The Key Questions
Abortion is the murder of an innocent human being. Since Roe v. Wade, roughly 61 million abortions have been committed. No matter how you parse out the abortion debate, the issue always boils down to two questions: Who is a human person? What is murder?
First Rule of Logic: Define Your Terms
In the study of informal logic, the definition of terms will determine the direction of a debate. If two parties are in an argument and they cannot agree on the meaning of terms, the dialogue cannot occur effectively.
This point is relevant to the abortion debate in the United States because pro-life and pro-choice individuals use drastically different dictionaries when granting meaning to their terms. In this case, the terms “murder” and “human being” are the terms that are confused.
What Is A ‘Human Being’?
How do pro-life and pro-choice Americans define the term “human being”? Let’s compare.
Though it does not lay out the definition of “human being” like a dictionary entry, the Bible provides mankind with the proper definition in an authoritative, infallible manner. The Scriptures present clear truths about the nature of humanity from beginning to end.
In the book of Genesis, God speaks creation into existence from nothing and finishes with his most valued creation: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion…” (Genesis 1:28-29).
A human is therefore a being made in God’s image. The author of Genesis also explains that every living thing produces animals of its own kind. Flowers produce more flowers, bears produce more bears, and humans produce more humans.
In contrast, the pro-choice camp turns to modern science in determining humanity.
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines “human being” as “a culture-bearing primate classified in the genus Homo, especially the species H. sapiens.” This definition neglects to present a great deal of information.
However, it is evident that there is a worldview at work behind this definition. In the Christian worldview, God is the creator of humans, who have inherent value because of His decree.
In the atheistic worldview, humans have value because they have ascended higher than their fellow primates. This worldview reasons that humans are related to apes because of the species’ many genetic similarities.
The atheistic framework’s low esteem of mankind can explain why this set of beliefs can justify the practice of abortion.
What Is ‘Murder’?
As with the concept of “human being,” the Bible presents an authoritative and infallible definition of “murder.”
The first murder was the execution of Abel by his brother, Cain, who was jealous of Abel’s right standing before God. Murder should be a straightforward term to define, but it does require some degree of thought. Merely “killing” is not necessarily murder.
The Bible allows for killing in situations of self-defense. It also grants magistrates the authority to use the death penalty in cases of civil justice. More broadly, death is the clear and inevitable consequence of our sin.
So, what is murder? Murder is the unjustified taking of human life. This definition depends on the biblical categories of “human life” and “justice.”
In contrast, the atheistic worldview presents “murder” as the killing of someone who does not want to be killed. The atheistic worldview views suicide as an unfortunate outcome, but not a sin.
It wrongly views euthanasia as a rational choice and sees abortion as a woman’s right or a form of birth control. Faulty definitions of humanity and sin contribute to such misunderstandings.
Combine The Definitions
Believing and combining the definitions presented by the atheistic framework may lead one to see abortion as justified.
Abortion defenders conclude that what they are doing is acceptable. The atheistic worldview says that human life does not begin until birth. The fetus cannot exercise self-determination. Until birth, the fetus is seen simply as an organ of the mother’s body.
Since the “organ” is not a distinct human entity, it cannot express a desire to live. To the world, abortions are therefore no different than a woman having an appendix removed.
Life Begins At Conception
The pro-life worldview instead attributes humanity to a baby from the moment of conception, as the baby has a soul and is created in the image of God.
Though the baby cannot yet comprehend the implications of abortion, scientific research reveals that babies in utero feel pain during abortion procedures and resist in the ways that they are able, sometimes appearing to flee from the embryectomy scissors and other instruments of death.
A baby carries the DNA of both parents. Since the baby’s father and mother are human beings, the baby is likewise a human being. This is consistent with the definition that Christians hold regarding humanity.
Pro-life activists seek to have abortion law changed to reflect the reality that a baby is a person from conception. The abortion industry is unable to argue simply that babies are not persons.
Instead, activists shift the discussion away from the right to life—which should be enjoyed by all babies in utero—to the rights of women. The rhetoric of the abortion industry always emphasizes the right of the woman to have access to birth control.
Ignoring the fact that half of aborted babies are female, discussion of babies’ inherent right to life is thereby set aside.
Self-Determination of Mothers
In the United States, women enjoy the most liberty of any nation in world history. The time to make the decision about the conception of a unique human being is the moment when a woman chooses to have sex. Once that decision has been made, the stage is set for what comes next.
One may object that this definition falls apart in the cases of rape or forcible incest. Of course, in such cases women are not afforded the ability to choose. In these instances, however, the baby is an innocent person.
It is morally wrong to penalize the baby with death because of the evil actions of his or her father. If the child were born rather than unborn, anyone would rightly recognize the execution of a child due to his father’s criminal status as an unjust killing.
No one would condone the murder of a child because of his father’s evil; society would not tolerate it. Because abortion is murder, there is no circumstance that can morally justify it.
No Logic, No Science
If abortion apologists cannot support their actions without redefining humanity in novel terms, then why are they convinced that they are correct?
Many in American society see abortion as a form of birth control essential for liberty from perceived social scorn for being an unmarried mother, from the consequences of their actions, and from submission to God’s will.
Men who support abortion are equally guilty. Abortion frees them from responsibility, and women who do not concern themselves with the threat of pregnancy are more likely to be willing sexual partners. A large percentage of abortion murder occurs at the insistence of the father.
Society redefines humanity so that people can have sex without natural consequences. Through abortion, Americans can control when they have children.
They sin—and put off the consequences of that sin—until they stand before God in judgment. The citizens of the United States have declared that an entire group of human beings are not humans.
As with righteous Abel, God hears the cries of murdered babies, and He will bring all to account for their actions on the issue of abortion.