Since Jan. 22 was National Sanctity of Human Life Day it’s only right that I passed along among material that further demonstrate the logic of the Pro-Life position. The following was written by Dr. Scott Klusendorf, and originally posted on the Crossway Blog. Immediately after Dr. Klusendorf’s piece you will find a brief clip debunking the outrageous claim of Planned Parenthood that only 3% of their services are abortions.
10 Things You Should Know about Abortion
1. Pro-life advocates present a formal case for their position.
That case is summarized in the following syllogism:
- P1: It is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being.
- P2: Abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being.
- C: Therefore, abortion is wrong.
2. A pro-life advocate can defend that syllogism in 1 minute or less.
“I am pro-life because the science of embryology establishes that from the earliest stages of development, you were a distinct, living, and whole human being. You didn’t come from an embryo; you once were an embryo. True, you were immature and had yet to visibly develop, but the kind of thing you were was not in question. And there is no essential difference between the embryo you once were and the adult you are today that justifies killing you at that earlier stage of development. Differences of size, development, environment, and dependency are not good reasons for killing you then but not now.”
Learn more about defending the pro-life view.
3. That abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being is conceded by many who perform and defend the practice.
Abortionist Warren Hern writes, “We have reached a point in this particular technology [D&E abortion] where there is no possibility of denying an act of destruction. It is before one’s eyes. The sensations of dismemberment flow through the forceps like an electric current.” Feminist Camille Paglia frankly admits, “abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue.” Feminist Naomi Wolf calls aborting a human fetus a “real death.”
4. The Bible is pro-life even if the word “abortion” does not appear.
Scripture is clear that all humans have value because they bear the image of their maker (Genesis 1:26-28; James 3:9). In laymen’s terms, that means humans are valuable in virtue of the kind of thing they are rather than some function they perform. Humans have value simply because they are human.
Because humans bear the image of God, the shedding of innocent blood is strictly forbidden (Exodus 23:7; Proverbs 6:16-19; Matthew 5:21). Abortion is the intentional killing of an innocent human being. Thus, the passages in Scripture that forbid the shedding of innocent blood apply just as much to the unborn as they do every other innocent human being.
5. The Bible’s alleged silence on abortion does not mean that its authors condoned the practice.
Prohibitions against abortion were largely unnecessary in biblical times. In a culture where children are a gift and barrenness is a curse, and where a nation’s destiny depends on parents having lots of children, abortion is unthinkable.
6. Preaching on abortion is not a distraction from the Great Commission responsibilities of the local church, but integral to it.
- P1: In the Great Commission, Christ charged the church to go make disciples.
- P2: The way we make disciples is to “teach them to obey” his commands.
- P3: One of those commands is that we are not to shed innocent blood.
- P4: Abortion is the shedding of innocent blood.
- C: Therefore, preaching on abortion relates to the Great Commission responsibilities of the local church.
7. The pro-life position does not rely on personal perspectives.
To assert that only women can speak on abortion is to commit the ad hominem fallacy—that is, attacking the person rather than the argument he or she presents. It also raises a troubling question: which women get to speak?
Indeed, even among feminists supporting abortion, there is no single perspective on the issue. Feminist Naomi Wolf calls abortion “a real death” while feminist Katha Pollitt thinks it no different than vacuuming out your house. In short, while gender perspectives on abortion help us understand personal experience, they are no substitute for rational inquiry. Rather, it is arguments that must be advanced and defended. After all, pro-life women use the same arguments as pro-life men.
8. Pro-life Christians tell a better equality story.
Does each and every human being have an equal right to life, or do only some have it in virtue of some characteristic that may come and go within the course of our lifetimes? Indeed, the abortion-choice position undermines human equality. That is, if humans only have value because of some developed characteristic like self-awareness that none of us share in equal measure, it follows that since that characteristic comes in varying degrees, basic human rights come in varying degrees. Human equality is a myth!
Theologically, it’s far more reasonable to argue that although humans differ immensely in their respective degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature made in the image of God.
