We can learn a significant lesson about human life (and its implications for abortion) by examining the most unique pregnancy in all of history, the birth of Christ to a young woman named Mary. Some of the main elements we see in today's debate about abortion are found here.
Let's look at it in the New Testament book of Luke, where Christ's birth is announced. Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, 'Rejoice, highly favoured one, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name ‘Jesus’. Then Mary said to the angel, 'how can this be since I do not know a man?’
This pregnancy was unplanned by Mary. She was a young woman with no sexual experience. She was "betrothed," similar to our modern form of engagement, to a man named Joseph. While the two had committed to each other, the formal wedding had not taken place. In that day and culture such a pregnancy out of wedlock held lifelong consequences. Mary was on the verge of becoming a single, unwed mother consigned to a life of poverty and shame, or possibly being stoned to death. First-century Israelite society was less forgiving than our modern cultures. The temptation to terminate the pregnancy could have been strong.
Joseph, her husband had some initial doubts and embarrassment. Matthew's account tells us He "was minded to put her away secretly" to break their betrothal agreement and cancel their upcoming marriage because he did not want to bring embarrassment on the family. But after the appearance of an angel to him in a dream as he slept, Joseph accepted that Mary's pregnancy was of God in fulfilment of a divine plan.
He may not have understood every detail, but he accepted his role. By accepting this, his life was forever changed. He accepted responsibility for the life of a son who was not biologically his. Joseph's act was one of the most noble that a man, a true man, can do. He accepted the role of fatherhood.
Mary's decision to keep the child growing in her womb also says something to a modern mind. In Luke's account, after Mary learns her life has been turned upside down by this unexpected event, she accepts her role and says to the angel, "Let it be to me according to your word".
Notice these words: "Let it be" simply let it be. What if today, so many, who become pregnant, for whatever reason, would simply say, "Let it be" out of respect for God, life's Creator?
Mary and Joseph held a high regard for God and for life. Here in this example we see the foundational truth to frame a discussion about abortion and life at any time and in any place. It is the sanctity of life.
And here we must also point out the life Mary held in her womb was not just any life. It was the life of the one called "the Son of the Highest". He was the one called "the Word" who had been "with God and was God”. He was the One who would live a perfect life and die for the sins of the world. He was the Christ, the Messiah.
Here is what is vital for you to understand. This key event, the conception, birth, life and death of Jesus Christ had to occur in history just as it had been prophesied long before in the Scriptures. Without this event occurring, there would be no hope of salvation and eternal life for any man, woman or child from any race and time. This pregnancy had to go full term. This life, forming in the womb of Mary, was the answer to man's greatest yearning eternal life. Without it there was, and is, no hope!
Consider also, when did Christ's human life begin? When did the Word become flesh, at His birth or nine months earlier at His conception in Mary's womb by the Holy Spirit? Clearly it was at conception.
Do we understand then this vital lesson from the life of Mary? What if she had decided to abort her child? What if this birth had not happened? It may sound academic and merely an argument for the sake of argument, but it raises an uncomfortable issue for the modern mind.