Michael Frank, 1971


The problem of induced abortion arises when a woman is carrying a child which she (or her family, or others about her, or perhaps all together) does not want to be born. By various means, then, the woman seeks the expulsion and therefore the death of the unborn child.

Insofar as this problem has grown immensely in this century, insofar as our highest court has stricken laws restricting legal abortions, and insofar as human life is apparently at stake, it is altogether proper that the Church examine this issue in the light of God's revelation in Jesus Christ.

It is such an examination that we propose in this paper.


The very first place we must look for wisdom in deciding any moral issue is in the Word of God, the Bible. There are three themes which the Bible quite clearly indicates, and which will be of great value to us.

In the first place the Bible tells us that God is the Lord of life. It is he who has made us and not we ourselves. The creation story tells us that this is true. The commandment not to kill tells us that this is true (Deut. 5:17). The destruction of all living creatures on the face of the earth in the Flood tells us that this is true. The Psalmist tells us that this is true (cf. Psa. 49:7).

Specifically, we find reference after reference which gives the credit to God for the gift of a child. That is to say each child, each conception, is seen in terms of a gift. For instance, we find in the 29th chapter of Genesis these words: "When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb... And Leah conceived and bore a son..." In the 30th chapter of Genesis we find: "And God harkened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son." Nor must we think that the scriptures are simply naive at this point, as was the mythology of another ancient people which taught that one of the winds could impregnate a woman. For we find written immediately before Leah conceived her fifth son these words: "When Jacob came from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, 'You must come in to me'..." (Gen. 30:16).

Helmut Thelicke has summarized the biblical teaching very nicely:

After all, what are young parents doing when they send out a birth notice: 'God has given us our first child'? When they say this, they do not mean that God has let this child fall directly from heaven. They know very well the processes of generation and birth, the ecstasies of love and the biological processes which brought this child into being... 'It went through our hands, but comes from God'...1

Nor does the Bible know of any time in a person's life when that person can say that God did not see him as a person, that God did not envision in the unborn, unformed child the man. They are a unity. Thus the Psalmist writes:

For thou didst form my inward parts,
thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful.
Wonderful are thy works!
Thou knowest me right well;
my frame was not hidden from thee,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately wrought in the depths of the earth.
Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance;
in thy book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. (Psa. 139:13-16)

Thus Jeremiah writes:

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you..." (Jeremiah 1:5)

Thus Paul writes:

"But when he who had set me apart before I was born,
and had called me through his grace..." (Galatians 1:15)

Finally, considering this first theme, we should note that the New Testament amplifies this theme with the notion that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is Lord. Paul puts the matter this way when in speaking of Jesus he says:

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

In the second place the Bible tells us that God expects us to treat other people with respect, because He, God, is the Lord of Life. Thus it is that He forbids murder (Deut. 5:17). Thus it is that He punishes Cain (Gen. 4:9 ff). Thus it is that one may not even eat meat which still has blood in it, for blood is the bearer of life, which is the gift and property of God (Gen. 9:4; Acts 15:20). Thus it is that Jesus not only retains the commandment not to kill, but makes it more stringent, commanding us not to be angry, nor to return hurt for hurt, but to love our enemies (cf. Matt. 5:21 ff; 5:38 ff; 5:43 ff). Indeed, just how much God values human life is finally seen on Calvary, where Jesus died for the sins of the world (cf. John 3:16-17).

In the third place the Bible tells us that life which is truly meaningful is life which is lived closely with and in obedience to God (eg. Psa. 16:11). In the Old Testament we find that although wealth and a long life are to be desired, they are only valuable when gotten as a gift of God, when gotten in obedience, and not as ill-gotten gain (eg. Proverbs 28:6).

In the New Testament we are taught that the value of human life has nothing to do with worldly goods or prosperity. Indeed, those whom Jesus blesses in the beatitudes are the refuse of the world (Matt. 5:3 ff). This is why we are taught to love the poor (eg. Matt. 19:21). This is why we find Dives punished in the story of Lazarus. He has scorned the poor beggar. He has counted him as nothing. We note also that God does value Lazarus. He counts him of great value (Luke 16:20 ff). This is why James warns us that it is sin for us to make distinctions between our brothers and sisters on worldly criteria such as wealth (James 2:1 ff).

