My husband is a pastor. Pastors are called upon to do many things. Probably the most unusual request my husband has ever received in his pastoral role is to officiate at a funeral service. Pastors participate in funeral services all the time, so what's so unusual about that?
The uniqueness is in the circumstances surrounding that funeral service. The focus of the service was a group of women - all of whom had had an abortion. One woman in particular asked John to help her put closure on a terrible choice she made many years before - the choice to abort her baby.
She made her choice scared and alone. She made her choice outside a framework of Biblical parameters. She made her choice for expediency.
Today - January 22 - is the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion. In those 35 years millions and millions of unborn children have been murdered by abortion.
The crucial question is "When does life begin?" If life begins at birth, then abortion isn't really such a big deal.
In China, once a baby takes its first breath, then it is safe from euthanasia by law. Prior to breathing, however, the baby can be euthanized legally in China. In China the definition of life is taking the first breath.
However, if life begins the moment the egg and sperm connect. From that instant on, the life process proceeds until birth takes place. OR if life begins at some intermediate point between conception and viable birth, then it is from that time on that life exists prior to birth.
These are all technical ethical, moral and scientific considerations for which we have no definitive answer.
There is one additional ethical and moral choice which is: is abortion indicated either to save the mother's life or due to significant birth defects? There are no quick or easy answers to most of these questions.
One thing we do know, however, is that there is significant emotional trauma (particularly for the mother) connected with a decision to abort a baby. These mothers, like our friend who asked for a funeral for her aborted baby, suffer life-long grief and pain from a poor choice made years before.
Organizations like WEBA (Women Exploited By Abortion) are specifically designed to minister to these women in their pain. In our country alone over 4000 women a day choose death for their unborn child by abortion.
In Deuteronomy 30:19, God tells us to "Choose life so that you and your children will live..."
Everyday in America thousands of women and teenagers seek medically-induced abortions. Often the women and teenagers who seek to have an abortion have been deceived to believe that their pregnancy is little more than a mass of tissue, a non-living blood clot. Most of them would recoil in horror if they realized that an abortion always stops the beating heart of a baby.
While "pro-choice" feminists push abortion as a "woman's right," the truth is that women are being exploited by abortion. Our friend knew the pain and loss of that exploitation and wanted "closure" through appropriate repentance, forgiveness and giving her abortion choice over to the God Who forgives all sin confessed to Him.
My husband agreed (after serious study and prayer) to hold the funeral service. It was an occasion of great joy in the end. A number of women attended who had also chosen abortion. They too heard of God's love, grace and forgiveness. It was "abortion evangelism" and God used all that pain to advance His kingdom. God healed hurting hearts in that cemetery that day as only He can! It was beautiful to see.