Skip to main content

Sanctity of Human Life

The third Sunday in January is set aside as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. This year, we are anchoring our Sanctity of Human Life commemoration in Our World Belongs to God, the Contemporary Testimony of the Christian Reformed Church, Article 44. Because of our call to treat all life with awe and respect—from the womb to the tomb—we invite you to explore a holistic ethic of life as it relates to the unborn, people with disabilities and end of life issues.

As a church, we continue to grieve with those touched by the brutality of abortion. We pray for women, men and families whose lives have been forever changed, and we cling to the restoring power of the Holy Spirit. Learn more in the 'Resources' section (below) about how we can continue to advocate for the unborn.

The Vulnerable
As we protest and resist all harms that diminish the gift of life, we faithfully work to embrace people with disabilities, not only as recipients of God’s love, but as partners in ministry. Visit our disability concerns resource page for a comprehensive start to inclusive ministry and church accessibility.

End of Life Issues
As legislative decisions with respect to end of life care and issues continue to alarm the faith community, we continue to condemn the wanton or arbitrary destruction of any human being at any stage—including end of life. We lament the lack of respect of the moral agency of vulnerable individuals which are often dismissed in these conversations. We pray for a deeper reverence of life and a commitment to justice. For more information, resources and advocacy opportunities on this topic, see here.

Resources & Involvement

front page of a bulletin insert for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

Corporate Worship
Explore free bulletin inserts, slide images, and congregational prayers to use for this Sunday. These resources can help your church honor this special Sunday.

Tell Congress to Continue the Child Tax Credit
Young children are more likely than any other group in the United States to experience the damaging effects of hunger and food insecurity. Evidence suggests that the Child Tax Credit is the best solution to addressing child poverty.
(website -

Get Involved In Your Community
A good way of learning about the realities of this issue in our own communities is to directly support women who are pregnant and trying to choose an option other than abortion. We've compiled a map that will help you find local pregnancy resource centers in your area. Most of these centers offer pregnancy tests, counseling, and support for mothers who decide to carry their babies to term. Volunteers and financial support are always needed and welcome.

Empower Pregnant Women
Recent studies have shown that the three primary reasons that women choose abortion in the US and Canada are:

  • having a child would interfere with personal responsibilities such as school or work,
  • financial reasons (more than 70% of women cite financial reasons), and
  • relationship issues and a lack of support from those close to them.

Online Blog Series
Life is a gift from God. Caring for new human life, whether in the womb or outside of it, means caring for mothers (and families!).

Those first tender 1000 days, from conception to age 2, set an important foundation for flourishing. If mothers and families receive care and support during those first 1,000 days, their precious babies can begin life on the right foot.

We know that the principalities and powers set themselves against God’s promise of “life, life to the full”. Let’s look those systemic evils in the face, and open doors for the Holy Spirit to move us towards prayer and active love. Read this blog series!



Why Pro-Life? Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers
In this small book, Alcorn offers an evangelical, Christian perspective on why it is critical that Christians seek to protect preborn life and how Christians can support women facing unexpected pregnancies in their community.

Abortion: Seeking Common Ground
Although a bit dated (1993), the Reformed Church in America’s study guide for adults titled: Abortion: Seeking Common Ground, is still a very helpful educational resource.


Go Deeper

There are at least three important CRC synodical studies and statements on abortion, family planning, and life issues that may be helpful as we educate ourselves and become active in preventing abortions and nurturing life.

1. The CRC’s denominational position on abortion is summarized below:

"Because the CRC believes that all human beings are image-bearers of God, it affirms the unique value of all human life. Mindful of the sixth commandment—"You shall not murder" (Ex. 20:13)—the church condemns the wanton or arbitrary destruction of any human being at any stage of its development from the point of conception to the point of death. The church affirms that an induced abortion is an allowable option only when the life of the mother-to-be is genuinely threatened by the continuation of the pregnancy.

