Baptists > Issues > Legalized Abortion
Roe vs. Wade resulted in legalized abortion.

    Although, most Baptists fall on the pro-life side of this issue, there are those amongst their ranks who agree with the current law.

  Approximately 1,370,000 abortions occur annually in the U.S. (Alan Guttmacher Institute).   Of these, 88% occur during the first 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Women who already have one or more children account for 60% of the abortions.  Almost half, 47%, are performed on women who have already had one or more abortions.
   Furthermore, the statistics support the argument that abortion is primarily a method of birth control.  The majority of women getting an abortion are young.  52% are younger than 25 years old and 19% are teenagers.  The abortion rate is highest for those women aged 18 to 19 (56 per 1,000).  In fact, 51% of women who are unmarried when they become pregnant will receive an abortion.  Unmarried women are 6 times more likely than married women to have an abortion.   Finally, 67% of abortions are from women who have never been married.
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   Although laws began appearing in the United States as early as the 1820s, abortion had been totally outlawed in every state by 1900.  However, illegal abortion continued to be practiced.  By 1965, the states began to get tougher regarding their abortion laws due to those being performed illegally.  However, various states allowed certain exceptions: to save the life of the mother, in cases of rape or incest, or if the fetus was deformed.
   In 1973 the Supreme Court declared most existing state abortion laws to be unconstitutional. Thus, the case of Roe v. Wade resulted in a decision that ruled out any legislative interference in the first trimester of pregnancy and put limits on what restrictions could be passed on abortions in later stages of pregnancy.  As a result, one of the greatest debates began amongst Americans and it continues to this present day.
   Not only has the country been divided by this issue based on the traditional differences between conservatives and liberals, but even those amongst the Baptists have disagreed regarding abortion.  Most fall on the pro-life side.  Refusing to be labeled as "antiabortionists," their main argument has to do with their acceptance of life beginning at conception (see Psalm 139 below).  The rest of the Baptists compose a minority who agree with the current laws along with some who take a moderate approach which takes into account the exceptions (life of the mother, rape, incest, fetal deformity).
   Other facets of this issue that pro-life Baptists point to would include the use of abortion as a means of birth control, the obvious moral implications, and the very real concern that taking such a serious step toward any devaluation of human life opens the door to take further steps in that direction (e.g. mercy killing, assisted suicide, getting rid of the elderly, genocide, etc.).  Those who take a pro-abortion stance, have not been able to successfully answer these questions.
   A very small minority of those who oppose legalized abortion have chosen to use violence to make their point.  If any of them claim to be Baptist, they would doubtless be rejected by even those who agree with the current laws.  Violence is never an option, no matter what side of this issue one is on.
   It is obvious that this issue is not going to go away very soon.  In the meantime, the topic of abortion will continue to be a hot button amongst Bible believing Baptists.
   "For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."  ~ Psalm 139:13-16
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