"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Viability of a Fetus

Abortion is a hotly contested issue in the American political arena. On one side, you have those claiming that an individual's freedom is compromised if access to safe and legal abortions is terminated. On the other, those claiming that the freedom of the individual fetus is compromised if abortion is allowed to take place. I agree with the latter position and let me explain why. The pro-choice argument is obsessed with a woman's right to do what she wants with her own body. It is not willing, generally speaking, to address the real issue, but satisfied to cloak it in a constitutional debate over personal liberty. The heart of the matter is this: when does life begin? If it begins at conception, you can argue with all of your might that a woman has a right to choose (and, of course, she does!) but not without consequence. The position of the Scriptures and Church have been consistent-life begins at conception. Thus, any Christian supporting a woman's right to choose without consequence is enabling an act of violence on another human being. There can be little doubt that this is part of the reason our culture is obsessed with war, violent video games, and the like. But what of non-believers? What if you do not accept the teaching that human life begins at conception? To that argument, I offer this post. All who argue for abortion rights have to come back to the question of viability at some point. Can you abort a child at three months? Five? Seven? What's constitutes life? Having a discernable sex? Lung development? I suppose the pro-choice movement is filled with people who hold to varying beliefs as to when life becomes viable. But for any who stumble upon this blog who struggle with the question of viability, let me make this point. What infant can get a blanket when she's cold? What two year old is able to fend for himself? What three year old can find food to keep herself from starving? The truth is, a child outside the womb is no less dependent on his/her parents than inside the womb. Thus, if you are going to make an argument for abortion based on the non-viability of a fetus, you must also, in order to be consistent, believe that it is morally unobjectionable for a child to be abandoned or out-rightly murdered by his mother or father. "Similar to his argument for abortion, Singer argues that newborns lack the essential characteristics of personhood—"rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness"[20]—and therefore "killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living."[21] Peter Singer is a beast of a human-perhaps something less than human. But at least he's consistent. He's realized that it is not rational to argue along the lines of viability because the new-born and toddler possess no autonomy. You may not be willing to accept that life begins at conception. However, arguing at what point life begins opens you to the dreadful possibility that it might be alright to take innocent life outside the womb also. "Thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech" Lev. 18:21