Is abortion okay if the child is conceived from rape or so sick he won’t live long?: Salt&Light Family Night
by Christine Leow // August 3, 2022, 7:23 pm
Photo by Lazaro Rodriguez Jr on Pexels.
They were told that their child would be born without a skull. Doctors advised the parents to abort the baby. There was little chance he would survive long after birth.
But as the couple saw their son’s heart beating during the ultrasound, they were convinced they wanted to carry the child to full-term. After all, if he was fighting for his life, they would fight for him, too.
“Although his life was short, it was full.”
“They believed that in the family, no one gets left behind,” said Pastor Norman Ng as he told the story to more than 150 viewers on Salt&Light Family Night (July 26).
The boy was born and the parents got to hold him for six hours before he passed away. At his funeral, one of his grandmothers decided to become a Christian.
“Although his life was short, it was full and it had the purpose of ushering someone into the Kingdom for eternity,” said Ps Norman.
He and his wife, Pastor Debbie Ng, were part of the panel discussing the topic: How do I talk to my kids about sex and abortion? They are founders of Heartbeat Project, a ministry of 3:16 Church that provides resources to help churches talk about life and abortion.
Also on the panel were Mark and Sarah De Winne. The couple is known for their TikTok and YouTube content chronicling their family life with their three children, Ines, 16, Leon, 7, and baby Aaron. Mark, who is a creative director and entrepreneur, and Sarah, a singer-songwriter, content creator and entrepreneur who is popularly known as Sarah X. Miracle, have also been very open about the teen pregnancy that led them to get married when Sarah was just 18 and Mark was 21.
Rounding up the group was Anne Ng, 19, a third-year polytechnic student who represented the voice of youths.
Of those who logged onto the Zoom chat show, the largest group (33%) was those between 36 and 45. Those aged 26 to 35 accounted for another third (31%) while about a quarter (26%) were aged 26 to 35.
Asked if they knew anyone personally who had gone through an abortion, 64% indicated “yes”.
This is what the panellists shared about abortion and sexual desires.
What Christians think about abortion
1. Two-thirds think it’s okay
“We live in a hyper sexualised culture and a culture that majors a lot on feelings,” said Ps Norman.
“It’s okay to pay attention to our feelings. But I find that, far too often, we give too much authority to how we feel, when the Word of God should be the final authority in our lives.”
“When Debbie and I first saw this statistic, we didn’t want to believe it.”
A national survey by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) released in 2019 made the Ngs realise that perceptions about abortion among Christians seemed to be based more on emotion than the Bible. The results of the research revealed that 1 in 3 Christians (33.3%) aged 18 to 35 said that abortion was not wrong at all. Another 1 in 3 Christians (30.4%) in that age group felt that abortion was only wrong sometimes. That meant that two-thirds of young Christians surveyed in Singapore viewed abortion as acceptable.
“When Debbie and I first saw this statistic, we didn’t want to believe it,” said Ps Norman.
But as the couple started to engage with youth ministries about life and abortion, the response from the ground amongst young Christians they spoke to bore out the findings of the survey.
2. Parents and pastors don’t think abortion happens in the Church
“The most common misconception that pastors and parents may have is that our young people actually have a biblical world view on life, sex and abortion,” said Ps Norman.
“Abortion is the number one cause of death in Singapore.”
“As parents, as part of a family, we need to be the ones speaking about this. We need to give our children, our disciples, our church members a biblical world view on relationships and touch.”
Another misconception the Church has is that unplanned pregnancies and abortion do not happen within the church, added Ps Debbie.
“Abortion is the number one cause of death in Singapore, higher than cancer, higher than heart disease.
“One out of seven pregnancies, about every 90 minutes, an abortion happens in Singapore,” said Ps Debbie.
3. Youths want to talk about abortion
Almost half (48%) who watched Salt&Light Family Night that night felt it was quite difficult to talk to their children or a young person about biblical sexuality, pegging the difficulty level at five out of six.
But while it may be difficult for adults to talk about sex to young people, many young people do want to engage in such conversations.
When the Ngs speak in churches, the questions they get asked about abortion show deep interest in the subject.
“It is a conversation that is urgent and very, very important at the same time,” said Ps Debbie.
5 Handles to view abortion biblically
1. Life begins in the heart of the Father
Jeremiah 1:5 reveals that “we as a being, with an identity and a destiny, began in the heart of God, in the imagination of the Father who knew us, who formed us”, said Ps Norman.
The second part of the verse speaks about what happens in the womb.
“What a view of an intimate God shaping and moulding us even before we were born and when we were formed in the womb.”
2. We are loving works of God
Psalm 139:13-14 refers to the “intricate loving work of the Father moulding us and knitting us together”, Ps Norman noted.
“Knitting together in the mother’s womb shows a carefully crafted process that happens in the womb.
“It’s not a mechanical process. It’s a loving one, fearfully and wonderfully delivered to represent the heart of the Father.”
3. We are created in God’s image
In Genesis 1:27-28, it is “very, very clear, right from the very beginning, that God created mankind in His image”, Ps Debbie said.
“Our value comes from the act of being created by God Himself.”
“This is irrespective and regardless of the environment and state we are born into.”
In addition, the command in Genesis 1 given to Man was to “be fruitful”.
Ps Norman added: “When it says that God created mankind in His own image, it is also saying that the value that is imputed to Man comes from this image that we are created in.
“Our value comes from the act of being created by God Himself.”
4. Our value is not in the quality of life but in the life given by God
Quoting Job 31:13-15, Ps Debbie talked about how the “value of person is not found in the quality of life, environment or conditions they are born in, but in the life ordained and given by God”.
So, even if a child is born into a difficult environment, his value is the same as that of a child with a privileged background.
5. Abortion is an assault on the person-forming work of God
According to Ephesians 2:10, we are God’s poiema, or masterpiece, said Ps Norman.
So, even before God formed us, He knew us and prepared beforehand the good works we should walk in.
Said Ps Norman: “I know that sounds hard especially when we live in an empathetic culture, but it is important for us to stand for truth because Proverbs 31 calls for us to be a voice for the voiceless; the child is the most vulnerable party here.”
What if the pregnancy is the result of rape?
Ps Debbie showed a photograph of two ultrasounds side by side and asked: “Would you be able to tell which child is conceived out of rape?”
We are made in the image of God and the circumstances of our conception does not change the sanctity of life, or the value of the child, she added.
“Rape is extremely traumatic and we need to empathise with the lady who has gone through the trauma. The lady is equally important.
“Abortion can add a second trauma to the existing trauma of rape.”
“Maximum support – from society, from family, from the church – must be given to the lady who has gone through the trauma. The rapist should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And maximum help must be given to the child who is the innocent party in the entire situation.
“We also need to recognise that abortion doesn’t remove the trauma from the rape. Abortion can add a second trauma to the existing trauma of rape. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Having spoken to both men and women who have journeyed through abortion, Ps Debbie has observed that the shame, guilt, depression and condemnation that come after abortion can add to the trauma of rape.
Ps Debbie talked about the book Victors and Victims which compiled some 200 testimonies of women who got pregnant out of a sexual assault.
“Unanimously, all those who aborted their children conceived out of rape or sexual assault all regretted it because of the additional pain they went through, because of what they are still holding onto so many years later.
“Those who have kept their children have found joy, have found reconciliation and freedom with the child.”
What if it is an ectopic pregnancy?
Out of every 1,000 pregnancies, five to seven are ectopic pregnancies.
An ectopic pregnancy is one that takes place outside of the womb – a fertilised egg may, for instance, attach itself within the fallopian tube.
In such cases, the foetus rarely survives and the mother’s life can be endangered as well. Left untreated, damage to the reproductive system and death may occur.
Medical intervention, in this situation, is intended to save lives.
“If in the event of a medical emergency, the medical procedure to save the mum results in the death of a child, that is not an abortion. Abortion is a medical procedure to intentionally kill the life of a child.”
“The viability and sanctity of life cannot be shifting like a goal post.”
On that note, Ps Norman also touched on the question of viability and the issue of miscarriages. The Ngs had an early-stage miscarriage before their second child was born. He described the period as “some of darkest days we had to walk through”.
The De Winnes also lost their daughter at 27 weeks before they had their youngest child, Aaron.
