I view my work as a physician as part of a battle against brokenness in the physical health of my patients, a battle whose tide was turned when Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The Bible teaches that our physical bodies will one day be resurrected as Christ’s was, mysteriously transformed but somehow also continuous with our present flesh and blood — like a seed is transformed into a plant. I teach and work alongside local health professionals so that we can care holistically for people in need, following in the footsteps of Jesus, the healer.
By caring for others now, Christian doctors seek to honor the goodness of our bodies and anticipate this future resurrection. Occasionally we have to amputate, give toxic chemotherapy or otherwise tear apart the body for the sake of healing. This power shouldn’t be used lightly, and in the case of a living human person in the womb it should be only the most extreme circumstances that permit its use. But the power is there, and sometimes we must use it in an irreversible, life-ending way.
Before I performed an abortion, I had thought about questions of theodicy — the struggle to reconcile God’s goodness with the presence of evil in our world — in a passive sense, wondering why or how God allows suffering to happen to people. Now I think about why God would force someone to make a choice like I did. By 18 weeks, the rough age of my patient’s child, bone gives enough resistance to the surgical instruments to make its humanity known. Here, I think the exception proves the rule: Ending a child’s life before birth is so wrong that only saving another life could be worth it.