It’s a bold claim to say the pro-life movement, which calls itself the movement of “good values” and “godly love” is often a morally inconsistent movement.
Perhaps it would be better to say many christians don’t actually follow the book they claim to hold onto for their moral values. Often times, through plain observation, their actions don’t line up with their beliefs.
I’d like to explain this bold claim by examining the pro-life movement and it’s morals as a whole.
The battle between those for complete pre-born protection, those for partial or regulated pre-born protection, and those for minimal restrictions has been a raging debate since Roe v. Wade was considered law for the last 50 years. Not too long ago, Roe v. Wade was overturned, leaving the legal battle to the states; three groups have since been fighting over legal rights for each state.
The three groups I’ll be comparing extensively in this article isn’t what many would think of at first; I’m calling on pro-lifers, pro-abortionists, and abolitionists.
DISCLAIMER: When I’m referring to pro-aborts, pro-lifers and abolitionists, I’m talking in generalities. Most pro-lifers and abolitionists identify as christians, while most pro-aborts don’t. Most pro-lifers hold to the pro-life open letter, most abolitionists hold to the Norman Statement, and most pro-aborts hold to moral relativism. This sets the moral and legal stages for all three groups. Please keep these generalities in mind as we move forward in this article.
Where are pro-lifer’s falling short?
It’s quite startling how easy it is to have an inconsistent world view when morality isn’t at the forefront of our minds. The graphic above shows pro-aborts calling out pro-lifers for their compromising and often unbiblical worldview.
The table below shows how much overlap the pro-life and pro-abortion communities have in common. The abolitionists were added to the table to give a realistic moral contrast to the other two groups.
|Should abortion be completely criminalized?||No||No||Yes|
|Should there be exceptions in certain cases?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Are all mothers victims in abortion?||No||Yes||No|
|Do the actions of these groups line-up with their beliefs?||No||No||Yes|
We are going to look at each of these accusations and compare them to each group’s moral standards.
Should abortion be completely criminalized?
It’s astounding how one can call a fetus a human, terminate said human, and not worry about any kind of legal repercussions.
The organization Live Action has been great for explaining common myths and misconceptions regarding abortionists and their practices. The organization made an educational video showcasing the abortionist’s brutally honest approach to what a human being is, and how that is medically defined.
The video below shows the often used conversational methods and explanations doctors and consolers take to soften the blow that the baby is medically speaking, a human being; some even go as far as to affirm said baby’s humanity.
WARNING, THIS VIDEO IS GRAPHIC. VIEWER DECRETION IS ADVISED.
What’s even more interesting is, before these doctors become a doctor, they had to study fetal development as part of their curriculum, and read books that medically define a fetus as a baby. You can even quote biochemists affirming this view in their studies:
“Zygote: This cell results from the union of an oocyte and a sperm. A zygote is the beginning of a new human being“Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D. WHEN DO HUMAN BEINGS BEGIN?
“SCIENTIFIC” MYTHS AND SCIENTIFIC FACTS
The reason I get this out of the way now is to say there is no medical excuse to say a baby isn’t a human during any of the stages of gestation, and if said baby is human, legally speaking, murdering a zygote should be as subject to a criminal penalty as ours would be.
The legal backing for this is found in the 14th amendment of the U.S. constitution, backed by the Equal Protection Clause: “No state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.
The christian’s moral backing for this claim is found in the bible at Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder”. Specifically regarding the murder of unborn children can be found in Exodus 21:22-25: “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
From a pro-abort’s perspective, one would have to affirm that being human doesn’t mean you are granted personhood, in order to avoid criminalization. The pro-abort movement has evolved from stating “It’s just a clump of cells” to “Yes, it’s a baby, but it doesn’t have legal personhood yet”. Clearly, they don’t want abortion completely criminalized.
From a pro-lifer’s perspective, the baby is human and deserves personhood; however, this is where things get inconsistent. One would think affirming personhood is the silver bullet for criminalization, which adheres to the bible’s standard and the constitution’s too, but not to the pro-life community.
In an open letter to all lawmakers attempting to enact laws criminalizing abortion, National Right to Life and many other pro-life organizations stated the following: “As national and state pro-life organizations, representing tens of millions of pro-life men, women, and children across the country, let us be clear: We state unequivocally that any measure seeking to criminalize or punish women is not pro-life and we stand firmly opposed to such efforts”. Clearly, they don’t want abortion completely criminalized.
From an abolitionist’s perspective, they would have no problem saying we need to treat abortion like a homicide, since personhood is in fact a legal issue, and equal protection applies to all people. They adhere to their stated moral and legal standards by holding this view; and as a christian movement, the bible in it’s moral entirety.
Many abolitionist organizations and movements have affirmed this publicly by signing the Norman Statement.
