How has your religion affected your view on abortion?

If you watched the VP debate you’ll remember the moderator asking the candidates a single question about abortion. “How has your religion affected your view on abortion?” Amid a flurry of questions about the economy and foreign policy, the question was as on-topic as orating Shakespeare at a hot dog eating competition so I’ll give Ryan and Biden some grace. However, I wasn’t impressed with either of their answers. Therefore, I offer my answer to Mrs. Moderator’s question.

Before I begin I want to say something to all the women and men who are living with the painful memories of having had an abortion. Having heard from and worked with people who share your story, I know how heavy a burden you carry. Please know there are skilled, loving people out there who can help you, and you aren’t alone in your struggle.

Now to your question. First of all, it’s framed to imply religion as the singular influence on someone’s position on this issue, and that’s simply inaccurate. My faith does influence my view, but there are many medical professionals, geneticists, biologists, etc who have a pro-life view based purely on the empirical evidence, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Secondly, religion does not influence my position. You may consider it an issue of semantics, but it’s incorrect to equate religion and faith. Religion may be an expression of someone’s faith, but it could also be put into practice by a faithless individual. I believe Jesus of Nazareth is the eternal, divine Son of God and He sacrificed His life on a crucifix just outside the city of Jerusalem around the year 1 A.D. He did it to fulfill the just wrath of God and provide a means of redemption to anyone who would believe His claims and works were true. Because He loved me so completely and unconditionally, I seek to follow Him and effort to be more like Him in thought and deed. By faith, I believe God exists and the affirmations of scripture are true. The book of Psalms proclaims God’s creating hand at work within the womb; a book held sacred by Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons. Passages like these contribute to the belief that life begins at conception and it’s wrong for us to end it.

That being said, God is the author and sustainer of life and because of that, every life is valued and carries inherent dignity. That means you are valued and you have dignity that transcends your age, size, gender, location, ability, skin color, chromosome count, or ability to contribute financially. Every pregnant woman has value because God formed her in her mother’s womb, just as He formed the child inside her. He has value too.

In 1973, the year our country legalized abortion, ultrasound technology was in its youth. We knew very little about prenatal development and life within the womb. A lot has changed. Today we can watch three-dimensional ultrasounds, we can place miniature cameras in the uterus and Fallopian tubes to observe the development process, and with astounding computer technology we can recreate the process, from conception to birth, with remarkable accuracy. We now know the baby has a heartbeat as early as twenty-two days after conception. At that time, most women don’t even know they’re pregnant, but that heart’s already at work.

A sperm is the single cell produced by males for procreation. Once released, it has a maximum life span of roughly six days. A sperm is not a life.

A female produces her own single cell reproductive tool with a lifespan of roughly forty-eight hours, an egg. An egg is not a life.

Should a sperm find an egg and unite, the two quite literally become one and everything changes. We now have a Zygote which literally means “to join.” Every necessary piece of information is present: gender is determined, eye color is set. A zygote is a life. If untouched, forty weeks after the two become one a baby will cry on the chest of her mother.

Think just for a moment about what the perceived need for an abortion says about the viability of the completely unique person developing inside his mother. If there is not an intervention to end the pregnancy a child will be born in a few months. Were this zygote, embryo, or fetus not a life there would be no need for the abortion. Said another way, the fact that abortion is necessary reveals the fact that the mother is with child.

My faith is the foundation of my belief, but the pro-life position is not a religious ideal. Almost forty years of research since Roe v. Wade have revealed the fact of pre-natal life and it’s incumbent on all of us to defend them. We must seek to honor the life of every mother, every father, and every child.


  1. I both appreciate and respect your view, and I know we have touched on this topic in the past, but I wanted to ask one thing in particular.

    What about in cases of rape, incest, or mother’s health? Do you have any built-in flexibility for these instances? Is a rape victim expected to carry to term a child conceived during a sexual assault? What would the psychological damage to a woman be if they did not have access to terminate what would most certainly be an unwanted pregnancy? What does that tell women in our society? Does it say, “if you get raped, not only do you have to deal with the psychological consequences of the damage inflicted, but you now have to care for yourself and the child created as a result for the next 9 months?”
    For example, if Amber were to be sexually assaulted and become pregnant, would it be expected of her and of us as a family, to carry that child to term? What if by carrying the child of a sexual assault to term, there was a strong chance that she would die, leaving me a widower and a single parent?

