Personally, when Grace and I were first married, she had one semester of college left and I had one year remaining until our degrees were completed. At that time, Grace used the pill to prevent pregnancy until after graduation. She was actively involved in a local prolife group, and we were completely unaware of the potential abortive nature of the pill. Once we uncovered more information on the matter, we prayerfully came to the conclusion together that, in order to err on the side of caution based upon our deep convictions about the sanctity of human life, she would not take the pill. As a pastor who is, admittedly, not medically trained, I do not encourage members of our church to use the pill but also would not discipline a member for sin if they did.

Level 5: Abortive Murder

Abortion is taking a human life by killing a fertilized egg. Biblically, it is also known as the sin of murder. Abortions include medical procedures of various kinds as well as RU-486 and the morning-after pill. Other items that cause abortion are the intrauterine device (IUD) and Norplant, which do not prevent conception but prevent implantation of an already fertilized ovum. The result is an abortion, the killing of a conceived person.74

Thomas W. Hilgers of the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, studied over four hundred articles on the subject and concluded, “The primary action of the IUD must be classed as abortifacient.”75 Tragically, some 2.5 to 3 million American women use IUDs.76

Focus on the Family also addresses these birth control methods:

Birth control pills which contain only the hormone progesterone do not reliably prevent ovulation (the release of the egg from the ovary). This is also true of Norplant, a device implanted under the skin which slowly releases progesterone. With these methods, the pregnancies which do occur have a greater chance of being ectopic—that is, outside of the uterus. This may be evidence that these contraceptives act in some cases to disrupt normal implantation of an early pregnancy and not merely to prevent conception. Thus, the use of Norplant and the progesterone-only pill is problematic for those who believe life begins at conception.77

It may seem odd that I, as a pastor writing primarily for Christian readers, include this level as a form of birth control. Yet, tragically, many people, including Christians, use abortion as a form of birth control. Undoubtedly, there are very rare cases in which even the most devoutly Bible-believing, pro-life Christians are caught on the horns of an ethical dilemma involving abortion (e.g., when the mother’s life is at stake), but for the purposes of this chapter I am speaking of abortion in its majority sense as a murderous form of birth control. Regarding abortion, a divisionof Focus on the Family says:

The Alan Guttmacher Institute is a nonprofit corporation for reproductive health research and policy analysis. The Institute is also a public education arm of Planned Parenthood. It reports that one in six women who have had abortions are evangelical Christians. Based on these statistics, 5.6 million women in our churches have chosen abortion as a way out of an unwanted pregnancy. Each year, 1.5 million American women have an abortion. This means 250,000 evangelical Christian women could choose to abort a child this year.

Women ages 20 to 24 obtain 32 percent of all abortions. Teenagers obtain 20 percent. Forty percent of women ages 15 to 44 have had at least one previous abortion. Fifty percent of women who have abortions use it as their sole means of birth control. Fifty-eight percent of abortion patients say they used birth control during the month of conception.78

Christians have always followed the teaching of the Old Testament Jews, that abortion of a preborn child and exposure of a born child are both murderous sins. In the Didache, which was an ancient manual for church instruction, we read, “You shall not commit murder . . . You shall not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide.”79 The Epistle of Barnabas also says, “Thou shalt not procure abortion, thou shalt not commit infanticide.”80