Apologeet.nlChristian Stance on Abortion
Part 2 — Human or Not
Hi there! Welcome to the second part of this small series on abortion. I on purposely mention abortion in the first sentence of this video. Why? So nobody can mistakenly watch this video and say they didn’t know the subject.
In the first part I’ve talked about the terms as used in the debate around this topic. If you have a hard time following me in this episode, I recommend watching part 1 first. You’ll find the link in the description of this video.
Now we jump into the nitty-gritty of the debate. We are going to see whether we can consider the unborn as human or not. You might think this is a no-brainer but if I would have received a grain of sand every-time someone argued against this idea… Well, I might be able to fill a teaspoon. No, actually, people don’t often talk about the unborn as non-human. That is to say, most people would say it is a human but at the same time they argue for different qualifications of the unborn. Effectively reducing the baby to sub-human or maybe even non-human.
Is the Unborn Human?
With modern technologies we can easily follow the development of the unborn. This has its benefits but at the same time we can look at the unborn and examine it like any other part of the body. Many will look at an embryo and say that it is just a lump of cells. Still, there is much more to say about the embryo in its earliest state.
Some argue, mostly the hardcore pro-choicers, that we cannot speak of a human in the very beginning of conception. The say this because the first cells are totipotent and can still develop in different kinds of tissues such as the placenta. Then they go on and say that the placenta is certainly not an individual, especially not when the formation of the embryo did not yet start.1 Nevertheless, it is known that these cells function as an organism rather than a group of individual cells. In other words, these cells are setting the stage, as a unity in wholeness, for the person’s development.2 When people say that the embryonic cells can not be accounted for as a human because they are still in development is… Well arbitrary at best. You see, development continues in young children for many years, yet no one would dare to say that a toddler is not a person until adulthood. Maybe I shouldn’t say ‘nobody’, because there are always loonies walking around of which we would be shocked if we had a change to hear their thoughts.
But now we have mentioned it, there are those who say that embryos are parasitic, and only benefits from the mother with nothing in return.3 But scientifically this view doesn’t hold. Scientists discovered that there is no one-way relation because beneficial cells from the unborn pass into the mother’s body during pregnancy. These cells will increase the activity of the mother’s autoimmune conditions. This makes the mother more resistance when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.4 And the research is still ongoing so what will be found next?
Yes, biologically, the unborn is a human and depending on the mother for survival. But no, the unborn cannot be seen as part of the mother since every cell of the unborn is genetically distinct from every cell in the mother’s body. And, as said, this is certainly not a harmful relationship, but rather beneficial for both.
Ever since 1970 some of the medical establishment went through, what you can call ‘semantic gymnastics’. They had to change meanings of certain words in order to deny the scientific fact that human life begins at conception.5 This dehumanisation of the unborn is not very compelling because an adequate answer to when human life actually begins is not given. This is why others follow the logical conclusion that human life starts at conception.6 In other words, all humans are human, whether embryonic, foetal, infantile, young, mature, old, or dying. Saying that the embryo is human is begging the question whether the embryo has human-rights. The question that follows is whether human-rights apply to humans because they are human, or because other humans say so. If the first option is true we are secure against cruelties (at least by right). If the second option is true, our safety cannot be assured because human opinion changes over time.
Good, this brings us to a threefold premise that consists of scientific, moral, and legal arguments:
- The scientific premise is that human life begins at conception;
- The moral premise is that all humans have the right to live because they are human;
- The legal premise is that the law must protect the most basic human rights.
Based on these premises we can conclude that human life, including that of the unborn, needs to be protected against all harm. But also, when people ignore these three premises we can safely conclude that they are scientifically, morally or legally oblivious.7 This ‘ignorance’ is disturbing, to say at least, because the premises are so basic that most can understand it.
As you can see, the human life arguments are not necessarily religious because they are appealing to reason, or in other words, to our intellect instead of faith. For Christians it is important that they also have sound theological reasons though. The moral view of a Christian relies on the understanding of God and His word. In the Biblical moral view, or Biblical world-view, we have absolutes. With this I mean that we can see be certain that some things are either good or bad. Torturing a child is always wrong, regardless of the situation, time or society. Contrary, secular society’s moral views become more and more relative. What might be good for you would not be necessarily be good for me, right?
You’ve already seen Bible texts popping up in which we can see that human life is to be protected. But, for the sake of argument I will highlight Psalm 139. Here David clearly says that God was there when he was formed in his mother’s womb, that is from the very beginning. In the New Testament we read that the baby in Elisabeth’s womb leaped up when Mary visited them, indicating that the foetus was well aware of the things that were going on around him (Luke 1:36,41,44). The Bible clearly shows God’s involvement with the unborn in every stage of development.
The Christian view
The question whether the expression, sanctity of life, should be applied to abortion can be non-other than yes. Christians who believe otherwise and hold the Bible as authoritative, need to go through some pretty misty hermeneutics to defend their views. Even without the theological background we cannot dismiss the facts.
Good, I leave it at this because as I said, I’ll have to make the videos a little shorter in order to be able to upload them.
In the next episode we will discuss some of the dilemmas that may arise when we hold fast to our Biblical world-view with its absolutes. What to do when a girl gets pregnant after she’s been raped? Or h, 34-37.ow about a lady who needs to go through some hefty cancer treatments?
For now, I leave it at this. I will make a playlist on both Odysee and YouTube, making it easier for you to finding the episodes neatly arranged.
As always, I am curious about your ideas, remarks or initiatives. Let me know in the comment section below. Please consider making an account on Odysee and write your comments there. You’ll find an invitation to Odysee in the description below. When you accept my invitation we both receive some free LBC. But also, it is easier for me to answer on Odysee.
Do take a look in the description of this video. I always try to add relevant links. Also in that same description you’ll find ways to support me… Your support will be used for making new videos and my work as missionary in the middle of nowhere on Madagascar.
Anyway, thank you very much for watching.
God bless you, and we’ll see each-other in the next video!
↑ 3. Baggott, L. M., Human Reproduction, Cambridge: Cambridge Press, 1997, p. 33.
↑ 5. Editorials, ‘A New Ethic for Medicine and Society,’ California Medicine, The Western Journal of Medicine, 113: 3 (September 1970), pp. 67-68.
↑ 2. Flaman, P., ‘When Did I Begin? Another Critical Response to Norman Ford’ Linacre Quarterly, 58 (November 1991), pp. 39-55.
↑ 1. Ford, N., When Did I Begin?: Conception of the Human Individual in History, Philosophy and Science, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991, pp. 157-158.
↑ 7. Kreeft, P., Three Approaches to Abortion: A Thoughtful and Compassionate Guide to Today’s Most Controversial issue, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002, pp. 34-37.
↑ 6. O’Rahilly, R. R. and Müller, F., Human Embryology & Teratology, 3rd ed., New York: Wiley- Liss, 2001, pp. 7-8.
↑ 4. Pincott, J., Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy, New York: Free Press, 2011, PP. 220-221.