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Pro-Life

Abortion: The Holocaust of our Day

Abortion is an issue that goes beyond faith and into simple ethics and morality. Note that these arguments can also be used in a debate with a Christian.

Arguments against abortion must be divided into two categories to insure usefulness in discussion.

The first category is made up of arguments that can be used against abortion with the non-believer.

The second category consists of arguments that can be used against abortion with the Christian. These include Biblical proofs that non-believers would not find convincing, but the believer must accept and submit to.

Arguments against abortion used when talking to non-believers include:

1. An unborn child is clearly a human

2. An unborn child must be defined as a “person,” for there is no clear line where personhood begins

3. Abortion leads logically to infanticide and beyond

4. Although abortion is seen as for women’s rights, it actually (ironically) is destroying women.

Arguments against abortion from a believer’s perspective:

1. Biblical Passages

2. Appeal to Christian Authorities

Before we delve more deeply into the arguments against abortion, let us observe some facts about abortion. In the United States, approximately one in every four pregnancies ends in an abortion (Feinberg, 47). Abortion is often seen as a method of birth control (47). Estimates in developing countries alone state that thirty million to forty-five million women have abortions every year. 125,000 to 250,000 of these women die from botched procedures (48). This is unacceptable. It is the holocaust of our time. Now, some facts of human development. Only 18 days into pregnancy, the baby’s heart is forming. 20 days into the pregnancy, the groundwork of the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord is being laid. 43 days into pregnancy, the baby’s brain waves can be recorded (Feinberg, 54). That’s less than a month and a half. Can the baby feel pain? Is abortion really a simple procedure that does no harm to the fetus [note that the use of the word fetus is often used to dehumanize the subject, which again brings painful memories of the holocaust to mind]?

The conditions necessary for pain are known to exist in the fetus. These are “1) functioning neurological structures to sense pain; 2) overt behavior expressive of pain; and 3) a cause for pain [abortion] (Feinberg, 55).” Tests have been done that show a child in utero feels pain when pricked by a needle. “Contrary to what proponents of abortion claim, when a mother aborts her baby, most likely the baby feels pain (56).”

Now the arguments against abortion shall be explored in greater detail. The fundamental issue at hand is whether or not the fetus is a human. However, once the pro-choice individual has been persuaded of the fact that the fetus is a human [which we will find out shortly is much easier to prove than one might think], he/she often falls back on the term “personhood.” If the fetus is not a “person,” then it doesn’t have the rights that we “persons” have. These points must be made perfectly clear in order to overcome the evil of abortion.

It should first be noted that the idea of the fetus not being human is quite ridiculous upon examination. The fertilized egg is not going to develop into a bird, a fish, or a railroad train. The only natural possibility this fertilized egg has as it grows is to become a human. This alone is enough evidence to show that the fetus is human, just an undeveloped one. But we must also delve into the scientific aspects here. Norman Ford states that “The union of male and female chromosomes at syngamy [fertilization] ‘gives rise to a single cell with a set of twenty-three pairs of maternal and paternal chromosomes into one genetically new individual cell.’ This process is completed approximately twenty-four hours after fertilization, and yields a cell that is ready to replicate itself (Feinberg, 57).” Thus, it is clear that this zygote is human in nature. Further, before these first 24 hours, there is no way for the fertilized egg to become anything else. Thus, throughout the entirety of pregnancy, a human life is indeed present. The question must then turn to whether or not this human is indeed a “person” with the rights granted to those who have “achieved” personhood.

First, note that the fetus within the mother is an independent organism. This directly refutes the biological view of personhood. The fetus is genetically unique from its mother (Craig, 116). Yes, it lives within its mother, but it is not indeed a vestigial organ or part of its mother. No one can accurately claim that a fetus is the same genetically as its mother (Feinberg, 61). Second, one view of pro-choice advocates is that personhood is something that a fetus only has potential for, it is not indeed a person yet. The most obvious problem with this view is that it begs the question of “What is the definition of a person?” What must one “achieve” in order to be a person? This makes the definition wholly subjective.

A pro-choice party may choose to define personhood to exclude unborn children, but a pro-life party would obviously define it as the opposite. This argument is subjective and cannot be used as grounds to destroy human life. Indeed, it leads to a horrifying slippery slope where personhood could be defined by the majority to destroy the minority—targets could include race, age, etc. Indeed, one of the definitions often used by pro-choice parties includes the “ability to interact with the environment in a meaningful way.” This would then mean that the severely mentally handicapped, babies, and even Joe Shmoe while he is asleep (and therefore unable to interact with the environment in a meaningful way), are not persons. One could kill any of these without any moral repercussions. Personhood is not something that should be determined by a subjective definition.

