Thinking Straight About Abortion

By Wayne Jackson

Each time a significant election draws near, the topic of abortion comes to the forefront, although the issue is rather muted currently.

Apparently it is a theme from which most politicians had rather maintain a safe distance. The feeling is that no one could be elected in this amoral society of ours if he adopted a strict and consistent pro-life position.

Politicians are so “pragmatic.” They argue that it is better to make some gains by compromise, than to make none by a determined pursuit of truth. And so they become slippery – slithering here and there for whatever advantage there is to be had.

While it is the case that some political leaders will ostensibly contend for a “pro-life” position, i.e., that an abortion involves the termination of a human life, it is rare to find a public voice that argues a thoroughly congruous case on behalf of the unborn.

One aspect of “truth” is its harmony. Truth does not contradict itself. It is not something one day, and something else the following day. It is not a quality required of some but not of others. Truth transcends time, place, and circumstance.

Truth is steadfast and elevating. Truth’s standard is difficult to achieve, because we are so flawed with moral digression. But “truth” is there, glorious and elegant – ever challenging us to meet its demands.

Let us reflect upon some of the irreconcilable postures that plague the abortion controversy.

(1) There are many who oppose “partial-birth” abortions, i.e., the abortion of a fetus that has partially emerged from the birth canal, but they are not opposed to the abortion of a fetus that is still wholly within the uterus.

The physical location is hardly a matter that determines whether or not the fetus is a human person.

(2) Some voice their opposition to a “third trimester” abortion, but not to a “first trimester” termination. But this makes the issue one of “degree,” not “kind.”

While it is true that the infant is more developed in the third trimester than he or she is in the first, it is also the case that a person is more developed at two years old than at two months old. A young man of twenty has greater maturation than a lad of twelve.

Chronology does not alter the fact that a human being is a human being – from the moment of conception onward.

(3) Many who are adverse to abortion in principle would nonetheless make exceptions in instances where the child was conceived as a consequence of rape or incest.

Where is the logic in this? Is the fetus somehow less human because of the circumstances under which it originated? Would we argue than a two-year infant, who was conceived as a result of rape, might be eliminated with moral impunity?

Conception circumstances do not determine the value of one’s life.

(4) It is commonly believed that whereas the abortion of a healthy fetus would be immoral, the elimination of a seriously deformed child is an “act of mercy.”

Is there anyone, aside from the philosophical kinsmen of Adolf Hitler, who would contend for the slaughter of all of society’s incapacitated children? Is a person born with a damaged brain somehow less human that one born with a missing leg?

Have we totally lost the ability to reason?

(5) If the aborting of an innocent baby is the premeditated sacrifice of a human life, why is it that even those who contend for the pro-life position are loath to argue that abortionists – both doctors and mothers alike – should be subject to the same sort of criminal prosecution that we demand of other killers?

(6) Why is it that a woman who gives birth to a baby and stuffs its tiny body into a restroom trash can will be prosecuted, while the “pro-choice” woman, who perpetrates the same vile act in the confines of a sterilized medical facility, is viewed as a caring person who has relieved the world of another unwanted child?

Why is it that the man who kicks his pregnant wife in the stomach, causing her to abort their child, is subject to arrest and prosecution, but the woman who decides for herself to abort the same child, supposedly has the ethical and legal right to dispose of that same child? Is an infant less human because of who murders it?

We have become a nation of illogical fools, unable to think sensibly about the issue of abortion. And what is worse, many seem unable to feel, any longer. Their hearts have become insensitive in this environment of routine brutality.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.