“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” Jeremiah 1:5
“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14
Today, January 19, is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday falls on the third Sunday in January. This year marks the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in 1973. Since then it’s estimated that more than 60 million babies have been aborted in the United States, which is more than the individual population of 170 different countries around the world!
Established by presidential proclamation in 1983, Sanctity of Human Life Sunday recognizes the intrinsic value of all human life and calls us to be mindful of the countless lives that are destroyed by abortion and the lingering consequences for those who choose to terminate a pregnancy.
For far too long the conversation has been obfuscated by political bickering. But Biblically, God’s people have always been called to protect the weakest of the weak in society. Throughout the pages of Scripture, God identifies Himself as the defender of the defenseless and enjoins His people to especially look after widows, orphan and aliens. The Biblical ethic of life is continuously expressed in standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves and giving voice to those who are silenced. Proverbs 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
It says something about a society which goes to great lengths to protect its endangered species and creates layers of bureaucracy in the interest of promoting biodiversity, yet abandons the most vulnerable among us as they grow inside the womb. As God’s people we must prayerfully seek for hearts to be changed. We must personally embody an ethic of life that honors all of God’s good creation. We must look for ways to support women and children in crisis pregnancies, encouraging life-affirming alternatives such as adoption.
And we must hold out the hope of forgiveness and a cleansed conscience through the sanctifying work of Jesus Christ on the cross for those who have had abortions. God’s grace is always greater than our sin, and the Lord Jesus came to redeem us all from the power of sin and restore the image of the life-giving God within us.
In an article titled “Why I Hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday,” author Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes, “One Sanctity of Human Life Sunday morning as I opened the Bible to preach, I looked out and caught the eye of my sons. I prayed that their children wouldn’t have to hear a sermon against abortion and euthanasia. I prayed that my grandchildren and great-grandchildren would grow up in an age when abortion is … not just illegal but unthinkable. I prayed for my (yet to be conceived but not yet to be conceived of) great-grandchildren that a Sanctity of Human Life Sunday would seem as unnecessary to them as a “Reality of Gravity” Emphasis Sunday. We’ll always need Christmas. We’ll always need Easter. But I hope, please Lord, someday soon, that Sanctity of Human Life Day is unnecessary.”
We look forward to the day when this is true!