Thus we see that neither the biological nor the sociological view of personhood can suffice. Neither is a basis upon which one can rationally make a moral judgment. Further, where could one draw the line between person and non-person? A life is a smooth process that, if uninterrupted by unnatural means, will lead to a natural death. The development hypothesis used by those who are pro-choice when determining personhood could be applied at any stage along the path of life (Craig, 116). Infants are clearly not fully developed “persons.” Neither are adolescents or late teenagers. Is 30 years a good point to draw the line where a human has finally earned personhood? What about 50? Should any line like this really be arbitrarily drawn? In the same way, should the line be drawn simply because we cannot see the life?

A baby is clearly going to result from the pregnancy [this is obvious, given that this is the reason abortions are performed]. But if we choose to arbitrarily cut off life at 6 months into development, who says we can’t expand that into infanthood or childhood? How does expulsion through the birth canal magically transform an inhuman, impersonal fetus into a human person (Craig, 119)? There is no clear stage where a human immediately gains personhood, unless one accepts the proposal that each human life is a person.

Perhaps one of the most disturbing and ironic topics in abortion is the fact that with all their gusto to defend the rights of women, pro-choice individuals have contributed to the destruction of females around the world. It was previously stated that abortions in developing nations account for 125,000 to 250,000 deaths of women because of botched pregnancies. Further, in places like India and China where it is preferable to a family to have a male child than a female one, abortion is often used to control the gender of the child. This has lead to an ominous massacre of females across the globe. There is no feasible way that one could argue for women’s rights in order to advocate abortion when it [abortion] is used to destroy the rights for a woman to life.

Finally, there are arguments from a believer’s perspective. The most obvious argument against abortion for the Christian is to cite the Bible. No, there is no verse that states explicitly that one should not have an abortion, but the commandment “Thou shall not murder” combined with other verses leads to undeniable evidence against abortion. Psalm 139:13ff (ESV) “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your books were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” The Christian can’t possibly argue against this with any validity. The most telling verse here is verse 16: “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your books were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.” Or, if one prefers NIV, “your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”God has plans laid out for our lives before we even came into existence. God clearly sees unborn life as having worth. Not only that, but He makes plans for each and every one of us before we are even in existence. There is no way for a believer to wriggle around that.

Another passage that can be offered in support is also from Psalms (51:5): “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” How can something that is not a human person be sinful? One cannot be sinful if one doesn’t exist.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer says of abortion, “Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder (Bonhoeffer, 174).”

Finally, we must examine a Bible passage that pro-choice Christians often use to attempt to back up their pro-choice stance, Exodus 21:22-25. “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” Some believers use this passage to state that it shows the unborn fetus has a lesser status of personhood. They state that verse 22 shows that though the woman loses the child, she sustains no injury, and the penalty is but a fine. They say that this, then, shows that the fetus does not demand the same repercussions as hurting a fellow human (Feinberg 63). There are several problems with this interpretation, however. First, it must be stated that even if one is to concede this interpretation [which is incorrect], it does not authorize abortion. The baby is not intentionally harmed in any manner, but only unintentionally hurt. Second, just the fact that there is a penalty shows that there is wrongdoing here. If the fetus something that may be discarded at will, why is there even a fine for its destruction? Third, the reason the fetus’ death does not require the death penalty is in keeping with the Mosaic exception to the death penalty in cases of accidental death (Exodus 21:13-14, 20-21, Numbers 35:10-34, Deuteronomy 19:1-13). Thus, the fact that there is “merely” a fine does not show that the fetus is less valued. Finally, it absolutely must be noted that Exodus 21 states various penalties for the killing of individuals that cannot be explained away with personhood. For example, verses 20-21 show that one who kills a slave unintentionally has no penalty. No one could argue that the slave is not a “person” (Feinberg, 64).

Further, the correct interpretation of this passage must be seen as the woman giving premature live birth, not a miscarriage. Thus, the implication is quite clear. If the mother gives a premature live birth because of the fight, there is merely a fine (despite no serious injury to anyone), but if either the mother or the fetus is injured, the law of retaliation (eye for an eye) is invoked. Thus, if the fetus is killed, the man causing harm is to be killed. This is remarkable, because it is the only place in Scripture where death is required for accidental homicide. It shows the extreme value placed on the life of the fetus (Feinberg, 65). This interpretation is based on the Hebrew verbs and nouns used in this passage, but that would be tedious to explain here. For further exploration, note the citation.