Said Ps Norman: “Viability (the point at which a foetus can survive outside the womb) is a medical term; it is not a spiritual term.
“But from a biblical world view, conception reveals that life is formed and forming in the womb, a life that is known and prepared by God.
“The definition of viability shifts from country to country depending on the medical standards available.
“But the viability and sanctity of life cannot be shifting like a goal post.”
What if the baby is very sick?
Advocating life instead of abortion even in cases where there is a difficult medical prognosis, Ps Norman said: “It is important for us to consider that, in such cases, it is important to eliminate the suffering and not the sufferer. As a people of life, we want to stand for life.
“It is not easy. But from the couples whom we have journeyed with, we have also seen so much hope as they journeyed with the child.”
“The life in the womb and the life outside the womb – we are talking about the same image of God.”
Ps Debbie shared that, when we see people with disabilities such as a blind man or a child with special needs, we know that we need to extend help to them.
“When we bring that back to what this individual was in the womb, we say, ‘Let’s get rid of this child that has a medical condition.’
“We need to recognise that the life in the womb and the life outside the womb – we are talking about the same image of God imprinted on that person.”
In an effort to help families with children with special needs, as well as to make it easier for those who are expecting children with disabilities or special needs, Heartbeat Project started Brave Club at the end of 2021.
Once a month, children with special needs and their families gather to play sports to give these families of believers and pre-believers support and a safe space.
How do we deal with the shame of an unplanned pregnancy?
Ps Norman admitted that sometimes the shame associated with an unplanned pregnancy can come from the Church.
“We can bear the consequences together as a community.”
“We have repented of how pastors have made provisions for abortion, suggested it as a solution.
“We, as a church, really came together to pray for forgiveness,” said Ps Norman.
“We need to be a safe space where such topics can be talked about. If not, someone caught in an unplanned pregnancy will go for an abortion instead of allowing the church to journey with them and the child.
“There is no good reason to take a life. We can bear the consequences together as a community.”
How can we support those with unplanned pregnancies?
“We, as a community and a church, must come alongside,” said Ps Debbie. “We are not a pro-birth movement. We must be the people who are pro-life, standing with the family, mum, child and the father of the child for life.”
“What you say could save a life.”
That is why Heartbeat Project provides support to women during and after the pregnancy, with shelter and crisis counselling, family and counselling services, fostering and adoption services as well as help for families of children with special needs.
For the De Winnes, the love and support of those around them – family, friends and the church – made it possible for them to get married and have their baby when Sarah found herself pregnant at 18 and about to sit for her ‘A’ level examinations. Mark had just started serving National Service.
Said Sarah: “There was a friend next to me when I saw the pregnancy test. She said, ‘Of course, you will keep the baby. I know you will be a great mum.’
“The first voice I heard was a voice that did not judge me and condemn me. My Christian friend spoke the voice of God into my life.”
Her friend’s affirmation helped Sarah to choose life.
“Most women who get pregnant feel strong maternal instincts. If it were so easy to get an abortion, they wouldn’t come to you. You can affirm their identity as a mother and bring this child into this world,” said Sarah.
“As difficult as the decision is, Ines is proof that I made the right decision.”
Ps Debbie agreed: “What you say could save a life.”
Instead of saying that you would support the person whatever decision she makes which leaves her feeling alone in her choice, an encouragement that they would make a great mum would be more helpful.
Mark had a word of comfort for those who find themselves pregnant outside of marriage: “God loves you. Despite what happens, God’s love for you still stands. You need to know there are options available for you.
“It doesn’t mean that both of you must get married and parent this child. That is an option. Giving the child up for adoption is an option.
“As tough, as difficult as the decision is, Ines is proof that I made the right decision.”
Are all sexual urges sinful?
Desires and temptations are, in and of themselves, not sin. It is how we respond to them that determines whether something is sin or not, said Ps Norman.
Don’t constantly dwell on those desires but take captive every thought. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
This report is Part 2 of the Salt&Light Family Night episode on How do I talk to my kids about sex and abortion? You can read Part 1 here.
A full recording of this episode will be posted on the Salt&Light YouTube channel at the end of the week. You can watch past episodes of Salt&Light Family Night on our YouTube channel here.
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