Abortion: women's rights or a baby's life?


In any argument is it a tremendous advantage to be able to set the stage for the discussion.  If you and I are working through a disagreement and you let me define the terms, as well as what the argument is about, it gives me an almost insurmountable edge. Think of it like home field advantage for ideas.

I almost always find this scenario to be the case when it comes to those advocating for abortion–they want to set the terms and the playing field for the discussion, and the field is nearly always women’s rights. Pro-choice advocates are often dumbfounded why pro-life advocates don’t buy into their argument, why we don’t see things their way. The answer is simple. Our playing field is different: it’s the baby’s life.

I’m a massive supporter of women’s rights. I have a vested interest in the subject: my wife and my daughter. As a husband and a father of a daughter few things anger me more than seeing women dehumanized, marginalized, and stripped of the freedom and dignity that comes with being made in the image of God. But when it comes to abortion a pregnant woman is not the only, or even the main factor. Remember, the playing field is human life. Let me to say two things about an unborn baby’s life that change the questions surrounding abortion.

First, an unborn baby is a living human being.

This is one of the most hotly contested areas of abortion. Every pro-choice advocate I have ever talked with is quick to disagree with me on this; saying, “An unborn baby is a fetus or a clump of cells, not a human.” I find that statement perfectly illogical. We use many terms to refer to the stages of human life: zygote, blastocyst, embryo, fetus, newborn, infant, toddler, child, adolescent, young adult, adult and senior adult. The point that simply cannot be argued against is that each word refers to a point in human life.  Yes, human life, but what about the fact that an unborn baby is not a self-sufficient human life? It’s worth noting that all throughout the stages of human life, especially at the beginning and end, humans are not self-sufficient. A one week old is no more self-sufficient than a baby in the womb. Both rely entirely on other people to care for them–as do many adults at the end of life. From a Biblical perspective this is even clearer: at no point in human life are any of us self-sufficient.

In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:10

At this moment you are more dependent on God to sustain your life than you ever were on your mother.

At every stage, beginning at conception, we are talking about human life. The only clear line of distinction in the process is that when the transition from fetus to newborn occurs we can see and hold a baby. However, without question we are always dealing with human life, from beginning to end.

If the focus of the discussion is human life then the question of abortion is dramatically shifted. We have to ask, “When is it morally acceptable for a mother to kill a human life insider her?” Notice I’m not saying women have no rights. I’m simply asking when is it appropriate for a women to exercise her rights when it comes to ending a distinct human life inside her. There’s a reason pro-life advocates fight so hard against defining an unborn baby as a human life. How can you answer that question in a way that makes abortion on demand look morally acceptable?

Second, human beings, in particular children, are valuable

No matter the circumstances that led to his or her life, every human being is valuable, including unborn babies. In recent discussions about abortion I have increasingly heard people say something to the effect of, “Getting rid of abortion is not fair because it punishes women for having sex.” The implication, or course, is that having a baby is punishment. Look at how restricting a child is. There is cost involved, in money and time. A child restricts what parents, especially mothers, can do. How is that not punishment?

The reality is, having any thing of value is restricting. Take owning a home. There is a huge investment in money and time associated with owning a home, both in initial cost and maintenance. The same could be said of owning a car. I wonder though, how many people would consider it punishment if they were given a new home? Here’s the point I’m trying to make. It is right to say a child costs. The problem is too many people believe that children are not worth the price. Simply put, we do not place a high value on human life unless it is our own. Scripture stands in direct contrast to that type of thinking. Human life, life made in the image of God, is valuable, enough so to warrant the greatest sacrifices. Again, make the baby’s life the focus and the questions becomes, “Why is it wise or good to discard one of the single most valuable things in this world?”

There are many, often complex reasons that drive women to have an abortion. But the simple reality is always the same. An incredibly valuable human life is ended. How could I ever support and celebrate abortion?