from certain felonies.”
Would abortion not fall into one, if not all of these variations? You’d think. However, I’m not writing to argue whether or not abortion should be considered murder in accordance with current American jurisprudence.
What I want to know is why American Christians (particularly those of a conservative faith, who affirm the authority and inerrancy of God’s Word) are so quick to consider abortion as murder despite its present legality. For most, there’s no debate about it. Apart from the occasional milksop whose main concern is decorum, there aren’t many American Christians (as defined above) who would consider abortion anything else, but murder.
This alone demonstrates the willingness of American Christians to dissent from legal standings, if not practically, then at least rhetorically. Fortunately, many laymen and religious leaders are learning how to adequately use their prose to address this terrible atrocity. It is a war of worldviews and intelligence. Those who advocate preborn murder will often disregard any argument that views abortion as murder in the first place; therefore rendering kindness useless. In other words, this is not a war that can be won using deference as a litmus test for argumentation.
So why do Christians affirm abortion as murder? Most people I’ve asked say so on the basis of it being a direct violation of God’s Law. I tend to agree. Murder is an act of violence — an image bearer terminating the life of anther image bearer. So what does this mean? It means that when a person commits murder, he or she is not simply just disobeying one of God’s precepts. The murderer is, in turn, violating, or rather infringing upon another person’s right to exist — a right that is by virtue of a person’s creation.
This however leads to yet another important question: What does it mean to have a “right”? Well, this is quite simple really. God’s Law, being what it is, a moral requirement that transcends time and is a reflection of God’s character, does not waiver. It does not change. It does not make exceptions. Like God, His Law is immutable and just — and knowledge of the Law, like Him, is in the heart of every person (Rom. 2:15).
Understandably, in man’s depravity, the Law will not always be followed, and is often breached, ergo the sinfulness of man. This however does not absolve man from his responsibility to his neighbor and to God especially. When man sins, He commits an action against God’s rightness — in effect disobeying God. When man sins against his neighbor, he not only commits an action against God’s rightness, but against that rightness which has been given to man from God — viz. the assailant maliciously disrupts his neighbor’s inviolable existence which in other words is considered aggression.
The most cogent instantiation of God’s Law is found in the Decalogue. Even though God’s Law predates its own presentation at Mount Sinai, we must not forget such to be the most concrete source we have in determining right from wrong. It is here where we see an expectation of right behavior towards God, and towards our neighbor.
Since we are talking about abortion being murder, then I must point out the fact that regardless of any worldly court, or body of legislators, the definition of murder has its basis in God’s Law. Being written on the heart, God’s Law cannot be eluded which is why, even in imperfect form (as in the case of abortion), murder, theft, and certain types of false witness are still punished by unrighteous rulers.
The fact that people, righteous or not, are able to decipher good from evil and right from wrong should tell us a little bit about the extent of depravity in general — it is pervasive, but not absolutely ethically paralyzing. People generally are not as evil as they could be, though at times they are. Speaking deductively from Scripture, we can surmise that people are generally restrained by their conscience, and cannot or will not descend entirely into chaos and futility. If this were not the case, then governance in general could not exist.
Please note, that I am not saying people are generally good. On the contrary, people are quite generally bad, but only to an extent. People are generally ordered, rational, and inclined toward decisions on the basis of their own self-interests (but not necessarily self-preservation).
What I’m getting at is that people generally know when something’s amiss, morally. And Christians know that God’s Law supersedes that of American jurisprudence. We also know that we should obey God rather than man which is why American Christians, and even many non-religious libertarians, refer to abortion as murder — it is because God’s Law says so.
As humans created in the image of God, we know that laws should not be arbitrary, but that they should be based upon something. The Christian, with knowledge of God’s Word would reference God’s Law. Unbelievers, who refer to some greater axiom or value are not far off when they say there is an objective basis for law.
Though secularists may get their foundation wrong, the proposition that a greater Law exists — a Law that respects each individual’s right to exist without being aggressed upon — rings true throughout the cosmos. This is why any person can and should petition secular authorities against acts of aggression towards others.
This is why Christians are able to refer to abortion as murder without fear of disobeying God in resisting the precepts of a governing authority. In fact, being that Christians in America have an obligation to love their neighbors, it is a must that we argue consistently, persistently, and unapologetically that abortion is murder, despite legislation to the contrary. I would also say the same of other laws where individuals’ rights, as prescribed in Scripture and assumed by God’s Law, are transgressed — be them acts or threats of aggression, theft, extortion, perjury, or the breaking of contracts.
So while abortion is not technically considered a crime under American law, it is without a doubt murder which is a legal term defined by the greatest judge and lawmaker — God.