In short the New Testament teaches us to treat our neighbor, whether he be rich or poor, as a valuable person. Indeed we are to value him as we value ourselves (Lk. 10:27). And we are to value ourselves simply in the light of the cross. There is where true value is found. In grace, not in works (cf. Eph. 2:8-9). And if someone should sophistically suppose that this valuation applies only to my Christian neighbor we should note the love Paul professes to bear for his Jewish brethren, whom Christ died for. His heart broke for them. Why? Not because they were accounted as valueless. But because they had rejected their true value (cf. Romans 9:1 ff).

These three themes we have just discussed are essential to our understanding of the problem of abortion. They can be documented as being very large biblical themes. They can also be documented by specific texts. They are themes used by many different biblical writers. Thus we cannot say that they are found only by the most dishonest proof-texting. Nor can they fall under the criticism of being the particular theological hobby horse of merely a single biblical writer. (This is a bad criticism anyway!) These themes are found, then, both in specific texts, and in the large biblical witness. In short they constitute a good deal of what God is trying to say to us.


We have looked briefly at the biblical evidence necessary to help us determine how we must see and treat other people, specifically the unborn child. We shall now look more closely at the theological themes implied by this evidence.

Man is God's Creation

It is God who has made us and not we ourselves. That is to say, our lives are gifts from God. Because he has willed us we are freed to live. Our lives therefore are to be grasped in thanksgiving to God. We are to see Him as the author of life, and instead of seeking to fill our lives with pleasure, we are to live them according to the will of Him who made us. Certainly this would suggest that the greatest good in our lives should not be human happiness, financial security, freedom from hardship or pain, but quite simply life lived according to the will of God. Any other ultimate goal is wrought in the same sin that caused Eve to forget why she was made and led her to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

Because God is Creator we are also given an insight into how we should see others. That is, we should see them as people who, in virtue of their creation, and with or without their own personal assent, belong to God. That is to say their lives are not things we can weigh in a scale of value (values such as social utility, state of development, wholeness of body, etc.). No, their lives are such that we should see them as having been called by God into existence. That is, their lives are gifts from God. And this means that as fellow humans we are to respect others not only for what they are in themselves (many of our fellow human beings do not seem to be very much in and of themselves!), but we are to treat them with a certain awe, for they belong to God, they are His, they come from His hand.

Thus we can see that the contemporary attitude that a woman or a family member is free to decide whether or not to abort an unborn child is simply a denial that God is really Creator, that life is really his gift. It is a perverted corollary to the axiom of Satan that man is his own creator. It is a twist which suggests that because we are really the authors of life there is a time in the life of a human when we are permitted to be god to that human, when we are permitted to decide whether or not to take his or her life. As Christians, of course, we know that this is a lie, and that God requires us to oppose it at every juncture with the graceful proclamation that the love of God has called us into existence, and that it even now sustains us and permits us to live, and that we are therefore required to come to a new love and respect for all people: even the weak, the elderly infirm, the retarded, the sick ----- and the unborn!!!

Jesus Christ is Lord

Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is Lord over all creation. There is no area in the vast expanses of space, in the dark corners of the earth where His Lordship does not pertain. And there is nothing in all creation strong enough to destroy this Lordship and thus remove us from the power of His love.

The Lordship of Jesus Christ is absolute, it is all encompassing. There is not a hostile power in all creation which Calvary did not destroy (however we might be threatened by the death throes of the hostile powers today). There is not a time in history past, present or future which this Lordship does not claim.

For the Christian, therefore, the confession that Jesus is Lord is a crucial confession. It means that the Lordship of Jesus touches his life at all times: during rest, during illness, and even during senility. It means that the Christian has a foundation which nothing can erode. It means that there is not a moment in this life when the work which Christ did on Calvary does not apply. It means therefore that the Christian has good reason for joy, for courage, and for that peace which passes all understanding.

But there is a requirement which goes with this comfort. It is similar to the requirement that we who are forgiven must learn to forgive others. And it is this: we who live consciously under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and expect God to grant us all those benefits which go with that Lordship, must learn to love and respect and value other people as those whom Christ is also Lord over. We must learn to do this absolutely. We must learn to do this at all times. For each lapse on our part essentially means a denial of the Lordship of Jesus. He either is Lord or He isn't.

