Abortion Kills a Child

Last Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. I would like to temporarily break from my series on Salvation and post an outstanding article by Pastor John Piper.

We Know They Are Killing Children—All of Us Know         January 22, 2013

One biblical principle of justice is that the more knowledge we have that our action is wrong, the more guilty we are, and the more deserving of punishment (Luke 12:47–48). The point of this blog post is that we know what we are doing — all America knows. We are killing children. Pro-choice and Pro-life people both know this.

But before I show that, let’s clarify what the Supreme Court did forty years ago today. In Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court in effect made abortion on demand untouchable by law. The way this was done was with two steps.

One step was to say, laws may not prevent abortion, even during the full nine months, if the abortion is “to preserve the life or health of the mother.” The other step was to define “health” as “all factors — physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman's age — relevant to the well-being of the patient.”

For forty years this has meant that any perceived stress is a legal ground for eliminating the child. We have killed fifty million babies. And what increases our guilt as a nation is that we know what we are doing. Here’s the evidence that we know we are killing children.

1. Anecdotally, abortionists will admit they are killing children.

Many simply say it is the lesser of two evils. I took an abortionist out to lunch once, prepared to give him ten reasons why the unborn are human beings. He stopped me, and said, “I know that. We are killing children.” I was stunned. He said, “It’s simply a matter of justice for women. It would be a greater evil to deny women the equal right of reproductive freedom.” Which means women should be no more encumbered by the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy than men. That equal freedom from the burden of bearing unwanted children is the basis for abortion that President Obama refers to again and again when he talks about equal rights for women. We know we are killing children.

2. States treat the killing of the unborn as a homicide.

We know what we are doing because 38 States (including Minnesota) treat the killing of an unborn child as a form of homicide. They have what are called “fetal homicide laws.”

It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother wants the baby, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if she doesn’t. In the first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights.

Humanness is defined by the desire of the strong. Might makes right. We reject this right to define personhood in the case of Nazi anti-Semitism, Confederate race-based slavery, and Soviet Gulags. When we define the humanness of the unborn by the will of the powerful we know what we are doing.

3. Fetal surgery treats the unborn as children and patients.

High risk pregnancy specialist, Dr. Steve Calvin, in a letter some years ago to the Arizona Daily Star, wrote, “There is inescapable schizophrenia in aborting a perfectly normal 22 week fetus while at the same hospital, performing intra-uterine surgery on its cousin.” When the unborn are wanted, they are treated as children and patients. When they are not wanted, they are not children. We know what we are doing.

4. Being small does not disqualify personhood.

The five-foot-eight frame of a teenage son guarantees him no more right to life than the 23-inch frame of his little sister in her mother's arms. Size is morally irrelevant. One inch, 23 inches, 68 inches — does not matter. It is morally irrelevant in deciding who should be protected. We know what we are doing in killing the smallest.

5. Not having developed reasoning does not disqualify personhood.

A one-month-old infant, nursing at his mother's breast, does not have reasoning powers. But only a few dare argue that infanticide is therefore acceptable. Most know better. Outside and inside the womb the infant cannot yet reason, but is a human person. We know what we are doing.

6. Being in the womb does not disqualify human personhood.

Location or environment does not determine a right to life. Scott Klusendorf asks, “How does a simple journey of seven inches down the birth canal suddenly transform the essential nature of the fetus from non-person to person?” We know what we are doing.

7. Being dependent on mommy does not disqualify personhood.

We consider persons on respirators or dialysis to be human beings. The unborn cannot be disqualified from human personhood because they are dependent on their mother for food and oxygen. In fact, we operate on the exact opposite principle: The more dependent a little one is on us, the more responsibility we feel to protect him, not the less. We know what we are doing.

(Those last four observations, #4-7, were summed up by Scott Klusendorf under the acronym SLED: Size, Level of development, Environment, Degree of dependence — none is morally relevant for the definition of human life.)

8. The genetic make up of humans is unique.

The genetic make up of a human is different from all other creatures from the moment of conception. The human code is complete and unique from the start. Once that was not known. Now we know.

9. All the organs are present at eight weeks of gestation.

At eight weeks of gestation all the organs are present. The brain is functioning, the heart pumping, the liver making blood cells, the kidney cleaning the fluids, the finger has a print. Yet almost all abortions happen later than this date. We know what we are doing.

10. We have seen the photographs.

The marvel of ultrasound has given a stunning window into the womb that shows the unborn, for example, at 8 weeks sucking his thumb, recoiling from pricking, responding to sound. Watch this four-minute video of the developing unborn child. We know that they are children.

