Christianity -- Christian Living/miscarrages
How do we respond to critics who say that miscarriages are God's abortions?
Hi Al, you raise a very good question. It's largely a vocabulary issue, but there's also an issue of intent.
In terms of the original Latin, etymology.com describes abortion this way:
abortive (adj.) Late 14c., "born prematurely or dead," from Latin abortivus "pertaining to miscarriage; causing abortion," from abort-, past participle stem of aboriri "disappear, miscarry," from ab- "amiss" (see ab-) + oriri "appear, be born, arise" (see orchestra); the compound word used in Latin for deaths, miscarriages, sunsets, etc. The Latin verb for "to produce an abortion" was abigo, literally "to drive away." Not originally used to imply forced or deliberate miscarriage; from 14c.-18c. stillborn children or domestic animals were said to be abortive.
Technically speaking, in historical terms, miscarriages were abortive. But language then doesn't mean what language today does. Just consider the words "gay" and "straight" and it's clear that what language once meant, doesn't necessarily dictate what it means today.
History changed and along with it, language changed. Babies at one point in time (particularly male babies) were greatly desired and a sign of fertility and blessing. Primarily since Roe v Wade, we have witnessed the "choice" to terminate a pregnancy that would otherwise have proceeded to birth of a living baby. Particularly for male babies, this would have been unheard of in ancient cultures even apart from marriage. Unwed motherhood was shameful and an abortion wouldn't have removed the stigma of promiscuity. It would have compounded it.
Today, the issue of intent (choice) is what separates stillbirth and miscarriage from abortion. The primary distinction between miscarriage and stillbirth is the gestational age of the baby involved. Both involve a child who was desired and would have headed toward birth and life had not our broken human reproductive nature interfered.
Abortion is the deliberate, conscious decision of the mother to get rid of a child for whom she has no regard. The fetus has no utility and is deprived of its personhood and ultimately of its life.
So to answer your specific question, God created Adam and Eve to reproduce and spread the blessing of fertility over the earth. Babies are, therefore, a gift of God, have been made in God's Image, and God's desire is that all babies live. God's CHOICE if you will, is always life.
Adam and Eve chose to rebel in the Garden of Eden. The consequence of that choice was death. God gave life. Mankind's choice resulted in death. Abortion is death...and is therefore, squarely in the camp of the Fall of Man. Death, whether by abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth would be part of the broken world in which we live. God doesn't CHOOSE to abort babies. But people do...and that's the present definition of abortion. It's a woman's "right" to choose to terminate a pregnancy, a life, and the end result is what we call abortion.
I don't know of any human being who chooses to miscarry or give birth to a stillborn child. Yes, death happens to all of us. But--to our great shame as a culture-- plenty of women choose abortion...the willing intentional and selfish decision of a mother to kill her own child.
It's not stated in a way that makes "pro-choice" people comfortable, but it's historically, biblically, medically, and culturally true.
If I can answer things more clearly, please let me know. I'll be glad to give another try. Be blessed today. In His grace, Barbara <><