Given the rage and range of the abortion-on-demand agenda, I suppose if human life were discovered on Mars, then the answer would be “yes.”
Abortion isn’t a threat to all life in general. It is a threat to human life specifically. After all, numerous types of life are destroyed daily. Gardens are weeded. Fish are caught and eaten. That spider in your bathroom is crushed and flushed. These instances of death are routine and generally don’t bring even a tinge of remorse (except, perhaps, for Hindus, some Buddhists and all members of PETA).
I concur with Idema that abortion has been politicized to the shameful advantage of both the Democratic and Republican parties. In fact, the abortion debate has become the defining mark of identification for both groups. If you’re a Democrat, it’s likely you’re pro-abortion. Conversely, if you’re a Republican, it’s assumed you’re pro-life. I understand that there are exceptions, but it’s generally an accurate description.
It also appears Idema and I agree that abortion is the killing of human life. He, though, supports a woman’s right to kill her unborn child. I do not. But that’s a discussion for another day or column.
What moved me to respond to Idema’s recent column was his musings concerning personhood as it relates to abortion. While killing an unborn child is horrific enough, determining who lives or who dies based on personhood threatens those inside as well as outside the womb.
How is personhood defined? Is it based on age, ability or intellect? Peter Singer, a professor at Princeton University, teaches that children up to age 2 can be killed if unwanted, since at that age they are not really persons as he defines personhood. He believes personhood requires a sense of self.
I have a 3-year-old grandson, Will; and a 4-month-old grandson, Maks. Will is talkative, curious and is developing quite a personality. His little brother lays on the floor and drools. Which one of my grandsons is more of a person? Is one grandson less valuable than the other? Who decides that?
A friend of mine has a Down syndrome 20-year-old son. It’s unlikely that this young man will be able to fully live on his own. Is he less of a person than his older brother or sister? I have another friend who has an adult son who is profoundly autistic and requires constant care and supervision. Are these young men less persons and thus less valuable or less worthy to live?
If we begin to determine the value of human life based on ability or potential then where would that end? History is replete with the accounts of the powerful determining who is valuable and who is not and records the shameful results of such a philosophy.
Families were torn apart and children separated from their parents because one race de-personized another and sold men and women of African descent into slavery. The Supreme Court of the United States wrongly decided in favor of slave owners rights in the 1857 Dred Scott decision. The Supreme Court ruled that slaves were more property than persons.
Hitler’s dream of a pure and super Aryan race was fueled by his belief that other races, particularly the Jews, were inferior and were not fit to be the type of persons or people to populate and advance Germany as a world power. His solution was to kill more than six million Jews and other “inferiors,” including the handicapped and mentally ill.
People are valuable because they are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27). It’s an intrinsic worth not measured by mental or physical abilities. Using Idema’s logic, Mary could have aborted Jesus without conscience, since at just a few months in the womb he wasn’t really a person.
Defining personhood as the determining factor regarding who lives and who dies is sinister and satanic. It’s that kind of thinking that will certainly spell doom for the unborn, the handicapped, the chronically ill and the elderly, especially those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer disease.
So, I ask the question: Who decides who’s whom?
— By the Rev. Ray Paget, pastor of Grand Haven Community Baptist Church