Thus in considering the unborn child we must learn to confess that Jesus is Lord of that child. We must learn to see that here, in the womb of the mother, Calvary applies. We must learn to so trust God, and understand the miracle of the Cross that we realize that the unborn child's lack of development does not remove him from that realm where Jesus is Lord. We must learn to realize that the unborn child's lack of consciousness does not remove him from that realm where Jesus is Lord any more than my sleep removes me from that realm. We must learn to realize that the unborn child's dependency upon the mother's nourishment does not remove that child from that realm where Jesus is Lord any more than a baby's dependency removes him from that realm, or my dependency upon society removes me from that realm. In short we must learn the joy and riches involved in the confession that Jesus is Lord. We must learn the freedom this confession provides: freedom to love that nasty neighbor down the street, freedom to bless that gossip up the street, freedom to do good to a stranger I shall never see again, freedom to rejoice in that unborn child who is at once a gift from God and God's own.

To do otherwise leads us from the realm of grace to the realm of law and calculation. It leads us from the realm of freedom to that realm where we are once again made slaves to inner and outer pressures. And finally it might lead us to that place where we live and die denying the Lordship of Christ, bringing with it the possibility of eternal destruction.

Calvary Determines Each Man's Worth

Paul tells us in one of his letters that if we are to boast we should boast only of the Lord, not of ourselves. At first this might seem like a harsh requirement. For it means that I must cease seeing myself as valuable because I made good grades in college, because I have a high IQ, because I have great athletic prowess, and so forth. It means that I must learn to see myself as valuable because Jesus Christ died for me, and that in comparison all human valuations are garbage.

In reality, however, this is not a harsh requirement, but a joyful gift. For in it God is saying: "you may see yourself and your neighbor as little less than gods. You may see yourself as being worth more than the whole world. You may stop being proud that you are a lump of coal and see that I have made you into a diamond." To be sure, in order to secure this freedom and to find this joy, we must repent. We must give up our pride. We must stop boasting about what fine persons we are. We must accept that we are truly lumps of coal and that in reality this is not much to boast about. And in doing this we must stop judging our neighbor. He also is a lump of coal. And he might appear to be a muddy one to boot, but in realty I am every bit as lumpish and dirty as he is.

The requirement also implies that I must realize that my new status as a child of God has nothing to do with some intrinsic value in my character, with some good deed I have done, with some incredible feat I have accomplished by sheer guts and determination. It has nothing to do with whether or not my parents were really very happy about my birth, it has nothing to do with my social status - I can be as wretched as Lazarus, and still receive this valuation- it has nothing to do with whether or not I am whole or deformed, with whether or not I am a genius or retarded. No, it has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the grace of God. It is a gift, and I must accept it as a gift. But what a gift! It is given to me! I am free to take it! I must only admit that it is a gift that I do not deserve. In a very real sense this is grace and not the law we speak of. To be sure, repentance and change (indeed a new birth) are all involved as I accept God's valuation of myself. But in light of the gift, we must insist that even repentance is a gift of God, as is change. That is, I am freed from my past in repentance, freed to turn from the darkness to the light, freed to become clean.

But if a Christian is freed to see his essential value in the Cross of Christ, he is also freed to see his neighbor's value as coming from precisely that same source. For God wills that no man be lost. Indeed Paul tells us that in His Cross Jesus has reconciled the whole universe to Himself. Thus we can see that there is no one whom God has not loved in Jesus Christ. (This, of course, is the basis for all missionary work.) There is no one whom the Crucified One, with his arms outstretched on the Cross, does not seek to embrace and love. In short there is no one who has not been judged as guilty, and as acquitted and therefore adopted on Calvary. Choosing to recognize and accept this is of course another matter. What happened de jure 2000 years ago for me does not necessarily mean that I will de facto let it take place today. Nevertheless, the sin of unbelief is finally a matter for God to judge, not us. As Christians we are simply commanded to love our neighbor as someone whom God has loved and does love in Jesus, as someone whose value is to be found in the sign of the Cross, as someone whom we are to treat in accordance with this fact.

