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When Does Life Begin?

Posted Sep 17 2010 4:09am

A very interesting article and turn of events in the state of Missouri as lawmakers follow suit with South Dakota in answering the question of when life begins. ''The life of each human being begins at conception," according to Senate Bill 793, which adds new regulations to the state's 24-hour informed consent law for abortions. "Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being." You can read the article here .

Pastor and author John Piper gave his perspective on this question a few years back

When the editors at the Minneapolis Star Tribune this past Wednesday celebrated the abortion rights decreed by Roe v.Wade (January 22, 2003, p. A14) they raised the question when"incipient life becomes ‘protectably human,’" and said that no better answer has been given than Justice Harry Blackmun’s when he wrote:

We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate.

What’s the flaw here? The flaw is that, while claiming to withhold judgment, the judiciary not only speculated but authoritatively decreed on the issue: namely, it is not murder or manslaughter to destroy the unborn. That is not a suspension of judgment. That is a decisive judgment: namely, in the womb there is nothing worth protecting by law. To portray this as a sensitive suspension of judgment about the status of unborn life is false and deceptive.

How do you get from, "We do not know whether this is protectable human life," to "Therefore, we will not protect it"? Wouldn’t the logic just as likely (some would say far more likely) be, "Since we do not know whether this is protectable human life, therefore we will protect it." Why does the judicial uncertainty about the humanity of the unborn lead to unbridled license to destroy it?

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