Abortion and Resurrection: An Easter Reflection

The following article is a reflection about abortion in the context of resurrection, as told by the Easter story. While the vast majority of ERI’s training content is secular in nature, we believe it’s valuable for each individual to speak to those who share a more specific worldview because they will be able to reach them in certain ways a more general approach can’t. Andrew speaks from a Christian worldview; not for all Christians, and certainly many Christians would disagree with several aspects of his theology, but in a distinctly Christian way. We hope it will be profitable for those of you who are Christian, and educational for those who aren’t.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

I oppose abortion, as a Christian and simply as a human, because I believe it is the gravest mass injustice in the world today. Evil governments sanctioning the killing of generations of children is nothing new in the world (see Exodus 1 or Matthew 2, just for citable examples off the top of my head), and our government is no less barbaric than its predecessors by the mere fact that it outsources the actual killing to the private market.

But as a Christian, I don’t believe that death is the greatest evil. It’s really, really bad; but there is something worse than death. “Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28, CSB). (As an aside, do not doubt the dedication and tenacity of our secular pro-life friends, who do believe that, in trying to keep people from violently ending the existence of fetuses, they are trying to rescue unborn humans from the ultimate evil.)

To be clear: without the resurrection of Christ, death is the greatest evil. One might say it is the only evil, since it nullifies all good and the possibility of good. If life ends in death, and even the entirety of existence will ultimately be swallowed up by nothingness, then meaning and morality can have no objective frame of reference which would survive that apocalypse. This erases the possibility of good and evil. (The first lie was, “You shall become as gods.” The new lie is, “What tree?”)

The whole of Christianity hinges on the resurrection of Christ:

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:14–19, ESV).

So on Easter, as on every Sunday, Christians celebrate and acknowledge the fact that a man, Jesus, who was also God, raised himself from the dead. The truth or falsehood of this simple claim is the axis on which all of existence turns. It’s no surprise, then, that my affirmation of the resurrection affects how I view pro-life work.

If I don’t believe that death is the ultimate evil, then I don’t think that I’m saving babies from the ultimate evil (even if a very real one) by trying to prevent them from being killed in abortions. Nor do I affirm, as some Christians have over the years, that all of mankind is guilty for the first sin of Adam and Eve, and I therefore vigorously deny that unborn children are somehow guilty by association and sentenced to an eternity in hell. On the contrary, I believe that all the unborn humans who have died in abortions and miscarriages will be in heaven; that, though they have no sins to forgive, their adoption by God is secured by the death of Jesus and their eternal life is guaranteed by His resurrection.

Counterintuitively, as a Christian pro-lifer, I’m fighting to save people from a grave evil (death) with the result that they have a chance to lose out on eternal life and instead choose the ultimate evil (hell). If I’m successful, there could very possibly be more people in hell than if I fail.

Not very utilitarian of me, is it?

Well, I’m not a utilitarian, and God doesn’t seem to be, either. The whole project of creation is not to fill heaven with as many people as possible, but rather to have as many people as possible choose to love the good, to love God, and to get to experience the result of those choices forever.

And I don’t think giving people that choice is cruel or unloving, even if many will make the wrong choice. Every life saved from abortion is a valuable person, and one who can freely choose to love God.

The same holds for those having abortions and even those performing them. The pro-life movement (people keep denying it, so I’ll keep reaffirming it) cares about women, too, not just babies. And one thing we know is that choosing to have an abortion is a soul-warping choice. It is not a choice that leads you to become a better version of yourself; it is not a choice that puts you in line with the good or with God, but instead takes you further from them. Abortion obviously fatally hurts unborn humans, but it also harms the people who choose to have them. The choices you made in the past have conditioned you to make similar choices in the future; you will become the person you chose to be. So a world in which abortion is an available and encouraged choice makes it harder for people to love the good and refuse to do evil.

But here, too, Christianity has something to say. Past choices are not immutable; forgiveness is a real and live possibility. This is true for women who have chosen abortion, family members and significant others (or insignificant others) who have pressured them into an abortion, and even for abortion practitioners.

I think I view abortion practitioners as having souls like Voldemort; if you’ve read or seen Harry Potter, you should know what I’m talking about. Spoilers follow: Voldemort’s soul appeared in the space between life and death at Platform 9 ¾ after he finally struck Harry with the killing curse. While Harry appeared as fully himself, Voldemort was a shriveled, disfigured, pathetic entity. All of his evil actions took a toll on his soul; but even at this point, the possibility of redemption was open to him. He still had a soul.

Voldemort refused to choose redemption, of course, and instead received justice. Similarly, most abortion practitioners, with consciences warped by repeated killings, will not choose redemption. But they can, and some do—and praise God when they do!

The resurrection enables this. Stephen and Paul will share in the same eternal life. If that seems normal to us, it’s only because we have too much critical distance; the apostles feared Paul even in the first few years of his ministry, knowing him to be a killer. Even so, some of abortion’s practitioners may be in the same heaven as its victims; if we do our job well, more practitioners and fewer victims than expected.

Life is at the center of it all; life, and life more abundantly. In some way, the promise of eternal life drives me to protect earthly life. And not only that but, through the mitigation and (eventual) elimination of a grave evil, to help others onto eternal life as well. As usual, C.S. Lewis puts it best:

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics (The Weight of Glory).

The post Abortion and Resurrection: An Easter Reflection originally appeared at the Equal Rights Institute blog. Subscribe to our email list with the form below and get a FREE gift. Click here to learn more about our pro-life apologetics course, “Equipped for Life: A Fresh Approach to Conversations About Abortion.” 

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Director of Content & Research

Andrew Kaake (pronounced like “cake”) is the Director of Content & Research at Equal Rights Institute. He holds a bachelor’s degree in classics and political science, cum laude, from Amherst College, where he wrote a thesis on the topic of C.S. Lewis and natural law philosophy. He completed his master’s degree in bioethics at Trinity International University, studying the philosophical underpinnings of controversies about life, death, and technology and trying to create ways to communicate that information to others. During his studies at Trinity, he worked as a research assistant for The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity.

Andrew wants the pro-life movement to help foster a culture that seeks truth and embraces logical consistency. “What I believe about humanity and personhood clearly impacts what I think about abortion, but it also holds implications for how I should (and, more importantly, shouldn’t) dialogue with other people who disagree with me.”

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