To quote the Norman Statement, specifically under article VII: “WE AFFIRM that abortion is murder and must be criminalized as such, that preborn children are image-bearers who deserve the exact same legal protection afforded to everyone else, that scripture’s repeated prohibitions of partiality prohibit the legal classification of abortion as anything other than homicide, and that the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from classifying abortion as anything other than homicide“. Clearly, they want abortion completely criminalized.
Should there be exceptions in certain cases?
Ectopic pregnancies have been used as medical justification for keeping abortion legal, since it certainly brings about a legal and potentially moral dilemma for those who classify it as an abortion.
The medical definition for an abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. This is quite a statement, since medically, one would think of a pregnancy as simply carrying an egg as soon as it’s fertilized in a woman’s body.
However, this isn’t the correct definition of pregnancy, medically speaking.
Pregnancy is the time during which one or more offspring develops (gestates) inside a woman’s uterus (womb). According to Planned Parenthood and all leading medical authorities, ectopic pregnancies happen outside a woman’s uterus.
By medical definition, ending an ectopic pregnancy isn’t an abortion.
Banning abortions will by no legal means ban life saving treatments for an ectopic pregnancy. This also nullifies every example of the life-of-the-mother justification regarding abortion, since abortion isn’t medically considered a life saving procedure.
The Dublin Declaration, which has more than one thousand signatures from obstetricians, neonatologists, pediatricians, midwives, and other medical professionals, stated the following:
“As experienced practitioners and researchers in obstetrics and gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion – the purposeful destruction of the unborn child – is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.“240+ Obstetricians / Gynaecologists, 520+ Medical Professionals, 80+ Midwives & Nurses, 50+ Neonatologists & Pediatricians, 20+ Medical Students The Dublin Declaration
Now that we have cleared up all the confusion regarding the medical definitions and legal problems, as to avoid the common excuses and abuses, how would one justify the moral side of the issue?
If personhood is assigned to a fertilized egg, a zygote, how then can you remove a living human being and still be morally in the right during an ectopic pregnancy as a christian?
If christians actually use the bible as their moral standard, this isn’t hard to do.
Consider the difference between murder and killing. According to the bible, murder is an intentional and unjust death; whereas a governing authority killing someone deserving of capitol punishment is not.
DISCLAIMER: When pro-lifers and abolitionists claim abortion is murder, it isn’t the abortion itself that is the issue (since a c-section is also a type of abortion), it’s the murder of the child under an abortion. When they say ban abortion, they are never referring to a c-section, since c-sections are intended to save the baby and mother’s life, whereas a regular medical or surgical abortion does the complete opposite. Keep this in mind as we move forward in this article.
Because of this, there isn’t a problem removing a fertilized egg in an ectopic pregnancy morally if every attempt to save the child is also taken by the doctor. Sadly, there hasn’t been a record of a child’s life saved from an ectopic pregnancy, but it was an unintended death, not a murder.
This distinction is important to make, simply because without a moral standard as to what is deserving of death, or ultimately what is right and wrong, laws themselves would be arbitrary; like how slavery was once legal, but everyone agrees now it was an evil practice. Morality doesn’t always align with laws.
From a pro-abort’s perspective, there shouldn’t be any justification legally, morally, or medically for an abortion, since an ectopic pregnancy isn’t a life-of-the-mother case. Somehow pro-aborts will still affirm this view inconsistently, like Newsweek did.
Often, rape and incest are used as justification too, but this falls flat in light of even a moral majority vote, since while it’s a horrible thing, most people agree murdering someone based on their circumstances can never be morally justified, or be the answer to such trauma; but often by appeal to emotion, pro-aborts will say they should. Clearly, pro-aborts want exceptions.
From the pro-lifer’s perspective, whatever regulations you can squeeze through is a win. The problem is, even if more restrictions were placed on abortion, they’ll still be happening.
Even if one was to say “Eventually abortion will end this way”, it hasn’t happened in 50 years and counting, and when one avenue for abortion is shutdown, another always opens. With more than 50 years of regulating, we are starting to see a return in abortion numbers.
Pro-lifers claim to hold to a moral standard regarding moral compromise, but with that being the case, they don’t adhere to Romans 3:8, which explains as christians, they can’t do evil that good may come of it. Endorsing some innocent children to live while other’s die who weren’t also protected by a partial equal protection bill is, biblically speaking, evil; yet they expect good to come of it. Clearly, pro-lifers want exceptions.
From an abolitionist’s perspective, there isn’t any issue morally, legally, or medically to say all regular medical and surgical abortion should be banned, no exceptions.
