In the Abortion Debate, “Extremists” Are the Only Ones with a Leg to Stand On

I try not to go into politics much, especially topics like this. But one thing does need to be said about abortion: I don’t for the life of me understand how people can be all that moderate about it.

Why do I say that? I say that because of the one issue that matters, the one question that makes all the difference. When does life begin? Does it begin at conception? Does it begin at birth? Does it begin some time in between? That isn’t just an important question; it is the question. I’m even tempted to say that it is the only issue that matters (although that probably isn’t totally true).

If life begins at conception, then abortion is the killing of human being. That means that, except in extreme circumstances, to do so is to commit murder.There’s no way around that. No amount of feminist distractions about women’s rights and catchy slogans like “get your rosaries off my ovaries” can change that. If life begins at conception, than a woman certainly doesn’t have the right to an abortion, because it isn’t just her body anymore. It literally is killing a baby. It’s not that pro-life people like me hate women or want to take away their rights (if men bore children the same way, we’d be saying the same thing). It’s because you’re killing a baby!

But what if life doesn’t begin at conception? What if that clump of cells isn’t something we would consider a life? If that is the case, why should there be any restrictions on abortion at all (except maybe the most basic laws to protect the woman’s safety)? If that is the case, it’s a clump of her cells. It’s her body and it should be her choice. Of course, if that is the case, one has to say when life does begin, and answer some very difficult questions about why that is in fact he point where a fetus becomes a life. But the point is, if it isn’t a life, there isn’t any good purpose for the government to inhibit people’s freedom.

NOTE: For our purposes here, the term “fetus” will be applied to the unborn at any stage of development, though I am well aware the term has more specific meanings in obstetrics.


Why Moderates on the Pro-Life Don’t Have a Leg to Stand On

Many people who call themselves pro-life hold “moderate” views which exhibit a clear cognitive dissonance. Many say that abortion is acceptable in cases of rape and incest. But, if the fetus is a living person, then that is morally reprehensible. I get it; carrying a baby that results from rape would be a horrible experience, the kind you don’t easily get over. But if that fetus is a living human, then sparing the woman of metal anguish involves killing an innocent baby. I’m sorry, but killing an innocent person to make a woman feel better is not justified. I know that that sounds harsh, but just think about if we applied this to a baby that was carried to term. Say the mother gave birth, but every day when she saw the baby, it reminded her of the father, so she decided to shoot the baby in the head (so it’s death would be painless). Almost nobody would be saying that was within her rights! But if a fetus is an actual human baby, than what is the difference? And this isn’t to discount how terrible rape is. I am frankly quite content to hear that a rapist encountered a victim who carried a gun who shot him to death. That’s why even in places like California, using lethal force to prevent rape is legally justified. But if there is one thing that even the life-shattering results of rape cannot justify, it is killing a baby who did not have anything to do with it.

Similar things can be said for incest if it’s forced. If it is not forced, then I would simply ask this: if the baby were carried to term, would one be justified in killing the child? If it had some sort of disability as a result of it being a product of incest, would it be justifiable to kill him or her if she was born, or for that matter, grew into a child or even an adult? If life beings at conception, then getting an abortion and killing the child after birth are the same thing.


Why Moderates on the Pro-Choice Side Don’t Have a Leg to Stand On

Now, that I have given my thoughts as to the gross inconsistency of those who hold to a “moderate” pro-life position, let me explain why those who are pro-choice yet manage to avoid the “extremist” label are no better (from an intellectual standpoint).

One way to quickly be labelled an extremist is to oppose laws that make the murder of a pregnant woman punishable as the murder of two people. Some states have passed such laws, and for cases where the federal government would have jurisdiction, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 applies. But just think about that for a second. Quite a few pro-choice politicians voted for those laws. But how can you possibly consider the killing of a pregnant woman the murder of two people when the fetus isn’t considered a living person?! Murder, by definition, means that you took a life. that you killed a living person. But, these people say that they don’t consider a fetus to be a life, so how can they say killing it is murder? See the problem here?

Either that thing is a baby, or it is just some part of the woman’s body. If it is a life, then you’re saying that it is okay to kill an actual, living, human baby as long as the mother says it’s okay. That is ultimately what pro-choice people are saying when they support such laws. They admit that the baby is a life, whether they want to admit that or not. That has to be the case, because if it’s not a life, then to kill it is not murder, and therefore killing a pregnant woman is just one murder, not two. At least the “extremists” who reject those laws are consistent. If it’s not a life then it’s not a life.

The same could be said about a lot of abortion regulations. If it’s not a life, and it’s just a medical procedure, why let the government get involved at all?


So When Should Abortion Be Allowed?

This, to me, is actually a more complicated question. I am staunchly pro-life, and consider abortion justified only in the most extreme cases (like to save the life of the mother). Since I believe life begins at conception, it logically follows that what justifies abortion is only that which is so dire that it justifies killing a person (a baby, no less). And, unlike other “moral” issues (e.g. drug use, sexual immorality among consenting adults), since this issue does involve innocent 3rd-parties, I believe that there is certainly a place for government (just as they have a place in dealing with murder of humans who have been born).

However, the thing about government and law is that it isn’t just about what is moral and immoral. Government isn’t just here to outlaw what is immoral and let the chips fall where they may. Not even God did that in His laws for Israel. Consider his allowance for divorce; in the beginning, of intended for no divorce ever (Matthew 19:8). God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). However, once sin entered the world, and hardness of hearts and immorality became an issue, He allowed divorce under very limited circumstances because, though divorce is bad, in a sinful world, not allowing it could cause more evil to happen. The same has to be considered here. If Roe V. Wade were ever overturned and the government could outlaw abortions, we have to consider what the fall-out would be. How many young girls would get just back-alley abortions which not only kill the baby all the same but also put the girl in serious danger? Things like that must be considered, so I am not totally on-board with the government banning abortions just yet. That’s not to say I want it to be legal either, just that, like with most things, there probably needs to be a balance. At the very least, for now, doing things like requiring ultrasounds and parental consent for minors can reduce the number of abortions done by unbelieving women who just don’t think about it as being a big deal because they have been raised to think that it’s not a baby but just “their body, their choice.”

Of course, if it could be shown to me that a fetus isn’t a life (which would be pretty hard given passages like Exodus 21:22-25 and Luke 1:41, as well as increases in scientific understanding of human development), then I would be for the right to have abortions freely, at least until some point where it is determined that life does begin. Like I said, moderates don’t have a leg to stand on.


To Leave With

Abortion is killing a baby, which mean it is usually murder. Don’t do it. Even if it is legal, anyone who does it, whether mother or abortion doctor, will have to stand before the fury of God Almighty (unless they repent and are forgiven in Christ, of course). Will God take into account things like knowledge an stuff? Sure. It takes more evil to kill a live baby with your bare hands than to go to a hospital and let a doctor induce your body to reject a clump of tissue. But justice will be done for those babies who have been murdered.

(Originally published 10/26/2012: Immaterial changes have been made).


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