I was reading a post by one of my favorite Christian bloggers a little while back. As part of her post, she laid out a Christian case for being pro-life. She advocated for the humanity and personhood of a baby in the womb using the example of a baby that had been in the womb for eight months.
One of those who commented disagreed with the author’s assessment. The commenter was also female and had this to write in response. Out of respect for the privacy of the individuals involved, I will not give out names. Rest assured this is a real quote.
Of course it’s a baby at eight months. Very, very few people would argue about that. It doesn’t make you prolife, it makes you scientifically aware; at that point, with a bit of medical help, the baby can live outside the mother (one of my cousin’s kids was born at 7 1/2 months, so it’s definitely possible). We of pro-choice talk about fetuses when they’re in the first and maybe the second trimester because they cannot exist on their own. It doesn’t mean we don’t love them. It doesn’t mean we don’t think of them as blessings. It just means that we recognize we’re going to care for the life of the being that’s already in the world (the mother) over the life of the not-yet-viable bundle of possibility if and only if we have to make that choice. …please don’t mischaracterize those of us who stand on opposite political sides. We also are Christian, and we also love God’s creativity in the human reproductive process, and we also delight in a woman eight months pregnant. We just think that in the months leading up to that, she has every right to care for her own body as she sees fit.
I am grateful for this woman’s response. It is very clear and seems to accurately represent the case of many who might call themselves, “pro-choice Christians.” Her response also seems reasonable enough that it might be respected, if not embraced, by leaders in the pro-choice movement.
Yet, that is not the case. The reasonable argument she presented is flawed in itself and further flawed by the fact that influential pro-choice organizations do not agree with key points of it.
“Of Course It’s a Baby”
Here is the one point of agreement the pro-life and pro-choice camps could have. Both could recognize the personhood [thus the appellation of ‘baby’] of the child in the womb at eight months along. The respondent states that “very few” would disagree on this point.
There may be relatively few people who disagree. However, those who disagree comprise the leading voices among the pro-choice movement. The most prominent of these are the leading figures of Planned Parenthood.
The fact is that Planned Parenthood has opposed any limitations to abortion on demand throughout the full pregnancy up to the point the child is completely removed from the birth canal. They favor this procedure so much that some of their clinics still perform these partial-birth abortions.
“They Cannot Exist on Their Own”
One justification for abortion before a certain number of months from conception is that these little humans are completely dependent upon the mother for life. That is true. On this point, even the hardened pro-choicers agree.
However, it is also true that such dependency does not end when the child becomes viable outside the womb. Nor does it end after birth, or for the first year, or for the first five-plus years or so living on the planet. Until that time, it is basically the mother who supplies everything the child needs to survive and thrive.
If it is true that abortion is justified because of the child in the womb’s dependency, the same logic would allow the disposal of a child out of the womb until a certain age. This facet of the argument has been recognized by some leading academics.
People like Princeton ethicist Peter Singer use this to propose a waiting period of 30 days before considering a baby a human person.
In 1993, ethicist Peter Singer shocked many Americans by suggesting that no newborn should be considered a person until 30 days after birth and that the attending physician should kill some disabled babies on the spot.
This dependency argument is flawed because all people have various times in life when they “cannot exist” without help. There are some classes of people who are inherently dependent on others for care throughout their lives.
Denying care to those who are dependent upon it, especially our children, seems a terrible act of cruelty. Denying life to the child in the womb because of the child’s helpless nature is a supremely arrogant application of power from one human being to another who is powerless.
Pitting Mother Against Child
Another flaw in the pro-choice philosophy is that it pits the mother against the child in a confrontation over whose interests will prevail. The most ardent pro-choice supporters will always place the mother’s interests above the child’s.
This applies in reality far beyond the limits suggested by the comment quoted above. Pro-choice advocates regularly lobby government against imposing any limits upon the reasons a mother could abort her child up to the moment of birth.
The justification for this by ardent pro-choice advocates is that the child in the womb is an unwelcome invader in the woman’s body. It occupies space and uses the physical supply of the woman against the woman’s will. Thus, the invader causes harm or potential harm and deserves to be destroyed in self-defense.
The pro-choice desire is an absolute right to determine whether the child in the womb will survive or not. The reasons are irrelevant in their view. In fact, the sole requirement is that the mother agrees to allow the child to be killed. No reason beyond that should be allowed according to the pro-choice camp.
“We Are Also Christian…”
The claim is that those who believe the pro-choice position is morally correct are also Christian as much as any other who might disagree. If they disagree with each other on this issue it does not affect either party’s Christianity.
Two questions must be answered to determine if this claim is true. First, the question of what becoming a Christian means. Second is the question of what living as a Christian entails.
How does one become a Christian? The biblical teaching makes it clear that no one is born into this world as a believer. Rather, one must be divinely “born again” in Christ to become a Christian.
Jesus says so plainly in John 3 when speaking to the Pharisee Nicodemus. How is one born again? By grace through faith in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as sufficient for eternal salvation.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 [ESV]
In other words, faith in Jesus, with all that includes such as repentance and surrender to Christ, is what is required to become a Christian. Nothing more, nothing less.
So it is possible to become a believer and have a favorable view of the pro-choice position. However, it is not possible to remain pro-choice and live consistently as a follower of Christ. Why this is so will be examined in part two.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001
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Inset Image 3 courtesy of Robert Huffstutter’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
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