And this applies to all sorts and conditions of mankind. It applies to the peer. It applies to the unwanted and, humanly speaking, to the unloved. It applies to the sick and to the healthy. It applies to athletes and geniuses. It applies to the retarded, to the infirm, to the elderly, to the adult who is at the peak of his powers. It applies to young and old, to the adolescent and the child, to the infant - and to the unborn child. There is no one, there is no time in a person's life, there is no situation in a person's life which can erase this fact: Jesus Christ shed his blood for you.

It should be quite obvious that the act of induced abortion when the mother's life is not in danger, or when rape is not involved, is a denial of this fact. It should therefore be quite obvious that a policy of liberalized abortion laws could be implemented only under the assumption that Jesus Christ did not die for, and therefore does not give value to the unborn child. This is obviously blasphemy.


Jesus Christ has revealed to us who we are, and who our neighbor is. He has also called us to come to Him, that we might be transformed and live according to God's revelation, loving our neighbor as our self.

This means quite simply that Christians are forbidden to practice induced abortion, unless the life of the mother is endangered, or rape is involved. Even in the two latter critical situations it is not altogether clear that the unborn child ought to be aborted. For instance, in the case of rape, the child is innocent of the crime. Or in the case where the mother's physical life is actually endangered by the birth of the child questions must be raised. For instance we must ask to what extent the mother's life is really endangered. In our nation, for instance, given modern medical insights and techniques this situation will almost never arise.2 Ultimately, the only real rule of thumb which can be given in these two crises situations is this: God's will must be sought in prayer.

Now, it should be noted that these conclusions are not new. The church has been adamantly opposed to induced abortion from its beginning until today. We have an example of this as early as 80 A.D. And the reasons which the Church has offered have pretty much been the same: God is the Lord of life, and we as men and women have no right to take innocent life. We are not Lord of life. God is!3


Our society is constitutionally a religious pluralism, and it is therefore a moral pluralism. And thus although I may, as an individual, speak to others about Jesus Christ, I have no constitutional right to legislate that a person must believe in Jesus. Likewise, although I may exhort others to leave certain immoral habits behind, I have no right to legislate the behavioral code of the individual, as long as it does not affect others. This is so not because there is no true faith, nor because there are no habits which are intrinsically immoral, but simply because we have chosen to create a society founded on the notion of religious freedom.

Now some people want to argue that legal enactments against abortion are similar to the legal enactment of laws governing the private lives of citizens. This is simply not the case. Laws concerning abortion have been made, not to change the hearts of men and women, but to protect the unborn child. Analogically, the civil rights law has been enacted not so much to make whites love blacks as to make them accord blacks those rights which are their just due.

This is common sense to most of us. We should, for instance, be utterly dumbfounded to hear someone argue that he doesn't believe a black man is human, and therefore this government has no right to legislate laws restraining him from shooting blacks. In the same way it is just as absurd for someone to argue that laws prohibiting the murder of the unborn child should not be legislated because that person does not accept the unborn child as being fully human.

However, someone might argue that without Christian insights the government would have no way of determining that unborn infants are to be given the status of human beings. I am not sure that this is the case. Analogically it can be shown that we treat the sick, the incapacitated and the elderly infirm as full human beings. However, if it really is the case that Christian insights must be used then we must simply press our government to be obedient to these insights. Or to put the matter another way: if abortion is obviously a public matter on which the government must make a judgment, simply because human rights are involved (specifically the right to live), and if the only way to make that decision is to accept or reject Christian insights, then we must argue that however our government is structured in terms of religious freedom, there is no ground for neutrality at this point. She will either be obedient, and thus in an indirect way remain part of Christendom, or she will be disobedient and thus directly become an enemy of God, having decided against His revelation in Jesus Christ. There are times like this. Perhaps now is such a time.

None of this is to argue that government ought to be the Church or that it can only be acceptable in God's eyes if it becomes part of the Church. This is nonsense. What it is to say, however, is that there might be specific Christian insights which directly bear on government policy, and which a government will therefore have to accept or reject. Or to put the matter differently: if democracy is really a possibility in the eyes of God, and if therefore Christians can participate in this form of government, in spite of the fact that it may not call itself "christian," there are nevertheless times when the God of our Lord Jesus Christ may require this pluralistic government to recognize Him and His revelation: especially as it relates to the value we are to place on other people.