From this discussion, it can be clear that there is no ground upon which the pro-choice individual can stand.He or she must concede that 1) the fetus is human, 2) the fetus is a person, 3) persons have intrinsic value, and 4) killing a person is murder.

The believer must stand on even shiftier sands, forced to grasp at straws in the face of Biblical and philosophical arguments against abortion. We must pray that God would use His power to overcome the evils of our time. We must pray that God will use us to fight against this atrocity. When we stand at the throne of Christ on judgment day, having fought for the lives of the unborn, those children we did not know and that “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me (Matthew 25:40).’”

Sources:

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Ethics. New York. Touchstone,1995.

Craig, William Lane. Hard Questions, Real Answers. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2003.

Feinberg, John. Ethics for a Brave New World. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1993.

The arguments contained in this post were derived heavily from the sources cited. Of particular help was Feinberg’s Ethics for a Brave New World.

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About J.W. Wartick

J.W. Wartick has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. His interests include theology, philosophy of religion--particularly the existence of God--astronomy, biology, archaeology, and sci-fi and fantasy novels.

Discussion

34 thoughts on “Abortion: The Holocaust of our Day

  1. Hi, J.W. I’m saving your post to read tomorrow. It’s nearly 1am and I’ve got to get home and do laundry so I can go to Mass in the morning. I want to offer tomorrow’s, er, well, today’s Mass in reparation for the sins of pro-abortion politicians and “religious” leaders in our world who are leading their followers astray.

    Thank you for writing about this. It will take all Christians and all people of goodwill to unite and pray and speak out about the horror and atrocity being committed in our towns and cities across our beloved land. It is a holocaust, a genocide, and it is being waged against the most helpless and defenseless victims imaginable. And with the support of elected politicians and by those who are alleged members of the clergy, responsible for leading their flocks in the ways of righteousness. Well, you know what Scripture has to say about false shepherds. I wouldn’t wanna be them when they stand before their Creator and answer for their betrayal of their sacred obligation.

    Peace be with you, J.W.

    Disciple

    Posted by Disciple | October 4, 2009, 5:56 AM
  2. 1. An unborn child is clearly a human

    Point one and two are the same points re-worded.

    2. An unborn child must be defined as a “person,” for there is no clear line where personhood begins

    All of the above is your opinion. As I’ve stated before, it is my opinion that there is nothing of “human” or “person” status until nerves start to form. “Light microscopy revealed nerve fascicles as early as 12 Weeks”- science direct. Before that it is just a group of stem cells. Pain and consciousness requires nerves to transfer the electrical impulses.

    3. Abortion leads logically to infanticide and beyond

    What is this “and beyond” business, sounds like comic book science fiction. If your talking about eugenics every study i’ve looked has shown very small percentages for eugenic type reasons, 3%(http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html). ~98% seem to be selfish reasons.

    4. Although abortion is seen as for women’s rights, it actually (ironically) is destroying women.

    What does this means exactly, and please don’t tell me you mean what the comment literally says? this is a compelling arguement?

    Overall your arguements for non-believers are extemely weak, unsupported, and very hollow. You would have looked a lot better just not including them at all. Your responses are irresponsible (IMO) and take away credibility from other content you produce. I think quoting scripture to people who believe in scripture is circular and fine. In terms of arguing with non-belivers, who don’t perscribe to scripture, you are just not there. Four repetitive, thin sentences for non-believers compared to 7 pages for believers is proof of this. I’m not trying to flame you, I was just slightly offened by your irresponsibility. I hope you think about it.

    Posted by mateo | October 6, 2009, 2:46 AM
  3. I wish personhood and humanity were actually considered to be the same thing by some people, notably those who are arguing just the opposite in the field of bio”ethics” these days. But personhood was granted to rocks and trees, rivers and lakes back in the months preceding Roe v Wade, the decision that denied personhood to children in the womb at any age. Peter Singer would now like to deny personhood to children below the age of two years.

    So just where does personhood or humanness or life begin? If we don’t know, we should play it safe and be willing to err on the side of caution and simply give the embryo the benefit of the doubt, refusing to kill it “just in case”. To say that it begins later is to say that there is a time when it alright to kill that embryo. And that’s really what the heart of the matter is: some don’t want to kill, some do, and those who do want to find a way to justify that killing.

    Frankly, I prefer it when someone admits that they want to kill another and doesn’t try to hide behind dubious science and condescending rhetoric.

    Peace, mateo. I hope you think about it.

