There has been a history of controversy that has risen out of a discrepancy between Christianity and a secular culture of abortion in the society. Christianity views this culture as having been responsible for deaths of more than 50 million of unborn children for the last 40 years. Christians consider this as a civilization that does not respect human life both of the born and the unborn during different times. They ascertain that though New Testament is silence on this issue, the Christians still condemned the act of abortion at any period of pregnancy referring it as a grave sin. The Christians maintained this condemnation referring it as elimination of a fetus by an animated human soul. Different writers confirm that the early Christians held different beliefs about unborn and abortion. However, the culture of abortion has gained support from different people in the society ranging from different scholars, professionals, religious groups and secular groups. This controversy has risen because of differing arguments brought in support of abortion which are contrary to Christian beliefs and teachings. Christians have taken a stand of anti-choice while the secular society has a pro-choice stand on issues of life of an unborn child (Maguire, 2003).
Issues that led to the controversy
Christians claim that embryos are human beings with rights and enforce that women should deliver the babies without the choice of eliminating them through abortion. They believe that human life starts at conception and not at birth and hence consider abortion as murder. Contrary, the secular society, claims that these are private, religious beliefs, which should not, be imposed on the entire society by law. Majority oppose this saying that this is denial and violation of their rights and freedom of religion. In Canada for instance, the society affirms that the rights to abortion should be guaranteed based on people’s freedom of conscience and religion. They support their freedom of belief, thought, expression and opinion, and freedom of association which they feel is violated by anti-abortion campaigners. The society is dynamic and comprises different religious groups whose doctrines strongly have support for women to choose freely to deliver or terminate pregnancy. Their teachings are pro-choice as opposed to Christians who emphasize on anti-choice interpretations in their religion (Rudy, 1996).
The controversy has been fueled by the fact that in some professions and according to the law, the act of abortion is considered a remarkable and normal part of health care for women. There are laws that allow abortion in hospitals due to instances of the pregnant mother being in danger due to pregnancy. This is allowed in, any parts of the world where doctors and qualified health practitioners hold the right to perform abortion and save the life of the mother. Such instances include ectopic pregnancy, which is considered, dangerous for the life of the mother.
Other instances include chances of giving birth to severely disabled children and hydrocephalous children. The doctors are required to advice the mother on the urgency of terminating the pregnancy and after their consent, the abortion is performed. This issue has brought a lot of controversy in to Christians who oppose these ideals strongly. They argue that God alone is the creator, and he alone has right to eliminate a human being. They claim that human beings in any profession cannot choose who will be born and whose life will be terminated. They strongly support the idea that every human being has a right to live even with their severe disabilities. They support this with their doctrines, which shows that, everything God created was good and for a good purpose. Therefore, they believe that God who allowed the unborn to be formed with abnormalities and severe disabilities will take care of them once they are born (Grimes, 2006).
Abortion according to Christians is murder, and they also claim that fetuses deserve protection because they are human beings. This has been met with a lot of discrepancies from the society due to diverse religious groups and different secular ideals. This has resulted to the urgency to confront questions that hover around the society. These include whether life begins at conception, whether a fertilized egg is a separated and complete human being created by God, whether destruction of a fertilized egg is murder, whether there are eternal souls that take human, physical bodies temporarily and whether souls go to hell or heaven forever when physical bodies die. Christians who are anti-abortion provide answers to these questions based on their Christian faith interpretation. This contradicts the religious beliefs of other religions, atheists and nonbelievers. For instance, the Moslem Koran (23.12-14 and 15.26-29) states indirectly that life starts at first breath.
In addition, Jewish Talmud affirms that life begins at birth. Judaic Old Testament affirms that life starts at first breath but babies are valued when they are one month old (Genesis 2:7, Numbers 3:40 and Leviticus 27:6). Therefore, these diverse beliefs contradict the Christian beliefs on fetuses being full human from their conception time. This has also made it hard for Christians to prove to the whole society concerning this theological assumption. This belief has been disregarded as just a belief by some Christians and not the entire Christian religion. History reveals that anti-abortion belief was not their belief historically because the church of Roman Catholic did not refer to abortion as a mortal sin until 1869 (Harrison, 1983).
Results of the controversy
The controversy has resulted to a lot of debates in the courts over argument of abortion cases. In states where there are laws supporting abortion, the pro-choice lawyers use them to argue their cases. This has an implication that the act of abortion has increased in practice as individuals feel free and protected to choose what to do. Such include the right of privacy and freedom of religion. The society values this as part of rights to women on freedom of choice. This empowers women to choose life or abortion of their unborn babies (Shah, 2009).
This has also increased Christians activities towards their anti-abortion campaign through various ways such as marching in the streets to pass the anti-abortion message, composing anti-abortion literature supported by their biblical and interpretations of their teachings and holding campaigns and seminars against abortion all over the world.
This controversy has put the issue of abortion in the political front over the legalization or abolition. Many political leaders and prospective leaders have taken considerable interest in the abortion issue because of their desire to win many supporters. In the states that have many anti-abortion supporters, the political stand of leaders is anti-choice while those supporting abortion have pro-choice stand. The controversy over abortion has increased throughout the years to date because of the differing beliefs between Christians and the diverse, secular and religious society (Maguire 2003).
Grimes, D. A.; Benson, J.; Singh, S.; Romero, M.; Ganatra, B.; Okonofua, F. E.; Shah, I.
(2006). “Unsafe abortion: The preventable pandemic” (PDF). The
6. PMID 17126724.
Harrison, Beverly Wildung. Our right to choose: toward a new ethic of abortion. Boston:
Beacon Press, 1983. Print.
Maguire, Daniel C.. Sacred rights: the case for contraception and abortion in world
religions. Oxford [UK: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.
Rudy, Kathy. Beyond pro-life and pro-choice: moral diversity in the abortion debate.
Boston: Beacon Press, 1996. Print.
Shah, I.; Ahman, E. (December 2009). “Unsafe abortion: global and regional incidence,
trends, consequences, and challenges” (PDF). Journal of Obstetrics and
Gynaecology Canada 31 (12): 1149–58.PMID 20085681