First, unborn children are genetically unique, living human beings. Second, it is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. Therefore, abortion is wrong. This is not muddy at all.
In his recent column, Lloyd Omdahl employs a tactic often used by pro-abortion advocates: muddy the issue by distracting from the clear and fundamental facts. Pro-life advocates have good answers for these distractions, and we’re happy to engage pro-abortion advocates on them, but at some point we need to deal with the clear and fundamental facts.
The first clear and fundamental fact is the scientific reality: unborn children are genetically unique, living human beings. There was a time when this was uncertain. Before we could examine DNA, we could not say with scientific certainty that the mass of cells in a pregnant woman was a new human being, instead of a tumor-like growth. Embryology has progressed to the point where we know with absolute certainty that, from the moment of conception, this is a new, genetically unique, living human being. It is small. At the earliest stage it is microscopic.
But the science is clear. It is alive. It is human. It is not the mother. It is a new human being.
The second clear and fundamental fact is the moral principle: it is wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. This is so fundamental that it’s almost impossible to explain. There is no natural law more basic than this. Other moral principles are built on this one, but it has nothing more basic to rest on. So the best way to test this is by examining your own conscience. Is it okay to kill an innocent human being? Every rational person knows the correct answer. It is the fundamental moral principle of natural law.
The conclusion: abortion is wrong. Abortion intentionally kills this new, genetically distinct human life. This is not muddy at all.
Mr. Omdahl claims the Bible has nothing to say on this issue. This is false. The two clear and fundamental facts previously mentioned are both biblical teachings. God creates human life in the womb (Ps. 139:13; Jer. 1:5). And murder is wrong (Gen. 9:6; Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17). But we don’t even need to use the Bible to prove this. It’s all there in natural law. So the Christian Church’s unique contribution to this issue is forgiveness. In government, protection of life is priority number one. In the church, forgiveness of sins is number one. Do you have an unwanted pregnancy? Have you had an abortion? Go to church. Talk to a pastor or priest and confess your sin. See if you get shame or forgiveness.
There are a number of personal circumstances or societal issues that pro-abortion advocates use as distractions. They claim abortion is necessary to answer these. They even accuse pro-life advocates of being calloused to them. This is mud. In many ways, pro-life advocates are way ahead of our pro-abortion counterparts. We’ve already put our money where our mouth is.
In North Dakota there is one abortion clinic, but there are seven pregnancy help centers, largely supported by pro-life donors. No mother has to go through pregnancy alone. Two wrongs don’t make a right. These centers can help, not only during pregnancy, but also after. There is even post-abortion support available. Do you have an unwanted pregnancy? Have you had an abortion? Visit one of these centers and see what they can do for you.
Pro-abortion advocates distract from the primary issue. Some of their concerns are valid, and we’re willing to help solve them. In my opinion, the most valid concern is the inequality in parental responsibility. Mr. Omdahl raises this concern. Fathers can skip town. Mothers cannot. This is unjust. Pro-life advocates would love to deal with this. It’s not only that children have a right to life, but they also have a right to both parents. We would love to address this in a way that doesn’t include killing the child.
Let’s be done with the distractions. The science is clear. The moral principle is clear. The mud is in the related issues. But if we start with what’s clear, we might actually make some progress cleaning up the mud.
Pastor Dan Antal is pastor of Trinity Free Lutheran Church in Grand Forks and Ny Stavanger Free Lutheran Church in Buxton.