    While I certainly do not advocate for abortion as an easy way out for irresponsible choices, competely outlawing it would tell women, at least in my opinion, that their bodies are vehicles merely for bearing children, no matter how the child was conceived (by sexual assault or incestual impregnation), and without concern for the life of the mother.

    1. TommyK,
      I don’t know if you will ever check back on this, but here is a very relevant answer to your question- -much better than I can answer.
      I want to ask you something though, who are the innocent parties in the case of rape/incest? Obviously the mother, but try to remember that the child has done nothing deserving of death. We aren’t even allowed to kill the rapist, but we don’t bat an eye at ripping apart an innocent life, limb from limb, because it had the audacity to be conceived.

      1. That was a helpful little article; thanks for linking to it. Can I offer a perspective for you to consider? In the last six months I’ve developed a softer heart for women and men who have been involved with an abortion, many of them from the first couple decades after Roe v. Wade, who weren’t fully aware what was happening until the pain hit. There are thousands upon thousands of parents grieving the role they played in the death of thear child, and sometimes we can frighten them back into the darkness. I know your heart, and I know how you’ve invested both time and money to minister to the unborn and their parents so if I’m coming off condeming please know it’s a method error and not a message one. I would just like to encourage you to consider the parents who know that grief as you communicate. Don’t shy away from truth, but join me as I effort to express it with kindness. In your comment, the only part I would encourage you to evaluate is the closing phrase, following the words, “innocent life.” There is absolutely a time for educating people about the physical realities of the abortion procedure, but even then I think we should keep a sensitive awareness of those who are mourning.

      2. Isaac,
        In the event my wife is raped and impregnated, I am to accept it and move on? I don’t think so. I think maybe you should re-read my original comment about abortion not being the easy way out for irresponsible choices and ask yourself if a woman who is raped made had any choice in the matter. I appreciate that your view is yours, and I would appreciate if you respected my view without feeling the need to “educate” me.

      3. That article is only helpful if the “listener” answers the questions that scenario verbatum. I know from experience that conversations you play out in your head or role play transcripts never happen in reality. It also pointed out that pro-lifers are attacked for their views. Don’t you think the same thing happens to pro-choices. You can’t fight fire with fire. As a woman in this discussion, here is my opinion. I am very much pro-life but I am very much for pro-choice. As a woman, it is between me and my God what I choose to do or not do with my body. No man should have the right to make a law against that. If it came down to my death or my unborn child’s death it is my decision to decide if I choose me or them. I have another child that needs a mother and I refuse to have two children in this world without a mother simply because I was not allowed to make that choice. I realize the pyschological and traumatic affects on these women who have had abortions are painful but at least they were able to make the choice. I get that the baby has no choice but then again what baby does honestly. Babies and children don’t get to make choices. If they did, Big bird wouldn’t be debated about because he’d be the President. This issue is not cut and dry. There are too many what if’s and every situation is unique. You have to let people make responsible choices themselves and what they choose is up to them and God ultimately.

    2. Tommy, I can appreciate the emotion carrying your scenarios; I am immersed in an outreach that works with phsycally and sexually abused women every day. Women who work with me have been victims themselves and they’ve spent hours helping me more deeply understand the emotional and psychological realities involoved. I’m currently reading multiple books in memoir and clinical formats dealing with these realities. I don’t fully understand, but I am not ignorant either. However, I am also very much aware of the emotional and psychological realities involved with an abortion. Abortion is not the simple, consequence free option proponents make it out to be. I want to give your comment and your blog post a proper response so I’m going to dedicate a post to it myself. I may be able to get it posted this evening.