In the Christian's life there are on rare occasions situations where one command of God seems to fly in the face of another. War is such a time. As Christians we are commanded to love our enemy. We are commanded to do good to them that hate us. We are also shown that human government is of God, and that its use of the sword is at times legitimate. In situations like these the Christian has recourse to much study and prayer, and finally to a decision made in faith, a decision which in a somewhat similar situation years later might be reversed by God. (Eg. The Christian American might be lead to fight in WWII, and forbidden to fight in a later war.)

Another such situation occurs when a pregnant woman's life is endangered by the future birth of the child. At a point like this much prayer is required, that God's will might be found and faithfully done.

However, as this paper has tried to demonstrate, except in the extreme case stated above (or in the case of rape) the death of the unborn child by means of induced abortion is an unchristian act contradicting the will of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.

Having said all of this, however, and thus having shut the door to induced abortion as a solution to the problem pregnancy, does not erase the fact that many pregnancies bring with them difficulties, both to the woman and to her family. It is the purpose of this section of the paper to suggest what might be involved in such counseling, as done by the minister.

1) The primary difficulties are often seated in the future mother, simply because it is she who is pregnant, it is she who must give birth, it is she who will, in all likelihood, have the primary responsibility for the physical care of the child. Because this is so the woman and her needs and difficulties must take a great portion of the counseling time. Be that as it may this does not mean that the husband or indeed the rest of the family can be considered to be free of all difficulties. For instance, God requires the husband to share in his wife's burden, and if he is unwilling to do so, then his poor attitude must become part of the counseling situation. (In the case of an unmarried woman the problem is changed to some extent. If the woman is a younger girl, then the parents ought to be involved in the sessions. And if they are unwilling to be supportive at this difficult point in time they certainly need to have their own attitudes examined, and changed.) This is only to suggest that in most cases the burden of pregnancy is to be shared by many different people, and that the isolation of the woman, especially if the burden is heavy, is not a good policy.

2) The people involved in the counseling should attempt to see the problem in Christian terms, and to seek a Christian solution. That is to say, the Lord Jesus Christ is alive today, and if He has closed the door to the solution of induced abortion He will open other doors which will provide solutions. If the family involved seems to be lacking a vital personal relationship to Jesus Christ then this fact should be explored.

3) The minister should not hesitate to use, as God leads, every available resource to ameliorate the situation. Thus, if there are psychiatric problems a Christian psychiatrist or psychologist might be sought. If there are very knotty personality problems between the wife and her husband marital counseling might be sought. If there are monetary problems a financial counselor might be sought, the situation explained, and suggestions elicited. Etc.

With such an array of possibilities already available it is quite obvious that God has already begun to open doors for those who understand that He has closed the door which leads to induced abortion. It is only when we refuse to close that door that we are blinded to the possibilities He makes available.

4) The above has presupposed that a minister is counseling a Christian family, or at least a family where some of its members are Christian. It is, of course, possible that a minister will be confronted with the situation wherein neither the woman, nor any of her family are Christian. Certainly, as God provides the appropriate time, the Gospel ought to be presented. But should that time not be provided, or should the family at that point prove to be unaccepting, this does not mean that counseling cannot be offered. Nor does it mean that the door to induced abortion will be opened. It will remain closed. But sensitive listening and referral on the part of the minister should provide the support necessary to lead the family through this crisis. It might also provide the necessary witness of love and concern needed to lead the family to a proper response to Jesus Christ.

5) In all things it should be stressed that the closing of the door leading to induced abortion should not make the Christian pastor or the Christian community insensitive to the burden born by the pregnant woman and her family. All too long we have refused to be the community of support and love we ought to be. All too long we have refused to bear one another's burdens as we ought. It is time we learned.

This is especially important to stress in light of the fact that the emergence of the isolated nuclear family has successfully cut many women and their families off from the kind of community support they might have received in the past.


There are many arguments made for liberalizing abortion laws. We do not have time to answer all of them in this paper, although there is not one argument which is not implicitly answered in the position we have already taken. However, we do want to take a moment and briefly comment on several of the more important positions taken by those who would liberalize the law.

1) "The fetus is not fully human." This argument is actually necessary to make if any of the other arguments are to be successfully made. For once it is established that the fetus is fully human, then the fetus must be accorded the same rights accorded to any other human being, especially the right to life.

