Arguments For The Humanness Of A Fetus -- By: Greg Koukl
JCA 1:1 (Summer 1997) p. 89
Arguments For The Humanness Of A Fetus
Only One Question
For the most part people do not like to talk about abortion.
Certainly there are discussions about choice and privacy. There are debates about the risk of back-alley abortions, the hardship of teen pregnancy, and the trauma of pregnancies due to rape and incest. Plus there’s concern about the abuse of unwanted children.
Responding to any of these issues, however, requires an answer to a prior question about the nature of abortion itself; and on this question few voices are heard.
One Key Issue
Abortion involves killing something that is alive. Whether it is right or not to take the life of any living being depends entirely upon the answer to one question: what kind of being is it? The answer one gives is pivotal, the deciding element that trumps all other considerations.
Let me put the issue plainly. If the unborn is not a person, no justification for abortion is necessary. However if the unborn is a person, no justification for abortion is adequate.
Some say the unborn baby is not a person. They contend it is just a nonviable tissue mass, merely a part of a woman’s body. Others say it is only a “potential” human, but not yet a person. If any of these options turn out to be true, then it is hard to imagine how any additional considerations could make a difference. No further defense would be necessary. Have the abortion!
On the other hand, maybe the unborn child is a bona fide human person, deserving of the same care and protection you and I enjoy. If that’s the case, then abortion takes the life of an innocent child simply because the baby is in the way and cannot defend herself. This is not an acceptable reason to kill another human being.
This distinction serves to simplify what to many seems to be an intractable moral problem. Talk-show hosts, educators, politicians, even religious thinkers reflect and nod solemnly, “Oh, yes, abortion. It is a very complex issue. There are no easy answers.”
If I’m right, though, it is not complex at all. When one clears away the irrel-
* Greg Koukl is the radio talk show host for the program “Stand To Reason”.
JCA 1:1 (Summer 1997) p. 90
evant thoughts on both sides—the name calling, the misrepresentations, the circular reasoning, the medical misinformation, the emotional language-the issue becomes very clear and reasonably easy to answer. The hard part is applying what we discover.
Cutting the Gordian Knot1
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