Imagine it was 1860, back when chattel slavery was legal in the United States.
Imagine I was a man who saw the evils of slavery, and began speaking out against that evil law.
Imagine a friend of mine saying “Well, personally, I’d never own slaves, but I’m pro-choice about it, I mean, it’s legal and all so I shouldn’t be telling other people what they can and can’t do with their property. You shouldn’t push religion on people, and you can’t legislate morality anyway.”
What should I say to my friend?
Obviously, I’d try to tell him that slavery isn’t just a matter of opinion or whether it’s legal or not – we are talking about buying and selling humans, and since skin color doesn’t define humanity, chattel slavery like this is a human rights violation and should be abolished.
What if as I tried to convince him that slavery was wrong, some rich slave owner overheard our conversation and told me that I couldn’t address the topic at all because not only don’t I own slaves, I could never own slaves because I was not wealthy enough?
What should I say to that rich slave owner?
Unfortunately, that little thought experiment isn’t actually a thought experiment – similar conversations came from our actual history in the 1800s.
Does it sound familiar to you though, more recent than the late 1800s?
It should – it’s been all over social media for weeks. But this time, it’s not about owning certain humans in slavery, it’s about killing certain humans in abortion. And the arguments defending slavery and the arguments defending abortion rights are very similar.
But just because the two arguments are similar doesn’t mean that the positions are similar, so what’s the connection?
The arguments for supporting slavery and abortion are similar because they are side effects of having something else in common. The commonality?
Though abortion rights proponents and those who are pro-choice about abortion would deny it, the worldview that undergirds both a pro-slavery and a pro-abortion stance is not just similar, it’s the same.
You may think that sounds harsh, but it’s true.
At their core, supporting slavery and supporting abortion requires a worldview that defines “human” by something other than ontology (the nature of being human). It may based on physical qualities, or mental acuity, or skin color, or self awareness, or wantedness, or wealth, or any other thing over and above what a human actually is by nature.
In the end, it’s a worldview that divides humanity up into classes of humans with varying degrees of worthiness based on entirely subjective and ever changing qualities that have nothing to do with the fact that we are dealing with actual growing, developing, living, humans.
We even think we’ve coined a novel phrase “human but not a person”, when actually it’s not novel at all – it (or the intention behind it) has been used before. The global slave trade used it. Germany used it. Australia used it. Egypt used it.
Every human culture throughout history that has subjugated other people has used it. It’s not new at all.
But it is just as evil.
Let me give you an example I heard recently that demonstrates this “human but not a person” idea…it went like this…”a fetus isn’t human because it doesn’t look human – a dolphin fetus and a human fetus look alike so a fetus isn’t human.”
… want another example? “A fetus may be human, but it isn’t a person until it’s born or takes it’s first breath.”
… another? “A one year old child has the same moral nature as a pig so we could consider perinatal abortion up to 12 or 18 months to be in the same category as killing a pig.”
… still another? “It doesn’t matter what it is, a woman shouldn’t be forced to carry anything in her body she doesn’t want there.”
I’ve heard all of those “arguments” for supporting abortion. All from people who would call themselves “pro-choice” and not “pro-abortion.”
However, all of those positions require a very specific definition of “human” crafted specifically so as to deny “human rights” to certain humans because we want the freedom to kill them without guilt, for any reason or no reason.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that inside the shell of a fertilized eagle egg lives an eagle. In fact, that immature eagle is protected by law. However, given the logic that props up a pro-choice position, I should be able to destroy that eagle egg for any reason or no reason if it interferes with my pursuit of whatever happiness I’m chasing at the moment. I should be able to apply any pro-abortion argument to a fertilized eagle egg as they do to fertilized human eggs. If I can apply the same arguments I’ve heard for why it’s OK to kill tiny humans, one (or more) of the following is true about this fertilized eagle egg:
- It’s not an eagle because it doesn’t look like an eagle
- It might have eagle DNA, but it’s not really an eagle until it takes its first breath
- It’s not even self aware…what does it matter if I kill it?