9. Abortion-victim photography changes the narrative.
As Gregg Cunningham points out, when you show abortion pictures, “abortion protests itself.” Ephesians 5:11 says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” Nearly every successful social reform movement since the dawn of the 20th century has used disturbing imagery to convey evils that words alone are powerless to convey.
Disturbing images change how people feel about abortion while facts and arguments can change how they think. Both are vital in changing behavior. Our opponents concede this. “When someone holds up a model of a six-month-old fetus and a pair of surgical scissors, we say ‘choice’ and we lose,” writes feminist Naomi Wolf.
10. The remedy for post-abortion guilt is not avoidance. It’s forgiveness.
Abortion pictures are painful to see. But used properly, they set the stage for the good news of the gospel, which alone heals us from our sin. Pictures do the hard work of making sin concrete so that I can use my words to soothe and bring hope.
Post-abortion men and women do not need an excuse. They need an exchange: Christ’s righteousness for their sinfulness. Like all forgiven sinners, post-abortion men and women can live each day assured God accepts them on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, not their own.
Scott Klusendorf is the president of Life Training Institute, where he trains pro-life advocates to persuasively defend their views. He is the author of The Case for Life: Equipping Christians to Engage the Culture.
In light of the media explosion over the released Planned Parent videos by the Center for Medical Progress, I thought it would be helpful to provide a brief list of responses to some of the most common claims of in favor of elective abortion (abortion on demand), especially of those defending PP in light of this shocking footage.
People that are pro-life are merely irrational religious people.
It unfair to dismiss those who support the unborn’s right to life as irrational and or even influenced by fundamentalist Christian ideas. It also does not help to categorized arguments as religious or non-religious. Arguments in favor of any position are either true or false, valid or invalid. Those who appeal to supposed “secular” values are neither neutral nor do they stand on rational higher ground. Both sides are trying to present scientific and moral cases for their position.
When life begins is a decision each person (mother) must make for themselves.
This is sheer biological relativism. The science of embryology is clear on this matter, and has been for a long, long time. And it’s precisely this clarity that is the reason why so many abortion advocates will not engage the debate on the scientific issues. Here is a very helpful list of quotes from a multitude of embryology textbooks that clearly define human life as starting at conception.
It’s not a baby, it’s a fetus.
As noted above, the science is straightforward: a fetus is not a thing. Calling a human being a “fetus” is like calling another human being a “teenager.” A teenager isn’t a thing, it’s a stage of development. The word ‘fetus’ applies to a stage of development in the life of a thing, and that “thing” is a human person.
A fetus is not a human being, just a clump of cells.
Again, this way of speaking of the unborn is unfair and biases the discussion. We simply cannot dismiss the unborn as a “bundle of cells.” We are all– whether at 7 weeks of development or 70 years of life — a “bundles of cells.” The number of cells we are made up of is irrelevant to the issue of human dignity. Adults may be a larger “bundle of cells” than their smaller siblings or relatives, but they do not thereby have a greater right to protection under the law than those who are smaller and therefore made up of fewer cells.
A woman has the right to do whatever she wants to her own body.
Abortion takes place within a woman’s body, not to a woman’s body, per se. The abortion happens to the body of the unborn as it is either burned with a saline solution, or ripped apart piece by piece out of the mother’s body. Unless we accept the absurd conclusion that each mother possesses 2 unique sets of DNA and generic make-up, we must agree with the link posted above that the unborn is a unique, living, and distinct human person from the mother.
Abortion on demand should be available to all, because it’s the only option for woman that are the victims of rape.
Statistically speaking, less than 1% of abortions take place because of rape/incest, and therefore it is a red-herring thrown it in the mix to justify unfettered abortion for all. In the few cases where a woman is pregnant as a result of rape, we must be supportive, compassion, and willing to help her get through both the initial pregnancy, but also help into the child’s early development. We care about unborn babies, mothers, and developing children. Nevertheless, there is no reason why an innocent child conceived by a violent act should be killed because of the sins of his or her father.