      1. It is more out of curiosity than out of anything else. In no way do I think abortion is or should be a fallback for someone to live wrecklessly and without fear of taking responsibility for their choices.
        I just cannot seem to make it all click in accepting that a rape victim should have no choice. They already had no choice in the first place and have to live with the event for the rest of their lives, regardless if a pregnancy results. I know people who have been sexually assaulted, and the psychological toll is there every day.
        I appreciate that you are going to take the time to address this further. No, abortion is not consequence free, and I think that anytime education can be done for alternatives, that is a must. Please, please, please don’t think that my pro-choice view makes me a proponent of abortion; they are mutually exclusive, although they are related. To me, pro-choice is about allowing women the freedom to choose the path of their own health, not being able to walk into the corner clinic to have an abortion.
        I just think that the entire issue is more than just an all or nothing proposition. This is the type of issue where the politically dirty word “compromise” should come into play.

  2. amberkristian and TommyK,
    Just as I would not stand back and allow someone to commit murder, I can neither stand back and watch quietly as people have abortions for whatever reason pleases them. I guess for me it boils down to the unavoidable fact that even in the womb, it is a human life we are talking about.
    amberkristian, what you propose I do , because I am a man, is turn aside from my morals and values and simply allow those without a voice to be aborted at a rate of hundreds of thousands a year. Sorry, I won’t do that. Also, you might want to recognize the millions of women in the debate who share my view. It is certainly not just men trying to end abortion. Regarding the argument that it is a womans body and she should be able to do as she pleases- while the child draws its sustenance from the mother, it is by no means a parasite, nor is it simply another organ in the mothers body. It has its own specific DNA that no other person in the world will ever share with it. It resides inside the mother, but is not her. It must rely on the mother to give it food and protection for the 9 months that it is in her womb, but what is the difference between that and a child who has made the trip down the birth canal? Should mothers who are breast feeding a newborn be allowed to kill it? If not, why? They are providing for its needs from their own body, protecting it, and it still is unable to care for itself. amberkristian, your scenario about children having no choice is a bit surprising coming from a parent. Are we now advocating post birth abortion/infanticide? It really isn’t about the baby making a choice, its about protecting human life, because it IS a life. In your example of leaving 2 children motherless, ask yourself if, as a mother, you would hesitate to throw yourself in front of a car to save your child, even though it would leave your child motherless?
    TommyK, sorry i came across as “educating” you, I simply tried to answer the question presented in the scenario. I’m not sure how I disrepected your view, but I would suggest you also re-read my post. I did not tell you to “accept it and move on,” rather I pointed out that there happens to be another innocent party involved, that of the child. As the article asks, should we be allowed to kill others because they remind us of a painful event? That pretty well sums up what I was after. The dehuminizing of babies in the womb is what I take issue with. Just expressing another point of view.

    1. Isaac, I cannot even believe I am responding to this, but your comparison of a mother throwing herself in front of a car and having the choice to terminate a rapist’s baby is like ridiculous. To compare a child created out of the love of two parents to one created by a sexual assault is asinine. I fear that engaging you further will be a waste of time. I am glad, Isaac, that you are firm in your beliefs, but attacking others for theirs points to a major issue…you seem to think that yours is the only right answer. I feel sorry for that for you. You will respond, if you choose to at all, that I mis-read what you wrote, but I did not. It seems that you are among the crowd that cannot form the rational distinction between someone who is pro-choice and someone who is pro-abortion, and that is sad. Sad because you apparently minister to and impact others. Let me spell it out for you clearly, there is a difference between someone who is a proponent of allowing a woman to have a choice, and someone who advocates for abortions to be willy-nilly.
      Your belief that a woman should bear a child conceived by a rape scares me. It scares me because you seem to be advocating for the woman to be victimized daily for 9 months, while bearing the psychological scars as well. And did you really offer as an example a mother being able to kill a child she is breastfeeding? Wow, have you no shame, sir? And who ever said a child in the womb is a parasite? From what I can tell, only you. Since you seem to be tied to and in love with your article, should we not be allowed to secure our homes with an alarm system if we have suffered a break-in? Shouldn’t we just allow the burglar free reign to make themselves at home in our home after the fact? That is as ridiculous a comparison as what you made with the car example. I guess you believe that women should have fewer rights than men, and that is your view. I am no more dehumanizing a baby in the womb than you are dehumanizing women in general. Just expressing another point of view. I guess maybe I just do not see myself as superior to women and entitled to more rights than a woman.

