Discussion on another blog has pushed me to lay down my views on abortion. I think they need to be broken into three categories: theological, ecclesiastical, and civil.
I think a strong biblical case can be made that as Christians we are to consider the fetus to be a complete human being with a soul and an eternal destination. The humanity of the fetus is expressed most explicitly by the reaction of the en-wombed John the Baptist in the presence of the even less developed Christ.
The aborted child, however, is not the theological focus. Arguments that the child might have grown up to cure cancer are essentially arguments that the will of God can be thwarted by the abortionist. May it never be. The theological argument is, as it always is, about glory to God. How is the glory of God revealed and sought among those who live, work, counsel or for whatever reason fall into the abortion sphere? The focus, theologically speaking, is on those who involve themselves, one way or another, in the abortion.
Another theological point is that there is nothing in the bible about "age of accountability" as it pertains to salvation. And if it were so, then abortion would have to be viewed at some level as mercy killing. The bible describes an age of accountability in Jewish criminal law, but not in terms of avoiding God's judgment. We are born in rebellion and conceived in sin. We can have hope, as King David expressed, that we will see dead infants in glory as a result of God's mercy--but in fact the bible is silent on the matter.
It is a mistake if fighting abortion approaches anything like a raison d'être for a church. The church is not in the business of fighting abortion. It is in the business of making disciples and tending to the saints. Infanticide was present in the Roman world--primarily in the form of abandonment: taking unwanted newborns (usually girls) to the wilderness and leaving them to die. This would have been known to Paul, yet we find no instruction to any church that they should adopt fighting this atrocity as a primary mission.
Individual Christians should and did rescue abandoned children when they could. But that is quite different from making abortion a "cause".
Adultery is a sin. Adultery is not against the law. At some level we have to acknowledge that it is not our responsibility to make sin illegal for unbelievers. It is our responsibility to hold each other (in the family of believers) accountable for our behavior.
That doesn't mean that we should not vote for candidates who share our views. It does mean that in doing so we are participating in the secular government, and have to respect and obey the laws that are passed.
If a non-believer wants to have an abortion then we can offer, without subterfuge or misrepresentation, counseling and the gospel. We should offer the same services post-abortion. In fact, we should double-down on the love we show post-abortion. I am happy that the organization our church supports is well known for maintaining the relationship it has begun even when the woman decides to have an abortion.
For believers--we need sensitivity as well. We can all agree that abortion of a healthy baby in the birth canal, when there is no risk to the mother, is murder. That establishes the principle. How far back into the pregnancy you can extrapolate and what is the effect of extraordinary circumstances (rape, incest, severe deformity, etc) is problematic. What would I say to a sister in Christ who had an abortion? I would say: "I love you, and what's done is done. Let's move on." What would I say to a sister in Christ who was raped and contemplating a first trimester abortion? I would say: "I cannot pretend walk in your shoes." I would tell her to pray. I would tell her that if there is a clear right or wrong answer here I don't claim to know it. I would tell her that her salvation is not dependent on her making the correct choice here. I might hope she chooses to keep the child but I would not berate her into that decision.
I would support a law that made abortion (with no mitigating circumstances) illegal after some point in the pregnancy in the same manner that I support making murder illegal. How far I would push that I don't know. At some point I would rather be inclined to leave it between the woman and God.