Once again, our Ground Rules, which we also encourage you to use as you carry on conversations, particularly about this topic of Choice and Life.
Rule of Scripture, quote from Tony Evans Oneness Embraced: If the visible, physical realm of social chaos and upheaval is to be corrected, the invisible, spiritual realm has to be addressed through the proclamation and application of God’s Word. Otherwise, the spiritual causes of the chaos will be allowed to take place indefinitely.
Another way to say that: Whoever sits on the throne of my heart is exponentially more powerful in political decision-making than whatever letter sits in between the parenthesis.
Other Rules of Facets (within scripture), Complexity (within the issues), Endorsing candidates or parties (NOT doing it), Offense (The way of Jesus offends both parties), Humble Unity, and Passion
Our desire as I talk about this is to:
Persuade your head – not coerce, but to think Biblically with a God-worldview
Help equip you to carry on conversations on this highly charged topic
Pro-Choice Vs. Pro-Life
So today we run through a Biblical (and just a reasonable grid)
Fight that urge within you to jump to where “you know where I am going”, not asking you to be mindless going into this
NOTE: This issue is so personally widespread, it’s likely as we walk through this we come to personal “crisis” points, where our thinking shifts. Also possible we become handcuffed with guilt. If you read this today with that, you’ve not heard all that was said. PLEASE HANG ON.)
From one of 1st websites which pops up regarding promotion the choice of abortion (from National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws): Every women should be able to decide for herself if, when, and with whom to start or grow a family.
Simple and concise explanation of one camp. Left as it is, hard to disagree with these “rights of choice”
In fact, much has been said about guarding people’s rights
John F. Kennedy – “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
Nelson Mandela – “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
Martin Luther King – “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
With them, we applaud the battle for rights of all.
We said from beginning our primary first rule is Rule of Scripture,
Single biggest determining factor in most people’s determination on where they stand on Abortion Rights is their perception of Scripture
So, where does Scripture directs us in regard to people’s rights…
Proverbs 31:8-9 – “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Psalm 82:3 – Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Luke 4:18-19, Jesus describing own ministry – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Clear call from OT thru NT – our job with people’s rights LEANS HARD to those who struggle fighting for their own
The higher and greater call for people is to sacrifice our “lesser rights” so others can experience their “more significant basic rights”
Both sides to this Choice vs. Life debate have talked about championing a group that has been unheard and unfairly denied rights.
So let’s unpack that a little…
Important thing about rights and choice – they need clarifying in real life
An example: You have the right to date the person of your choice. But what about you dating my wife? That is NOT your reasonable right. Your right to date/marry whom you choose is a limited right.
Another example: I have the right to choose what I prefer to eat. But what happens when I find in restaurant that I lost my card and have limited cash. That freedom to choose my meal is confronted by my wallet’s ability to pay, and therefore now conflicts with the restaurant owner’s right to be paid for what he/she serves me? My rights, owner’s rights conflict, one of us will lose out. My right has now become a conflicting right.
Another example: Peewee football. Your 10-year old son wants to play football, and wants to be a running back. Strong, fast, you’re excited. He grows beyond the weight limit for backs and now they say he has to play line. His right to play as running back is a provisional right, meaning by definition, it exists in the present, but may change in future
Now let’s go back to our website: Every woman should be able to decide for herself if, when, and with whom to start or grow a family.
Left as it is, we can generally agree with these “rights of choice” – sounds very uncaring and discriminatory to deny a woman such rights.
But as written, and as is proclaimed, these rights for women are:
Limited (not your neighbor’s husband), Conflicting (as we will see), and Provisional (can change when “something else” enters equation)
How say that? As Scripture guides us, rights of what is inside the womb makes all difference, and clarifies that women’s rights as described above are limited, conflicting, and provisional.
This is BIG: The proper stance doesn’t negate women’s rights. It appropriately clarifies them.
Let’s go to both Scripture and Science…
A Biblical Perspective Regarding Life
Psalm 139:13-16 – For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 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. Thus, here’s a Biblical view of the beginning of life: 1. Life in the womb is as life out of it. (All of this is PRE-BIRTH imagery) 2. God’s verbs are verbs of care. (formed, knit, made, knew, wove, saw, wrote) 3. None of this is accidental or random. (all are verbs of intention and purpose) 4. We are masterpieces while still unborn. (fearfully and wonderfully made) 5. Personhood starts at conception. (“I was being made”, not “my body”)
That last phrase, “personhood starts at conception” is hugely important…
Used to be that the pressing issue with abortion was “Does life begin at conception?”
