Bonhöffer on Abortion

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This from Desiring God.

Destruction of the 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 this is nothing but murder.

A great many different motives may lead to an action of this kind; indeed in cases where it is an act of despair, performed in circumstances of extreme human or economic destitution and misery, the guilt may often lie rather with the community than with the individual. Precisely in this connection money may conceal many a wanton deed, while the poor man’s more reluctant lapse may far more easily be disclosed.

All these considerations must no doubt have a quite decisive influence on our personal and pastoral attitude towards the person concerned, but they cannot in any way alter the fact of murder. (Quoted in Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer, 472, paragraphing added)

Exactly the right balance. Clarity on the act itself, and yet a sensitive awareness of motivations and influences. What a striking observation – “God certainly intended to create a human being…”.

It has long been my view that mothers are more often than not also the victims in abortion, duped by our culture and (in particular) devilishly evil organisations into thinking that what they do is acceptable.

image: Desiring God

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  1. Lucy McWhirter Browne

    The influences and reasons for abortion that Bonhoeffer refers to still exist today and sadly they usually take precedence over the unborn child’s right to life.   In Victoria the Abortion Law Reform Bill (2008) allows terminations till 24 weeks without having to consider  physical, social or psychological factors.  After 24 weeks  abortions are legal however reasons have to be given as well as a second medical opinion.  In 2007 the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne put forward Submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission Inquiry of the Law of Abortion.   The paper was written by 8 women who described themselves as the ‘think tank’.  It is interesting that while some Anglicans in Australia have argued for the ordination of women and homosexuals on the grounds of equality, the views and rights of men are certainly absent in the abortion issue. The recommendations that these women put forward also gave a very unequal status to the unborn child. There was recognition that while embroys and fetuses were ‘fully human from the time of conception’ the ‘gradualist position’ that they agreed upon also meant that ‘moral significance and value’ increased as the child developed. Yet in spite of being ‘fully human’ at conception and accruing ‘moral significance’ as the pregnancy advances they also wanted to ‘counsel against a legislated absolutist end-point after which an abortion could not proceed’. What I find interesting and at the same time appalling is that while they recognise the unborn child as being ‘fully human’ they also deny him or her the right to life. On one hand they have put put forward a pro-life arguement and then adopted a pro-choice stance.

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