Questions From Readers
● In view of the perilous last days in which we live, would it be proper for married couples to use contraceptives? Also, if conception occurs, would abortion be permissible?—Based on similar questions that have come to us from different readers.
We are not authorized either by the law of the land or by God’s Word to advise on contraceptives. The responsibility for their use must rest with those who decide that they can conscientiously use them, and their just judgment must rest with the God whom they serve, and not with us. Whether married couples in the truth want to have children or not is for them to decide, not us. Each couple must consider its own circumstances and its own purposes in view, and decide the matter and adopt a course and then take the responsibility before God for such course and its consequences. But we do unequivocally maintain that the purpose of marriage before God is the production of children, and hence if any married couples want children now, before Armageddon, that is perfectly proper and no one should criticize them for so doing, thereby meddling in their business. Neither should any be criticized for not having children, nor should we meddle in as to their reason why not. Private marital affairs are not the business of outsiders.
Children are not to be viewed as a hindrance to serving God and hence to be unwanted. Otherwise Paul would not have written, “She will be kept safe through childbearing.” Nor would he have advised women under certain circumstances “to bear children”. (1 Tim. 2:15; 5:14, NW) Under similar conditions his counsel applies today. If children come in the natural way according to which God instituted human marriage, then they are to be welcomed, even now, before the divine mandate is reissued to Armageddon survivors. You are grateful for having been brought into life, even within this present evil world, and so your children can be grateful for the same reason.
For us to advise abortions would be a violation of the law of the land. Moreover, we take the position that abortions themselves are contrary to the Word of God. Individuals must shoulder the full weight of responsibility for such a course. We are obliged to say that according to God’s covenant with the Israelites the fruitfulness of the womb was a mark of his blessing, whereas unfruitfulness was a curse. (Lev. 26:9; Deut. 28:4, 11, 18, 63; Ps. 127:3-5) And we must note that God has great regard for the life of the unborn child and of the expectant mother. The heavy responsibility upon those endangering even accidentally the life of the unborn child or the life of the pregnant woman is shown in the Mosaic Law, at Exodus 21:22-25 (AS): “If men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow; he shall be surely fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
The husband and prospective father was chiefly affected, and so the woman’s husband required a fine for temporary hurt; but where the child’s life or the woman’s life was lost, then the one responsible must pay with his life. Now if such accidental interference with the natural course of events with regard to a pregnant woman was a matter of such serious consequence, would you not view deliberate interference worthy of even greater condemnation? And while we are not under the Mosaic Law now, there is no reason to think that God’s mind has changed relative to the sanctity of the lives involved in such cases. In such matters Christian principles usually demand more rather than less.—Matt. 5:38-42.
So the Watchtower Society cannot involve itself by giving advice where harm or loss of life is concerned, either to the unborn child or to the prospective mother. Abortions are accompanied by danger from hemorrhages and infection and can lead to the permanent injury or the death of the woman. It cuts short the growth of an embryo that would otherwise grow till normal birth as a human baby, according to God’s creative arrangement of things. We view as of no force and immaterial the arguments that the age of the embryo or fetus is a factor determining the rightness or wrongness of abortion, since God did not set any such qualifications or limitations upon his law expressed at Exodus 21:22-25. While under ancient law of man the offense of abortion was committed in the event there was a quickening in the mother’s womb, the modern law by statute is closer to the Scriptural rule. It “is usually made a felony whether committed before or after quickening”.—Summary of American Law, Clark, page 122.
All of this is something very serious for each married couple to think over, and then order their course of action so as to please the Most High God. The problem is theirs, the decision theirs, and the consequences to be borne are theirs. The decision and responsibility involved in all this cannot be passed on to other individuals, or to the Watchtower Society. In these matters “each one will bear his own load of responsibility”.—Gal. 6:5, NW.