If prolifers are correct and the unborn child is a full-fledged member of the human community, it follows that abortion is homicide. Therefore anyone who commits, counsels and publicly approves of abortion, breaks the commandment: "Thou shall not murder" (Exodus, 20:13). This is an extremely grave sin, made all the more grave by the fact that it is the murder of "little ones" (Mathew 18:10).
Again in the Old Testament law of Moses, harsh penalties are applied for injury to a child in the womb and the law spells out that justice is required:
"When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine" (Exodus 21:22).
From the earliest days of the Church, Christianity has condemned abortion, as we plainly find in the several early Christian writings. Below are just two of many.
The Didache (70 A.D.)
This document was used by the early Church as an instruction guide in faith and morals.
"And the second commandment of the Teaching; You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery. you shall not commit pæderasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill that which is begotten". (Didache, chapter 2, verse 1-2)
The letter of Barnabas (74 A.D.)
"You shall not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shall you destroy it after it is born." (Letter of Barnabas, chapter 19)
"And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It is better to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be cast into Gehennna... where the fire never goes out" (Mark 9:47-48)
What is Gehenna, this place mentioned by our Lord? Gehenna was a real place, a valley outside Jerusalem. Jesus mentioned it as an image for hell.
Why did Jesus pick this location, Gehenna, as his image for hell? All Jews of His time knew the things that occurred at Gehenna, but we modern peoples must look back in history. Before the Hebrews found the promised land of Israel, it was inhabited by a pagan nation called the Canaanites. The practice of infanticide and abortion was common amongst Canaanites. Gehenna was the valley where they made ritual sacrifices of infants and babies to pagan gods.
As punishment for the human sacrifices, God commanded the Jews to slaughter the Canaanites before entering into the promised land. This they did, and even after settling in what would become Israel, the Jews refused to live in the valley of Gehenna due to evil that had been committed there. Instead they used Gehenna as a garbage dump. In those days, given the lack of fire-starting equipment, they had to keep the fires going day and night. Hence Jesus' description of Gehenna as "where the fires never go out". Philosopher Peter Kreeft aptly describes, "the devil's promised land therefore became God's garbage dump".
The lesson here is that Jesus, in comparing Gehenna to hell and in summoning images of God's punishment against that civilization, offers a warning to Canadians today. Jesus teaches us that the culture of abortion and infanticide practiced by the Canaanites, like the culture of abortion practiced in Canada today, is evil in God's sight.
Today, our culture in the west, has been called "the culture of death" by none other than the late Pope John Paul II. Like ancient Gehenna, Canada has become an abortion valley with 3.2 million babies sacrificed to the blood-thirsty gods of "choice" and "convenience" over the past 40 years. Is it any surprise that we are witnessing a decline in the west, both economically and demographically? We do not have external enemies wiping out western nations. Yet, we are bringing about our own demise with what some observers describe as "suicidal" demographic trends. Demographers are warning that our low birth rate, if uninterrupted, will bring about massive social and economic upheaval. Isn't it true that a society which refuses to replace itself, is in fact, a dying society? Yet we continue to abort 1 in 4 pregnancies. History repeats itself if we do not learn its lessons.
As believers, we do not judge the state of any person's soul. That is reserved to God alone. We can however, acknowledge certain actions, like abortion, as intrinsically evil, always and in every case.
Clearly what is at risk besides the physical lives of innocent babies, is the potential loss of eternal salvation for those who commit, counsel, or approve of abortion. Since abortion is homicide, their souls may be in mortal danger. This is another reason why Christians who take the Gospel seriously, have a moral obligation to work at ending abortion. If we have friends or family members who've been involved in abortion, we should approach them, in love and gentleness, with the truth about abortion and the life-changing message that God is waiting to forgive every sin, but for the asking.