    Disicple

    Posted by Disciple | October 6, 2009, 3:23 AM
  4. mateo, did you read my entire post? Those 4 points were not my arguments to use with the non-believer in their entirety, just a summing up. You didn’t address anything I said when I expanded the points whatsoever. The post is about half (the first half) directed towards people at large, and half towards believers in particular.

    When you say that my first two points are the same, you ignored what I was saying about the difference between a human and person, as outlined rather specifically in the post itself.

    I don’t actually cite scripture at all until the latter part of my post, which is intended to talk to believers exclusively.

    But you failed to even discuss anything but the “Summing up” of my post! If you want to talk about being weak, unsupported, and hollow, you could at least point out the parts of my actual arguments that are so weak and shallow. I spend several paragraphs outlining them.

    Posted by J.W. Wartick | October 6, 2009, 3:26 AM
    • Sadly I must admit I did not read your whole post. You said it was broken between belivers and non. so after I read the non believer…I commented. I thought it was strange you would right so little towards non-belivers and is why I got annoyed. That would be mostly my fault.

      My points/thoughts for question 2 and 3 stand though. But yes further reading eliminates my points on questions 1 and 4.

      Posted by Mateo | October 8, 2009, 11:15 PM
  5. Also, I would like to comment on something you said:
    “I think quoting scripture to people who believe in scripture is circular and fine.”

    While I will try to prevent myself from jumping to the conclusion that this was nothing but a jab, I would like to point out that if you are actually attempting to assign any validity to this argument, there is quite a hole to be dug by doing so.

    The argument posed by that statement is, basically:
    If any argument x is made from a document, d which is considered reliable by persons A and B, the argument is circular.

    Or, to put it in a different light, I could parody the argument as follows:
    “I think quoting a physics textbook to people who believe in physics is circular and fine.”
    or
    “I think quoting Darwin to people who believe Darwin is circular and fine.”

    What exactly is it supposed to mean to make such an argument? As I parodied the argument, I literally just took the same formula and plugged in different things: Darwin or physics. Did I do anything to discredit either Darwin or physics? Obviously not at all. In the same way, to say such a statement about Scripture can be nothing but an offhand remark that shows nothing but a predisposition against Scripture and those who believe in it.

    Posted by J.W. Wartick | October 6, 2009, 4:28 AM
  6. I would like to make my point as short, simple, and to the point as possible because I think the core value is being overshadowed by longwindedness. But I guess that’s what a blog is for. Anyway…

    On the subject of abortion: I believe that if you are going to define the fetus as a human life than perhaps you should think of the implications before adamently arguing that it is wrong to terminate the pregnancy. What if the mother is a crack addict? What if she is a single mother and cannot financially provide for the baby? Pushing aside the fact that she should not have been irresponsible in the first place by having unprotected sex (any sane person would agree with this), wouldn’t it be more responsible for her to abort the fetus than to knowingly bring it into a life of poverty? What about genetic disorders/illnesses? For example, adding on to the fact that the mother doesn’t want to go through with the pregnancy, the baby will also be born with Sickle Cell. Should a life of pain and suffering be prevented, or should the mother give birth to this child so as to not look like she “murdered” her child? You could say there are medical treatments, but who is going to pay for them? Not the mother. And I certainly don’t want my tax dollars going to someone’s unwanted child that they cannot afford and could’ve prevented.

    You could argue that they could be adopted or put into foster homes. What kind of life is it to bounce from foster home to foster home? And with the overpopulation of children waiting to be adopted, how nice would that be to push another one into a life of waiting and feeling unloved and unwanted? You could say this isn’t always the case, but in my humble assumption, it probably mostly is.

    I think it is very selfish to say that abortions are murder. If you really are thinking about the life of the baby (instead of defined religious morals), the future of that child should be looked at. You can say “it’s murder” all day, but in all due respect, if you just want to make sure you are living your life according to a “manual” rather than what would actually be rationally and morally correct for the quality of human life (you seem to go by the rule of “quantity rather than quality”), then perhaps you need to re-examine your motives for the stance you’ve taken.

    Posted by King Nyform | October 6, 2009, 6:23 PM
    • Thank you for sharing your input!

      I would like to respond, of course, and I’ll probably be long-winded because that’s how I write :D.

      The problem with asking questions like “What about genetic disorders/illnesses?” or “wouldn’t it be more responsible for her to abort the fetus than to knowingly bring it into a life of poverty?” is that they miss several significant points.

      First I respond with several questions. Are you arguing, somehow, that a life impoverished is worth less than a wealthy life? Are you also arguing that people with genetic disorders are illnesses are somehow worth less than those without such illness or disorder?

      Is our willingness to pay for something or not pay for something a good enough reason to endorse abortion?

