Abortion is moral relativism at its most lethal: Part 1

(Centennial Fellow) Abortion is the most widely practiced elimination of humans in the world today. Secularists believe that terminating pregnancies can improve the quality of life for the living. Some Christians believe that abortion is wrong except in the case of personal circumstance. The US Supreme Court believes that terminating a pregnancy does not terminate a human life of value. The US government uses taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions. The majority of abortions in the US are done for reasons of personal convenience or personal finance.[1] If the government says it is legal and the majority of people say it is acceptable, does that make it right to kill the unborn? The foregoing are examples of moral relativism. Abortions, at over one million per year, represent the single most lethal practice of moral relativism in the US.[2]

Moral relativism occurs when substituting subjective truth for objective truth. Subjective truth is based upon a personal preference or a truth claim that subjectively belongs to an individual, e.g., I like chocolate ice cream. Objective truth is based on the reality of the world which the individual discovers and can not change by internal feelings, e.g., the earth is round. Objective truth exists irrespective of subjective feelings. Preference claims are different than objective truth claims. Moral relativism is predicated upon preference claims (or subjective feelings) and is the ethical component of the secularist world view. Secularism is the worldview which believes there is no God, that government should substantially control economic behavior, that scientific naturalism is true, and that the state can bring about utopia on earth.

The Bible teaches that abortion is wrong. The Bible makes claims about objective truth and is clear about protecting the value of innocent life. It is also clear about the judgment that befalls a nation which sacrifices their young for personal reasons. The scriptures confirm that God knows the preborn child. “You knit me in my mother’s womb … nor was my frame unknown to you when I was made in secret” (Psalm 139:13,15). God also guides the preborn child. “You have been my guide since I was first formed … from my mother’s womb you are my God” (Psalm 22:10-11). God is also involved with the preborn “God … from my mother’s womb had set me apart and called me through his grace” (Galatians 1:15).

God condemns the killing of the innocent, “They mingled with the nations and learned their works… they sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons, and they shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, desecrating the land with bloodshed” (Psalm 106:35, 37-38). Child-sacrifice is also condemned in the Bible. This sin of child-sacrifice, in fact, is mentioned as a major cause that the kingdom of Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians, “They mutilated their sons and daughters by fire…until the Lord, in his great anger against Israel, put them away out of his sight” (2 Kings 17:17-18). The Bible states that man was made in the image of God (Imago Dei) in Genesis 1:27, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

The Bible states that murder is wrong, “Thou shalt not murder” (Exodus 20:13.) The Bible teaches that God created the child in the womb, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:13-14). The Bible also informs us that John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb, indicating personhood (Luke 1:15). In addition, the Greek word Huios means “son,” but it is also used in Luke 1:36 to refer to John the Baptist’s existence in the womb before birth, at six months. The Hebrew word yeled is usually used to refer to children (a child, a boy, etc.) however, it is used to describe a child in the womb in Exodus 21:22.[3] In Genesis 25:22, the word yeladim (children) is used in reference to Rebecca’s children struggling while still in her womb. Jeremiah 1:5 states “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

The Bible teaches that we are to protect the weak and vulnerable who can’t protect themselves. Proverbs 31:8-9 states “Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.”

Additional scriptures that support the argument for defending the vulnerable include: Psalm 82:2-4, Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 17:5, Proverbs 12:6, Deuteronomy 27:25, Deuteronomy 19:10, Luke 17:2, Jeremiah 22:17, and Isaiah 59:2-3. For those who defy God as the author of life and reject the admonition to protect the innocent and vulnerable, consideration should be given to Hebrews 4:13, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s eyes. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Abortion advocates use heroic acrobatics in twisting Exodus 21:22, “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows.” Abortion advocates (who attempt to distort this biblical passage) maintain that this passage from the Bible asserts that a child’s death can be offset by compensating the father. Such advocates ignore the fact that the child delivered prematurely in this instance is born alive. Further, secularists who reject God and the Bible as a legitimate authority on the value of life, can offer no explanation for either the origin of life or can they provide an example of man-made life, thereby demonstrating no moral authority of their own except for their moral relativism.

