Hi, my name is Crystal. For those new to IBC, I was actually baptized right here at IBC about two years ago. I didn’t grow up a Christian and God in his infinite grace and mercy, opened my eyes and gave me a new life. But that is another story for another time…

Right now, my vocation is being a medical student at UIC College of Medicine. I am past my pre-clinical years so I actually spend a lot of time in the hospital and a lot less time studying. I am graduating medical school in a year and I have decided that I want to pursue a career in obstetrics/gynecology. One issue that I have been struggling with this year and probably in the years to come is abortion.

Here are some basic stats: every year in the U.S, there are 1.3 million abortions, most performed before 12 weeks of life. 10 years after their abortion, at least 70% of women regret their choice. But abortions performed today are relatively safe and only about 1 in 100 women suffer complications. Since Roe v Wade legalized abortion in 1973, more women have sought abortions while significantly less have died from them.

Abortion is an issue that has polarized politics and even the medical profession. Since the time of Hippocrates, there have been codified values that every medical practitioner should follow. They are as follows: 1) autonomy, the patient has the right to refuse or choose their treatment; 2) beneficence, the practitioner should act in the best interest of the patient; 3) non-malfeasance, first do no harm; 4) justice, scarce resources should be distributed equitably; 5) dignity; 6) truthfulness and honesty. Is abortion ethical based on those guidelines? Like several other hot button topics in medicine, there is no clear answer because abortion can be understood to violate some principles while respecting others.

The Bible does not explicitly address the issue of abortion. But Genesis 1:27 clearly states: “So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him, male and female he created them”. God has a plan for all life, even from the moment of conception. In reference to John, Luke 1:14 writes: “For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb”. An early Christian treatise, The Didache 2.2 (c. A.D. 85-110) commands, “thou shalt not murder a child by abortion nor kill them when born.” Another non-canonical early Christian text, the Letter of Barnabas 19.5 (c. A.D. 130), said: “You shall not abort a child nor, again, commit infanticide”. It is clear that LIFE is part of God’s awesome plan and the taking of life is SIN, a deviation from God’s perfect plan.

But many of the women who seek abortions deserve our compassion, not our judgment. They are young, destitute and/or victims of abandonment and rape. They have no support system to raise children and many of them make the painful decision to have an abortion. In meeting some of these women, I have repeatedly asked myself: “What right do I have to illegitimize their choices? I will not be the one to raise their unwanted child and I am only forcing these women to resort to back-alley procedures if abortions were banned.”

In struggling with this issue, God has forced me to acknowledge my rebellious heart towards Him. I am distracted by what the medical community defines as ethical but I must be bound by God’s laws. As 1 Cor. 3:19 clearly states: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” Even though I may swear an oath to my profession, my identity comes from my relationship with Christ. A passage that I have been meditating over is Dt. 30:10: “If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, [and] if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul…” It is not a burden to follow God’s commandments but instead a glad acknowledgment that He is a merciful God with a plan to redeem his people. In this specific situation, I must have faith that abortion is not the best way to love these women. By performing an act that is so in violation to God’s plan, we hurt them more than we can hope to help them.

This winter, I will be doing a “trial residency” at UCSF. UCSF has a great OB/GYN program but it is best known for their family planning curriculum (which includes contraceptive counseling, sterilizations, and 1st trimester abortions). Please pray that I will love and serve my patients and follow God in everything that I do.