Nancy Pelosi’s interview has set off a fire storm of commentary on the age old debate of when life begins. Apparently her argument is that since no one is sure when life begins, then the mother that carries the child in her womb should have the free choice as to whether the child is to live or die.
Pelosi supports her argument by citing a church father from the fifth century, Augustine of Hippo, did not know when life begins either. Further she stated that this particular church leader thought that life begins at three months of age and thus implying that he would support infanticide.
In the first place our decisions should not be made on the opinion of a single church leader.There are a number of early church leaders and sources that directly address this issue. For example,
Barnabas AD 70
"You shall not kill the child by obtaining an abortion. Nor, again, shall you destroy him after he is born."
The Didache AD 80-140
"You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one who has been born."
Tertullian AD 197
"In our case, murder is once for all forbidden. Therefor, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier way to kill a human. It does not matter whether you take away a life that has been born or destroy one that is not yet born."
Cyprian AD 250
"The womb of his wife was hit by a blow of his heel. And, in the miscarriage that soon followed, the offspring was brought forth, the fruit of a father's murder."
Lacatantius AD 304-313
"The soul is not introduced into the body after birth, as some philosophers think. Rather, it is introduced immediately after conception, when the divine necessity has formed the offspring in the womb."
Apostolic Constitutions AD 390
"You shall not slay your child by causing abortion, nor kill the baby that is born."
Further, it is clear that she totally misunderstands Augustine’s position. In context he was talking about the resurrection. He did say that he did not know when life began. However, in the next paragraph he went on to say not only that fetuses are a living being, but that they will share in the resurrection of the dead.
“To deny, for example, that those fetuses ever lived at all which are cut away limb by limb and cast out of the wombs of pregnant women, lest the mothers die also if the fetuses were left there dead, would seem much too rash. But, in any case, once a man begins to live, it is thereafter possible for him to die. And, once dead, wheresoever death overtook him, I cannot find the basis on which he would not have a share in the resurrection of the dead.”
Augustine’s point was that those who die as a result of being cut out from the womb will be restored with a perfectly formed resurrected body. Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi only quoted the phrase that seems to support her argument. Augustine would not support the pro-death position of abortionists.
Denying the fact that life begins at conception is treasonous to your own conscience and simple logic. If life does not begin at conception then there would be no need for contraceptives.
Perhaps it may have been better to quote David, Isaiah, Solomon, or Jeremiah. After all their statements are inspired by God.
"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me." (Psalm 51:5, NKJV)
"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:13-16, NKJV)
"Thus says the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you: ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen." (Isaiah 44:2, NKJV)
"As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything." (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NKJV)
"“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”" (Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV)
Some will justify their actions by denying that the child in their body is not yet a human, but should a pregnant woman be murdered the crime is rightly prosecuted as a double homicide.
Why do women have abortions?
1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).
What can we do?
Educate our children (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Encourage our fellow Christians (Galatians 6:1)
Elect leaders who support our values (1 Timothy 2:1-2)