      All of these things seem implied by your questions.

      For example, when you ask, “wouldn’t it be more responsible for her to abort the fetus than to knowingly bring it into a life of poverty?” I don’t see anything here other than an implication that a life of poverty is somehow worth less on a scale of value than a life lived in luxury. How is one life worth more than another simply based on how much wealth is acquired? Further, if this is the case, then why should we support any kind of initiative to feed those who are starving to death or help anyone who is not as well-to-do as we are? Because if what you are implying is true, then my life as a middle class individual is worth more than the life of a lower class individual, or worth less than the life of Bill Gates. Is this true? How do we objectively measure the value of a life? Should it really be put on a scale of wealth?

      The life of the fetus, be it a life of suffering, or a life of poverty, is a life that he or she has a right to have.

      “What about genetic disorders/illnesses?” I have even more problems with this question than the previous one. Again it is here implicitly suggested that a life with disease or some kind of order is worth less than a life without. There are people who would agree with you, but they aren’t the kind of people I would ever look to for advice on an ethical issue. Why should we think that a child who is going to be born with sickle cell anemia is somehow worth less than a child without it?

      Any suggestion that a life of poverty, of disease, etc. is worth less than one without those things, seems like the kind of justification to devalue persons.

      Further, these questions seem to outline some kind of ability to predict the future. If a child is born into poverty, is it true that they will live a life of suffering? Who is to say that child may not end up wealthy? Who is to say that wealth is a measure of happiness to begin with? There are many impoverished people who are happier than many wealthy people.

      How is it that we can somehow try to suggest that we know how much suffering a child is going to have before he or she is born?

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | October 6, 2009, 8:24 PM
  7. You answered those all-too-common objections so well, J.W., that I can’t think of anything to add to it. But since I enjoy being long-winded, I shall force some words onto the page, or screen.

    But I would like to point out that the amount of suffering that we imagine a person might have to undergo has nothing whatsoever to do with the value of that person’s life and has nothing to do with deciding whether or not they should be allowed to live.

    Really, the arrogance of anyone thinking or saying or implying that they have a right to decide that one person should live while another should die is enough to boggle the mind. Once you start down that path, there is no end to it. It begins to snowball and soon you are deciding that those with crossed eyes or bad acne should be put out of their misery, or our misery, which would be more honest and accurate to say.

    And lest someone say that this is unlikely to happen, it has happened on this globe before. And it can easily happen again.

    As for the charge of being concerned for quantity over quality, I for one shall confess that I am guilty as charged. The quality of my life is not what it was when I was younger and in better health, if you want to judge it that way. I have less money too. So it looks to me like the argument for supposed “quality” is really an argument for “quantity” disguised. Quantity of money or health or prospects for employment and a return on a possible investment of dollars that might be spent on healthcare or some kind of care which a person would really prefer to spend on himself, needy or disabled folks be damned.

    Let us at least be honest when we argue, King Nyform. Let us state that we don’t give a farthing about helping those who need help and not pretend that we are concerned with their quality of life; and we’d just as soon snuff out that life as shell out a single cent to help them when we could spend that cent on ourselves. Charity may begin at home, but God help Gramma when her money runs out and she becomes less of a profit and more of a loss. We can just toss her on the dung heap with the crack babies and the poor and the rest of the refuse.

    God help us all at a time when so many people actually think this way and think of themselves as decent people.

    Posted by Disciple | October 7, 2009, 1:39 AM
    • Left out part of my reply.

      To this thought: “As for the charge of being concerned for quantity over quality, I for one shall confess that I am guilty as charged. The quality of my life is not what it was when I was younger and in better health, if you want to judge it that way. I have less money too.”

      Add this: So my “quality” of certain aspects of my life may be less according to this view, but I do not want to give up any of the quantity of my life because of it. And in many other aspects (spiritually, for example), I am much better off than I’ve ever been before, so for that reason, I also don’t want to give up any quantity of my life.

      Posted by Disciple | October 7, 2009, 1:44 AM
  8. Here are some thoughts to add to your non-believer discussion, (they may be there, I just glanced on my way to class).

    A separate life form is present when there is a distinguishable human genome other than mother’s… essentially saying conception. It can’t be the mother dealing with her body as she pleases if there is another genome present. (State of N. Dakota I believe is passing legislation on this one).

    Same type of argument, further down the line is blood type. I don’t believe one human can have two different blood types yet many mothers give birth to children who do not have their blood type.

    Posted by Open2Truth | October 12, 2009, 5:03 PM
    • Very true. I’ve read these myself and I simply forgot to add them in there. Thanks!

