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Originally published in Creation 14(3):18-19, June 1992
Can you believe it? It did finally happen! A court ruled that an unborn child was not a person.
The front page headlines of Scotland’s Daily Record, on Friday, November 22, 1991, reported in sensational headlines: ‘YOUR BABY ISN’T A PERSON!’ A judge in Scotland had ruled that a mother could not sue over the death of her baby due to injuries sustained during a forceps delivery because the injury happened before he was born. Since the child was still technically in the womb, he was ‘not a person in life’ and therefore had no rights. The full impact of society’s views on abortion is finally being felt.
The fundamental problem that the judge was trying to deal with is ‘when does a person become a person?’ The proabortion lobby has been advocating that this happens between the time when the foetus can sustain life on its own outside the womb and the time of the actual birth. The judge, Lord Prosser, opted for the latter definition. How well this illustrates what we read in the Bible: ‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap’ (Galatians 6:7), and ‘For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind’ (Hosea 8:7).
The issue is much deeper than whether or not a mother has the right over her body to abort her unwanted baby. The real issue involves morality and responsibility, which are reflections of how we, as a society, view God’s Word. When God’s Word is rejected as the standard for living, there can be no basis for morality. And society has, as a whole, rejected the Bible, beginning with the rejection of the biblical account of man's origin. Man, in society’s view, is no longer a special creation by God in His image, but is simply an advanced animal, the product of many long years of some form of evolutionary development. If man is just an animal, society seems to have reasoned, then what can be wrong with ‘terminating a pregnancy’ (the phrase society often seems to prefer over ‘abortion’)?
We seem to be at the stage today when animals actually have more rights than humans. A person who kills an endangered species of animal which happens to be pregnant with twins will be charged with the slaughter of three endangered animals, yet a baby who is fatally injured during birth has no rights. How absurd a society we live in!
What does the Bible say about the abortion issue? The Bible consistently maintains that sex outside of marriage is sinful (Matthew 5:27-30; Galatians 5:19-21). If society were to be guided by the Bible, then what they see as their need for abortion on demand would diminish. Women do have the right over their bodies: the right to say ‘no’ to immoral sexual activity. When a couple gets married, they take on the responsibility that their new-found sexual freedom brings: raise any children they conceive ‘in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4). With freedom always comes responsibility.
But does the Bible say anything about when life begins? Consider the following: ‘Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee’ (Jeremiah 1:5); ‘For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb’ (Psalm 139:13); ‘As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God whom maketh all’ (Ecclesiastes 11:5); ‘the babe leaped in her womb’ (Luke 1:41).
These verses indicate that even before birth, the person exists and is known by God. It is deplorable that society has come to the point where unborn babies are said to have no rights because they are not persons. There is no comfort in this being the logical conclusion of the arguments that have gone on for many years (and will undoubtedly continue for many more).
But perhaps society is beginning to see the absurd position at which they have finally arrived. As Christians, we must always base both our lives and our beliefs on what God’s Word says. And let us do our best to influence those around us. We are the ‘salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world’ (Matthew 5:13-16). Let us ensure that our salt does not lose its taste and that we are not hiding our lights, but that we are using what influence we have in the world around us to God’s glory.
Restoring the foundations of belief in Genesis and the absolute standards of God's Holy Word is a vital battle for every Christian. Today it is unborn babies. Tomorrow, the elderly, the severely handicapped, and others deemed socially inconvenient may join the unborn in being cast as ‘non-persons’.*
[* Editor’s note: Already in the United States a number of States are discussing whether euthanasia should now be legalized. ]