A professor in a world-acclaimed medical school once posed this medical situation --
and ethical problem -- to his students: "Here's the family history: The father has
syphilis. The mother has TB. They already have had four children. The first is blind. The
second had died. The third is deaf. The fourth has TB. Now the mother is pregnant again,
The parents come to you for advice. They are willing to have an abortion, if you decide
they should. What do you say?"
The students gave various individual opinions, and then the professor asked them to
break into small groups for "consultation." All of the groups came back to
report that they would recommend abortion.
"Congratulations," the professor said, "You just took the life of
We believe this was first reported in an Ann Landers column.
A recent poll of couples in New England revealed that, if they were able to know these
things in advance, 1 percent of them would abort a child on the basis of sex, 6 percent
would abort a child likely to get Alzheimer's disease, and an incredible 11 percent would
abort a child predisposed to obesity.
The Utne Reader, quoted in Signs of the
January, 1993, p. 6.
Some of you may remember the man who won a U.S. Supreme Court case over his right to
obtain an abortion for his comatose wife. He argued at that time that an abortion could
aid a possible recovery for his wife, Nancy, who was comatose as a result of a car
accident in 1988. The abortion accomplished, Martin Klein now plans to divorce his wife.
His comment was, "Life changes, tragedy happens. It's all very complicated." He
also said "my commitment to Nancy continues to remain as strong as ever." We
agree. His commitment to his wife is as strong now as it was previously. That is to say,
Credenda, Agenda, Volume 4/Number 3, p. 15.
Abortion is no more purely a medical problem just because the physician wields the
curette than chemical warfare is purely a problem for pilots because they press the lever
releasing the chemical.
E. Fuller Torrey, taken from "Abortion",
Dallas, TX: Christian
Medical & Dental Society Journal, Summer, 1976, Vol. VII, Number 3, quoted in
of Life, C. Swindoll, p. 10.
Medical authorities determine a person to be "alive" if there is either a
detectable heartbeat or brain-wave activity. With that in mind, it is eye-opening for some
to realize that unborn children have detectable heartbeats at eighteen days (two and
one-half weeks) after conception and detectable brain-wave activity forty days (a little
over five and one-half weeks) after conception. What is so shocking is that essentially
100 percent of all abortions occur after the seventh week of pregnancy.
Sanctity of Life,
C. Swindoll, Word, 1990, p. 11-12.
Why are children aborted? The Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research arm of Planned
Parenthood) states: * 1% are victims of incest or rape * 1% had fetal abnormalities * 4%
had a doctor who said their health would worsen if they continued the pregnancy * 50% said
they didn't want to be a single parent or they had problems in current relationships * 66%
stated they could not afford a child *75% said the child would interfere with their lives.
Statistics cited in Rescue Update, June/July 1989, Southern California Operation Rescue,
quoted in Sanctity of Life, C. Swindoll, Word, 1990, p. 12.
How many children are aborted? Worldwide, 55 million unborn children are killed every
year. Around the world, every day 150,685 children are killed by abortion; every hour,
6278; and every minute, 105. Those are the reported cases. If you are an American citizen,
no doubt your greatest interest is in your own nation, as is mine. Let me break the
abortions down to a national statistic: 1,600,000 babies are aborted in these
every year. Per day, that's 4,383; per hour, that's 183; per minute, there are 3.
C. Swindoll, Sanctity
of Life, Word, 1990, p. 13.
C. Everett Koop, M.D., formerly the Surgeon General, states that during his 35-plus
years of practicing medicine, "Never once did a case come across my practice where
abortion was necessary to save a mother's life."
C. Swindoll, Sanctity of Life, Word,
1990, p. 23.
If our language has appeared to some strong and severe, or even intemperate, let the
gentlemen pause for a moment and reflect on the importance and gravity of the subject...
We had to deal with human life. In a matter of less importance we could entertain
The American Medical Association, 1981, in a report opposing abortion.
Quoted in Marvin Olasky's The Press and Abortion, 1838-1988.
Percentage of women who chose an abortion because having a baby "would; change
their life (job, school)": 76. Percentage who chose an abortion because of rape or
Family Planning Perspectives, 7-8/88, reported in MS., 4/89.
