What about unusual circumstances?

 Before we bring a close to this whole section of what we call question two (how does God look at the shedding of innocent blood, including abortion, and what are its implications), I want to mention two specific cases. One of them people often ask about is forced abortion. They often ask me this question because they know that I spent 10 years living in China and much of the time that I was living there was still during China’s old one-child policy. The government was trying to limit population growth by allowing each family only one child. Now that policy has been brought to a close. You can now have three children or even more. The government is really enthusiastic about encouraging the birthing of children because of an aging population and not having enough kids to keep the economy afloat.

But in the old days, there was a lot of forced abortion. When I say that if you were and you did not qualify for a birth permit for any reason, say you were unmarried and there was no single parenting allowed in China, then you would apply for that birth permit, but it would be denied. Then you would have the choice to come in for your abortion and end that pregnancy. And if you did not do so, it was not uncommon for you to be sought out, taken from your place of work or home, taken to a clinic, and if need be, strapped physically to a table so that you could be forcibly aborted, even against your will. There is plenty of evidence and stories of this. You can research this on the internet. Feng Jianmei was one of the ladies in 2012 who tried to commit suicide the day after her forced abortion of her seven-month pregnancy occurred. This incidentally still happens in China. It’s not nearly as common as it used to be, but there are places where a birth permit is still not issued and forced, coerced, or intimidation abortion still happens.

So what do you say then about the guilt and the shame of killing your own child in obedience to a state policy? The answer to that question is we do what we can to avoid abortion. We do what we can to be non-complicit in abortion. We do what we can to prefer to give birth and adoption or whatever it is to avoid abortion. But there are times when that’s unavoidable, when an abortion is forced upon a woman. In that case, the guilt and the corruption of the heart issue before God is not with the woman. It is with the forced aborter, the person who is forcing the abortion. There is no guilt for a woman who has done everything that she can to avoid abortion, but it’s brought to the point of abortion against her will. And that is a horrible, horrific situation. It’s an extremely uncommon situation, thank God, but it is a situation before God. This woman really has done nothing wrong. She’s not guilty of unrighteousness. She’s not guilty of killing her own child because she was opposed to the abortion and it was forced upon her.

Another hard question that often comes to us is about an ectopic pregnancy. I actually had a person who used to work for me on a small farm our family owned. We had animals, cows and chickens and sheep, and we sold products at the farmer’s markets. I had a girl who worked for me a number of years ago who wrote to me knowing what I do as a pro-life advocate and theological trainer. She said she got pregnant several months prior and her pregnancy was not viable. It actually had implanted in the fallopian tube. This is known as an ectopic pregnancy and in this case it’s very dangerous for the life of the mother. What she told me was her doctor had to perform an abortion to save her life.

So how can you tell people that abortion is not right and that you want to take abortion away as a legal right when people will die if they have no right to abort? This is not in any way the case of what happens with a woman in an ectopic pregnancy. A doctor does not indicate it medically as an abortion because it’s an ectopic pregnancy. What is indicated as a service for a woman in an ectopic pregnancy is the intentional removal of the implanted fetus from the fallopian tube so that the life of the mother is saved. It is not intentionally to kill the baby. It is intentionally done to save the life of the mother. And intentionality is key and very important. We do not intend the death of the baby, though we foreknow that the baby will meet its demise during this procedure. It is not called an abortion. It is called a medical removal of a non-viable pregnancy for the life of the mother.

That is not the same thing as an abortion. Even though the procedures are very similar, intent is the difference. The intent is to save the life of the mother and the demise of the child is foreseen but not intended. When and if medical science gets us to the point of being able to remove that baby that has implanted itself in the fallopian tube and relocate it successfully to the uterine wall, that would be the preferred method of dealing with an ectopic pregnancy so as not to intentionally harm the child in order to save the mother. Right now that is not medically possible. Good news though, medical science is always making leaps and bounds in changes and advances, and we trust in God’s good timing that the day will come when those babies can be successfully transferred into the uterine wall and carry on with the normal pregnancy. In those cases, a woman is not guilty before God of intentionally destroying a human life for personal gain. There is no guilt and there is no shame before God. It is a grieving process and something that they will live with for the rest of their lives. It is something that most people will think back on with some sort of regret, distress or even grieving. Those are appropriate responses for that demise. But the guilt is not incurred in the same way as an abortion.