- I don’t care if it is an eagle, I don’t want it in my yard so I’m destroying it
Honestly, that last reason is the one I appreciate the most because at least it admits the truth about what is happening, it simply just doesn’t care. That last one is the most common argument used since “the leak” – “I don’t care what it is, I can do whatever I want to with my body!” Honestly, I’d be inclined to agree if we were talking about “your body.”
But we aren’t.
We are talking about a wholly other body, a body who can be sexed, a body with his or her own unique DNA, different from his or her mother’s, and his or her own chromosomes and blood type and organs, developing in various stages of maturity, who will grow from a very tiny human into a fully grown adult given normal circumstances.
The body of the developing human in her mother’s womb is not the body of the mother. She lives in her mother’s body, but she is not her mother’s body.
The worldview that is necessary to support abortion declares “certain humans aren’t worthy of life unless I want them to be, and only I get to define what those conditions are.”
And all that adds up to where the “pro-choice” worldviews regarding both slavery and abortion are the same.
Slavery says, “I’ll define ‘humanity’ in such a way as to exclude THOSE humans over there so I don’t have to apply basic human rights to them so I can own them as property, and buy and sell them, for any reason or no reason, whenever I want, as I see fit. And, since they don’t fit my definition of ‘human’, I won’t apply the word ‘person’ to them either, or if I do, I’ll caveat it so as to not confuse their ‘not-quite human’ status with my ‘fully human’ status. I refuse to see them as a true human person lest it interfere with how I want to treat them.”
And abortion says exactly the same thing – it says “I’ll define ‘humanity’ in such a way as to exclude THOSE humans in there so I don’t have to apply basic human rights to them so I can keep, discard, or destroy them for any reason or no reason, whenever I want, as I see fit. And, since they don’t fit my definition of ‘human’, I won’t apply the word ‘person’ to them either, or if I do, I’ll caveat it so as to not confuse their ‘not-quite human’ status with my ‘fully human’ status. I refuse to see them as a true human person lest it interfere with how I want to treat them.”
And actually, its the same worldview that resulted in the global slave trade, the Holocaust, the Killing Fields of Pol Pot, the Roma Genocide, even hunting Aboriginals for sport, you name it.
The neutral sounding “pro-choice” position is not neutral at all because it must deny the humanity of the human being destroyed. It must say that certain humans aren’t humans at all, or at least aren’t humans worthy of life, and so we can choose to destroy them with impunity.
We must see the “pro-choice” position on abortion in the same way we’d see a pro-choice position in slavery, hunting Aboriginals, genocide, etc. I’ve never heard anyone consider saying “I’m pro-choice when it comes to killing Aboriginals for sport because even though I think they are human, you might not, and I can’t force my beliefs on you.”
And yet, that’s exactly what those who hold to a pro-choice stance say when it comes to abortion. Even though there is no doubt at all that what is growing in a human womb is 100% a human being.
No matter what you believe about the matter, a human is a human regardless of how old he or she is or where he or she lives. At it’s core, abortion is not an issue of body autonomy, or birth control, or how old the human is, or where the human lives – not really. Abortion, like slavery before it, is about redefining “human” to fit our desires of the moment. Against science, reason, religion, history, morality, etc. the worldview that would advance a “pro-choice” position cherishes its own desires over the very nature of the humanity of the unborn.
That is how, and that is why, the “pro-choice”, “pro-abortion”, and “pro-slavery” positions are identical – each view must say that some humans aren’t really human so we are not bound to offer them any kind of human rights.