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | October 12, 2009, 5:13 PM
    • Hi, Open2Truth (and I’m glad you are. Open to Truth, that is.) I’m glad you added those thoughts to the discussion. Yep, I’ll remember these the next time I discuss abortion…which seems to be daily (and several times a day) now, during the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil going on until Nov. 1.

      Peace be with you and all who are pondering these matters. I pray that wisdom and light will guide all who have to make decisions that can profoundly affect lives, both their own lives and the lives of others. Forever.

      Disciple

      Posted by Disciple | October 14, 2009, 1:01 AM
  9. Ah the good old days of work discussions, how I miss them lol
    Anyway, I was going to say I agree in part with King Nyform. I would never want to bring a child into the world just to give it up. Orphans have it tough, not that I know from personal experiance or anything. No, not all of them have it rough, but so many do. Also, if a woman was the victim of rape? I wouldnt blame her at all for feeling like she needed to “cleanse” herself, to purge that child from her body. Another point for me would be, if the doctors discovered that if I carried my child to term, it could harm/kill ME…and possibly the baby. what then? As for the whole thou shalt not kill/murder thing? of course, we’ve had this discussion before to a point, but, if we’re really sticking to that, how is it okay for people to kill on the battlefield “in the name of God” and everyone turns a blind eye. Also, some states have the death penalty, which im against, and people in prison get killed every day. Where do we draw the line on murder? A life is a life is a life.
    I feel like im leaving something out but its late and im sure you’ll remind me later lol.
    I look forward to your rebuttal!

    Posted by Karen | August 30, 2011, 12:45 AM
    • Karen, let me respond by saying first thanks for your insightful comment. As usual I enjoy hearing from you and this time is no different!

      Alright, first you wrote: “I would never want to bring a child into the world just to give it up. Orphans have it tough…”

      Well consider a parallel example, this time from a woman who has a two year old child. She realizes that she cannot care for her child, and that her child, if she does not give it up, will die. She doesn’t really want the child anyway. But she also realizes “I didn’t want to bring this child into the world just to give it up!” So, rather than giving up the child, she kills her daughter. Has she done wrong?

      I think we clearly know that she has done something horrible. But that’s exactly the point. The issue here isn’t about what whether we’d want to bring children into the world just to give them up. The issue is whether they are children. If the unborn is a child, then to kill the child just because we don’t want to give them up for adoption is just as terrible as the woman with the two year old.

      So I think the main issue within this discussion is this: what is the unborn?

      And, as I demonstrated in both this post and others (see the pro-life tab at the top of my page for more), the unborn is a human person.

      But to return to other things you said: “Also, if a woman was the victim of rape? I wouldnt blame her at all for feeling like she needed to “cleanse” herself, to purge that child from her body.”

      I agree that the desire to “purge” the child from her body is something which resonates with all of us. But again, is the woman justified in murdering a child? Consider another parallel example. Suppose a woman was raped but desired to carry the child to term. Two years later, she is overcome with anger at the man who raped her, and in retaliation she murders her two year old. Again, we can see the woman has clearly done a great evil. Yet if the unborn is a baby, then it is no different. The unborn is just a younger two year old.

      Again, you wrote: “Another point for me would be, if the doctors discovered that if I carried my child to term, it could harm/kill ME…and possibly the baby. what then?”

      I think this is the hardest of the ‘hard cases’ about abortion. I think it is permissible to abort the baby if carrying the baby to term would kill the mother. But I would approach that with “fear and trembling” and only view it as permissible because it is a case of life or life. Equally, if the baby would die along with the mother, then we aren’t saving the baby’s life by aborting the pregnancy. But note that in both of these situations, they don’t justify abortion. The death of the child is not the intention. Rather, the surgery is intended to save the mother. There is a huge difference between a surgery to save one life and an intentional operation to kill someone. Therefore, this case would not justify abortion in a broad sense.

      You wrote “how is it okay for people to kill on the battlefield “in the name of God” and everyone turns a blind eye. Also, some states have the death penalty, which im against, and people in prison get killed every day. Where do we draw the line on murder?”

      As for these questions, I think it is clear they have no bearing on the abortion issue, other than the possibility of calling some people hypocrites. Killing in war has long been argued in the Christian tradition as justifiable because it can be seen as self defense–or a defense of a nation. I am not well versed in this area so I’ll leave it mostly as that. If the war is just (and there is controversy over what war could be considered ‘just’), then killing in the war can be seen as justifiable. As for the death penalty, I think that largely depends upon what metaethic we adopt. If we think that there are crimes so heinous that one cannot be permitted to live if one has committed them, we’ll be for it; if not, then we won’t. Many Christians line up on either side of that issue. I happen to support the death penalty, but note the vast difference between the death penalty and abortion. First, with abortion, we have an innocent child who has done nothing wrong other than having been conceived. With the death penalty we have a murderer who is seen as having retributive justice administered. Even if we are against the death penalty, we can see an enormous gap between the cases.

