So often the debate surrounding abortion is framed in the terms of “pro-choice” and “pro-life”. The implication behind these terms is often that their opposites are “anti-choice” and “anti-life”. Is this the case?
I, for one, am absolutely pro-life in every possible sense of the word. I believe that life begins at conception, and that all human life is inherently valuable because all humans are made in the image of God.
Does this make me anti-choice? Not at all. In fact, my belief in the Creator God of the Christian Bible gives me more reason to affirm and endorse the presence of human will, and of Man’s ability to make choices, than those who usually bear the label “pro-choice”. I believe that as image bearers of God, human beings have been endowed with a rational mind and the capacity to use it (something that distinguishes us from other forms of life). Furthermore, this same God has revealed His will to us in the Scriptures, providing an objective standard of right & wrong, and showing us what type of choices we are to make. He has even gone so far as to come in the form of the Holy Spirit to cause His people to make right choices, because we are incapable of making them on our own.
In that sense, I am very much “pro-choice”… but I believe that the choice to terminate a pre-born human life is a morally wrong choice. It’s not a matter of preference. It’s not “wrong for me”, or wrong for some, but absolutely, objectively WRONG for everyone.
Ironically, many who affirm a woman’s legal “right” to have an abortion also believe in some form of naturalistic evolution as the origin of human life, because both beliefs are produced by the same philosophical worldview. The understanding of life as the result of mindless, purposeless forces takes away our ability to choose, or at least to make meaningful choices. If the beginning of “life” is a subjective concept and life has no ultimate purpose, why should I care about an unborn child that might disrupt, discomfort, or inconvenience my own life?
As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15, a worldview that disregards deep and eternal realities produces an attitude of “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”. Do whatever makes you feel good today, because soon you’ll be worm food. This kind of thinking leaves a person with no real ability or reason to choose (after all, we were created by random chance, right?); a shallow, relativistic outlook that makes every “choice” always and only about “me”. Decisions don’t matter, because once you’re dead you’re dead. The world will go on without you, mindless and purposeless as before.
So you tell me: Who’s REALLY anti-choice?
And what about the flip-side? Are those who are pro-abortion “anti-life”? Most would say no. One would assume they at least value their own lives. Many also appear to value the lives of friends and family members. Some go so far as to attribute worth to total strangers; even animal and plant life!
How then can they so de-value life that they can so easily terminate the most defenseless lives of all?
The answer is often to change the definition of “life”. They will call a pre-born child nearly anything but “alive”. It’s not a person yet; it’s “just” a fetus… nothing but a clump of cells. Yet this is a very slippery slope.
Once we open the door to subjectively determining when life begins, who is to say when that point is reached? Is there a magical moment when a clump of cells moves a few inches down the birth canal and becomes a life? That’s what the law says currently, but many secular ethicists (the most intellectually honest among them) have already begun to move this point later. In his book Practical Ethics, Peter Singer writes:
“The fact that a being is a human being, in the sense of a member of the species Homo sapiens, is not relevant to the wrongness of killing it; it is, rather, characteristics like rationality, autonomy,and self-consciousness that make a difference. Infants lack these characteristics. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings.”
Are abortion advocates ready to say that killing babies (as in, eating, breathing, out-of-the-womb tiny people) is okay? They should, because this is the logical extension of their reasoning. Eventually, one could reasonably conclude that one has the right to arbitrarily decide who qualifies as a “person” and is therefore worthy of life, based on any number of subjective qualifications. Indeed, this is the rationale Adolf Hitler (a faithful Darwinist) used to justify the mass genocide of those he deemed non-persons.
I would therefore label as “anti-life” everyone who considers abortion a “right”, because to hold that position requires them to either consider “life” an undefinable term, or to affirm the practice of murder on the grounds of a set of any subjective criteria. There are no other options.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live. ~ Deuteronomy 30:19
Edit: Please read this follow-up post.