Sean McDowell | November 16, 2020

Is It Loving to Take A Girl to Get An Abortion?

At a recent youth event, a young man asked me if it is loving to take a girl to get an abortion. Great question.

My response was to encourage him to begin by defining love. After all, we can only know if an act is really loving if we have a clear understanding of the nature of love. So, what is love?

Today, love means affirming someone’s behavior and beliefs. It means accepting someone for who they believe themselves to be. And it means agreeing with however someone feels about themselves. If not, you’re hateful. If this is real love, then it might be loving to take a girl to get an abortion.

But this is not love. Jesus had a better understanding.

Jesus’ and Love

The apostle John said, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). According to the example of Jesus, love involves a willingness to sacrifice for the good of others. It is a commitment to the well-being of another person, even if he or she does not recognize or accept the reality of the good. Love does not necessarily imply the person recognizes that we are truly acting in their best interest, which is why many confuse loving actions for hateful ones. After all, people jeered at Jesus on the cross thinking they were doing what was right.

If love means being committed to the objective good of another––rather than affirming someone’s behavior and beliefs––can you see how this should transform our response to the question?

What is Abortion?

Consider the question from another perspective. What if a young mother asked you to accompany her on the way to kill her 6-month-old? Would it be loving to go with her? Of course not. Why? Because the 6-month-old is a human being, and we should not take the life of a vulnerable human being.

While there are circumstantial differences, there is no significant philosophical difference between the 6-month-old and the unborn in terms of their membership in the human community, and thus their right to life. If it is not loving to take a young mother to end the life of her 6-month-old, then it is not loving to support a woman on her decision to end the life of the precious, preborn baby inside her.

I realize that I haven’t made a case for life here. I go into more depth on why preborn humans deserve the right to life in my soon-to-be-released book Chasing Love. My point here is to indicate that we first have to answer the question of the nature of love, and of the nature of the unborn, before we can answer if it is loving to take a pregnant woman to get an abortion.

Love Makes the Difference

Here is my basic point: If love involves doing the objective best for another, and the unborn is human, then it is loving towards the baby and the mother to do everything you can to talk her out of having the abortion.

Does this mean to not be kind and empathetic towards the mother? Of course not! It simply means that the loving thing to do at this time is to plead with her to choose life. As Randy Alcorn indicates in a recent blog, sometimes this loving opposition works.

He shared a story about a missionary couple who refused to take a young woman to get an abortion, even though she lived in the slums. They spoke the truth in love, encouraged her to do the right thing, and promised to help if she kept the child.

The woman was upset with them for days. But God changed her heart. She chose life, and the formerly preborn human being is now a young man in his 20s.

Stories don’t always end this way. But regardless, real love never gives up.

Check out my latest book for students on love, sex, and relationships: Chasing Love: Sex, Love, and Relationships in A Confused Culture. Pre-order now and we will send you exclusive interviews with Richard Ross, founder of True Love Waits and Josh McDowell, founder of Why Wait?

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author, popular speaker, and part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell, TikTok, Instagram, and his blog: