by Adam McIntosh
Readers of Kuyperian Commentary may have noticed an abortion theme in my articles over the last few weeks. With the celebration of Christ’s incarnation upon us, there is no better time to talk about pregnancy, birth, life and abortion. My original motivation for this trend, however, was from conversations I’ve recently had with pro-choice acquaintances (some being Christians). Here is a summary of how these conversations usually go:
Acquaintance: I believe in a woman’s right to choose.
Me: Oh, really? Why’s that?
Acquaintance: Because a woman should have the right to do whatever she wants with her body.
Me: What about the unborn fetus? Is it not a person with rights itself?
Acquaintance: Nope, it’s not a person until it can survive outside its mother’s womb.
Me: Ok, but premature babies born at only 21 weeks have survived outside of their mother’s womb. Should a woman be limited after 21 weeks from doing whatever she wants with her body?
Acquaintance: No, I still think she has the right to choose until birth. If she doesn’t want something growing inside of her, she shouldn’t be forced to keep it.
Me: But if the fetus is a human person, then abortion would be murder, right? There’s only four scientific differences between the born and unborn: size, level of development, environment and degree of dependency. None of these differences are relevant to determining personhood because they also exist between infants, teenagers, adults and the elderly. To avoid the charge of murder you have to prove that the fetus isn’t a person.
Acquaintance: So, what if a teenage girl is raped and gets pregnant? What if the mother’s health or life is at risk? What if the baby has birth defects from incest? What if she can’t afford to raise the child? You’re saying she should be forced to have it?!
At that point the topic turns to morality and whether or not killing innocent life is ever justified. From my experience, the abortion advocate always returns to the emotional and circumstantial arguments mentioned above. They may use scientific rhetoric to justify abortion (e.g. denying personhood) but their fundamental reason for being pro-choice is a matter of inconvenience – not science or morality.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree that rape, health risks, birth defects and poverty are horrible circumstances. My heart goes out to any family that has to carry the weight of such tragedy. I believe churches should take a more prominent role in providing counsel, healthcare and safety for women in those situations. But to use the inconvenience of an unwanted pregnancy as reason for abortion only begs the question.
Children are always inconvenient, even when parents love them dearly. Children change your entire life, interrupting and altering your normal routines. They constantly depend on you for food, shelter, clothing, education and entertainment (which can be emotionally and financially stressful). They get sick or injured at the worst possible times and you take extra precautions to protect them from harm. The inconveniences of having a child obviously do not stop after birth.
So, is killing a person for the sake of convenience permissible? In the case of the born child, pro-choicers say “absolutely not!” In the case of the unborn child, they say “absolutely,” without providing any significant distinction between the two. This position is as arbitrary as it is immoral; a classic case of being illogical and inconsistent. Perhaps doing otherwise is just too inconvenient.