In the early 70’s, the supreme court lifted many governmental restrictions on abortions and, in that sweeping decision, split much of the nation into two camps; pro-life and pro-choice. Occasionally, my friends and I discuss the matter, and with embryonic stem cell research discussions taking place more, the concerns about human rights continue to come to the surface again and again.
Most of my friends know me for my faith in the Bible, but few people understand that my faith is actually grounded in logic. As an accountant, my career revolved around the black and white truth of numbers. I believe that most matters of morality, including this very topic, may be argued and looked at from a logical viewpoint as well. When I share this with friends, it surprises most that these matters of the spirit also have such strong ties to logic and common sense.
First, to understand a pro-life perspective, one must have a fundamental belief that life has intrinsic worth. Even most atheists I speak with agree that we should protect human life. Now, I could write a whole blog entry on why this viewpoint, in and of itself, has logical weight. But, for the sake of brevity, let us assume that the vast majority of people of all faiths (and those without faith) agree on the idea that human life has moral value and worth.
Second, we must believe, as an extension of that above logic, that to take an innocent life through any means is wrong. We all lament when we hear about modern day dictators killing people in their own countries. Our hearts collectively broke when terrorists slammed an airplane into the Twin Towers, killing thousands. Lately, I have seen a string of news horrifically reporting the death of numerous infants due to their negligent parents leaving them in a car, unattended. Because we believe that life has worth, we become incensed when we see others murdered, especially the weak, helpless and defenseless.
So, when it comes to the issue of abortion, no one defends that killing and murder of a human life is wrong in every conceivable way. However, when the arguments fly and the dust settles, we face the heart of the matter. Is the embryo or fetus actually a live human being? After all, if he/she is, than the fetus deserves the same protections under the law as any human.
Ironically enough, many states recognize that the fetus has those exact protections under the law. For example, Scott Peterson was convicted of double homicide under California’s fetal homicide law because he murdered his wife and their unborn child. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act provides another example. A wiki entry reads, “The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212) is a United States law which recognizes a child in utero as a legal victim, if he or she is injured or killed during the commission of any of over 60 listed federal crimes of violence. The law defines “child in utero” as “a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb””
So, we have laws on our books, from our own government, judging the severity of any violent act leading to the unborn child’s death along the same lines as a born child, grown man or elderly woman. However, this does not prove, logically, the immorality of abortion. Rather, it simply shows that our government is inconsistent at best, and confused, at worst. We need to determine whether or not the fetus should be extended the same rights as a born child.
The question of exactly when life begins eludes scientists, politicians and scholars. When asked about this very topic, President Obama answered that such a question was “Above my (his) pay grade.” Scientific theories attempting to tackle this challenge outnumber the number of citizens in a small town. Born 2 weeks before the legal abortion limit, Amilia Taylor defied not only the odds, but scientific theory, by surviving. Some claim that life begins when the fetus is born, others when you can sense a heart beat and, yet others look at when you can see limbs. Using pure logic, anyone would struggle to define exactly when life begins. Yet, we can certainly make a decision regarding the morality of abortion.
Before destroying any building through implosion, the engineer in charge will have a survey of the building conducted. Obviously, if anyone remains in the building (say, a homeless person), he or she will be safely removed before the implosion takes place. If an engineer does not have the survey done, he might kill any squatters who remain inside. No one questions that if an engineer implodes a building without first conducting the proper survey, he acts unethically.
Let’s conduct a thought experiment. Let’s say a farmer has a boy who loves to play and hide in hay. Every week, the father farmer uses a pitchfork to move the hay around for storage. One morning, he does not see his son around, but the job needs to be done. Few people would feel the farmer on ethical high ground, however, if he starts shoving his pitchfork into the bundles of hay before insuring that his son is not hiding inside them. Indeed, most would consider it the ethical responsibility of the father to insure his son was outside of the bales of hay.
Logic clearly shows that when we value human life, and we are unsure whether human life exists in a situation, we must take the higher moral road of caution. Because, ultimately, if we move forward and wrongly take a life, we are guilty of one of the highest immoral acts possible, cold-blooded murder.
As a nation, we are clearly uncertain as to when life begins. Our laws even contradict on the matter. We cry out when a baby dies due to the negligence of a parent. Yet, we take over 3,000 lives each day without much thought or concern. We hand wave the vital fact that, as a nation, we are unsure. The only logical difference between the death of a fetus through a violent act (Which counts as murder in many legal circles) and abortion is who made the decision to terminate the life of the innocent… the mother, or the attacker. In any other situation, that variation would only shift who the judge will convict… it never absolves the guilt of the act itself.
I could go on, but this lays out the foundation of my concern regarding abortion, without even mentioning what God’s Word has to say on the matter. No matter your faith, if this logic holds true, we are incredibly guilty of the death of millions. The Nazis killed 11 million in the name of their country and leader. We have killed nearly five times that number in the name of convenience. May God have mercy on us all.