The church calls believers to show Christian compassion and to offer support to those experiencing unwanted pregnancies as well as to those who have undergone abortions. Further, it calls believers to speak out against the atrocity of abortion, to promote action and legislation that reflect the teaching of Scripture regarding the sanctity of human life, and to reject all violence against those who perpetrate abortion."

For additional material and a list of synodical references go to:

2. Like most Protestant churches, the CRC does not condemn birth control: Synod 2003 declared that a married couple's decision whether or not to use birth control is a private, disputable matter. The church urges married couples to consider the size of their families prayerfully and encourages them to be motivated by a desire to glorify God and further his kingdom in their family planning.

For more information: 

3. The CRC’s synod has also dealt with a set of related issues under the heading of "Life Issues": Synod 2003 adopted the following guidelines for pastoral advice concerning life issues:

  • We must not recommend rules that bind the conscience in disputable matters. To do so would violate personal Christian liberty. Instead, we should prescribe only where God’s will is clear. Scripture is clear that every human being is created in the image of God and is precious to God.
  • Procreation should be kept within the context of the male-female, two parent, covenantal relationship of marriage.
  • Although it is fitting for married couples to want to have children, and it is a blessing to have children, there are limits to the lengths to which couples may go in order to have children. Infertility is a result of the fall, and we may attempt to reverse this but only through morally acceptable means.
  • While Scripture does not explicitly teach what moral protection the unimplanted human embryo deserves, it is clear implicitly that as a unique human life it warrants significant human protection.
  • Recognizing the horrific nature of rape and the complex circumstances facing a rape victim, she is not necessarily morally culpable if she takes a morning-after pill. The focus of ministry in such circumstances should be on the compassionate care for the woman. [For clarification: the morning-after pill is an emergency contraceptive. It will not end a pregnancy that has already started.]

Synod also encouraged members "to engage governmental agencies regarding the pursuit of policies" consistent with these guidelines.

In terms of advocacy to change laws, the largest and best known anti-abortion organizations publicly and strongly endorse specific candidates for office, based solely on the level and passion of their anti-abortion stance. However, churches and faith-based organizations with tax exempt status are prohibited from publicly endorsing candidates.

The CRCNA supports legislation that:

  1. affirms the unique value of all human beings as image bearers of God.
  2. condemns the wanton or arbitrary destruction of any human being at any stage of its development from the point of conception to the point of death.
  3. speaks out against the atrocity of abortion.
  4. allows for an induced abortion when the life of the mother-to-be is threatened by the continuation of the pregnancy.
  5. focuses on the compassionate care for women who become pregnant by rape.
  6. supports and demonstrates compassion to women with unplanned pregnancies as well as to women who have undergone abortions.

God’s gift of life multiplies. We’ve taken that gift for granted. Abortion happens for a variety of reasons, rooted in humanity’s disregard for the value of life. The statistics from around the world are staggering, but so are those close to home. One in three American women, and nearly one in three Canadian women, will have an abortion in their lifetime. 

Abortion hurts women, but our culture seeks to normalize its practice. Abortion in the U.S. has deeply racist roots, but conversations in North America remain largely ignorant of these facts.

The Contemporary Testimony of the Christian Reformed Church beautifully states how Christians are called to respond.

Life is a gift from God’s hand,

who created all things.

Receiving this gift thankfully,

with reverence for the Creator,

we protest and resist

all that harms, abuses, or diminishes the gift of life,

whether by abortion, pollution, gluttony,

addiction, or foolish risks.

Because it is a sacred trust,

we treat all life with awe and respect,

especially when it is most vulnerable—

whether growing in the womb,

touched by disability or disease,

or drawing a last breath.

When forced to make decisions

at life’s raw edges,

we seek wisdom in community,

guided by God’s Word and Spirit. (Article 44)

In the United States, twenty-one percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion. 1.06 million lives were ended prematurely. In Canada, nearly 65,000 lives are taken each year by abortion, which is also around twenty percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages).

All of the sources for the US stats are listed on the Guttmacher Institute web page cited above. Canada’s stats are from and in that order.