I once heard of the saddest gravestone I could ever imagine. On the gravestone of a young child the parents wrote, "What hopes have died with you, my child?" The horror and anguish expressed by the parents in that question is almost unbearable. In the last month we have found ourselves asking this same question so frequently. What hopes have died with you, my child? We ask this not about children laid in graves by grieving parents, but about millions of aborted babies discarded in dumpsters and incinerators or dissected in research laboratories. About these nameless, grave-less babies does anyone ask, what hopes have died with you? The death of babies quickens difficult and perplexing questions. Abortion intensifies them.
Over the last month I’ve been mulling over Romans 1 in my Bible reading. I think the theology of Romans 1, both explicit and implicit, directly applies to the questions of abortion. Two themes, hope and horror, which never seem to cross paths, touch, if only for a moment. The horror of what legal, celebrated abortion reveals about our society and the hope of eternity for the aborted.
The Horror of Abortion
By now, at least in the pro-life world, undercover videos of Planned Parenthood showing horrific images of the sale and distribution of aborted babies are ubiquitous. They are disturbing. They are disgusting. However, what may rival the horror of the videos is the apathy of so many who watch them (or refuse to watch them). Leaders and politicians, unmoved and annoyed, still argue that abortion is normal and good. One wonders, how does a society come to call the sale of dissected baby lungs, livers, and brains good? How can murder be legally defended let alone celebrated? If this doesn’t disturb the conscience, what will?
The chilling answer to those questions is that legal abortion is nothing less than evidence of God’s wrath against people. No, not a hellfire, lightning bolts, and hail sort of wrath, but a wrath of God giving people over to their sin. In Romans, the apostle Paul describes how “God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (v. 18). Paul argues that when people reject the truth about God evident in nature and conscience, God reveals his wrath by delivering them over to their own sinfulness. In three statements, spiraling downward Paul states that God “gave them up.” The wrath of God is revealed when “God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity (v. 24), “God gave them up to dishonorable passions” (v. 26), i.e. homosexuality. Finally, “God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (v. 28). In other words, the evidence of God’s wrath is a society given over by God to their own depravity. God’s wrath is revealed when people celebrate, legalize, and advertise evil. God’s wrath has sobering implications for a society. Put bluntly, 55 million implications. 55 million boys and girls who never were allowed to live primarily because their parents chose instead to murder them. Legal abortion is God’s wrath against ungodliness.
This all leads to even more sobering questions. What of the fate of those boys and girls whose death is the result of the judgment of God? Are they too under wrath for the sins of their parents? Their country?
What is the eternal fate aborted babies? Have they any hope?
Hope for the Aborted
While the Bible does not answer the question of babies who die in infancy directly, I do think there is sufficient biblical evidence to argue that they inherit eternal life with God in heaven. I’ll focus on just one of those evidences here. Romans 1:20 states, “For [God’s] invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived since the creation of the world in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Commenting on Romans 1:20, John Piper wrote: “The point for us is that even though we human beings are under the penalty of everlasting judgment and death because of the fall of our race into sin and the sinful nature that we all have, nevertheless God only executes this judgment on those who have the natural capacity to see his glory and understand his will, and refuse to embrace it as their treasure.” 
Thus, Piper reasons (and I completely agree) that aborted babies and babies who die in infancy are saved because they couldn’t reason to reject God’s revelation. Another theologian argues that, “the very fact of dying in infancy is outward proof that one is elect, chosen by God to live with Him in heaven.” Great hope, as well as great horror, is found in Romans 1.
The intersection of hope and horror of abortion in Romans 1 is a glance at the beauty of the message of the cross. The hope of the gospel is that through the cross of Christ, God uses death to bring life. By pouring out his wrath on Jesus Christ on the cross, God secured eternal life for those who would trust him. That gospel message is continued even in the horror and hope of abortion. Revealing his wrath against mankind, God is also saving millions. Judgment becomes salvation. Let us never distort God’s great mercy shown on aborted babies to justify the sinfulness of abortion. But let us wonder at his sovereign plan by which God transforms the depravity of man into deliverance for babies. Let us praise God who triumphs over, even through, the evil of mankind.
When asked a years ago about the fate of those who die in infancy, I wrote this response. This is a fuller defense of my position.