Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Disabled babies - is abortion a solution?

The Question:

I am interested to know your view on termination because the foetus has been found to have severe health problems and if carried to term would then be severely disabled (either mentally or physically)?

Thanks for asking me about this! I have researched this topic a lot, and even ran a seminar on it in 2005. I am happy to be able to share what I have learnt. I am also interested in reading about others’ experiences.

What does God say about disability?

As a Christian who desires to see everything in the light of God’s revelation to us in the Bible, I want to place God’s word at the forefront of this discussion. The Bible is not silent on the issue of disability.

“Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” Exodus 4:11

“But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?” Romans 9:20 – 21

These are hard verses. God has answered human questions about the reality of disability in our world, but he has not chosen to answer in a way that satisfies every question. In fact, he has almost dismissed the “right” to ask questions. He is the creator.

When people advocate the abortion of babies with disabilities, they are doing so because they do not understand that God created each of these lives with a purpose. Each life, if allowed to continue, has the capacity to bring glory to God in some way.

The limitations of pre-natal testing

There are also practical matters that are worth considering in any discussion of the abortion of disabled babies. Pre-natal tests, while they can indicate that a chromosomal or anatomical abnormality is present, often cannot determine the extent to which this disability will impinge upon the life of the child. This is noted in the pro-abortion book Prenatal Testing: Making Decisions in Pregnancy. For example, Down syndrome can be mild or severe. This level of disability cannot be diagnosed prenatally. Some other chromosomal conditions do not necessarily cause any impairment. One of the authors of the book had such a chromosomal abnormality. This lack of certainty means that parents are faced with making life and death decisions on the basis of incomplete information and “worst case scenarios”.

I am planning a follow up post, which will tackle the topis of:

Should an unborn child be treated differently to a newborn or an adult?

What is loving?

Is the abortion of disabled babies a big issue?

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!


  1. Hi Sherrin

    I have been reading your blog, and particularly your posts on abortion, with interest. I see you are intending to address further questions on this issue. I would be interested to know what you would say about abortion when a woman is pregnant due to being raped.

    Many thanks.

  2. Hello! Thanks for your questions! This is one of the questions my husband asked me when we first met and he discovered my passion for loving unborn children and their parents. I can't say when I will have time to respond . . . but I can say that I plan to!

    P.S. I'd love it if you could leave a name at the end of your comment - I always prefer to know the names of the people I'm chatting to!

  3. We are currently having this same debate in the Uk, is it fair to abort disabled foetuses. Well, for most people it depends on the definition of diability.

    Either way it seems the pro-choice lobby will win. Here's an interesting article about it.


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  5. If aborting a disabled baby is slapping the Christian god in the face, I'm all for it. The Christian god, if he/it exists, is a disgusting cruel monster and deserves a good b!tch-slapping IMHO.