Large Scale Russian Roulette

Posted: March 1, 2012 in Abortion

The “Journal of Medical Ethics” recently posted an article promoting after-birth abortion. The Gospel Coalition posted a summary of the article: “Since it is currently permissible to kill prenatal children because they are only potential persons and do not have full moral status, then we should be able to kill postnatal children for the same reason.”

While I was appalled through the entire article and had a lot to say, I want to focus on one main problem (if “problem” isn’t the understatement of the century). You should read the whole article and when you do, make sure you do not miss this quickly passed over point. The bottom line argument is that a newborn is a human, but not a person. Humans, by definition, do not have the right to life, but persons do. Therefore, newborns, not yet considered persons, do not have the right to life. First of all, the arrogance in saying you can define what it means to be a person is unbelievable. Evidently they have it in their power to determine who is a person and who is ‘OK’ to kill. I am not saying we can’t know what it means to be a person. We can and do in the Bible. What I am saying is that we do not make up the definition of personhood; God does. This is what Hitler did. He made up the definition of who should live and die in society.

However, following their line of arguing, the question immediately surfaces, when does a newborn become a person? Obviously, the importance of this question cannot be overstated. If I had a gun to your head right now, and said I would not be immoral in killing you if you were not a person, what would be the next thing I would necessarily have to know to make sure I didn’t act immorally? It is simple: I would need to know whether or not you were a person. If I was in limbo about that, I probably shouldn’t pull the trigger, for fear that I may be immoral in my killing. So, if killing a person is immoral according to the philosophers, they need to know when a baby becomes a person, so they don’t kill them immorally. Is it at conception? Right after birth? A week after birth? They need to know when.

Thus, the all important question that can’t go overstated is, “When do newborns become persons?” Let’s hear what the philosophers have to say…

“Our point here is that…it is hard to exactly determine when a subject starts or ceases to be a ‘person’…”

“First, we do not put forward any claim about the moment at which after-birth abortion would no longer be permissible…”

Yes, you read that correctly. They have a ballpark-type answer. It is hard to “exactly determine” it. First, they give their definition of personhood. Then, they say that neurologists and psychologists alone can figure out when “personhood” is happening. Even the neurologists and psychologists, can they know exactly when a baby has passed into the “person” realm, defined by the philosophers? Can they see brain activity that equals their definition of personhood? At best, their reasoning here is equal to Russian Roulette. Only this game deals not with one person pointing the gun at themselves, but millions of persons pointing the gun at millions of helpless babies.

Can you imagine if we reasoned like this in normal life?

You walk up to the demolition guy about to detonate explosives in a building being torn down. You ask, “Are there any persons in there?” He answers, “It is hard to exactly determine when the building is completely empty of all personhood. We do not put forward any claim about the moment at which the building is empty. We usually figure out when it is in our best interest to blow it up, and then we just do it. Anymore questions?”

In everyday life, we would be appalled by this kind of reasoning. If we lived by it, people would die left and right merely because we were too self-consumed to care about the lives of others.

The title of this article should be “Playing Russian Roulette on Other People, Rather than Yourself”.

I am truly thankful that the grace of God in Christ is sufficient for these philosophers, as it is for me.

To learn more about how people view abortion in society, and the reality of abortion, check out the hit documentary ‘180’. It currently has 2,472,839 views on YouTube. You can watch it here: www.180movie.com

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