RU-486: Murder by Mouth

By Wayne Jackson

While feminists rejoiced and the news media exploited the story, many sensitive souls again hung their heads in sorrow on account of the ongoing slaughter of innocent babies in this country.

“Abortion Pill Ok’d,” the headlines shouted, and Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood (what a misnomer!) called it “an historic moment.” The Food and Drug Administration had just handed down a ruling that would allow pregnant women to utilize, for the first time, a personal method of performing an abortion, the legalization of the infamous RU-486—the “murder-by-mouth” pill.

Via this new method, the destruction of a conceived child is accomplished in stages. The pregnant mother goes to a doctor’s office where she takes a mifepristone pill during the first seven weeks of pregnancy. The drug blocks the progesterone receptors in the lining of the uterus. The lining subsequently thins, weakens, and the child detaches from the uterus lining.

Two days later, the woman returns to her co-conspirator’s office where a second pill (misoprostol) is provided; it generates the contractions needed to expel the tiny baby from its mother’s body.

Finally, within about two weeks, the mother returns to the doctor to confirm that the abortion has been completed. If for some reason the infant was not aborted, by previous agreement, the woman must submit to a surgical termination.

There are many who have no ethical objection to this procedure. Even some, who ostensibly classify themselves as “pro-life,” have little moral difficulty with this procedure because it aborts the fetus at such an early stage of development. The initial pill is taken in that period of forty-nine days following the woman’s last menstrual period. Thus, the embryo is alleged to be as yet non-human.

If God is the author of human life (and he is [Acts 17:25; 1 Timothy 6:13]), then surely he is the one who has the right to declare when human personhood begins. And there is ample evidence in the Scriptures to support the proposition that human personhood commences at conception.

(1) In a Messianic psalm that has varied applications in the New Testament, Jehovah said to his anointed, Jesus, “You are my son; this day I have begotten you.” Aside from the theological ramifications of this declaration that are found in the New Testament, the language itself contains a fundamental truth: namely, that the Father-Son relationship begins on the day of begettal.

This is a powerful argument for the establishment of human personhood at the point of conception.

(2) David, speaking by the Spirit of God (cf. see Acts 1:16; 4:25), characterized himself as a person (note the multiple personal pronouns, “I,” “me,” “my,” “mine”) as he was developing in his mother’s body—even when his “substance” was as yet “unformed” (Psalm 139:13-16).

The Hebrew term for “substance” (v. 16) is golem, which “denotes the undeveloped embryo” (Kirkpatrick 1906, 789).

Derek Kidner of Cambridge said that this language reminds us “of the value that [God] sets on us, even as embryos” (1975, 466).

(3) The angel Gabriel informed the virgin Mary that Elizabeth, her kinsman, had “conceived a son” (Luke 1:36). Note that the thing conceived was called a son; a family relationship existed from the point of the conception.

Throughout the Old Testament, especially in the book of Genesis, the conception and birth are considered a part of the same process (cf. Genesis 4:1, 17; 16:4; 21:2, etc.). One scholar has noted: “The beginning of new life in the mother’s womb was considered so important that it was mentioned as a part of the birth announcement” (Bromiley 1977, 756).

(4) James affirmed that “the body apart from the spirit is dead” (James 2:26). The opposite of that statement is this: “The body joined to the spirit is living.”

From these statements, one may logically conclude that the tiny, living being, which has been so from the moment of conception, has possessed a spirit from that time, and is, therefore, a human being.

No ethical defense can be made for the use of RU-486. The destruction of innocent human life is evil—whether by knife, syringe, or pill.

Sources/Footnotes
  • Bromiley, G. W., ed. 1977. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
  • Kidner, Derek. 1975. Psalms 73-150. Leichester, England: InterVarsity Press.
  • Kirkpatrick, A. F. 1906. The Book of Psalms. Cambridge, England: University Press.
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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.