Breast Cancer and Abortion
NCW 14, December 1994
Q. Is there any truth to what I have heard that breast cancer is in some way related to abortion? And if so, do you think this is a vindication of God's Word?
Yes, there is now solid evidence that is true, made more remarkable by the fact that the scientist leading this research, Janet Daling of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, USA, is herself pro-abortion.
Daling and her colleagues, after making one of the largest studies ever in this field by following 1,800 women over a 7-year period, discovered two things: Having an abortion raises a woman's risk of contracting breast cancer by 50% on average, but that this is much higher if she is under 18 and it is after the 8th week of pregnancy, and the chances of these women getting breast cancer by age 45 increases to 800%. (As a point of comparison, a heavy smoker faces a 3000% jump in the odds of developing lung cancer). Moreover, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) has not been found to increase the possibility of breast cancer. The cause of the cancer seems to be the violent interruption of breast-cell development during pregnancy.
These scientific findings perfectly vindicate God's Word. Premeditated "abortion" is the murder of the unborn. God has said: "You shall not murder" (Ex.20:13) and this commandment was ratified by Jesus Christ (Matt.5:21, Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20) and by the apostles (Rom.13:9; Jas.2:11; 1 Jn.3:12).
The Law makes it perfectly clear that abortion is murder: "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise" (Ex.21:22-25, NIV; see also AV).
This verse refers to premature birth. If the young infant survives, the guilty men are fined, but if he dies, it is life for life. This passage has been understood in this way by Puritan exegete, Matthew Poole, and by Keil and Delitzsch, whose commentaries on the Old Testament have long been regarded as standard works of reference.
Calvin, the Geneva Reformer, puts the case succinctly: "If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man's house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a foetus in the womb before it has come to light" (J.Calvin, Commentaries on the Last Four Books of Moses, Vol.3, trans. Bingham, Baker, Michigan, reprinted 1979, pp.41-2).
Most other translations interpret this passage to mean punishment in the case of miscarriage, even though the word "miscarriage" is never used (it is found in other passages in the OT). Modern translations that insert the word "miscarriage" are therefore interpreting rather than translating.
The prophets were aware that they were alive as persons in the womb (Jer.20:17). Jeremiah knew of no euphemism such as "termination of pregnancy". Throughout the scriptures God's judgment always falls on those who destroy the unborn. The prophet Elisha wept when he thought of the crimes that Hazael, the king of Syria, would commit against Israel. In Elisha's words, "their little ones you will dash in pieces, and their women with child you will rip up" (2 Ki.8:11-12). Later, the same evil was perpetuated by Menahem, one of Israel's last kings (2 Ki.15:16). When the heathen Amonites ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead, the prophet Amos declared that God's judgment lay close at hand (Amos 1:13).
And it lies close at hand in our day too when millions of unborn are murdered each year. Just because it is more clinical doesn't make it more acceptable. Those who promote abortion will suffer the same wrath as the ancient Syrians and Israelites who inflicted such atrocities against the unborn.
Can we realistically compare the two? Of course we can. If I murder someone by chopping them up with an axe, leaving a bloody mess, and if I then murder someone else by poisoning someone who feels no pain, is there any difference? Is not the end the same? The means used in the first murder may be more physically horrifying but the spiritual crime is the same in both cases.
Unfortunately, the rationale used by people to justify abortion is largely rooted in the heretical Christian doctrine which teaches that we live by love today and not by law. Liberal theologian Paul Tillich has said: "The law of love is the ultimate law because it is the negation of the law". Joseph Fletcher, interpreting (and twisting) Augustine, the great Catholic theologian, said: Love, and do what you will". This same heresy is being promoted by Christians who say that what counts in the Christian dispensation is love, not Law.
They are seriously and dangerously wrong. Both the New and Old Testaments affirm that love and law go together, giving meaning to each other. The Scriptures everywhere assume and teach that the moral law is permanent and binding. Sin is never portrayed simply as an offence against the inner glow of love, but as LAWLESSNESS (1 Jn.3:4). Where there is no law, neither is there any volition (Rom.4:14), and where there is no volition, there can be no love. There is no doubt that Adam and Eve sinned against love, but basically they sinned against God's Law (Gen.2:16-17).
The Old Testament teaches that loving God is linked with keeping His commandments (Deut.6:5-9; 10:12: 11:1; 30:16). Loving the Lord means obeying His voice (Deut.30:20). In Psalms, love and law go together (Psa.40:8). In Psalm 119, the Psalmist says 10 times that he loves God's law. Jeremiah saw that believers would have God's law written in their hearts (Jer.31:33), meaning that it would be inwritten, not unwritten. Ezekiel also taught that when God's Spirit is within us, we walk in His statutes and are careful to observe His ordinances (Ezek.36:27). The Old Testament knows nothing of the dichotomy which places the Spirit, love and freedom on one side, and the chains of the law on the other. This is a Protestant myth invented by Luther. As the Psalmist says: "I will keep Thy law continually, for ever and ever. And I will walk in liberty [freedom], for I seek Thy precepts" (Psa.119:44-5).