We have already shown that both biblically and theologically God calls upon us to accord the right to life to the unborn child, or fetus. And we have seen that this is part and parcel of the gospel and revelation of Jesus Christ. Only by moving God out of the picture can an argument be made that the unborn child need not be accorded the right to life, because he or she is not fully human. It is interesting to note that this is precisely the tactic Satan used in the garden of Eden when he convinced Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree. That is, he took Eve's attention away from God and His commandment, and moved her into a debate over the resultant punishment if she broke the commandment. Subtle, but effective.

However, even Satan's argument was wrong once he had refocused Eve's attention. He told her she would not die. She did. Likewise if we look carefully at the arguments offered to show that the fetus is not really a human we can see that they are fraught with difficulties. For instance one of the arguments is that the fetus is only in a state of potential and is therefore not fully a human. It has not fully developed. However, we do not use the same reasoning in considering a newly born baby. And yet it is not fully developed. Nevertheless we frown on infanticide.

Another argument is that the fetus is dependent upon the mother, and thus is not fully human. And yet the new born babe is just as dependent on others, and would surely die, if it were not cared for. A sick person is often dependent on others, as are some of the elderly. And yet we recognize that they are fully human.

In any case, both the unborn child and the babe (as well as many of the sick) will, with proper care, in and of themselves develop into fully active human beings. Perhaps Dietrich Bonhoeffer has put the matter best:

Destruction of an embryo in the mother's womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.4

2) "The child might be deformed or retarded." Here we must remember that God does not value a person for his wholeness of body or for his IQ, but simply for what Christ has done for that person on Calvary. Thus we are in no position to make the judgement that a person's life is so valueless that it is not worth living.

Once again we can look analogically and see that men and women who are retarded and deformed are protected by the same laws as you and I are. To take one of their lives would be murder.

None of this is to say that raising a deformed child is an easy thing. But abortion is not the solution. A sensitive minister will seek out for the family all the available social resources and point them to all the necessary spiritual resources necessary. Indeed, it seems to me that to work for a community sharing of this type of burden is wholly warranted.

3) "There are too many people in the world." Here we must insist that the destruction of one part of the population in order to save another is simply not warranted. This does not mean that there are no solutions. Birth control devices are an obvious solution. And the fact of the matter is that where abortion, instead of artificial birth control, has been used for any length of time fewer people develop the discipline of using birth control. That is, liberalized abortion programs retard birth control programs.5

4) "It's my body. I can do with it what I want." Unfortunately, the unborn child is simply not just an extension of the woman's body, as a foot might be. One can only wonder at such an incredible argument as this. To be sure it has partly come from external exploitative societal pressures: such as the demand that a woman be a sex object, the demand that she see her ultimate value in terms of child bearing, etc. These pressures are, of course, wrong, and should be fought at every point by the church.

However, the protest that a woman has a right to do with her body what she wants, even if that included induced abortion has within it a rebellion which is entirely unholy. It is a rebellion against the Creator Himself, who in His good pleasure designed the intimate and inseparable relationship between the woman and the unborn child.

5) "Can't we find a compromise?" Here we note Daniel Callahan who, in his perversely brilliant book Abortion: law choice and morality, notes that there are many different points of view in the abortion debate, and tries to develop a criteria which might be acceptable to many points of view, or at least which contain the best insights of each point of view. To this effort we simply note that there can be no compromise in an issue like this, any more than there should have been in Nazi Germany. How perverse it would have been to have developed criteria acceptable to the majority of viewpoints for putting innocent Jews to death!


1. Helmut Thelicke, How the World Began, p. 82.

2. Cf. Daniel Callahan, Abortion: law, choice and morality, pp. 27-31.

3. Cf. Callahan, pp. 409ff.

4. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics, pp. 175-176.

5. Cf. Callahan, pp. 218ff.


Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, v. 3/4, T&T Clark (Edinburg,1961).

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics, The Macmillan Co. (New York, 1965).

Daniel Callahan, Abortion: law, choice and morality, The Macmillan Co. (Boston, 1970).

Helmut Thelicke, How the World Began, Fortress Press (Philadelphia, 1961).

-----, The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, ed. G.A. Buttrick, Vol. 3, "life," O.A. Piper, pp. 124-130, Abingdon Press (New York, 1962).

The Bible, RSV translation

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