WHEN Jehovah God bestowed the privilege of childbearing on the human family, what a gift it was! A beautiful baby would arrive to be received by the waiting arms of a happy couple who loved each other and were ready to cherish and care for this little product of their marital union. Only joy would await the family as the child’s life unfolded.
But the sin of Adam and Eve brought tragic consequences to the babies born into the human race. As a result of sin, our first mother was cursed with distress and physical pain as she brought forth children. And the sinful environment into which their offspring came made childrearing a formidable challenge. Hence, in today’s complex world, it is not surprising that the conception of a child is often met with anything but joy. Yet, what is the Creator’s view of the unborn? Has it shifted with the changing tides of morality? Surely not. His view of and concern for the unborn children of the world remains constant.
The Scriptures make it clear that within the mother a unique individual human is developing. Life begins at conception. Birth into the world only reveals to man the child that God has already seen. Ezekiel speaks of “every child opening the womb.” (Ezekiel 20:26) Job describes “the doors of my mother’s belly,” and calls miscarriages “children that have seen no light.”—Job 3:10, 16.
Note Jehovah God’s tender regard for the delicate life as it grows in the womb. He said to Jeremiah: “Before I was forming you in the belly I knew you, and before you proceeded to come forth from the womb I sanctified you.” (Jeremiah 1:5) David said: “My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret, when I was woven in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw even the embryo of me.” (Psalm 139:15, 16) Job calls God “the One making me in the belly,” who proceeded to “prepare us in the womb.”—Job 31:15.
But what of God’s concern for the despairing expectant mother who does not want the child? Of all persons, the Creator realizes the heavy responsibilities of parenthood. If an expectant mother, though in difficult circumstances, chose to keep her baby out of respect for godly requirements, would he not bless her decision? A parent could and should rightly pray for his help in rearing a happy child. In the pages of his Word, God has already given the finest advice available on raising children. Applying Bible principles in family life will yield blessed results. The joys and rewards of raising godly children outweigh any sacrifices made along the way, as any proud parent can testify.
Does Jehovah view matters any differently if the baby was the product of rape or incestuous relations? Though the act against the mother was criminal, the baby is not to blame. Terminating its life would only counter one act of violence with another. Certainly Jehovah realizes the emotional trauma such victims experience and can help mother and child to cope with the aftermath in a balanced way.
What if a doctor informs a pregnant woman that carrying her child full term may put her life in danger? Dr. Alan Guttmacher stated: “Today it is possible for almost any patient to be brought through pregnancy alive, unless she suffers from a fatal illness such as cancer or leukemia, and if so, abortion would be unlikely to prolong, much less save life.” The Encyclopedia Americana states: “Since most women can be brought safely through pregnancy even with serious medical problems, few abortions need to be performed to protect the mother’s health. Most abortions are sought to avoid having a child.” So such situations are quite rare. However, if it does occur at the time of delivery, then the parents must make a choice between the life of the mother and that of the child. It is their decision.
Is it any wonder that the Creator of life has placed clear guidelines on the use of our procreative powers? In his eyes, making a life that one does not intend to care for is sin, just as taking a life is sin.
To be sure, the debate will continue till this system’s end. But as for the Creator of life, Jehovah God, as well as those who cherish his laws, there is no question at all. Life is precious—a gift to be nurtured and cherished from its very beginning.