The real challenge is ultimately between the conflicting “rights” of two distinct people. On the one hand, there are the rights of the unborn human being who cannot protect, defend, or speak for themselves, and on the other hand pro-abortion advocates posit the rights of the mother to kill their undesired child.
Remember, if the unborn is not a human being, there is not moral justification needed for abortion (any more than we need a moral justification for a tooth removal). But, if the unborn is a human being, there is no moral justification for killing it.
I’ve had several projects on my plate as of late. That’s why I haven’t had much time to post new material. Here are the latest links that I’ve found particularly useful over the past two weeks:
- I am afraid of this indisputable pro-choice argument– Matt Walsh
- Symbols of Christ in the Wilderness– Nick Batzig
- We Won’t Solve Biblical Literacy with Bible Trivia– Marc Cortez
- Is Tim Keller Weak on Wrath?– Tony Reinke
- K. Scott Oliphint speaks on Covenantal Apologetics at ETS
What I’ve been reading:
Description: In his recent book How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher From Galilee historian Bart Ehrman explores a claim that resides at the heart of the Christian faith— that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. According to Ehrman, though, this is not what the earliest disciples believed, nor what Jesus claimed about himself. The first response book to this latest challenge to Christianity from Ehrman, How God Became Jesus features the work of five internationally recognized biblical scholars. While subjecting his claims to critical scrutiny, they offer a better, historically informed account of why the Galilean preacher from Nazareth came to be hailed as ‘the Lord Jesus Christ.’ Namely, they contend, the exalted place of Jesus in belief and worship is clearly evident in the earliest Christian sources, shortly following his death, and was not simply the invention of the church centuries later. (From the back cover)
Here are this weeks noteworthy articles and blogs:
- Is the Pro-Life Cause Winning?– Russell Moore
- Bill Maher Led a Promiscuous, Cocaine-Dealing Atheist to Christ– Owen Strachan
- Paul and Justification by Faith: The Real Jewish Evidence– Daniel B. Wallace
- The Church and the Digital Age: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Magazine
Here are this week’s note-worthy links:
- When are we going to stop talking about being missional? – Michael Wallenmeyer
- Paul: A Reformed Reading (an interview with Thomas Schreiner)
- Sandra Fluke’s War on Womanhood- Peter Baklinski
- F. F. Bruce on the Gospel
- How Jesus Changed the Way I Study– Will LIttle
- An overview of Romans by Craig Keener- Seven Minute Seminary (below)
In light of the anniversary of Roe v. Wade here are some helpful pro-life resources:
- John Piper, Lincoln’s Logic on Slavery Applied to Abortion
- R.C. Spoul, Abortion: A Rational Look at An Emotional Issue (free on Kindle for the month of January)
- Robert P. George, Our Struggle for the Soul of Our Nation
- Ed Whelan, Senate Testimony on Roe v. Wade (2005)
- Michael New, The Case for Pro-Life Optimism
- Star Parker and Gary Bauer, A Dream Unfulfilled: Roe v. Wade has Played a Big Role in the Devastation of the African-American Community.
(HT: Justin Taylor)
Also from Juston Taylor’s blog:
This past Sanctity of Life Sunday I had the privilege of preaching in my church on the truth of God vs. the tragedy of abortion.
You can download the MP3 (53:18min, 36.6MB).
At the end of my message I quoted James 1:27, where we are commanded to visit orphans. I made the brief comment that if God commands us to help to those who parents are dead, how much more should we seek to rescue those whose parents want them dead.
I neglected to mention that I got this idea from a sermon by Piper on this passage. Here’s the relevant section:
James’ command to have compassion on the helpless who have lost mother and father applies to them if their mother and father turn on them and become worse than dead parents; namely, killing parents. If orphans should be cared for by God’s people, how much more children whose parents reject them.And when it says, visit them “in their distress” we may ask, Is there any place of greater distress than in the womb of a woman who gives herself over to abortion? This is the greatest distress any child will ever experience. To be torn limb from limb in the very place that should be the safest place in the world is “distress” if there ever is anything called “distress.” “Visit orphans in their distress.”
