A few weeks ago I was asked by LifeSiteNews for my opinion on the moral validity of pursuing legislation that would set gestational or “upper limits” on abortion. These laws would aim at limiting the number of abortions by forbidding abortion after a certain gestational period, e.g. 20 weeks. [At 20 weeks, it has been widely acknowledged by the scientific community that a child feels pain, and is viable outside the womb]. It is an issue that profoundly divides the pro-life movement.
I received significant feedback on the topic from a number of people, several of whom disagreed with the position I took. For the most part, while impassioned, the replies were considerate and took pains to argue the strength of the opposing argument.
I had no intention of suggesting a lack of personal integrity or commitment in those in the pro-life camp who disagreed with the position I articulated, though I still think supporting gestational limits is ultimately untenable for someone who espouses a pro-life position. The taking of an innocent life is an intrinsic evil.
Scripture is quite plain on this. Human beings are created in God’s image (Ge. 1:26-27). Human life begins in the womb (Psalm 139); murder is against God’s law (Ex. 20:13); and God even delineates a punishment for the taking of life in the womb (Ex. 21:22-23), which is commensurate with taking life outside the womb. As such, seeking a gestational law which would implicitly or explicitly endorse abortion must be seen as co-operating with evil.
It is possible that some of those who support gestational limits may misunderstand what an intrinsic evil is. But I think it more likely that they fail to hold to an understanding of the law that would be in accordance with the pro-life position. They see the law merely as a social construct to be changed by a collective act of will by an interest group (rather ironically, like their opponents) rather than a conformity of the law to God’s own character. I will address the importance of this crucial point in greater detail in the follow-up article.
But let me conclude with this encouraging observation. Almost without exception, the responses that I received were in total agreement that abortions are, irrespective of fetal age, abhorrent and evil because they take an innocent life. This seems crucial to me. We agree on the principle that life begins at conception, and that it is evil to take it. I do think for that reason that a unified pro-life voice is possible, and that that unity is crucial for the nefarious practice to end.