What is the Real Choice in Abortion?

There is no question that the topic of abortion is one of the real hot button issues of our day. And there is a very strong and outspoken lobby which is active and adamant that abortion should remain the law of the land. When advocating for “abortion rights,” proponents put forth some very interesting arguments as to why it should be legal.

The first argument asserts a woman’s right to personal choice and privacy. They say that the whole abortion debate revolves around a woman’s right to have control over her own body. They claim that no outside person should have the right to tell a woman what she must do with her body. It is her own business and she should have the right to make her own choice.

Another argument claims that restricting abortions leads to back-alley procedures which put women’s lives at risk. They argue that abortion should be affordable, safe and legal in order for women to be protected.

A third argument is that teen pregnancy leads to all kinds of social problems and that most teens are not ready to be parents. They should, therefore, not have to carry a child to term which they will be unable to properly care for.

Another common argument is that women who become pregnant by rape or incest should not be forced to bear a child created under those circumstances. They claim that it is simply not right.

Finally, it is argued that unwanted children are highly subject to abuse by a parent who does not want the child. If a child is unwanted, the mother should not be forced to have it.

Essentially, pro-abortion advocates defend their position based on issues of personal choice, privacy, rape and incest, convenience, economics, child abuse, and the like.

This is not to say that these issues are not significant. But they completely miss the single most important issue of all. They entirely ignore the fact that every abortion kills a completely innocent human being. Not a single one of the pro-abortion arguments above can possibly justify this outcome.

Think about each of these issues for a moment. Should a pregnant mother have the power to take the life an unborn child based simply on a “right to choose?” Should the privacy rights of one individual trump the right of another to live? Should a child be exterminated because the means of conception was bad or even traumatic for the mother? Should a baby be killed because bearing it will be inconvenient for the mother? Should a pre-born child be killed because the parent(s) can’t afford another child? Should a person’s life be snuffed out because it might be brought into the home of someone who may not be a good parent?

Looking at it this way, the answers to the questions are obvious. There is no legitimate reason to kill an unborn baby.

But if we are going to make an assertion like this, there is one more issue that we must address. In taking this anti-abortion stance, we are also making an assumption – an assumption that the pre-born child is fully a human being. Many abortion advocates assert that the unborn are not yet real human beings, so aborting them is not killing a child.

This forces us to answer the deeper question: Is an unborn child an actual human being? Is an unborn baby nothing more than a non-viable mass of tissue in a woman’s body, or is it something more? Is that tissue simply a “potential” human being, or is it a “real” human being? Let’s look at the facts.

First, we know that a fetus is alive from the moment of conception. Science has shown definitively that the cells which comprise the fetus are living. There is life there.

Secondly, we know that from the moment of conception the fetus forms a distinct human being. It is not simply inert tissue in the mother. It is an individual person which is different from the mother’s body. When a sperm and egg come together, they create a new person with distinct characteristics which are not just like either the mother or the father. The coming together creates a unique being with its own DNA.

Finally, we must affirm that this unique, living being has value from the moment of conception. The value of a human being is not in the physical form it holds at any given moment. Nor is it derived from the ability of an individual’s body to perform particular functions at any given moment.

Just because a fetus does not yet have the form of an adult, does not lower its value. The fact is, the physical form of a human being changes throughout life. A child does not look like a teenager, does not look like a middle aged adult, does not look like an elderly person. All stages are the proper look of a human being at those stages. This applies to a fetus, as well. It looks like a human being is supposed to look at that stage of development.

Just because a fetus cannot execute the functions that a normally functioning adult is able to perform also does not lower its inherent value as a human being. Using that kind of reasoning, we could argue that people under anesthesia or in a deep sleep have less value. The same could be said for those who were born with mental or physical handicaps, those who have lost limbs or have lost the function of some part of their body due to disease or accident. Even without the complete functioning of certain parts of the physical body, the individual person is still there. The value is in the person, not in physical appearance or attributes. As a result, individual “rights” must be based on inherent, not physical capacities.

Abortion is not a preference issue. We don’t get to choose whether or not another individual gets to live or die based on our own personal desires. A pre-born baby is not ice cream where we get to choose whether or not we want to eat it based on personal tastes. It is an actual, living, individual person who has as much right to life as you or I.

So, what worldview perspective could possibly assert a value set which would approve of abortion? Where does the idea come from that abortion is not the killing of an innocent life and that it is simply a matter of personal preference? Or where does the thought come from that a human life in the form of a fetus has a low enough value that it is okay to kill it based on our own convenience?

The worldview assumption underlying this viewpoint believes that human life, at least pre-born human life, does not have as much value as the life of one who is already born. This includes the belief that there is no such thing as moral absolutes and all we have to base our morality on is personal preference. This point of view emerges directly out of Naturalism. That is, there exists no God who has defined morality for humanity. We must create our own.

The Biblical worldview has an entirely different perspective. God has revealed in Scripture that human life is a gift from God. Human beings are persons who are created in the image of God. The spiritual person that we are did not exist until God created us at the moment of our conception. Since God created it, it belongs to him, and human beings do not have the right to exterminate innocent human life.

The real choice being made when one chooses abortion does not relate to personal choice, personal rights or convenience. It relates to life and death. When an abortion takes place, a child is killed. As Christians, we have a sacred obligation to protect life because it is a person that God created for the purpose of relationship with himself.

© 2008 Freddy Davis