In Iceland, they have almost eradicated Down syndrome. But they’ve done it by intentionally and systematically killing humans specifically because they have Down syndrome and live in wombs. That horrifically evil act actually demonstrates the very thing they deny with all of their being – it displays the truth of what the nature of the life in the womb actually is – she is human and she has a human disease (Down syndrome is unique to humans – three copies of chromosome 21 to be exact), and since she has that condition now, if she is allowed to live, she will be undesirable. In Iceland, having Down syndrome is a death sentence, and so she is killed for it.
Imagine supporting that kind of act for any other human. Imagine if we could determine if a child was going to grow up to be gay and, because someone didn’t want a gay child, just had him killed in the womb to try again.
Or if she was a girl and a boy was wanted.
Or if the child were “mixed” and killed because of that.
The pro-choice position must support all of those reasons for abortion, and praise the woman who kills her child because “I don’t want to raise a gay kid.”
Abortion is the intentional and systematic killing of humans who are undesirable or unwanted, and the “pro-choice” crowd wants that to be a protected human right at any time during pregnancy, right up until birth. And that same worldview has caused discussion of the merits of perinatal abortions of children up to 18 months old (and I’m not talking about recent bills – I’m talking about this…
“Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons…the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.” – Peter Singer, “Practical Ethics”
It’s the same worldview all the way down, and the “pro-choice” crowd is bound to support and defend that because it has decided to die on this hill.
But even in all that evil, Christianity is the worldview that is immune from this sort of redefinition, because it has a better and unchanging definition of human…
Genesis 1:27 (27) So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (ESV)
Psalm 139:13–16 (13) For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. (14) I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (15) My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. (16) Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (ESV)
Luke 1:39–45 (39) In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, (40) and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. (41) And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, (42) and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! (43) And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (44) For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. (45) And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (ESV)
Galatians 1:11–17 (11) For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. (12) For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (13) For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. (14) And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. (15) But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, (16) was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; (17) nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. (ESV)
All humans, from conception to death, are uniquely human, and as humans, are the only creatures in existence who are created in the image of God. This gives all humans value and dignity regardless of age or color or location or sex or tribe – this is the Christian position, and consistent Christians must hold to it, and those who don’t are violating their own worldview. This demonstrates that they either aren’t really Christian, or that they are and are in grievous sin and need to repent.
To support a “pro-choice” position, be it about slavery or abortion, one must deny the humanity of some humans. Or worse, believe it’s OK to kill or enslave some humans, because of where they live, how old they are, or what the color of their skin is, or for any other reason that has no bearing whatsoever on the humanity of the human in the cross hairs.
And at that point, whatever you call it, by definition, is neither Christian, nor supportable by anyone who claims to be a Christian.
The “pro-choice” position goes against science, reason, religion, and history, and embraces its own definition of human to fit its current desires, whether career, relationship, financial success, travel, free sex, whatever it may be.
But the great hope of Christianity is its gospel – that Jesus, by His conception, birth, life, death, resurrection, and intercession has defeated sin, Satan, and death for all time for His people and has secured the inheritance that is God forever. That God in Christ has redeemed sinners to Himself – even sinners who have had abortions or owned slaves or committed other horrendous evils. He changes hearts, He breaks chains, He offers forgiveness by grace through faith in the finished work of His Son Jesus.
He takes our sin, gives us His righteousness, gives us the faith we need to trust Him, and buys us peace with God, and reconciles us to Himself.
We. Get. God!
One great and awesome trunth about this transaction – abortion is not an unforgivable sin.
1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (9) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, (10) nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (ESV)
God is a greater savior than you are a sinner, so flee to Him!
And that should cause you to rejoice indeed, just as John did, when he was still in Elizabeth’s womb and lept for joy in the presence of his savior, Jesus (who was in Mary’s womb at the time.)
That single encounter should be enough for anyone who calls themselves a Christian to pound the final nail into the coffin that is “pro-choice” and bury it forever.
Not only because John clearly demonstrates the humanity of the unborn.
But also because he shows us the joy we can find in the presence of Jesus.
The Jesus who seeks and saves the lost!
And in Jesus, you can leap for joy now!