The Christian who supports abortion, in defiance of biblical teaching, must do so by special pleading. They can not find support from biblical or scientific arguments. The Bible clearly says it is wrong. Science tells us that humans beget humans and zygotes are simply first stage humans. Since a majority of those who obtain abortions claim to be Christian, it is reasonable to say this group of Christians support the teaching of the Bible except in the case of personal circumstance. This is moral relativism.

Secularists state that abortion is right. Unlike such hypocritical Christians, the secularists are straightforward in their support of moral relativism and abortion. President Obama, when asked when life begins, said “ … answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.” [5] Secularists argue that what is aborted is not fully developed so it is not murder. This argument fails on several grounds, most notably that they do not argue for murdering adults who may be equally less developed than others, e.g., those that are developmentally disabled, those with an incapacitating affliction, those that may be in a coma, etc. Stage of development does not make one less human nor does the size of life make it less human. Just because the baby in the womb is smaller than the one outside the womb, or the former is more dependent upon the mother than the latter, is not sufficient cause for ending its life. Secularists argue that the baby is just part of the woman’s body and therefore under her volitional control. Degree of dependence does not make one less human. This argument fails because the unborn have a different DNA composition, may have a different blood type, and may be a different gender.[6] The baby is a different person than the mother carrying it. Two persons joined together is not sufficient cause for one to terminate the other’s life. Even a conjoined twin would not be held harmless for terminating the life that shares its body.

Abortion advocates often will deconstruct the language to deceive the undiscerning by calling a baby in the womb “a fetus.” Fetus is simply a derivative from the Latin word for baby. Ostensibly, the abortion advocates, in twisting words to symbolize something else, are paying homage to Lewis Carroll when he wrote in Alice in Wonderland, “Then you should say what you mean” the March Hare went on. “I do” Alice hastily replied; “at least—at least I mean what I say—that’s the same thing, you know.”

Abortion advocates often argue that an unwanted baby should not be forced upon the mother. This argument fails because eliminating the unwanted is hardly a justifiable defense for terminating a life. As the Nuremberg trial illustrated, establishing a law to legalize the murder of the unwanted was not an adequate defense for the Nazi slaughter of the Jews. If the unwanted were arbitrarily eliminated by majority opinion, the world would have a much smaller population. Only the depraved would find such an argument appealing. In fact, the elimination of unwanted people is the record of history whereby whoever ruled made decisions about the value of people. The history of civilized man has been dominated by tyrants and rulers. Freedom is the sui generis of mankind in history.

The Magna Carta became a founding document of freedom and human rights and was the cornerstone for the US Constitution.[7] Samuel Rutherford’s Lex Rex, published in 1644, asserted that it was the law that ruled, not the king, and that the law should reflect the higher moral authority. Samuel von Pufendorf wrote in 1673 that “More inhumanity has been done by man himself than any other of nature’s causes.”[8] Freedom and human rights, taken together, constitute the best of what mankind can be.

Abortion advocates argue that if a woman is raped (and becomes pregnant) she should have the authority to murder the child. This argument also fails because the unborn (who is a separate person as confirmed by different DNA) was not an accomplice in the rape. Further, the woman can not kill the rapist unless she believes her life is threatened and this defense may vary by state. If we accept the specious argument that a woman can kill her child because she has been violated by a criminal, why would we not accept that victims of heinous crimes should be allowed to torture and murder the offspring of their perpetrators? Retaliating by the first party against a third party when the second party was culpable makes no logical or moral sense. Further, there are many examples of children conceived by rape that develop into leaders with a significant impact on the world, e.g., the great jazz singer Ethel Waters and the celebrated evangelist James Robison. There is a web site devoted to those who were conceived by rape yet have lived lives of great significance, value, and fulfillment.[9] The world is a better place for them being here.