      Ryan, I feel like I owe you some sort of apology. I certainly appreciate that you posted this original post, and I appreciate the candor in your original response to me. I also certainly appreciate where you are coming from, especially with you working where you do. I apologize for getting into a war of words, so to speak, with anothe commenter while on your post; that was not my original intent. My original intent was to inquire from you, given what I know about you, if you saw any avenue to allow flexibility for certain circumstances. I never imagined that it would turn into being judged by someone who does not know my heart, and who feels like I think it is ok to dehumanize a child in the womb. While I certainly never imagined that this discussion may not end up intense, I never believed for a minute that someone would feel so comfortable in attacking me for my view. I never intended to use this thread to attack anybody for their view, either.

    2. Isaac,
      For you to question me as a parent is really downright disrespectful and rude. Plain and simple I will not fight fire with fire. I am not programmed that way. I have my own values and opinions and respect those who differ from mine. I spoke my opinion in my previous comment. I stand true and firm on it. It is between me and God. Not you or anyone else. I did not expect to change your opinion, but simply tell give you my opinion from a woman’s perspective.

      1. amberkristian,
        We definitely have different values. If you would rather not give up your life for your child, then fine, that is your choice. I tried to present a scenario in which I assumed you would save your child at the cost of your life, my bad for assuming you would. To say that children have no inherent right to life because they are intellectually inferior is the bigger part of what I took issue with in your post, but if you would rather view it as attacking your parenting, then I can’t really stop you. Thank you for inserting your opinion, though the fact that it comes from a woman does not, in any manor, mean that you speak for all women, as my wife and many other Pro-Life women would attest to.

  3. TommyK,
    Interesting take on what I said. amberkristian was not referencing abortion in cases of rape only when she said-
    “If it came down to my death or my unborn child’s death it is my decision to decide if I choose me or them. I have another child that needs a mother and I refuse to have two children in this world without a mother simply because I was not allowed to make that choice.”
    That was the context of the debate, which to me certainly speaks to abortion outside of rape. You seem unwilling to read my comments without bias, so for that I am sorry. I have yet to “attack you” in any of my comments, but I suppose since I offer a different view from you that makes me automatically attacking?

    I would love to know where you get your information regarding “you seem to be advocating for the woman to be victimized daily for 9 months, while bearing the psychological scars as well.” first of all, who are you to assume that bearing a child and then giving it up for adoption is any more scarring than the repercussions of abortion? Second, do you really believe that abortion is this pie-in-the-sky answer for the victim that will not carry any burdens of its own? I happen to think pushing a victim to make the choice to kill her unborn child can be just as devastating psychologically.

    “I guess you believe that women should have fewer rights than men” Really”? last I checked, men were not able to kill at will and for reasons of convenience, which are the vast majority of abortions being performed. If I misspoke in my post, it was to the severity of the abortion epidemic, which kills an average of over a million babies a year. I am all for women’s rights, just as I am for the rights of the unborn, I just happen to believe it is no one’s right to kill an innocent human being.

    “I am no more dehumanizing a baby in the womb than you are dehumanizing women in general” If you could let me know where in my post I am advocating killing a woman based on her developmental status, then I would agree that I somehow dehumanized them. You, on the other hand, are advocating abortion, even if it is just in certain circumstances. Killing a few babies is no better than killing a million.

    “I guess maybe I just do not see myself as superior to women and entitled to more rights than a woman.” Do you really get, from my advocating for the life of the unborn, that I somehow feel myself superior? Really? ….. Really?

    “I never believed for a minute that someone would feel so comfortable in attacking me for my view” Again, Really? Of course I’m going to attack your VIEW if I believe it to be wrong. That is the nature of an argument, to look at the weak points of an argument and take those head-on.

