Monthly Archives: January 2015

Right Questions, Wrong Answers

It has been more than 40 years since the Supreme Court gave its opinion in Roe vs. Wade but the debate over abortion continues on. The arguments come down to just a few. The pro-life side, those arguing against abortion, tends to focus on the question of, “When does life begin?” and their answer is that life begins at conception. The reasoning goes like this.
At conception the egg and the sperm unite. Genetic materials are exchanged and a genetically unique individual is formed. This individual has a unique DNA that defined him/her physically. From that point on it is just a matter of size and maturity. From that time on we grow, develop, mature, decline and die. Why would we draw an arbitrary line at birth, saying that life begins at birth? If we are going to arbitrarily chose birth as the beginning of life then why not chose some other point. One Doctor suggested that we don’t consider a person alive until one month after birth. That way parents would not feel guilty about pulling the plug on a badly deformed baby.
What about the end of life. That could become negotiable too. We could choose something like when you can no longer feed yourself or when your family doesn’t want to take care of you anymore.
Is the question of when does life begin the correct question to ask? The Supreme Court asked a slightly different question. They asked, “When does someone become a person?” In their opinion personhood begins at birth. Their reasoning was that individuals have always achieved some legal status at birth and not before. They went on to reason that if a fetus is not a person then it does not achieve a level of gaining Constitutional protection. That is actually good reasoning. Courts need to look at things based on protections under the law and not by some other scientific, medical or religious standard. But there are some real problems with the rest of their reasoning. First they said that the fetus did not have protection under the Constitution and then they went on to give some very specific protections. They arbitrarily divided pregnancy into three sections. They said that States could not restrict abortions during the first trimester, they could restrict but not ban abortions during the second trimester, and they could ban abortions altogether during the third trimester. Since Roe vs. Wade, Congress and the Supreme Court have expanded Federal Laws to pretty much eliminate any restrictions on abortions so now a woman can abort her fetus at any time and for any reason and have the Government or mandatory insurance pay for it.
The pro-choice side, those arguing for abortion, focus on the question of “Who gets to choose?” They use mottos like, “A woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body.” Based on this claim to “women’s rights” they have gone on to claim a number of the related rights, including “the right to privacy” and a more general “reproductive rights” (which generally means the right to not reproduce).
The pro-choice argument of a woman should have the right to choose what to do with her own body resonates with most people. There is nothing more personal than one’s body. To have the government tell you what you can do with your body is unthinkable in America.
The counter argument is that when dealing with a pregnancy a person is not dealing with just their body; they are dealing with the body of their unborn child also.
Is the question of, “Who gets to choose?” the right question? It may be if you want to win the argument. You see when it comes to debate one of the keys to winning is to make sure you state the question in a way that guarantees your argument works. That is good for winning debates, but what about arriving at truth? To arrive at truth it is even more important that you ask the right question.
I think in addressing the abortion question the pro-choice people have asked the better question, “Who gets to choose?” The problem is they came up with the wrong answer. Actually a better question may be a combination of the pro-life question and the pro-choice question. Who gets to choose when life begins? From a Christian perspective, God is the author of life. Human life is sacred. Humans have the unique distinction of being created in the image of God. Scripture says repeatedly that God gives life and only God has the right to determine when life ends.
You see that murder is not wrong just because one person takes another person’s life. It is wrong because the murder has overstepped his bounds. He/she has said, ‘I will play God. I will choose when life ends’. That is not a choice for him/her to make. The choice as to when life ends and begins is reserved exclusively for God.
The Bible gives an account of the Fall of Lucifer (Satan) in Isaiah 14:12-15 (NKJV). Satan’s sin was that he aspired to be “like the Most High”. Satan wanted to play God. He wanted to usurp God’s authority.
If we decide to usurp God’s authority by deciding when life begins and when it ends don’t we align ourselves with the forces of evil in this world?

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 890 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 15 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.