In our prior lesson, we took a brief look at some objections often offered in favor of intentional abortion and how to expose inconsistency with the use of other questions. I believe it is wise to keep this subject centered on the key issue: What is the unborn? If the unborn is not a human being, then no justification is needed for the practice of abortion. However, if the unborn is a human being, then no justification for intentional abortion is adequate. At this time I'd like to answer this foundational question with science, philosophy, & the Bible to prove why it is the case that intentional abortion unjustly takes the life of a human being--a life that is defenseless, pure, and innocent.
It is a scientific fact that human life begins at conception. This is the case because a conceived embryo is an individual, living, human being. Let us define our terms:
- Individual: The fertilized egg is distinct from the parents and has its own unique & complete genetic fingerprint.
- Living: The fertilized egg shows all qualities of biological life: metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, & reproduction.
- Human:The genetic fingerprint is that of human DNA.
- Being:The fertilized egg is self-contained and has its own nature.
At conception, the fertilized egg must be human because it possesses everything necessary to proceed through all stages of human development over time. No other single human cell has this inherent capacity. All the fertilized egg needs is proper nurture and a proper environment to continue developing, which is no different from any human being outside the womb either. Science cannot be properly used to justify intentional abortion. The more we understand about life inside the womb, the more clearly we understand that intentional abortion unjustly takes the life of an innocent human being.
Some are willing to concede that a fertilized egg is a human being only to dig their heels in and claim that the fertilized egg is not a person. I would kindly ask: What is the difference? And what are the implications if we accept this notion that a human being can exist but it not necessarily be a person? Haven't we been down this road before historically and committed heinous crimes again African Americans, Jews, women, etc. under the guise that they don't really count as people?
Philosophically, there are only 4 differences between the unborn and a newborn, and none of these differences matter morally. They are not reasons to deny a human being full personhood and the implicit protection that demands.
- SIZE: It is true that an embryo is smaller than a newborn, but size doesn't equal value. Are toddlers intrinsically less valuable than teenagers because they are smaller? Is it right to kill those who are small just because of size?
- LEVEL OF DEVELOPMENT: It is true that an embryo is less developed than a newborn, but value is not determined by abilities. Is an eight-year-old intrinsically less valuable than a sixteen-year-old because she cannot reproduce? Is it right to kill those who are less developed, merely because they are less developed?
- ENVIRONMENT: It is true that an embryo is in a much different environment than a newborn, but location has no intrinsic bearing on personhood. If your intrinsic value as a human doesn't change when you cross the street or roll over in bed, why would the value of the unborn change by moving inches down the birth canal? What makes it right to kill the unborn in the mother's womb but wrong to kill a newborn in its mother's arms when the only difference geographically is about one foot? Is it right to kill those whose environment is different than yours, simply because their environment is different?
- DEGREE OF DEPENDENCY: It is true that an embryo has a higher degree of dependency than a newborn, but viability doesn't determine value. If an adult is dependent upon a pacemaker, wheelchair, or medication to live, does this mean they are no longer a person of intrinsic value? Is it right to kill those who are dependent upon other people or things to survive, just because they are dependent?
These questions should be answered in the negative for both the born and the unborn. The unborn is just as much of a person as you are. None of the differences matter morally. None of them justify the taking of an innocent human life!
And finally, let us consider some of the Biblical evidence. Although this will not persuade an unbeliever, those who claim to follow Christ should consider these passages carefully:
- Proverbs 6:16-19 - "These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren." God hates hands that shed innocent blood, and intentional abortion sheds innocent blood.
- Exodus 21:22,23 - "If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman's husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life." The Old Testament view of the unborn was that they counted as a human life.
- Jeremiah 1:4,5 - "Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.'" The unborn count as people in God's eyes and He has plans for them. How presumptuous and wrong it is to intentionally take a human life!
- Ezekiel 18:20 - "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself." Intentional abortion in the case of rape forces the child to bear the guilt of the father. Two wrongs do not make a right.
- Psalm 139:13-16 - "You formed my inward parts; you covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." David poetically expresses the truth that the development of the unborn is a work of God. It is a work that ought not to be intentionally destroyed.
Friends, I'm pro-life and you should be, too. Intentional abortion unjustly takes the life of a human being--a life that is defenseless, pure, and innocent. This conclusion is inescapable. Tens of millions have been slaughtered in America via intentional abortion. It is right for Christians to speak against this atrocity, correct flawed reasoning that is used to justify it, and defend our beliefs. May we always do so with a spirit of meekness and fear, showing real love for the souls of the born and the unborn.