Piper closes the sermon in this way, and I call you to pray this prayer with him:Amen.
O how I pray that the religion of our church will be “pure and undefiled religion”–pure and undefiled faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! May God grant us to speak both languages of compassion: the language of the orphan and the language of the widow. The language of the helpless child and the language of the desperate woman. There are many other languages we must speak (to the fathers and to the lawmakers and to the doctors, etc.). But whatever we do, let us not be silent. For if we are, our religion is empty, and our faith is dead (James 1:27; 2:14,17).
Though it’s common to hear that we don’t really know when life begins, the medical answer seems pretty clear.
Dr. Hymie Gordon (Mayo Clinic): “By all criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”
Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth (Harvard University Medical School): “It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.”
Dr. Alfred Bongioanni (University of Pennsylvania): “I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.”
Dr. Jerome LeJeune, “the Father of Modern Genetics” (University of Descartes, Paris): “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion . . . it is plain experimental evidence.”
Contrary to popular belief on the Christians take abortion, the case for the pro-life position is largely a scientific case. The theological dimension is the ethic premise, ‘You should not take an innocent human life.” But whether the fetus is a human being, one whose life should be protected as any other innocent human life (by law), is determined by a scientific analysis of the nature of the fetus itself. Rhetoric, whether ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice,’ muddles the issue and generates more heat than light.
For more on this issue, on both the scientific issues involved as well as the moral/theological issues, see:
(HT: Justin Taylor )
See also my Abortion and Personhood
Recently, a reader of this blog left a comment. It was in reply to an entry I made on the anniversary of the Roe V Wade abortion case. The comment was short and to the point. Actually, it was an argument. Here it is:
1) It is morally wrong to murder an innocent person.
2) A fetus isn’t necessarily a person.
3) Therefore, abortion isn’t murder nor necessarily morally wrong.
I began to write a reply directly to the author, but because I’ve lately been swamped because of several life-changes (having relocated) I haven’t had much free time to blog. So I thought I’d use my reply as an entry. Here it is:
Thank you very much for your reply. I also appreciate that you stated your disagreement in the form of an argument. My point of departure from your argument is on your second premise, “A fetus isn’t necessarily a person.” Here is why I respectfully disagree with your position.
First, you said a fetus isn’t necessarily a person. This I understand as some hesitation on your part. The fetus isn’t necessarily a person…but it might be. If I’m understanding you correctly, then a lack of certainty should warrant a pro-life stance. Here is an example I learned on the issue. Imagine a demolition crew has properly wired a building in order to tear it down. The foreman asks if the building is clear for the blast about to tear it down. One of the workers says, “I’m not sure.” What would a responsible foreman do? Uncertainty, when it may very well put the life of a human being at risk, calls for caution. So, if we’re not sure if the unborn is a “person” then there’s a serious chance it just might be, and if we kill it, we’ve killed an innocent person with all the rights of any other person.
Secondly, I have difficulty with any position that admits that the unborn may be a human being, but not a human person. Though this is a common distinction that’s heard on many fronts, I don’t believe that it’s a valid one. The value of our life is based on our nature, not our function, i.e. it’s who and what we are that gives us value, not what we can do. The common criteria for distinguishing between a human being and a human person I find arbitrary and self-serving for most pro-abortion advocates. Before I mention these criteria, I want to defend why I made the above statement. All of the common markers for “personhood,”, if consistently applied, would just as much rule out newborn infants, as it would rule out unborn babies.
Here are the common traits people employ to distinguish human beings from human persons;1) Size, 2) Level of dependency, 3) Environment, 4) Development. This is commonly referred to as the SLED test for human personhood. Rather than reinvent the wheel, allow me to point you in the direction of some helpful material that aids in thinking through why these criteria aren’t sufficient.
Here are some additional resources:
- The Sled Test: The Top Four Arguments– Steve Wagner
- Four Difference Between Preborn and Postborn Persons-Stephen Schwarz