Thursday, June 12, 2008

Are we really pro-life?

My understanding of the pro-life view amongst conservative Christians is that the fetus is human life, and therefore is worthy of the right to life as any human being.

But do we really believe this? I’ve heard the estimations for abortions per year are at about 70,000. The response of Christians is generally through seeking new legislation, the odd protest (though I don’t see them that often) and through counselling services for pregnant women and so forth. But would we react the same if we knew that 70,000 unwanted children between the age of 0 and 2 were being murdered each year through clincis sponsored by the state?

My assumption is that Christians would not react the same way as they do to abortion. I imagine we would be MUCH more horrified and seek to take matters into our own hands in order to save these children, even to the extent of using voilence.

Why do we not do a similar thing for a fetus? It is either because we see a clear distinction between the value of an unborn child and a human being, or we are not morally outraged enough at the slaughter of innocent human beings to follow through on our convictions.

Or have i missed something?


Dave Miers said...

we need to do more.

reuben// said...

Really? I'm not sure that they would take matters into their own least i'd hope not!
many cultures have practiced infanticide - christians have (at their best) taken to adopting babies left for dead.

Do you think that non-Christians should be expected to value life in the same way that Christians do (or at least should)? Do you think that they should be required to recognise a foetus as a human?

I think that is the hardest thing for me to decide in this area.

And then I'd like to think that humans could be legislated or compelled to act morally toward one another but that seems so unlikely and in the end doesn't get you very's not the way God's kingdom grows.

I'm inclined to thank God when I see legislators who do what is good for society, and I do what I can to get the message of Jesus out there so that God might change people to live his way with proper concern for their feti.

reuben// said...

correction: when i say "take matters into their hands", i meant with violent means...

geoffc said...

Hi Reuben, thanks for your comments.

The main thrust of my argument is that the moral outrage would be uneven, yet pro-lifers (me included) claim that a fetus is just as valuable as any human.

Eg. If you knew of a 12 weeks pregnant woman who was going to have an abortion, and you also knew of a woman with a 2 year old baby that was going to throw her child off a cliff because she'd had enough, my assumption is that your immediate concern would be for the 2 year old child. And the level of horror and lengths you would go to would exceed that which most Christians have towards the abortion of a fetus. I'd imagine if you could you would take matters into your own hands to stop it from happening.

Why would we be compelled to do this for the 2 year old child but not for the fetus?

reuben// said...

sure. yep, i reckon you're right!

just speculating, and love to hear what you think...but perhaps differing responses are not totally inappropriate?

doesn't the mother have the primary duty to care for the foetus who depends on her? whereas the 2 year old depends on a whole network of others, not primarily the mother... so in some sense the life of the 2 y.o. could be said to be more of a 'community concern'?

hence the different reactions you anticipate

alternatively there is the question of practicality - i'm all for taking matters into your own hands (violence excluded) but in the case of the foetus, what are you going to do? you cant bring it up yourself! it's fate is largely out of your control!

perhaps it's more basic and we deep down think others have value because they look like us or can do 'human stuff'...

In any case - good observation and thanks for putting it out there!

geoffc said...

"just speculating, and love to hear what you think...but perhaps differing responses are not totally inappropriate?"

This is what I actually want to work out. My intention is not to condemn pro-lifers but to enable us to think about it a bit more.

Concerning 'voilence'. I was thinking of guns and riots and so forth, but more along the lines of you would do what you could physically to stop that mother from throwing her baby off the cliff. Eg. Steal the baby from her arms and drive away. Some people would regard that as voilence.

Having said that, I think Boenhoffer was correct in his attempts to assasinate hitler. I'd like to think I'd of tried to kill him as well. Sinful or not.