13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16, ESV)
With the recent leak of the Supreme Court’s draft of a decision that could overturn Roe v. Wade, a firestorm over abortion has ignited in our nation. The Bible is unapologetically pro-life, and we as Christians should be as well. But in saying that, we are met with many objections. “What about cases of rape or incest?” “What about abortions that are necessary to save the mother’s life?” “What about at-risk or impoverished women?” “What if the baby has Down syndrome or some other disability?” “Abortion needs to be legal to be safe—we don’t want women attempting abortions with coat hangers in alleys.”
Only about 1% of abortions are in cases of rape or incest, and less than 1% of abortions are performed to save the mother’s life (actually, in an open letter published at The Public Discourse, over 30,000 medical doctors stated, “After 20 weeks fertilization age, it is never necessary to intentionally kill the fetal human being in order to save a woman’s life”). These arguments are fringe at best, straw men distracting us from the real issue.
We can get right to the heart of the argument with a single question: When does the unborn baby become a human person? Everyone agrees that it’s wrong to “terminate” a human person. Take any of the objections above and put them into a conversation about a four-year-old child. Would it be okay to kill a pre-schooler who was conceived through rape or incest? Would it be right to kill a four-year-old whose parents can’t afford to have a child? Would doctors recommend murdering a four-year-old with Down’s? I’ve never heard anyone say, “Murdering pre-schoolers should be legal so that it can be regulated and done safely without harm to the parents.”
When talking about a four-year-old, every one of these arguments is absurd. So, what’s the difference between a child outside the womb and a child inside the womb? The U.S. Senate recently discussed a bill that would allow abortion for any reason right up until the moment of birth. So, 30 seconds and a few inches make the difference between a human being and a clump of cells? A few seconds earlier and it’s just a mass growing in the mother’s body. A few seconds later and it’s a human being with the right to life. If it sounds irrational, that’s because it is.
When does the fetus become human? Some might say when it’s viable outside the womb. But, as medical technology advances, viability has gotten earlier and earlier. Does it make sense to say that a fetus becomes a human based on whatever the current medical technology is? If it sounds ridiculous, that’s because it is.
A human is a human, whether a human in embryonic form, a fetal human, an infant human, a toddler human, a juvenile human, or an adult human. And every human, including those with Down’s, cerebral palsy, disabilities, dementia, or any other condition—every single human being is a person made in the image of God, infinitely loved, infinitely valuable, with a fundamental right to life. The right to not be killed supersedes the right to not be pregnant.