      And finally, I note a telling theme throughout your comment. You wrote “Where do we draw the line on murder?” That’s exactly the point. We draw it at none. If something is murder, it is not permitted. But your calling these things murder implicitly draws out the facts of abortion–that it is murder. And murder is never justified. (Again, looking at the death penalty, if I were convinced that retributive justice were unjust and therefore murder, I would abandon my position).

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | August 30, 2011, 3:02 PM
      • So again, the focus is: what is the unborn? If they are a child, then we cannot be permitted to kill them.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | August 30, 2011, 3:02 PM
      • Sorry, I got all ranty, you know me! I hope my other post is a litte better written. as far as the 2 yr old/rape victim scenario, I think more realistically the mother would only end up resenting the child, not killing it, but I kinda get the point. Adoption is an option and no, abortion shouldnt be used just willy nilly as birth control, but I am pro-choice. All I meant by my opening comment was if ever I got pregnant, I have ever intention of carrying to term. If there were some reason that I had to give up my child for the greater good, then of course I would, but I would do my damndest to make sure the baby went to a good home and not into a life of foster care where they’re bounced from home to home. im personally unsure of where I stand on exactly when a fetus is decidedly a person. Does it begin at conception or a few weeks in when they develop its first heartbeats? my honest answer…I dont know.
        I’ll try to keep the posts on the topic at hand, but you know im so completely random lol

        Posted by Karen | August 30, 2011, 4:18 PM
      • Scientifically and philosophically there is no way to give a cutoff point other than at conception.

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | August 30, 2011, 6:51 PM
      • I wrote about these issues in my post on “institutionalized death.” There I show some of the philosophical and empirical proof of life at conception. https://jwwartick.com/2010/01/17/the-triumph-of-our-era-institutionalized-death/

        Posted by J.W. Wartick | August 30, 2011, 9:27 PM
  10. Karen, as one of those orphans who is thoroughly glad my birth mother gave me up, whatever her reason, and gave me the opportunity to be adopted by wonderful parents and I was), allow me to respond.

    Thank God she allowed me to be born and thank God she gave me up, all of which was assuredly harder on her than it was on me. Thank God she did not let her pain and suffering or fear or anything else stop her. Whether she gave me up for selfish reasons or not, she gave me a very great gift. And I am thankful to her for that gift.

    Carrying a baby to term or aborting that baby–as if these were really the only options. Babies can survive at younger and younger ages now. Pre-natal care has advanced so far in our time and will continue to advance. If you can’t carry to term, the baby can still live. Abortion does not enter into the picture. Unless both doctor and pregnant woman collude in deluding themselves and others as a pretext for abortion. Which is murder, while the execution of a criminal guilty of a capital offense, who has been tried and convicted by a jury of his peers, is not. Not all killing is murder. Direct killing of an innocent person is. Abortion is murder of the most innocent human life possible. The baby has not even taken a breath and has done nothing to deserve death.

    So glad my birth mother did not impose a death sentence on me because I dared to exist.

    Posted by Disciple | August 30, 2011, 11:36 AM
  11. Disciple, Like I said, I know not all orphans have it rough. Many babies are placed with loving families, there is even the option of being a serrogate. I am not suggesting that abortion is the option above adoption. I was simply saying, many orphans have it rough. I am glad you had a good outcome after being put up for adoption, but I certainly hope you’re not turning a blind eye and ignoring all the tragic stories of those many many other children who didnt have it so great, going from foster home to foster home, unable to trust anyone and turning to lives of crime and drugs, just because your experiance turned out brilliantly. Im not making this stuff up either you know. It does happen.
    I also know medical science has come a very long way but like I said, if my doctors inform me that my life and my babys life are in jeopardy, well, call me crazy or selfish but i’m going to go with the option that is medically best for me. Yes, it would be incredibly heartbreaking. Im not talking about a late in the stage pregnancy. Im mainly referring to a high risk pregnancy. Also, would you deny a child of it’s mother if the mother went through with said pregnancy and she ended up dying during premature birth?