    TommyK, you wrote “I never imagined that it would turn into being judged by someone who does not know my heart” If you can’t handle another point of view without resorting to twisting my words out of context, then I would ask that you step back and reflect on your level of maturity presented in this exchange. Even when I have every desire to tear into you for attacking me personally, I haven’t and won’t-mostly out of respect for Ryan and those others who may read these comments. I suggest you take a long look at our various posts and ask yourself if you would be willing to speak to me in the condescending and hateful attitude that you have in you replies to the specific points I have presented. I am always willing to question a person’s view on an issue as huge as abortion, but I have also done my best to keep i9t to the issues, not attacks and assumptions-which is why I asked if amberkristian was advocating a certain stance, rather than accusing her of that stance.

    Try to remember that you made the conscious decision to post regarding a topic that is very divisive in this country. As there is a legal right of freedom of speech, I respect that you took advantage of that right, but you should be prepared for others to disagree. I can’t help but feel like every time I present a valid question or argument, your response is to insult me personally, whuich I do not appreciate, nor do I appreciate you making insinuations and assumptions based on your own bias and prejudices. From now on, try answering questions and speaking to issues, rather than attacking, please.

    1. Isaac,
      I harbor no hate or ill-will to you, and I would speak to you in person the same as I have written on here; whether you want to believe it or not is irrelevant to me, but I am not a person who intentionally demeans anybody. If I came across that way, it certainly was not my intent. Am I to assume that you would speak down to me in person the way you have on this thread? I would certainly hope not.

      I am glad you have your view, and I am glad you presume that you are right and I am wrong. I do not presume to know you or your heart, and I do not presume that my view is better than yours, just different. Not a single comment I have made was made with the intent or belief that I would change your view. No comment I made dismisses your view or devalues your opinion. I try to never take a “my way or the highway” approach to anything. I understand that I am not going to change your view, and I am not going to change Ryan’s, and I respect and appreciate that; the spirit of my original comment was to seek more information from Ryan regarding the circumstances I mentioned, that is all.

      Lost in this whole discussion is that I am not “advocating for abortion,” I am advocating for choice. Maybe that is semantics to you, but to me it is not. Never once I have I said or written anything that could be interpreted as advocating for abortion, or that abortion is the answer, or that abortion is great. My original question to Ryan was whether or not he saw any room for particular circumstances, that is all. I am happy that you weighed in on the topic, and I respect your opinion. I do not, however, believe that you have any amount of respect for mine, or for that of my wife, amberkristian. She never said she was speaking for all women in any of her comments, merely that if it came down to choosing one life over another, she would choose to save hers so as to be there for our daughter. I am sorry if you feel she would be making the wrong choice, or maybe that is not what you are saying at all. No, she was not referencing abortion in the case of rape, she was referencing in the case of mother’s health, which was part of my original question.

      I am truly sorry if you feel I have attacked you personally in any way with any of my responses, that was never my intent. I am a passionate person, and write and speak from the heart, and sometimes things may appear to come out wrong. Like me, you also made the conscious decision to weigh in on a controversial topic.

      And please, if you choose to respond to this comment or any future posts of Ryan’s that I may comment on, do not tell me how to frame my comments, as you seem to want to do when you advise, “From now on, try answering questions and speaking to issues, rather than attacking, please.” Since we are making requests, I would appreciate if you would respect my view; I am not asking to you to agree, just respect that I have a different view than yours. If that is asking too much, and you do not think you can respect me or respect my view because you disagree with it, I understand.

  4. Commenting on your article, I kind of roll my eyes at the orginal question put to the canidates. It’s almost like you can see all of america leaning close to hear the response- to pick apart the different aspects of an answer in favor of one way or another. Good job “responding” to that question in a very factual and unwavering way, though I probably would have responded a little differently. I mean if our “religion” doesn’t affect our view on important issues like the sanctity of life then what is the point. (though I understand what you are saying) I like Kirk Cameron’s repsonse to attacks on his view concerning certain issues: why are you all surprised? You know where I stand and you know about my faith. you should be surprised and attack me if you see that I am being double-minded, not because I am standing by my previously stated values.- that is not verbatum, but the general idea expressed.
    While I appreciate and actually agree with your “reponse” as posted here, I wonder if we as Christians are hesitant to boldly just say, Yes! My Jesus set an example that I am to follow, of laying down your own life for that of another, not of taking the life of one in order to save your own. Jesus showed the power of love in the extreme and I believe in Him enough to put that into practice, by faith.

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