Researchers at Northwestern, trying to figure out how to determine for invitro fertilization if it has actually occurred, discovered “zinc firework” at the moment of fertilization: not computer generated, only filters were applied. Ssomething mysterious happens at fertilization.
We and others say, “Life just began!”
Virtually every bioethical scientist now agrees that life begins at conception – that is no longer the issue – it’s largely settled.
If you say, “No, life doesn’t begin a conception, but at a later time,” you stand much in the minority. Among ALL scientists.
So how can abortion be justified if life has already begun?
If you’re “pro abortion rights”, you HAVE to answer that question
Typically, 3 answers: 1. Ignore the question by focusing on “women’s rights”
“I’m for women’s rights.” But like for all of us, they are limited, sometimes conflicting, and provisional.
You MUST answer the question of ending a life balanced against rights of choice
2. Accept it as a sacrifice for a “greater good”
The following is a fairly “extreme” expression of this thinking, but it’s clear
June 30, 2010 – Antonia Senior in England’s The Times, “Yes, Abortion Is Killing. But It’s the Lesser Evil.” – Talks of her days as pro-abortionist, and her belief that what was in the womb was merely a fetus…until she got pregnant. “What seems increasingly clear to me is that, in the absence of an objective definition, a fetus is a life by any objective measure. My daughter was formed at conception, and all the barely understood alchemy that turned the happy accident of that particular sperm meeting that particular egg into my darling, personality-packed toddler took place at that moment. She is so unmistakenly herself, her own person – forged in my womb, not by my mothering.”
What is remarkable is her logical progression that her remaining pro-choice position forces her to take. As a pro-abortionist, she talked about for, the life, even her daughter’s, is a “only a fetus” and thus killable.
AND THEN SHE WROTE THIS: “You cannot separate women’s rights from their right to fertility control. The single biggest factor in women’s liberation was our newly found ability to impose our will on our biology… The nearly 200,000 aborted babies in the UK each year are the lesser evil, no matter how you define life… If you are willing to die for a cause, you must be willing to kill for it, too.”
Now most pro-abortion rights people won’t go this far, so they take another step, but equally dangerous.
You probably recognize the phrasing “when life begins” is slipping from the discussion – don’t miss this
Conversation now centers around When Personhood Begins
Let me get biologically philosophical with you.
3. Distinguish between a life (even a human being) and a person. This difference is key to being able to justify abortions. Nancy Pearcey, Love Thy Body, p.19: Thus, we have a new category of individual: the human non-person… it is not thought to have any moral standing, nor does it warrant legal protection. Later, at some undefined point in time, it jumps into the upper story and becomes a person, typically defined in terms of a certain level of cognitive functioning, consciousness, and self-awareness. Only then does it attain moral and legal standing.
That’s called “personhood theory.” It’s been growing for a while. John Kerry, in running for president in 2004, agreed that life begins at conception (most bioethicists believe this now). Interviewed by Peter Jennings, who asked him how he could then support abortion: The pre-born baby “…is not the form of life that takes personhood in the terms that we have judged it to be.” Translation: What’s in the womb is living but isn’t a person yet.
The next logical statement: Nancy Pearcey, p.52 – “To support abortion, by sheer logic, we must decide that human life in its earliest stages has no real value – so little that it may be killed for any reason. Then we must decide that at some later stage it is transformed into a different kind of being of such high value that killing it is murder.”
So the critical issue now in the abortion debate is NOT when does life begin, but what is the status of the human body? WHEN does it become a person?
Limitless explanations. And most of the criteria emerge gradually.
Intelligence, self-awareness, self-control, sense of time, concern for others, communication, curiosity, etc.
But many “post-birth” humans lack some of these, or lose some of these! Now what?
Are people who possess more of these traits more valuable? More “worth protecting”?
Must take logic to their logical ends!
But even bioethicists don’t agree on what are the criteria for “personhood”.
Pearcey, Love Thy Body, p.59 – “Ultimately, someone will have to draw the line defining who qualifies as a person. But without objective criteria, the concept will be defined by raw power. Whoever has the most power – namely, the state – will decide who qualifies as a person.”
Arbitrary definitions of “personhood” have profound danger. Do we really want our government deciding which humans are worth protecting (persons) and which are not (non-persons)?
How do we stand for the rights of the unborn, and women, and for the restoration of people? 1. Celebrate the rights of women. (IN life, but not OVER life) 2. At the polls. 3. In our support for post-birth babies. (encouraging fostering, adoption, support of Pregnancy Centers like our own here) 4. Demonstrate love and care for all human life. 5. Be agents of restoration to those who have walked through abortions.