On the November 8, 2022 Kentucky election ballot, there is a proposed amendment to the Kentucky Constitution. The amendment reads, “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” This amendment is on the back of the ballot and is non-partisan (a straight-party vote will not select either option on this amendment).
Voting Yes on this amendment will affirm Kentucky’s prolife laws that are already in place and will prevent state judges from overriding Kentucky voters and their elected legislators regarding abortion. In short, this amendment will protect unborn babies from being murdered, it will prevent Kentucky taxes from funding abortions, and it will keep Kentucky judges from legislating from the bench.
But does God speak to issues of abortion? If He does, His Word is binding since He is both our Creator and our Judge. What would God have Kentucky voters do in regard to Amendment #2? Let’s look at seven passage to see what God has said that pertains to this issue.
Genesis 1:26-28, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
In this passage, we learn that God made mankind in His image. We see in this passage a value distinction made between mankind and all other creatures. Because humans are made in God’s image, we bear a special, higher value than all other forms of created life. With higher value means heavier accountability and greater respect. God’s plan for His image-bearers is that they would reproduce and fill the earth, displaying His glory in a representative way throughout His creation. If God deems someone a human, by virtue that he or she bears His image, we must show dignity and honor to that one. But to what extent should we show dignity and honor to an image-bearer?
Genesis 9:5-7, “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man. “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
In Genesis 9, God had destroyed the world with a flood because of the great rebellion of mankind against Him. Noah and his family alone were preserved by an ark which God directed Noah to build. As Noah’s family exited the Ark, God reminded Noah of the command He had given to the first man and woman. They were to reproduce and fill the earth with image-bearers. In this Genesis 9 passage, God ties the reproduction of mankind and the value of mankind to the death penalty. If an animal kills one made in God’s image or if a person murders a bearer of God’s image, the animal or the person who murdered were not to live. This shows the high value of an image-bearer and the high accountability of any who would harm or murder an image-bearer. To harm one who bears God’s image is a weighty matter and an offense against God Himself.
Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder.”
This, the sixth of the ten commandments, lays down a prohibition against murder as a strict command of God. The ten commandments function as foundational laws from which the rest of the commands in the books of Moses flow. There are qualifications and applications given in the case laws that come after the ten commandments. We find one of those case laws that flows from this sixth commandment in the very next chapter of Exodus.
Exodus 21:22-25, “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
You may recognize this passage as it lays down what judicial philosophers refer to as lex talionis (Latin meaning law of the tooth), a principle meaning that the punishment should fit the crime. Many will recognize the phrases from this passage in Jesus’ teaching. Jesus did not abolition this law but rather was correcting a misapplication of it. This law is meant to guide human morality and jurisprudence. However, many in Jesus’ day were using this law as an excuse to exact personal revenge. With Jesus, we affirm this law’s right understanding and application.
The Exodus 21 passage guides the reader in how to apply the sixth commandment of chapter 20. It is particularly enlightening concerning the issue of the unborn. Do the unborn bear the image of God? Do the unborn deserve dignity and respect? Should there be restrictions and penalties upon those who would harm the unborn? This passage guides us to answer these questions in the affirmative.
In this case law, two men are fighting with each other but there happens to be a pregnant woman nearby. In the struggle, one man hits the pregnant woman out of negligence. The law gives two possibilities for offenses and their corresponding penalties. If there is a premature birth and no lasting damage is done to the mother or child(ren), the man who hit the pregnant woman will be fined. However, if some form of permanent damage is done to the mother and/or the child(ren), the talionis principle is applied. This passage guides the judge presiding over the case to exact whatever permanent damage is done to the mother and/or child(ren) upon the man who hit the pregnant woman. Notice that the life of the unborn child and the life of the man who harmed the unborn child are on the same level regarding worth and value. If the man bears value because he is made in God’s image and if he is punished in kind for the damage he had done to the unborn child, then the unborn child has the same amount of value and worth as the man. This guides us to understand that unborn children are image-bearers of God and therefore are worthy of protection, respect, and dignity, especially such as are procured through legal and judicial means.
Psalm 139:13-16, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
In this Psalm, David speaks of God’s intimate involvement in human conception. When a child is conceived, God acts intentionally to form inward parts and weave the child together in the mother’s womb. God sees every step of development of the child in the womb. While only recent advances in medical technology have allowed us to see these developments of the child in the womb, God has always seen them. And even now, he sees even the smallest incremental change that our technology still cannot detect. When the unborn child remained an “unformed substance” in the mother’s womb, God had ordained days and purposes for this child’s life. This passage reveals the personal and purposeful nature in which God is involved in the conception and forming of a child in the womb as well as the conveyance of personhood that such relational divine involvement bestows.
Jeremiah 1:4-5, “Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.'”
This passage, much like the last, reveals that when a child is conceived, God has an intimate knowledge of that child and specific plans for that child’s life. The kind of knowledge God possesses of the unformed one is personal and the plans God has for the unborn one are of the highest dignity–representing God (the purpose for which all God’s image-bearers were made). The knowledge and plans of the Lord reveal an intrinsic value that is only possessed by those who are made in God’s image. This passage and the Psalm 139 passage above both reveal that personhood is conveyed by God at conception.
Luke 1:39-45, “Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
In this passage, Mary and her cousin Elizabeth are both pregnant: Mary with Jesus and Elizabeth with John the Baptist. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, the unborn John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb. Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, revealed that the baby leapt with joy. The unborn child does something that human persons do–express joy. The unborn Jesus is also pictured in such a way that He must be recognized as a person. The Holy Spirit-filled Elizabeth acknowledges the unborn Jesus as her “Lord.” The word “Lord” denotes one who has authority over others, such as a master over a servant or a ruler over a people. It is a term of human interpersonal relationship. Neither an animal, nor an object, nor a “clump of cells” can be deemed “Lord.” This passage reveals that an unborn child is an image-bearer of God–a human person bearing all of the rights of a human person.
As we look at these seven passages, we realize that God has spoken in such a way that His Word applies to abortion. The Bible reveals that abortion is sin; abortion is murder. What would God have Kentucky voters do in regard to Amendment #2? He would have us vote to protect those who are made in His image who are defenseless to protect themselves. I urge you, in view of God’s Word, to vote “Yes” on Amendment #2.