> Articles from the Abolitionists of North Idaho > Should women who get an abortion be prosecuted for first degree murder?
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Today we visited another pro-life church to talk to Christians about abortion, and we asked them if women who abort their children should be criminally charged with murder. Interestingly, almost every single Christian we have ever asked that question, does not answer it directly but instead deflects to a statement like "we need to show the love of Jesus, and they can forgiven in Jesus, right?"
Yes, they can. But, there are multiple kingdoms running simultaneously. There is the Kingdom of God, a spiritual kingdom, entered into spiritually through belief in Jesus Christ. Depending on where you sit reading this right now, your body, regardless of whether or not you are in the Kingdom of God, sits or stands or kneels or lies in an earthly kingdom, in which ordination to rule has been given to civil magistrates. That is because God knew human beings needed law and enforcement which results in the ongoing restraint of evil. Even if you are born again and this world is not your own and you are just passing through, your neighbors are mostly unsaved, and it is an act of love to them to actually participate in and care for the worldly kingdoms, under which conditions of the kingdoms we all live. We and they are subject to these worldly kingdoms, whether we are sojourners or not.
Even before Roe v. Wade in 1973 and before states started decriminalizing abortion in 1967, women who obtained abortions were rarely prosecuted, and they were usually not prosecuted for murder.
State laws against abortion before Roe typically targeted abortionists for criminal penalty, not women. In fact, women were typically treated as victims for obtaining abortions before Roe v. Wade. One proffered explanation for that is that due to the high risk of harm to the mother by getting an abortion, they must have been the victims, or else they would not have taken such risks.
We have laid out the claim, and most Christian pro-lifers agree that abortion is sin. By that, we mean the act of abortion is sin itself. In Genesis 9:6, God declared "Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." We have previously established that the preborn human being is fully a man, made in the image of God. This is confirmed in many scriptures of the Bible, but primarily we know from James 2:26 that "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." So, if a body is alive, no matter how small the body, then a human spirit resides there. Also, when Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary, we see in Luke 1 that Mary went immediately with haste on a three day journey to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with John the Baptist. When she entered the home of Elizabeth, John leaped in Elizabeth's womb because Jesus was in Mary, and Elizabeth declared Mary the mother of her Lord. At that point since conception only a few days earlier, Jesus would have not yet even implanted in the uterus of Mary but would still be on his journey down the fallopian tubes. You can read more scriptural verification of the status of the preborn from conception here.
So then, we know that abortion is sin, and God will judge sin, and Jesus died for sin. Some sins are not also earthly crimes in the Bible, while others are also crimes. For example, most lies are not treated as crimes, but rape is. Murder was both a sin and a crime and, scripturally, was of the most serious nature of crime and carried a death penalty. So, the question is should Christians demand that mothers who get abortions, who kill their preborn children, who practice child sacrifice, should they be prosecuted for premeditated murder?
If someone murdered your spouse or your mother, should they be prosecuted for murder, even if they repent and put their trust in the blood of Christ? Are there not indeed God ordained corporal consequences for acts done, even if in providential justice the debt of sin has been paid? Is it not just and right that Christians should care about the earthly and the heavenly? God has ordained the civil magistrates to "wield the sword" against the evildoer in Romans 13. 1 Peter 2:13 confirms that we ought to "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well."
The reason God has ordained civil magistrates for the punishment of evildoers is to place a constraint on the amount of evil and the types of evil that occur amongst the regenerated and unregenerated population here on earth. This is a good thing, because if there were no criminal law, every man would be a law unto themselves, and lawlessness would prevail, and our very safety and that of our family's would always be in jeopardy.
Are most murders of born people prosecuted in the criminal justice system regardless of whether a jail chaplain or an officer transporting a criminal to jail shares with that criminal the gospel, and that criminal repents and believes?
In an abortion, a mother hires an assassin to dismember or chemically kill her preborn child. When a person hires an assassin to murder a BORN person, we have an expectation that they will be treated as a perpetrator and will be criminally prosecuted. We never claim that they are victims of the assassin. We call these murder-for-hires, and even when the murder is not carried out, there is still a prosecution for solicitation to commit first degree murder.
Why do we not then treat abortion as a murder-for-hire?
If we do not demand the same treatment for mothers who hire an assassin to murder their preborn children, there can be only one possible explanation: ageism. In the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers of America found these truths to be self evident, that all men were created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
All the while that these words were declared and became the foundation for our society, an entire people group's unalienable right to liberty was not recognized - those of black people. Many pious Christians, in fact, owned black humans as property without apparently seeing the hypocrisy of their racism in contrast to the Declaration of Independence's clause for liberty. For another 100 years after the civil war, many good Christian people in the South and North practiced further racial discrimination, in the South evidenced by segregation, in which they denied the black man another unalienable right, the right to pursuit of happiness (as equal treatment under law).
Today, 50 years after the civil rights movement that established the equality of the black man, 400 years after our forefathers first came to this land of America, we continue to observe the Declaration of Independence as a noble, foundational document. But, to this day, we have not fully adopted the ideas in that declaration that all men are endowed by their Creator with a right to LIFE! We are ageists. We have decided by our apathy if not our actual acts and intents that a whole people group, based not on their skin color but by their circumstances of conception (rape and incest), their circumstances of genetic condition (Down Syndrome), their ability to feel pain or not feel it, their age, size, ability and location....we have decided that because of THESE circumstances of their condition, that we good Christian neighbors, will deny them our love - yes, we will love their murdering mothers, we will love their unsaved neighbors, but we will NOT LOVE THEM, as evidenced not by our prayers and warm wishes but by OUR ACTS to serve them in time of need - to deliver them from the hands that would dismember them. To demand on their behalf justice! To demand for them and fight for them and grant to them the unalienable right to physical LIFE.
No, instead, we just want to love their killers and preach the gospel. What about those being killed Christian? What about their silent cries? In God's creation and vision, they are as valuable as you, if not more so, they being the "least of these". Why would we not demand their killers be prosecuted for premeditated first degree homicide?
Are you an ageist?
Do you love your neighbor in prayer only?
God uses human agents to effect change in the kingdoms of this earth. Yes, Jesus is coming back, maybe soon, maybe not so soon.
In the meantime, tomorrow, 3,000 die on our watch, while abortion remains the number one cause of death of Americans, more than heart disease, more than cancer.