Humanness and the Circumstances of Conception

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Pragmatism has crept into the "pro-life" stand of many politicians who suggest that the circumstances surrounding the conception of a child can be used to justify an abortion. On this topic, Tim Challies writes the following:

It is my conviction that some evangelicals and pro-lifers have given away the moral high ground by making a false and irrational distinction between children who are conceived by choice (or at least by the choice to engage in sexual intercourse) and children who are conceived by rape or incest (though, of course, most incest is also rape). If the argument against abortion was "You made a bad decision, now deal with it!" then this argument would make sense. Those who did not choose to have a child would be exonerated and could justly terminate their pregnancies. But this is not our argument. The argument from Scripture is simple: a fetus is a human being. A fetus has the same "humanness" as an adult and thus has the same right to life. A fetus is fully human. A fetus is as fully human if she is conceived by choice as if she is conceived by brutal force. Of course I affirm that rape is a horrific crime--undoubtedly one of the worst crimes a person could commit and one whose full spiritual, physical, mental and emotional impact I am sure I cannot adequately understand. But the brutality of the crime does not change the fact that is indisputable from Scripture--even a child conceived by rape is fully human.

Because crimes that lead to the conception of a child are horrible and cause immeasurable suffering, there are many emotive arguments that are used to rationalize abortion in these cases.  However, the humanness of the unborn child is intrinsic and does not depend upon the circumstances of his or her conception.  Consequentiantially, as Tim indicates, the unborn child deserves the right to life and should not be punished for the crimes of others.

1 Comment

Why the separate exception for incest?




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