Personhood, Ethics, and That Video

My church has a Matthew Ministry for pregnant women and their babies. The hope and the goal is to help the women who are headed into the abortuary to reconsider their decision to end the child's life. By God's grace, there has been fruit of this labor and several children are alive today as a result. As you may know, this week a horrifying video surfaced and made its way into the mainstream media. The video was of a Planned Parenthood woman calmly discussing the sale of body parts of aborted babies as she ate her lunch and drank her wine. Thankfully, there are still things that society finds ghastly and unconscionable, and it seems that this is one of them. When I saw the video, I found myself thinking of one of the young women who presented at the abortuary 20 weeks pregnant. Those in the Matthew Ministry gave her the alternatives to abortion, but she chose to end the child's life anyway. Since I counsel post-abortive women, I could not help but think of that young lady and the affect this video and all the current public scrutiny about abortion might be having on her. 

The child is the first casualty in an abortion, but not the last. Women and all those who assist in procuring an abortion all may experience spiritual and emotional problems because of what they have done. There are the moral consequences to being party to an abortion, even when all those involved believed at the time it was the right thing to do. This is because life begins at conception, and that is an act of God (Psalm 127:3). Because what is conceived is a human being any willful interference with the conceived embryo (apart from ectopic pregnancy) is wrong (Psalm 139:13-16, Job 10:8-11). The Bible states that children are a gift from God regardless of the manner of conception (Psalm 127:3-4). God numbers our days; life and death are in His hands (Deut. 32:39, 1 Samuel 2:6).

What the abortionists call the “product of conception” or “the pregnancy” has a soul. Luke 1:44 tells us that John leapt in his mother’s womb, and Luke 1:15 says that John was filled with the Holy Spirit. Abortion is wrong because it is the taking of a human life. God demands an accounting for the lives taken (Genesis 9:5-6, Hebrews 4:13, Exodus 21:22). 

However, if pre-born babies are not people there is no longer an ethical dilemma and the woman from Planned Parenthood was just talking about another commodity to be sold. Determining personhood and when it occurs is a fundamental issue in abortion because if it can be proven that an embryo or a fetus of any gestation is not a person it can be destroyed without moral or ethical problems. If embryos are not persons then scientific experimentation on them carries no ethical problem. If they are not persons then they can be killed without moral problems. If the fetus is not a person the arguments in favor of abortion are valid and a woman has the right to choose to end its life. If the fetus is not a person then abortion is reduced to any other surgery that removes something from a woman’s body. However, if the developing baby can be assigned personhood then abortion is a horrific form of child abuse. If the embryo is a person then it is highly unethical to experiment on it or to allow it to develop for harvesting of its DNA or body parts. Personhood is central to so many of the bioethical issues facing medicine and science in our present time. You need to get informed. 

I find these things to be abhorrent. The step of declaring that babies are not human (even after birth) and therefore disposable is sickening to me. What depravity and blackness of soul must be present in a person who could believe such things! To deny the baby personhood is frankly, preposterous. Yet, I am now convinced this is the new frontier in abortion rights.

God help us.