Abortion advocates argue that the unborn can be murdered if economic hardship ensues from eventual birth. This argument also fails because a newly unemployed single mother can not murder her infant child because it has suddenly become “too expensive.” It would be a failed society if we eliminated people from life because they were “too expensive.” The question then arises about the difference between the living and the unborn? Is the unborn a human life? “Abortion involves killing and discarding something that’s alive. Whether it’s right or not to take the life of any living being depends entirely upon the answer to one question: What kind of being is it? The answer one gives is pivotal, the deciding element that trumps all other considerations. If the unborn is not a human person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However, if the unborn is a human person, no justification for abortion is adequate.”[10]

Advocates also argue that the unborn may be terminated because of the “handicapped” possibility which presents emotional hardship for the prospective parent(s). This argument also fails as we can not murder family members when they become handicapped or enfeebled, have Alzheimer’s, or present emotional hardship in caring for their needs. Approximately 3% of all births result in some form of birth disorder.[11] Parents of disabled children face difficult challenges every day but rejoice in the life that has been given. According to studies reported by the National Center for Bioethics Information, slightly more than nine out of 10 women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to abort their babies.[12] Yet, parents of Down Syndrome children report great fulfillment and deep love for their children. Studies regarding children of incest have faced some methodological problems (which renders analysis problematic) however studies reported by the NIH typically indicate that the incidence of some form of disability may rise as high as 50%.[13] Who has the moral authority to assert some disabilities of life become worthy of termination while others do not? Adoption may be the preferred alternative.

Pro-abortionists argue that the unborn can be killed because life does not begin until actual birth. This argument fails scientifically because life irrefutably begins at conception. The properties of life includes metabolism, growth, cell division and reproduction, response to stimuli, and adaptation to the environment, all of which is present in life at conception.[14] This argument fails medically because approximately 500,000 premature births occur annually in the US.[15] Approximately 12% of births are premature in the US.[16] These children grow to become happy and healthy contributors to society. This argument also fails evidentially because of the abundance of sustainable early births. The current record of early sustainability is Amelia Taylor who was born at four months gestation, weighed approximately 1/2 pound, and was not much bigger than a “ballpoint pen” yet she survived and is healthy.[17] Clearly, the unborn can survive outside of the woman’s womb prior to full gestational birth.

Pro-abortionists argue that young women make judgment mistakes regarding sexual intimacy and should be forgiven for their “indiscretion.” President Obama stated that if one of his daughters got pregnant from a sexual mistake he “wouldn’t want them to be punished with a baby.”[18] Only the ignorant believe that the arrival of a baby is “punishment.” It is beyond strange that a teenage mother can be forgiven for murdering her own unborn child while that same teenage mother could be prosecuted for killing a baby in the womb of a mother-to-be in a fatal car accident that she caused. Currently, there are 23 states with fetal homicide laws which apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy if someone kills a pregnant mother.[19]Oddly, many states (through Medicaid funding) may pay the medical expenses for an abortive mother as a “reward” for her mistake, while the state may pay (through imprisonment costs) for punishing that same abortive mother who killed the fetus of another woman. Perverse state incentives can create a moral hazard. State contradictions aside, whoever thinks abortion harms no one, needs to see an actual abortion: http://www.catholic.org/video/watch.php?v=13


[1] www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3711005.pdf

[2] http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30

[3] http://www.konig.org/prolife.htm

[4] http://www.guttmacher.org/presentations/ab_slides.html

[5] http://www.lifenews.com/2008/09/06/nat-4276/

[6] http://www.sodahead.com/living/pro-life-babies-have-different-genetic-codes-from-the-mother/blog-108923/

[7] http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/magna-carta-cornerstone-us-constitution

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man%27s_inhumanity_to_man

[9] http://www.rebeccakiessling.com/Othersconceivedinrape.html

[10] http://www.str.org/site/News2?id=5083

[11] http://www.pcrm.org/search/?cid=2785

[12] http://www.osv.com/tabid/7621/itemid/8445/Parents-cherish-their-children-with-Down-syndrome.aspx

[13] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1504045/pdf/bmjcred00642-0006a.pdf

[14] http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/life

[15] http://www.cdc.gov/Features/PrematureBirth/

[16]http://www.infoplease.com/askeds/percentage-premature-babies.html

[17] http://www.news.com.au/world-old/ballpoint-baby-sets-record-just-by-being-alive/story-e6frfkyi-1111116433611

[18] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB5Frgw0Fww

[19] http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/fetal-homicide-state-laws.aspx

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