Charles McCarry can claim a varied career. In addition to being the author of The
Tears of Autumn and The Last Supper, he served as assistant to the Secretary of
Labor in the Eisenhower cabinet and has done two stints in the CIA. But he almost wasn't
born. Says McCarry, "My mother became pregnant with me at the age of 39. She had
nearly died while giving birth to my only sibling. Her doctor, who believed the second
pregnancy was a serious threat to her life, advised an abortion. The advice made sense,
but my mother refused to accept it. Just before she died at age 97, I asked her why. She
replied, "I wanted to see who you were going to turn out to be."
In a letter to
the Wall Street Journal, quoted in Reader's Digest, February 1990
In Germany, they first came for the Communists and I did not speak up because I wasn't
a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade
unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a
Protestant. Then they came for me and by that time, there was no one left to speak up.
When you're raised in the country, hunting is just a natural part of growing up. For
years I enjoyed packing up my guns and some food to head off into the woods. Even more
than the hunting itself, I enjoyed the way these trips always seemed to deepen my
relationship with friends as we hunted during the day and talked late into the night
around the campfire. When an old friend recently invited me to relive some of those days,
I couldn't pass up the chance. For several weeks before the trip, I had taken the time to
upgrade some of my equipment and sight in my rifle. When the day came, I was ready for the
hunt. What I wasn't ready for was what my close friend, Tom, shared with me the first
night out on the trail.
I always enjoyed the time I spent with Tom. He had become a leader in his church and
his warm and friendly manner had also taken him many steps along the path of business
success. He had a lovely wife, and while I knew they had driven over some rocky roads in
their marriage, things now seemed to be stable and growing. Tom's kids, two daughters and
a son, were struggling in junior high and high school with the normal problems of peer
pressure and acceptance.
As we rode back into the mountains, I could tell that something big was eating away at
Tom's heart. His normal effervescent style was shrouded by an overwhelming inner hurt.
Normally, Tom would attack problems with the same determination that had made him a
success in business. Now, I saw him wrestling with something that seemed to have knocked
him to the mat for the count.
Silence has a way of speaking for itself. All day and on into the evening, Tom let his
lack of words shout out his inner restlessness. Finally, around the first night's
campfire, he opened up.
The scenario Tom painted was annoyingly familiar. I'd heard it many times before in
many other people's lives. But the details seemed such a contract to the life that Tom and
his wife lived and the beliefs they embraced. His oldest daughter had become attached to a
boy at school. Shortly after they started going together, they became sexually involved.
Within two months, she was pregnant. Tom's wife discovered the truth when a packet from
Planned Parenthood came in the mail addressed to her daughter. When confronted with it,
the girl admitted she had requested it when she went to the clinic to find out if she was
If we totaled up the number of girls who have gotten pregnant out of wedlock during the
past two hundred years of our nation's history, the total would be in the millions.
Countless parents through the years have faced the devastating news. Being a member of
such a large fraternity of history, however, does not soften the severity of the blow to
your heart when you discover it's your daughter.
Tom shared the humiliation he experienced when he realized that all of his teaching and
example had been ignored. Years of spiritual training had been thrust aside. His stomach
churned as he relived the emotional agony of knowing that the little girl he and his wife
loved so much had made a choice that had permanently scarred her heart.
I'm frequently confronted with these problems in my ministry and have found that
dwelling on the promiscuous act only makes matters worse. I worship a God of forgiveness
and solutions, and at that moment in our conversation I was anxious to turn toward hope
I asked Tom what they had decided to do. Would they keep the baby, or put it up for
adoption? That's when he delivered the blow. With the fire burning low, Tom paused for a
long time before answering. And even when he spoke he wouldn't look me in the eye.
"We considered the alternatives, Tim. Weighed all the options." He took a deep
breath. "We finally made an appointment with the abortion clinic. I took her down
there myself." I dropped the stick I'd been poking the coals with and stared at Tom.
Except for the wind in the trees and the snapping of our fire it was quiet for a long
time. I couldn't believe this was the same man who for years had been so outspoken against
abortion. He and his wife had even volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center in his city.
Heartsick, I pressed him about the decision. Tom then made a statement that captured
the essence of his problem...and the problem many others have in entering into genuine
rest. In a mechanical voice, he said "I know what I believe, Tim, but that's
different than what I had to do. I had to make a decision that had the least amount of
consequences for the people involved."
Just by the way he said it, I could tell my friend had rehearsed these lines over and
over in his mind. And by the look in his eyes and the emptiness in his voice, I could tell
his words sounded as hollow to him as they did to me.
Tim Kimmel, Little House on the Freeway, pp. 67-70.