Subject: American Culture and Abortion Part 1: Legal doesn’t make it Moral
Psalm 127:3 “Children are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is His reward.”
The annual March for Life was last week on January 27th. It’s timed to coincide with the anniversary of the historic Roe vs. Wade ruling (January 22, 1973). On that date, SCOTUS voted 7-2 to make abortion legal. But this year’s march had a first: the sitting Vice President was the keynote speaker.
Quoting the Declaration of Independence, Mike Pence spoke on a baby’s legal right to life while in the womb: “More than 240 years ago, our founders wrote words that have echoed through the ages. They declared these truths to be self-evident, that we are all endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…, I believe a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable. The aged. The infirm. The disabled. And the unborn.”
We know the unborn baby is a human being at conception, so Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in Roe vs. Wade, was wrong: “The judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to… resolve the difficult question of when life begins… since those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus.”
But as America fights over the legality of abortion, that isn’t the most important issue we must address. The most important question we all need to answer is whether or not abortion is moral. In his August 2015 article, Dennis Prager takes us through five arguments on the morality of abortion. Here they are.
Moral Argument #1: All living beings have intrinsic moral value and rights. “Does the human fetus have any value and any rights? Now, it’s a scientific fact that a human fetus is human life. Those who argue that the human fetus has no rights say that a fetus is not a person. But even if you believe that, it doesn’t mean the fetus has no intrinsic value or no rights. There are many living beings that are not persons that have both value and rights: dogs and other animals, for example.”
Moral Argument #2: It is society, not the mother or the father, that determines whether a baby has worth and a right to live. “On what moral grounds does the mother alone decide a baby’s worth? Is it right for the mother to end her baby’s life under any circumstance, for any reason, and at any time in her pregnancy? It is if we believe that the baby in the womb has no intrinsic worth. But in most cases, nearly everyone believes that the baby has essentially infinite worth and an almost absolute right to live. When? When a pregnant woman wants to give birth. Then, society – and its laws – regard the baby as so valuable that if someone were to kill that baby they would be prosecuted for homicide. Only if a pregnant woman doesn’t want to give birth do many people regard the baby as worthless.” I agree with Prager. As we said in moral argument #1, either the baby in the womb has worth or it doesn’t.
Moral Argument #3: The baby in the womb is not part of the mother’s body. When moral arguments 1 and 2 succeed, pro-abortionists usually respond by saying the woman has “reproductive rights” – the right to “control her own body”. As Prager says, “Yes, that is entirely correct. The problem here, however, is that the baby in the womb is not ‘her body’. The baby is in her body. The baby is a separate body. No one ever asks a pregnant woman, ‘How’s your body?’ when asking about the baby. People ask, ‘How’s the baby?’”
Moral Argument #4: The location of the baby, whether in the womb or outside the womb, has nothing to do with its moral value and rights. “Virtually everyone agrees that the moment the baby comes out of the womb, killing the baby is murder. But deliberately killing it a few months before birth is considered no more morally problematic than extracting a tooth. How does that make sense?”
Moral Argument #5: Based on the logic of arguments 1-4, it is clear that the vast majority of abortions performed in America today are immoral. “Aren’t there instances in which just about everyone — even among those who are pro-choice — would acknowledge that an abortion might not be moral? People may offer practical reasons not to criminalize all abortions. People may differ about when personhood begins; and about the morality of abortion after rape or incest. But with regard to the vast majority of abortions — those of healthy women aborting a healthy baby – let’s be clear. Most of these abortions just aren’t moral.”
Prager ends his article with a statement we should all take to heart: “Good societies can survive people doing immoral things. But a good society cannot survive if it calls immoral things moral.”
“The Evidence of Faith’s Substance”, Article #228