Ariel Castro was charged with one count of aggravated murder for allegedly punching pregnant captive Michelle Knight in the stomach repeatedly to terminate her pregnancy; meanwhile, women around the country are given the right to end their own pregnancies with no legal repercussions. On one hand, the law regards the murder of an unborn child as a right of its mother; on the other, killing a fetus is considered a crime punishable by death. But what if Knight had consented to Castro’s actions? Would the killing of her innocent child be considered an abortion, and not murder? These inconsistencies in the judicial system should be addressed.
Castro allegedly starved and beat Michelle Knight while pregnant, in an effort to kill the child that he had fathered. He is subject to murder charges under United States law because he forced the termination of Knight’s pregnancy. In this case, the prosecutor will argue that the unborn fetus was a human being.
It is estimated that there have been more than 50 million abortions performed in the United States since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. Many of these abortions are performed on mothers between the ages of 20 and 24, when many young women have hopes of getting married and high career aspirations. Around sixty-five percent of women who have received abortions consider themselves Christians - while this statistic may be shocking, it could be that many women who have had abortions in the past have since come to know the grace and love of Christ.
The Bible teaches that God is purposeful in all His creation – Psalm 139:13-14 reads, “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well” (English Standard Version, Psalm 139:13-14). While pro-choice activists might say that fetuses are not people, Scripture disagrees – the unborn are called “children” and “babies” in God’s Word (see Genesis 25:22 and Luke 1:15,41); what’s more, the Bible considers children to be a blessing from the Lord (see Psalm 127:3-5 and John 16:21).
Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church, described the worldview of many in a sermon on the sanctity of life– “I am preaching on a worldview of chance, because a lot of us are living by a philosophy called “luck,” not by a God Who controls the universe … you live life as a cosmic lottery, rather than as a response to a sovereign God Who put you here for a purpose, Who has a plan for your life. You cannot have God and chance – the two are incompatible … you are not a mistake.”
Evans highlighted God’s sovereignty in Psalm 139:1-6, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”
The pastor said that no child is illegitimate; a sovereign and purposeful God has formed them, even if their parents were not married at their conception. Houston Pastor Joel Osteen agrees; he told CNN, “Every baby should live.”
Retired Super Bowl Championship player Matt Birk recently declined an invitation to meet with President Obama because of the President’s support of Planned Parenthood, an organization that aborted more than 330,000 babies in 2011. The former center for the Baltimore Ravens cited his Catholic faith as the basis for his refusal - “I am active in the pro-life movement, and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way,” he said.
Geoff Ashley, a staff member at The Village Church, also asserts the rights of the unborn – “If someone were to ask whether or not abortion is sinful, the answer from a biblical perspective is unequivocally ‘yes.’ Not only is it murder of the vulnerable and defenseless, the very ones whom we are constantly commanded to protect, but it is also an expression of self-will and self-determination which seeks one’s own desires and comforts over those of another. This is inherently non-Christian.”
“Only you can decide what is best for you,” says Planned Parenthood’s website, promoting self-autonomy. The Bible teaches just the opposite, urging us to follow God’s good commands instead of what we think is best – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death,” says Proverbs 16:25.
Jesus is the perfect example of humble submission to the Father and of self-sacrifice - although He knew no sin, He willingly humbled Himself to the cross to pay for ours (see Luke 22:41-42, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and Hebrews 12:1-3). Those who trust in Christ for their salvation will gain eternal life, and a heart that is made new rejoices in the Lord’s commands (see John 3:16-17 and Psalm 119:14-16). There is grace and forgiveness for everyone who calls out to Him, and those who have been redeemed need not walk in shame for any of their past.
Ariel Castro, the man accused of kidnapping and rape, may face the death penalty for the alleged abuse that led to the death of an unborn child. Geoff Ashley reminds us of the evil of such a crime, “In the end, all life originates from God and it is His right alone to take life away (Job 1:21).”