The book Facing Ethical Issues: Dimensions of Character, Choices and Community by authors McCormick and Connors describes in a very clear way to explaining and illustrating what present-day living in this world looks like. My choices are sometimes unclear but when fully examined in the background of Christianity and Science, these choices actually are clear cut and leave us without a doubt as to our specific duties and tasks. The authors seem to advise me as they put it, “…in the sanctity of life…all of these choices call for keen moral judgment and genuine wisdom (McCormick & Connors, Chapter on Biomedical Ethics, p. 97).
I am attempting to take up in this paper the issue of Abortion, because as the authors say “We have a duty to address unconscionably high . . . abortion rates . . . ” (McCormick & Connors, p. 100). Abortion is not only a deeply ethical issue, but it is also suggestive of a bigger crisis in present-day American human values. The abortion question echoes the conflicts experienced greatly in marriage, the family, role identities, and human sexuality in general. As I deal with this issue I will be focusing on the very importance and value of human life on a daily basis.
Additionally, I hope to present in the light of Scripture, thoughtful opinions and insights on the basic Christian moral issues involved where particularly human dignity is concerned. I will start with Science first. The book (Facing Ethical Issues) has effectively presented that Science offers a plain answer which absolutely supplements the principles of the Bible. In my experience with medical doctors, majority of them say that human life begins at the time of conception. Therefore, from conception to adulthood, any interruption at any point throughout this time is tantamount to killing of human life.
Speaking of the first stages of a child’s development in the womb, these early stages represent an incomplete human being just as the child prior to the dramatic effects of puberty is also in that still early and incomplete human being. The focus I believe is on human life at every stage. It is a well known fact established in science that after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into existence. How deep is the problem on abortion then? Many in our country that resort to this method were unmarried.
This demonstrates that abortions are for the most part often sought as a “answer “to the dilemma of pregnancy outside of marriage. What makes this more significant is that this country leads the world in juvenile abortions. Those who decided to use abortion usually are carried out in the second trimester of pregnancy, the most grisly of all. It has even been reported that abortions has now outnumbered live births. These are especially alarming in light of present findings regarding the health risks of abortion.
Significant rates for complications include internal bleeding, infections, perforation of the uterus, and damage to the cervix. I can only conclude that in the face of the claims made for the safety of abortion — that it is allegedly now one of America’s most common surgical procedures — it is becoming evident that a full disclosure of the hazards has not yet been made to the American people. Furthermore, I will now try to relate abortion and human dignity in the light of teachings of the Bible. I am going to start from Scriptural teachings at the point in which a new person begins their life. I start in the womb.
When Rebekah, the wife of Abraham, was pregnant with Esau and Jacob, they were fighting even before they were born. Genesis 25:22 – “And the children struggled together within her… ” (KJV) Here it is clear that they are called “children” sooner than they were born. Apparently children are not globules of protein, nor does Scripture even propose of them as fetuses. The Bible refers to them as children. At six months, the account in Luke 1:41 reads that “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost” (KJV).
I am amazed that Elisabeth at this point in time was six months pregnant. Therefore, the Bible refers to a “fetus” in the sixth month the same ways as it does a person who has already been born. As a result, a six month old fetus is a child and thereby, a person. As I read Psalm 139:16 it tells us that God personally creates every one of us in our mother’s womb. We are each separately God’s creation. A handiwork ought not to be torn apart by tongs and forceps, or destroyed by drugs. I cannot overestimate then what the Bible says that, to have an abortion is to murder or kill another person.
When having or contemplating abortion then, a responsible decision necessitates some convincing basis for settling the question of humanity, since, at stake is a human life. The biblical notion of the likeness of God [Gen. 1:27] is central to the Bible’s instruction concerning the dignity and value of human life. Because man is made in God’s own image, the shedding of innocent blood pollutes a land and cries out to God for judgment [Num. 35:33]. “If a nation permits the slaughter of the innocent, it surely will bring God’s judgment upon itself” is a gloomy warning to any nation.
Conclusion Why people resort to abortion then? I believe it simply is due the fact that it is practical — it works. The end justifies the means. And that end is utilitarian: which is the greatest good for the greatest number. It is my observation that in any abortion choice, those who will benefit from the abortion outnumber the one who will be injured. The woman will benefit, or at least thinks she will. The doctor will also profit because he has Medicaid, backed by HEW and the United States taxpayer, to secure his bill.
While this principle of “the greatest good for the greatest number” can be applicable in situations where proper restrictions and norms are already well-known, it cannot serve as a rule violating the human life itself. As image possessors of God, you and I, as human beings have a transcendent dignity and value regardless of race, creed, age, health, or physical beauty. In the light of all these arguments, as McCormick and Connors pointed out in their treatise, which the liberal American civilization uses to justify permissive abortion can logically justify infanticide as well.
Norms such as viability, brain function, physical defects, or socio-economic adversity can be valid to human beings postnatally as well as prenatally. Again, I wish to reiterate that Biblically, numerous texts indicate God’s tender and caring concern for the unborn child. A great deal of work continues to be done, however. Involved Christians ought to seek occasions in various youth groups and other opportunities to elevate the level of understanding, awareness and concern on this issue. Ministers should persuade their flock to be concerned in community and state pro-life organizations as an expression of their Christian convictions.
Lastly, in addition to these instructive and political expressions of Christian matter, I am emphasizing that there is however one more desirable facet to a genuinely biblical reaction to the crisis of abortion. Students like me can not only openly oppose abortion — which is indispensable — I should also encourage affirmative options to abortion. Opening and supporting centers for unwed mothers or crisis pregnancy centers can be dramatic and valuable as well as sincere expressions of Christian concern for both the unborn child and the woman having a difficult pregnancy.