What’s your view on abortion?
The whole question hinges upon what it is that is in the womb of a pregnant woman. Is it a living human-being? Or is it something else? And this is not a difficult question to answer…even though the president has said that it’s beyond his pay grade.
Of course that which is in the womb of a pregnant woman is a living human being. What else would it be? It’s a living human being at an early stage of development. It’s a child, a baby.
It’s not uncommon for those who call themselves pro-choice to refer to the pre-born child by some other term such as “a product of conception,” or “a mass of cells,” or (depending upon the stage of development) an “embryo” or a “fetus.”
But these terms are often used simply to obfuscate the issue—to confuse and mystify the subject. We are all “products of conception.” Everyone who has ever lived is a product of conception. Last time I checked, that’s how a human being comes into existence.
Likewise, we are all a “mass of cells.” Our bodies are made up of tens of trillions of cells.
And as for the terms “embryo” and “fetus”, these simply refer to developmental stages of human growth in the womb.
So let’s not be confused by the terminology and be led to think that what is in the womb of a pregnant woman is anything other than a living human being.
We should note that many have wished to change the terms of the debate. Instead of arguing whether or not it’s a living human being in the womb—because they’ve already lost that argument—they talk instead about “personhood.” Sure, it’s a living human-being (they say now), but it’s not a person, and especially not a person protected under the Constitution.
And how do they define a “person”? Well, Peter Singer, professor of ethics at Princeton, argues that personhood involves things like: “self-awareness, self-control, a sense of the future, a sense of the past, the capacity to relate to others, concern for others, communication, and curiosity” (Practical Ethics, Cambridge University Press, 1993, p. 86). In other words, he defines “person” not in terms of what a person is, but in terms of what a person can do—what activity a human being is capable of. And since a pre-born child does not have his rational powers developed and is not cognitively aware of himself, cannot meaningfully relate to and communicate with others, does not have a sense of the past and the future…well then…he’s not a person.
What does this do for their argument? Well in addition to providing what they think is moral justification for abortion—a rather dubious claim to be sure—they also think it provides a legal justification for it, because the Constitution doesn’t guarantee rights to human beings, but only to persons, which is to say, you don’t find the words “human being” in the Constitution. Instead, you find the word “persons.”
So they conveniently redefine “person” so as to exclude unborn children. Peter Singer, by the way, would also exclude newborns, and has argued for the right of parents to kill their children up to the age of one month, at which time he thinks they may begin to take on at least some of the characteristics of personhood.
We should to ask ourselves the question, “What do the Scriptures teach about the unborn?” Clearly the assumption is that the unborn child is a living human being, a person.
When Isaac’s wife Rebekah was pregnant with twins, we’re told, “The children struggled together within her” (Gen. 25:22). Notice that they are called “children” while they are yet in the womb.
Job speaks about how both rich and poor, both slave and master have been fashioned by God in the womb (Job 31:15).
David speaks of this also. He says to God, “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:13-14a).
He also says, “Upon you I have leaned from before my birth” (Ps. 71:6). This shows that even unborn children may know God and have spiritual experiences.
Remember what God told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5).
Consider also that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb, and even leaped for joy at the sound of Mary’s greeting (Lk. 1:15, 44).
The Scriptures in many places and in many ways teach that it is a living human being, a person, a child, a baby, that is in the womb. And this is why according to the law which God revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai, when a man strikes a pregnant woman so that her child is born prematurely and suffers some harm, the rule is: “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” This means that if the child dies, the man who struck her is to be put to death. The killing of an unborn child is treated as murder under the law (Ex. 21:22-25). And this law ought to be the basis for abortion law in the United States.