“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light”

A couple of weeks ago I came across an article that horrified me titled “After-birth Abortion: Why Should the Baby Live?” in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Two authors promoted the proposition that babies could be killed during their first few days of life using the same reasoning as that used to justify abortions.

They use such chilling statements as:

“Fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons.”

“We claim that killing a newborn could be ethically permissible in all the circumstances where abortion would be.”

“The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus, that is, neither can be considered a ‘person’ in a morally relevant sense.”

“It is not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense.”

“Failing to bring a new person into existence cannot be compared with the wrong caused by procuring the death of an existing person. The reason is that, unlike the case of death of an existing person, failing to bring a new person into existence does not prevent anyone from accomplishing any of her future aims.” Note that they are not talking about failing to bring a new person into existence in the sense of deciding whether or not to have a baby or whether to use contraceptives: they are saying that a newborn is a potential person rather than an actual person and therefore it is not wrong to kill it.

 They want to call it “after-birth abortion” rather than infanticide.

As Carrie said here, though this is horrifying, it shouldn’t be surprising. We had been warned for years that if people started justifying abortion in their thinking, it wouldn’t take long before such devaluation of life spread to increased euthanasia and now newborns. According to this article, one of the authors once gave a talk at Oxford titled, “What is the problem with euthanasia?” No wonder he has no problem with killing babies. I can’t fathom a career in encouraging the taking of life that he deems not worthy.

And that’s one of the problems. The main problem, of course, is the intrinsic devaluation of life. The second is that, once a society decides it’s okay to take a life, then whose standards and morals will decide such a thing? How many people have lived with serious health issues who would not have wanted their life snuffed out just because someone else didn’t think their quality of life was good enough?

The deadline for my next newspaper column was coming up just three days after I read this article. Normally I like to have a column mostly ready a week or two before it is due, and then every time I look at it, I think of better ways to say something, something to include, something to cut out, etc. I had two other columns nearly ready and was trying to decide which one to use when I saw this article. The more I thought about it, the more I felt I really wanted to address this in a column. It would probably have been a better column if I had waited til my next turn, but that’s six weeks away, and I really wanted to address this while the original article was still fairly recent. So this is what I finally came up with.

I received a few supportive comments and e-mails, but as you can imagine, some of the comments were quite vicious. All that some could see is that I am against abortion, and they unleashed all their animosity against the whole pro-life movement. I knew to expect some negative reaction, but I can’t say it didn’t hurt, especially when they extrapolate that since I said this I must mean that and get into name-calling, etc. I tried to answer some of them, but it’s clear there is no reasoning with some of them.

And that raises another issue. How do we talk to these people? I don’t think Christians are the only ones who are pro-life, though our conviction that life is a gift of God is the foundation of our beliefs. But it seems even thinking, reasonable people who might not be Christians could see the fallacies of abortion, euthanasia, and killing infants.

Years ago our former pastor’s wife mentioned Romans 1:28 in a class: “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” I used to think “reprobate” meant a really bad sinner. But she explained it meant “unable to make sound judgement.” Other version use “depraved” or “debased.”

Though I believe it is right to speak out and take a stand on issues, ultimately what people need is a new heart. Even if they have a right position on abortion and related issues, what affects their standing with God is what they do with Christ. And none of us can “think right” without Him. How we need to pray for Him “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith” (Acts 26:18).

6 thoughts on ““To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light”

  1. I think your article walks the increasingly precarious line of civil discourse very well.

    Are these “authors” physicians? Published in a medical journal, I would assume so. It doesn’t get any more twisted than for a healer to make a career of terminating life.

    I agree that they are just carrying the pro-abortion arguments to their logical conclusion about the value of life. It’s predictable, but no less disturbing because of that.

  2. Excellent, Barbara!

    It is shocking when anyone could harm a sweet little baby, especially one that is already born. Where does the killing stop once it gets a foothold? Are children next? Then younger and younger adults–after all the old people? You are right that only God can change hearts and help people see clearly to judge right and wrong. We who know the Lord need to pray more and speak out more, no matter what the consequences!

  3. Just cruising through Christian blogs and thought I would Pass along some comfort.
    “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians:15:51-52) “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1Thessalonians:4:16-18)
    Praise the Lord!

  4. I think you’ve just hit the nail on the head. We lack the ability to think right apart from God. I think what your pastor’s wife shared on the topic especially intriguing as I’ve always thought of debase behavior in relation to that verse as well.

    As Janet summarized – this is all predictable but still disturbing.

  5. Pingback: A bloggy look back at 2012 « Stray Thoughts

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