Naturally, since God is the author of both Testaments, we find the same teaching in the New Testament. Jesus set His face against the traditions of the Pharisees, and He drew out the full meaning of the law, but He never pitted His authority against the law of God as recorded in the Old Testament (Matt.5:17-20). Three times in John 14, Jesus makes obedience to His commandments the test of a disciple's love (John 14:15,21,23). In order to reinforce this, our Lord repeated this teaching in John 15:10. The Lord Jesus taught that the law and the prophets rest upon the love of God and man (Matt.22:40); He did not teach that love renders the law and the prophets obsolete.
Paul says the same thing. He makes it clear that the law cannot bring salvation to sinful man (Rom.3:9-20), and that, so far as salvation is concerned, a Christian is not under the law (Rom.6:14; 7:1-3; Gal.5:18). Yet Paul still claimed that he was not nullifying the law but establishing it (Rom.3:31). For Paul, as for Jesus, love fulfills the law (Rom.13:8,10); it does not abolish it (Rom.13:9). In short, Paul delighted in the law (Rom.7:22), just as New Covenant Christians do -- just as all Christians ought to.
It is very instructive to compare passages such as 1 Corinthians 7:19; Galatians 5:6 and 6:15. In each of these passages, Paul declares that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision matters. What is important is keeping God's commandments (1 Cor.7:19), faith working through love (Gal.5:6), and a new creation (Gal.6:15). It is evident that Paul considered keeping the law and faith working through love as complimentary rather than antithetical.
The apostle John likewise maintains that the love of God in a Christian will lead to his keeping the commandments (1 John 2:3-5; 3:21-23). The apostle of love writes that "this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments" (1 John 5:3). Similarly, when James refers to "the law of liberty", he does not mean liberty from obedience to the law, but liberty to be "an effectual doer" (Jas.1:25). It is clear that our Lord and the apostles did not see love as just a warm feeling of general benevolence, but saw it as including faithful obedience to all of God's commandments.
Now I stress this question of the law because it is central to not only the abortion issue but to marriage and morality in general. The fact of the matter is that the majority of Christendom has departed from the law and therefore can only claim to stand on love. As a result, the modern age has absolutised concepts like love, freedom and happiness, but in divorcing these from God's commandments, it has distorted them.
One writer, J.G.Machen, has vividly illustrated this in a story of the drunkard armed with the Golden Rule that one should do unto others as one would have others do to oneself (Matt.7:12). As Machen says, the drunkard will take this to mean that he should buy his friends another drink. Another example might be found in Shakespeare's Othello where Othello murders his wife Desdemona in a fit of unjustified jealousy. After the murder, Othello speaks of himself as "one that lov'd not wisely but too well". Love, when separated from the law, simply loses all meaning. Love and law were joined together by God; it is not for man to rend them asunder. Indeed, is this not a parable of holy marriage itself?
The apostle Paul said: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honour God with your body" (1 Cor.6:19-20, NIV). Aborting the unborn does violence to the temple of God -- it is a violent action not only destroying a small child but giving a violent shock to the body that is supposed to be enfolding, protecting and loving that unborn child. Is it little wonder that cancer follows?
The law of God proves that the unborn child is not a part of the mother's body and that she has no right to "abort" it. The unborn child is, moreover, a unique human being, genetically, physiologically, and organically, and is distinct from both its parents. Human life begins at conception -- so from conception the mother is carrying another human being. To deny this is not only to deny God's Word but also to deny the evidence of modern genetics and embryology.
The unborn child is a fellow human being, a child of God, but is discriminated against because he is unseen, unheard, can't protest, and can't hit back. Little wonder that God's Word says: "Open your mouths for the dumb" (Prov.31:8). The mother of the unborn has as much moral right to choose to kill him as she has to kill her born child or any other human being. It is the antithesis of love.
A woman who aborts her unborn can expect not only spiritual problems but physical and psychological ones also. Cancer is one of the fruits of such immoral behaviour. That is not, of course, to say that there aren't other causes for breast cancer and other cancers -- stress and anxiety are often causative factors. Yet we also know from the Scriptures that sickness and death follow in the wake of rebellion against God's commandments (Deut.28:58-61). Indeed, we are about to enter the time of God's fearful judgment not only for the mass murdering of the unborn but for all the rest of humankind's disobedience to the commandments.
Therefore it is the duty of every Christian to lift a warning voice against the wickedness that is so deeply entrenched in the world of human affairs.
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Last updated on 24 April 1998
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