A Christian Assessment of Abortion Part Three, by Ean Theron
In the last article, we looked carefully at those arguments pro-abortionists give in support of their system and found them to be deficient. What we will be doing in this article is giving a few arguments that support the pro-life position. There are three arguments that fall into this category: 1) the biological argument, 2) the legal argument, and 3) the Biblical argument. We will examine these in this order.
I have to make a digressive note. Argument one and two ultimately find their validation in the Bible. That is to say that they are not in the end justified on their own merits. This may lead some to ask why not start with the Bible first? I did not do this due to the fact that I wanted to make the best argument the last argument.
The Biological Argument
Every living thing has a biological address. Scientifically, we classify biological life by the Linnaeus Taxonomy which has seven categories. Those categories are:
At the moment of conception, when the egg is fertilized, you have the joining of 23 chromosomes from the mother and 23 from the father. This makes every fertilized egg fall into the human category as presented in Linnaeus’s Taxonomy as follows:
Furthermore, the fetus has its own genetic identity that is distinct from both the mother and the father. In other words, this is not just a “piece” of the mother that is growing that will eventually become a human. It has its own genetic identity from conception.
Not only is it genetically and individually human, it is alive. This is evident by the fact that it is growing. In fact, there would be no controversy over killing it if it was not alive.
As the fetus grows, it begins to gain human characteristics very quickly. At 18 days, the heart begins to beat. By 28 days, it starts to form eyes and ears. The fetus has brain waves by 42 days. In only 7 weeks, we have pictures of the baby sucking its thumb. By 16 weeks, the baby can kick and normally the sex of the child can be identified. Some of the unborn have hair on their head by 20 weeks. And almost 80% of babies can survive a premature birth at 25 weeks* (*Source: M. Allen et. al., “The Limits of Viability,” New England Journal of Medicine, 11/25/93: Vol. 329, No. 22, p. 1597.).
This is to say that every killing of a fetus, no matter what the developmental stage, is the killing of a living, human life.
The Legal Argument
This leads us to the next argument. That is the Legal Argument. Just because something is human does not necessarily mean that it is wrong to kill it. There are instances when the killing of a human life is the most ethical thing to do. For instance, there are some cases of self defense when the victim must kill the attacker. We also make exceptions in the killing of humans when in comes to capitol punishment.
However, the unborn does not fall into either of these categories. The unborn is not in a situation of attacking the mother; and therefore, the mother need not defend herself to the point of killing the unborn. Neither has the unborn committed a crime that would require it to be put to death.
The law grants everyone the right to: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. One of the supporting reasons advocates of abortion give is that the unborn is treading on the liberty of the woman who is carrying the child. If a woman does not want to carry her baby, then she should not have to have her liberty infringed. However, what this argument presupposes is that the right to liberty supersedes the right to life. To see the ridiculous nature of this presupposition, just invert the right of the pursuit of happiness with the right to liberty. For example, lets imagine that one mans happiness is to take women who desire abortions and lock them away until the child is born. The man reasons that his right to pursue what makes him happy should not be infringed upon by the woman’s right to liberty. Everyone can see the problem with thinking this way. The right to pursue happiness does not take precedence over the right of liberty. Likewise, the right of liberty does not take precedence over the right to life.
The unborn is a living human and has the right to life according to our Constitution. The act of abortion is an act that is antithetical to the founding documents of the American government.
The Biblical Argument
In the end, we as Christians must recognize that biology and civil law cannot adequately answer the questions surrounding the issue of abortion. This is due to the fact that this is not ultimately a question of biology or law, but of ethics. All the scientific facts in the world cannot dictate how one should respond to them. Nor does any society have a sufficient enough foundation within itself to justify the laws it may or may not legislate. The ethical question becomes: What should we do with people who are in the way who cannot defend themselves, and who have not violated the civil law?
The answer to the question above is directly answered by the Bible, “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). It may surprise some to know that the Bible speaks about the murder of the unborn directly:
When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe (Ex. 21:22-25).
Here the life of the child is put on the same level as any other human life. If it is taken unjustly then the one or ones who were responsible must be put to death. In fact, the Bible is overwhelmingly pro-life. The first social law that was established by God was the protection of life (Gen. 9:6). Later, when God established the nation of Israel, He included the protection of life as one of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3-17). Under the Old Covenant, even in cases of accidental death, the one who killed accidentally had to take all kinds of precautions. He had to flee to a city of refuge and go through a trial. And even if he was found innocent of the crime, he had to live and remain in the city until the death of the High Priest. And under the New Covenant we are not even permitted to hate anyone else (Matthew 5:22).
There can be no question that the Bible is clearly pro-life. In fact, all the words used for a baby or a child are applied to the unborn in both the Greek and the Hebrew.
A great desire of mine is that the holocaust of abortion will one day be a thing of the past. Of course, this can only happen through the grace of God. But, we also need to take practical steps toward this goal. I urge all of you who care about the unborn to get involved to any degree you can.