11. When two rights conflict, the higher value should be protected.

We know the principle of justice that when two legitimate rights conflict, the right that protects the higher value should prevail. We deny the right to drive at 100 miles per hour because the value of life is greater than the value of being on time or getting thrills. The right of the unborn not to be killed and the right of a woman not to be pregnant may be at odds. But they are not equal rights. Staying alive is more precious and more basic than not being pregnant. We know what we are doing when we kill a child.

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{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Kristeena April 28, 2017, 8:01 pm

    I can’t help but wonder when concern and compassionate understanding for the woman that has found herself in the position to do this comes in, especially if she happens to read this. Also,I disagree. Abortion does not kill children but the REASONS and experience that impact a woman. Women dealing with unbearable pain and fear. What about the young woman whose mothers perform an abortion on them, as a vulnerable growing teen or worse a child, because they are impregnated by their father or their brother or another monster who has raped them?
    You stated, “staying alive is more precious and basic than not being pregnant.” Have you told this to the children who grow into adults incapable of loving, incapable of trusting, or being consumed by fear so much that they take their own life because no one was there for them, the way God hoped and intended? People unable to literally connect with another human because of trauma and therefore creating an internal structure that even God can’t penetrate or sadly, God can’t reconnect to his law written in their hearts. People who are walking dead. How many women, that have gotten abortions, have you spoken to in order to acknowledge the other side of this argument?
    I have been cleaning out the well of skeletons that exist within my spirit, which has taken me on a roller coaster ride of faith. You, Steve, were along side me at my highest peak living through the Lord but the realities of my soul, due to childhood trauma, have left me ripped apart. My responsibilities are to clean out infectious pain and then I have to stitch myself back together by figuring out who I even am and then being that woman. I’ve actually experienced hating myself, the pain is literally unfathomable. Life has felt terrifying. I wish this upon no one. I didn’t know I can cry so hard that I would be gasping for air and that the next morning I would look like I just completed 5 rounds in the Octagon with Cyborg. Did you know it’s possible to not know yourself? I didn’t even know we could hate ourselves.
    I have even found myself wishing that, as you put it, my parents took advantage of “that equal freedom from the burden of bearing unwanted children.” I have un-fond memories of being told by my mother that my father didn’t even think I was his daughter while she was clueless that sending me to spend “father/daughter time” with him resulted in me physically assaulted. Too much was taken from me rather than given. What’s even crazier, her own mother was told the same because my grandmother was a “bastard”, as they so eloquently used to say. My grandmother was so consumed with anger she had multiple strokes that prevented her from even being able to speak the last part of her life. I’ve never even heard her voice, only grunts and poor handwritten notes. My grandmothers own Mother would tell her that her father didn’t want her and didn’t care about her.
    From the book Boundaries, “God has designed us with very specific needs from the family we grew up in. When we have unmet needs, we need to take inventory of these broken places inside and begin to have those needs met in the body of Christ so that we will be strong enough to fight the boundary fights of adult life.” Continuing, “These unmet developmental needs are responsible for much of our resistance to setting boundaries.”
    We champions of abuse that still have the courage to survive, like me, can read this and believe as much as possible about life getting better with fellowship support but as you know, feet to faith is incredibly challenging for an abundance of complex reasons all relating to the human condition. Lastly from that book it describes “parents doing the right thing such as nurturing us, having good boundaries, they forgive and help us resolve the split between good and bad, and they empower us to become responsible adults. But many people have not had this experience. (*like me) They are psychological orphans who need to be adopted and cared for by the body of Christ; to differing extents, this is true of all of us.”
    Now I hope you’re saying, “kristeena! right there, you guys need to be adopted and cared for by the body of Christ.” but if they’ve never seen open arms how can they recognize it and know what it means?
    You get a special feeling when your wifes hand touches yours right? or when you hug your son or daughter knowing you’ve given all you could so they may cope, persevere, to live with joy and so much more. What about us though who didn’t even know that was available? Would you say to your daughter, “it doesn’t matter how you feel, it doesn’t matter how this happened because God says you cant, you wont.” What is unreasonable about a woman acknowledging she is incapable of a lifetime responsibility? Especially and come on, most likely on her own. Why can you say, “this shouldn’t be done because of our ancient text” even though that child can, almost with certainty, be a victim to abuse, neglect, and to eventually themselves at the mercy of psychological/behavioral symptoms. Who is helping parents understand they need to learn how to be parents?
    I know and love God certainly but as Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
    Abortion is legal because the majority of humanity is hurting each other in such destructive ways that some of us need a side door to get by one more day. I just feel it’s important to balance the lesson with a supportive take away. God rebukes but like Pastor Keating says, “hes not gonna backhand you”
    I actually ended up here because I miss engaging with you! I hope you’re well. Email me if you would like, I’d love to get in touch. You are one of my favorite spiritual teachers!

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