Perspectives

Why be pro-life? Keeping the main thing central

By David Pool
Posted 8/4/22

One of the resounding messages that comes through the Bible is God’s care for the vulnerable, defenseless, the alien… that is, those who live at the very edges of society. 

James …

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Perspectives

Why be pro-life? Keeping the main thing central

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One of the resounding messages that comes through the Bible is God’s care for the vulnerable, defenseless, the alien… that is, those who live at the very edges of society. 

James 1:27 sums this theme up nicely: “Religion that our God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” 

The command applies to all people regardless of background, economic class, race, or religion and is grounded in the dignity that belongs to every person because of his or her being created in God’s image. 

Since the recent overturning of Roe vs. Wade, our nation has once again been in an uproar of angry words and protests. It is understandable that many on the pro-choice side would be dismayed at the Supreme Court’s decision. 

We hear slogans like “My body, my choice” or ideas that women’s health care has been drastically set back. Most of these statements are designed to elicit emotions and are not truly substantial arguments for abortion. 

But often lost in the discussion is the real issue of the matter: What is it that is developing in the woman’s womb when she is pregnant? Is it a human being, or is it merely a mass of the woman’s tissue?

This is the central issue in the debate, not privacy and not choice. If the unborn are not human, then extracting them from the womb is no different from having your appendix removed, morally speaking. 

But if they are human, then killing them is a grievous moral wrong. This is a moral question. And it can be answered biblically, scientifically, and philosophically. 

So, then, let’s address the question of the status of the unborn by looking to the Bible, to science, and to philosophy. 

First, the Bible is clear about the personhood of the fetus. For example, Job 3:3, Jeremiah 1:5, and Psalm 139:13-16 all support the idea that the identity of the unborn in the womb is the same as the person in their adulthood. 

In addition, Luke 1:41 and 2:16 use the same Greek word for a baby in the womb and a newborn. 

Because of these examples, Christian ethicist Scott Rae concludes that the Bible signals a continual identity of personhood from conception through adulthood. And because the unborn are human persons, they also have the same right to life that anyone has.

But what does science have to contribute? Surely, this is where the question gets more fuzzy. 

Hardly! Though many today speak as if it is a mystery as to when human life begins, Scott Klusendorf points out that leading embryology books state that the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings from the earliest stages of development. 

Consider, for example, what the authors of The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology say: “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization… This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” 

Going further, the baby in the womb has its own DNA, its own blood, its own heart, its own brain waves, and its own fingerprints. That means there is a separate body and separate person inside the mother’s body! So even science supports the personhood of the fetus. 

Finally, Klusendorf also points out that common sense (philosophical reasoning) confirms that the unborn should have the same right to life as everyone else. That is because people are of equal value no matter their size, their level of development, their environment, or their degree of dependency. 

Does physical size determine a person’s value? If so, then NFL linemen should be the most valuable people in our nation. But that idea is ridiculous. 

How about the level of development? Well, a toddler is less developed than a 10-year-old, who is less developed than a 30 year-old. But isn’t it absurd to argue that the 2-year-old and 10-year-old are less valuable than the 30-year-old? 

The fact is, level of development is a terrible criteria for human value. And it turns out that degree of dependency is also a bad yardstick for personhood because even a newborn and a toddler are highly dependent on their mothers for survival. Yet it is clearly immoral to kill them.

When we look at the status of unborn children from the perspectives of the Bible, science, and common sense, it becomes clear that they are fully human and deserve protection. 

I pray that you will think deeply about these important matters and be ready to defend the defenseless and the vulnerable. 

  

(David Pool is the senior pastor at Grace Point in Powell.) 

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