Are Pragmatic Exceptions in Abortion Policy Morally Inconsistent?

If pro-lifers honestly believe a child in the womb is a human being, they must reject abortion exceptions and reject the politicians and church officials who tout them

At root there is only one objection to abortion; a moral objection to killing children. This argument is based on the premise that an unborn child in the womb is a human being with an inherent – Christians believe, God-given – right to life. If either component of the premise is fallacious (i.e. If a fetus is not human or humans are not entitled to life), the foundation for the pro-life position is baseless.


For the conscientious pro-life voter the 2016 presidential election presents a unique set of questions with important moral implications.

Many religious conservatives have likely ruled out voting for Hillary Clinton; the former Sectary of State is an unapologetic advocate for unrestricted abortion.

The Republican candidate, Donald Trump, (a late and dubious convert to the pro-life side) has laid claim to the pro-life mantle but his stated policy makes exceptions that actually allow for abortion under certain circumstances.

With both major party candidates supporting (at-least) some abortions (in at-least some cases) religious voters will need wisdom and discernment in deciding how to vote. Fortunately, history (as recorded in God’s word) provides us with guidance.

Some 3,000 years ago, the wisest man the world has ever know presided over the most famous child custody battle the world has ever seen.

In mock settlement of the sordid case, King Solomon of Israel offered up a pragmatic compromise disguised as a reasonable solution. His shockingly macabre ruling, issued all those centuries ago, has prescient relevance to Christians even to this day.

“Divide the living child in two,” Solomon commanded. “Give half to the one and half to the other.”

The account of the two harlots, each claiming maternity of a single surviving infant, can be read in context in 1 Kings 3:25.

The child’s actual mother cried out in anguished protest, willing to surrender her offspring to the usurper rather than have her baby rent it two. The other woman was perversely content to see her rival suffer as she had and to be done with the matter. In her duplicate depravity, she enthusiastically submitted to the King’s shrewd, albeit homicidal declaration.

Solomon’s aim was accomplished; he successfully manipulated the parties into revealing their true colors. The baby was spared and the family – such as it was – restored.

God blessed Solomon with great wisdom and the King was wise enough to see wickedness in one who would banally concede the life of an innocent child in the spirit of compromise.

Had the disputed property been a goat, or a bolt of fabric, dividing it and parceling it out might have been a justifiable settlement of an irreconcilable argument, but Solomon was dealing with a human being. To hack a baby to pieces and distribute the carnage evenly might, in some bizarre sense, be equitable, but is not consistent with the Judaeao-Christian worldview, which values human life as special, created by God.

Three millennia later the lives of millions of unborn children are at stake as our divided nation continues to grapple with the contentious, life-and-death question of abortion.

Conventional wisdom values compromise as a near-universal good, and promotes pragmatism for the sake of progress as the goal of practical politics. But should we compromise even on the right to life?

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