Under the Norman Statement, article V they affirm: “WE DENY that pro-life incrementalism is either faithful to Christ or effective as a means of abolishing abortion. We deny that our demand for immediate abolition means the object of our protest will always be abolished immediately: the work of bringing about national repentance and abolition usually takes time and is not guaranteed for any nation“. Clearly, abolitionists don’t want exceptions.
Are all mothers victims of abortion?
I’m going to start by saying all three communities would agree a woman being forced to have an abortion against her will is wrong and is a victim. The reason I specify all mothers in my header is some do it willingly, and even pre-meditated.
If one wants to make the claim that an abortion is a victimizing medically, they could. According to LifeClinic, there are a number of risks simply performing a safe abortion.
- Severe bleeding and cramping
- Uterine perforation
- Scar tissue formation
- Tearing of cervix
- Incomplete abortion
I bring this up since pro-aborts claim birth is more victimizing medically and emotionally than an abortion is. The accusation is even emphasized by the name “forced-birthers” (This is a common term used for pro-lifers and abolitionists in the pro-abort community).
The three questions often asked of the pro-abortion community relating to victimhood are:
- If the alternative to carrying a child to term is to murder the child, why would you choose that?
- Can you claim victimhood in having to birth a child if you conceived willingly?
- If you don’t want to birth a child since they will be/are an inconvenience or unwanted, what would stop you from murdering your already born child?
Although these questions is never outright answered, they still often accept the fact they aren’t victimized by their decision to abort, even with such moral contingencies attached. Keep in mind they don’t affirm a child’s personhood unless the child is convenient or wanted.
The website Not A Victim documents women who’ve had an abortion, and openly don’t regret it. Some even acknowledge the humanity of the baby, but have a disregard for the personhood of said baby.
The ShoutYourAbortion online campaign is another example of acknowledged children and denied personhood.
From a pro-abort’s perspective, they are unashamed of what they do, even if they acknowledge it’s a baby they murdered. Clearly, pro-aborts don’t think all mothers are victims in abortion.
From a pro-lifer’s point of view, the emotional victimhood of a woman is just as or more important than their moral responsibility. Pro-lifer’s won’t push legislation criminalizing woman, even if the woman herself is the murderer, despite their often used moral backing.
A particular bible verse that disagrees with the pro-life approach is Deuteronomy 24:16: “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers; a person shall be put to death for his own sin.”
The view women who abort their children are victims and not criminals isn’t biblical, but the pro-life community affirms this view in the aforementioned open letter to lawmakers. By claiming all women need protection from the law, they push morally compromised legislation. Clearly, pro-lifers think all mothers are victims in abortion.
The abolitionist perspective takes article VII from the Norman Statement when it states:
“WE DENY that any woman coerced into abortion under threat of bodily harm or who otherwise acted without criminal intent should face prosecution. We deny that the mother of the preborn child should be given blanket statutory immunity from prosecution. Pro-life laws which do so are unjust and have enabled a self-managed abortion industry that is thriving even in pro-life states where doctors are prohibited from performing abortions.” Clearly, abolitionists don’t think all mothers are victims in abortion.
Do the actions of these groups line-up with their beliefs?
Everyone has moral beliefs, even if they don’t have complete data for said belief. For abolitionists and pro-lifers, it’s God and the bible. For pro-aborts, it’s majority vote, or moral relativism.
A popular example of this belief is the medical procedure known as a lobotomy; once considered by majority vote to be an adequate solution to many mental illnesses, the practice has since been shunned by the medical community as being a wrong medical belief.
It isn’t medical practices alone that don’t have a consistent standard by majority vote, legal issues struggle in the same way.
Slavery was a great economic practice and was accepted by the masses. Until slavery was ended by abolitionists, this was considered a good practice by majority vote.
With both medical and legal issues (most often being moral issues too) being considered right or wrong without a moral standard, how do pro-aborts really know if something is truly right or wrong? Since we know from history morality is objective?
My goal with this article is to say unless you have a consistent, moral point of view on this issue, or any issue regarding right or wrong, you’ll be fighting a losing and endless battle.
For pro-aborts, without a true moral standard, how do they know if they really are on the right side of this issue? Or any moral issue? Pro-aborts fight for a supposedly moral cause, but they don’t believe in objective morality, and their moral standard may be wrong in the future. Clearly, their actions don’t line-up with their beliefs.
For pro-lifers, the blood of legislatively unwanted children will be the payment for every good-intentioned law they pass. Is that consistent with God’s moral law, which they claim to adhere to? Clearly, their actions don’t line-up with their beliefs.
For abolitionists, the entirety of the Norman Statement and the entirety of the bible, which they hold as their moral standard, isn’t in conflict. Clearly, their actions line-up with their beliefs.
Do your actions truly line-up with your beliefs?