    “If you can’t carry to term, the baby can still live.”
    So you’re saying the infants life is more important than mine?
    The old lady kicked the bucked, but who cares, she popped that baby out so it’s all good!
    I respect that you stand by your views on this, but I would like to think that you would respect the same for me, even though we are on opposite sides of the fence.
    And not all killing is murder? How do you figure that? If im correct, one of the 10 commandments is Thou shalt not Kill. Now, I take that to mean..well, uh..Killing. To take someone else’s life, to snuff them out, to push up the daisies for them. Killing innocent people? Since 1973, 138 people in 26 states have been released from death row with evidence for their innocence.
    There is no way to tell how many of the over 1,000 people executed since 1976 may also have been innocent. Courts do not generally entertain claims of innocence when the defendant is dead. Defense attorneys move on to other cases where clients’ lives can still be saved.*(information taken from http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org) So its okay to kill THOSE people because they MIGHT have commited some crime? DNA testing/evidence has ALSO come a long way. I am against the death pentalty because to me, it’s just legalized murder.The only difference here is that a single person isnt the one doing the killing. Oh no, for this, the human being on death row gets an entire audience. How quaint.
    And its true you know. I mean, the inmate is dead. Why bother persuing his/her innocence? Yet another person on your dung heap.
    Like I said before, a life is a life is a life.

    Posted by Karen | August 30, 2011, 3:39 PM
    • Karen,

      One thing to note with the commandment is that it is translated from Hebrew. The Hebrew word used for “kill” is ratsach which is only specifically used for premeditated murder.

      If the Hebrew word were a different one, like harag, then the usage would be much more broad. But the word used with the commandment is specifically murder.

      You asked what the difference is between killing and murder. Well, I kill ants all the time. Do I murder them? Clearly there is a difference between the words.

      But again, I don’t want to get too sidetracked. The issue is: what is the unborn? If the unborn is a human person, we cannot kill them, because that would be murder.

      Posted by J.W. Wartick | August 30, 2011, 6:30 PM
      • Aggh! not the ants again! lol
        I hope you saw my earlier reply to you under your original reply on this topic from me.

        Posted by Karen | August 30, 2011, 6:40 PM
  12. Karen, I am afraid that these arguments do not hold water. Murdering a child is not an option and certainly based on what you imagine might happen to the child later on. Surely you would not even treat a dog that way. I am being a realist here, not basing my argument on imagination or a roll of the dice or what might happen down the road. I am not responsible for what might happen. I am absolutely responsible for what I choose. There is no dodging that truth or reality or responsibility.

    The argument that a baby actually endangers the mother’s life is one that people often trot out. I don’t see any facts to back it up. And nowhere did I even remotely imply that the child’s life is more important than the mother’s. You are the one claiming that one life is more important than another. I certainly do not believe that you are less and not more important than anyone else. Period. All human life is equally valuable. If the decision ever does have to be made to save a mother’s life, say she has cancer and the uterus would have to be removed and that would kill the baby — well, brace yourself. I think she could choose to have her uterus removed. And that would result in the death of the baby but it is not direct murder, which abortion is. She has other responsibilities and she would have to make this decision. But the removal of a cancer-ridden uterus is not an abortion and would not be murder, even though the child would die as a result.

    As I said, not all killing is murder.

    Bringing in the argument about the death penalty is a red herring. It is a discussion that is worthwhile but is not related to the subject at hand, which is abortion. If someone comes at me with a gun and threatens to kill me and I kill him first, I have defended myself. I have not committed murder.

    Yes, a life is a life is a life. More to the point, a human life is a human life is a human life. By your own admission. So killing the child by murder is not an option. A life is a life, after all.

    Posted by Disciple | August 30, 2011, 6:05 PM
  13. So I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this.

    Posted by Karen | August 30, 2011, 6:21 PM
    • my bad, I meant to direct this statement to desciple. I hope that was clear but I just wanted to be sure. we each have our views so I think its best we leave it at that.

      Posted by Karen | August 30, 2011, 8:06 PM

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Abortion: Further Issues « - December 12, 2009

  2. Pingback: The “Triumph” of Our Era: Institutionalized Death « - January 17, 2010

  3. Pingback: Abortion: The Minority Rules « - July 27, 2010

  4. Pingback: Abortion: The Struggle Between Objectivity and Subjectivity « - September 15, 2010

  5. Pingback: The Pro-Life position and the Bible « J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - April 12, 2011

  6. Pingback: A violation of God’s Will: Abortion- or why no Christian should be pro-choice « J.W. Wartick -"Always Have a Reason" - September 24, 2012

  7. Pingback: Sources for Pro-life Apologetics « Ratio Christi- Apologetics At The Ohio State University - October 22, 2012

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