“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.” From The Family: A Proclamation to the World
One of the hottest political topics right now is abortion. More than any other time in my life has there been so much passion, opinion, and dialogue about this topic. I have always been pro-life, but lately, I have thought about why I believe this. I believe in centering my life on principles, so whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, the choice should be based on principles.
Principle #1: We are created in the image of God. Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” To quote Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Principle #2: God gives us life. Elder Russell M. Nelson: “As sons and daughter of God, we cherish life as a gift from him….Life comes from life. It is a gift from our Heavenly Father. It is eternal, as he is eternal. Innocent life is not sent by him to be destroyed! This doctrine is not of me, but is that of the living God and of his divine Son” (Nelson, 1985, pp. 11, 14).
Principle #3: Life begins at conception. In my nursing education, we learned that fertilization involves the egg and sperm joining to form the zygote. Within 24-hours, that zygote is rapidly dividing into many cells, already differentiating into organs and other distinct features of human beings From that tiny beginning, the DNA is there in place to form a human. No other animal, creature, plant, or living thing will develop in the womb because the DNA is that of a human, from the get-go.
Principle #4: I have unalienable rights as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of another. “But it’s my body, it’s my choice.” This is an argument I don’t understand. A mother’s body supports the developing embryo, then fetus, as it continues to develop. But it is a distinct, separate human being. Cynthia Isabell, a former pro-choice nursing instructor, wrote a fantastic article a few years ago refuting the platforms of many pro-choices, one of which is the “my body, my choice” mantra. She explains how the baby is not a part of the woman’s body and says:
“the placenta and umbilical cord are what separate the baby from the mother. This is important, as most people would view the placenta and umbilical cord as a means by which the baby is connected to its mother and so make the fetus ‘part of her body.’ While it is true on the surface, a better and more truthful understanding is that it’s the placenta and umbilical cord which separate the mother from the baby and prove that the fetus was never part of its mother’s body. This is because the placenta and umbilical cord exist precisely because the baby has a different and separate circulatory system from the mother and their blood must not intermingle (Isabell, 2016).”
She goes on to explain that if the baby was part of the mother’s body, there would be no need for a placenta or umbilical cord, there would be no need for barriers (Isabell, 2016)
Based on these principles, it is difficult for me to see how one could justify being pro-choice. One can disagree with these principles or argue that they won’t accept them. But that doesn’t change the fact that they are correct. They are not opinions, but principles of truth.
In the past, I have said that abortion should be allowed only in the cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s health in endangered. But I have begun to rethink this position. First of all, we are talking about a very small percentages of pregnancies with regards to the total number of abortions performed each year. USA Today recently reported that 1% of women receive abortions due to pregnancy caused by rape. Less than .5% abort because of incest. (Dastagir, 2019). I cannot imagine the horror of experiencing either of these scenarios, but if life is created as a result, choosing abortion would be difficult because I hold tight to the four principles listed above. If it would appease the pro-choicers to have the clause that abortion is acceptable in these cases, then fine, add the words. But if I ever find myself in that position, I will prayerfully consider my choices and pray for guidance from One who knows all. I do not pass judgment on anyone else having to make that decision.
Ultimately, abortion frustrates God’s plan for the family. If we as children of God follow the principles outlined in the Proclamation, we will understand the importance of life and the role the family plays in God’s purpose for us. Aligning our lives with principles such as those taught in the Proclamation will clarify truth in a confusing world. “The eternal truths in the proclamation counteract the culture and provide individuals and families with a guide and a standard, a kind of Liahona or compass to chart their course” (Hawkins, 2012, p. 311).
There are other issues to considered when deciding to abort under any circumstances, such as the emotional and physical toll of abortion on the mother, but I will leave that discussion for another time. The abortion issue will most likely continue to be a hot topic, but if people will evaluate their position with regards to true principles, we might come closer to a position aligned with God’s.
“Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16).
Dastagir, A.E. (2019, May 25). Rape and Incest Account for Hardly Any Abortions. So Why Are They Now a Focus? Retrieved from https://www.stripes.com/news/us/rape-and-incest-account-for-hardly-any-abortions-so-why-are-they-now-a-focus-1.582995
Hawkins, A.J., Dollahite, D.C., Draper, T.W. (Eds). 2012. Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University.
Isabell, C. August 12, 2016. How a Formerly Pro-Choice Nursing Instructor Discusses Abortion with her Students. Retrieved from https://thetorchblog.net/?p=996&utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork&fbclid=IwAR3ruapoia-cEVRyiv4dMaS73K2jSevuhYL81dXOrWW_P8xCD45B1I4RaPM
Nelson, R. M. (1985, May). Reverence for Life. Ensign, 15, 11-14.