Sunday, January 19, 2020

Life and Personhood Begin at Conception

It used to be so simple. “Conception” meant “beginning” – of human life, that is. Taking preborn life was immoral and illegal. The most defenseless and vulnerable were guaranteed the right to life. Then, in 1973, the “fetus” – until the moment of birth – was declared not to be a person, and therefore deprived of any rights! And “kill” or “murder” became “abort!” Whoa!
As we approach the 47th anniversary of that deadly decision, we ask, “What does the Word of God say?” The Bible unequivocally declares, from cover to cover, that human life – along with its sacred value – begins at the point of conception.

As David wrote by inspiration:
Ps 139:13 For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; 16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.
Conception: God’s Gift of Life
Heb 11:11 By faith even Sarah herself (Abraham’s wife) received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.
Ge 25:21-26 Isaac’s wife Rebekah was barren. Isaac prayed. She conceived. Twins! The children struggled within her. God: “Two nations are within your womb.”
Ge 29:31 … the LORD … opened [Leah’s] womb (enabled her to conceive), but Rachel was barren. Ge 30:22[Rachel’s] womb.
Jdg 13:3 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to [Samson’s mother] and said to her, “Behold now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and give birth to a son.
1 Sa 1:19 … Elkanah knew (had relations with) Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20 It came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, “Because I have asked him of the LORD.”
John the Baptist: at Conception
Lk 1:15 “For [John] will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.”
Lk 1:24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”
Lk 1:36 “And … your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
When did John the Baptist begin to be … John the Baptist?
John and Jesus: at Conception
Lk 1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 “And how has it happened …, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.”
The ancient Greeks knew! βρέφος (brephos) – “baby,” whether preborn or newborn. Cf. Lk 2:12.
Note: the term “fetus” is Latin, not for some tissue, mass, or “potential” human life to become a person only at birth. “Fetus” is the Latin word for “baby,” even while still in the womb!
Mary: the Virgin Conception
The miracle was not in the birth, but in the conception.
Mt 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
20 … an angel of the Lord appeared to [Joseph] in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her (that which has been begotten in her) is of the Holy Spirit.”
When did Jesus begin to be a unique, living human being?
From Paganism to Christianity
In the Roman Empire, before the coming of Christ, abortion was freely practiced, without restriction. Also exposure (infanticide).
Abortion and abandonment disappeared in the early church. As the gospel spread, so did the recognition of the sanctity of human life.
Late 2nd century AD, an observer of Christians described them to a high-ranking pagan named Diognetus. “They marry … and have children, but they do not expose their offspring. … They obey the established laws; … in their private lives they transcend the laws.”
Children were granted legal rights. Abortion and exposure gave way to hospitals and orphanages to take care of orphans and outcasts.
-- What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? by D. James Kennedy
Abortion and Infanticide Declared Illegal
Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian (AD 527-565): “Justinian Code:”
“Those who expose children, possibly hoping they would die, and those who use the potions of the abortionist, are subject to the full penalty of the law—both civil and ecclesiastical—for murder.”
As in the Roman Empire, so in Europe.
George Grant, in The Third Time Around: “Before the explosive and penetrating growth of medieval Christian influence, the primordial evils of abortion, infanticide, abandonment, and exposure were a normal part of everyday life in Europe. Afterward, they were regarded as the grotesque perversions that they actually are.”
Abortion in the United States was regarded as a crime until 1973.
So … What Happened?
On January 22, 1973, SCOTUS (the Supreme Court) struck down many U.S. state and federal abortion laws. It issued a 7–2 decision, declaring that women in the United States have a fundamental right to choose whether to have abortions. Roe v. Wade, Wikipedia
The Fourteenth Amendment (ratified in 1868) guarantees various rights to “persons” in the U.S. In 1973 SCOTUS declared that the unborn are not persons and therefore have no guaranteed rights or privileges! Thus they legalized abortion on demand! Against all legal, historical, cultural, and moral precedents.
They ruled without any vote from the American people, any law from the U.S. Congress, or any signature from any U.S. President.
That’s why the philosophies of SCOTUS justices are so important!
Abortion became a multi-million-dollar business.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s #1 provider, runs over 600 clinics and receives millions of our tax dollars. ($617 million last year).
They advise women to abort their own offspring.
The pro-abortion lobby is influential, forceful, and well-funded.
The moral issue became politicized. Political leaders, even whole party platforms, now promote “freedom to choose” death for babies.
But nature, logic, science and the conscience all cry out with one voice: babies deserve to live!
And preborn babies now star in their own movies: ultrasounds!
Ultrasounds revealed the stages of a baby’s development.
Many abortionists (Bernard Nathanson, Abby Johnson) changed.
Movies were released. The Silent Scream, Gosnell, Unplanned.
Amazing Irony
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212) is a United States law which recognizes an embryo or fetus in utero as a legal victim, if they are injured or killed during the commission of any of over 60 listed federal crimes of violence. The law defines “child in utero” as “a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.”
Also called Laci and Conner's Law. Scott Peterson was convicted of double homicide under California’s fetal homicide law.
Critics argued, “This is a dangerous step toward granting legal personhood to human fetuses!” (Remember, they’re not persons!)
The bill never used the word “person,” and it explicitly excluded the prosecution of abortion, if the pregnant woman consented.
Be Informed!
“Abortion.” “Fetus.” “Pro-choice.” “Anti-abortion.”
All who favor abortion have already been born.
About 1 in 3 women – abortion by age 45.
About 85% in the U.S. – unmarried women.
Man’s immoral “solution” to a moral crisis.
Pleasure without consequences. Men walk free.
Fathers who want to keep the baby have no say.
Yet there are many unintended consequences.
Abortion imposes a death sentence on the victim.
85%-plus will change after seeing an ultrasound.
Take Action!
Don’t despair! Don’t be silent! Instead pray, vote, and engage.
Ask questions that prompt thinking and discussion.
“Who – or what – gives human life its value?”
“‘Fetus’ means ‘baby’. Is the unborn fetus human, one of us?”
“What is the value of human life, and why?”
“Why was abortion illegal before 1973?”
“Could your mother have rightly aborted you?”
“If one can be ‘pro-choice’ about taking unborn human life, can one be ‘pro-choice’ about taking other human life?”
“Is partial-birth abortion morally acceptable?”
“If so, could you assist with this procedure?” If not, why not?
“Is abortion in the third trimester morally right?”
“If abortion, why not infanticide and euthanasia?”
“How is the value of human life to be measured? By size? Maturity? Brain capacity? Habitat? Degree of dependency? Contribution to society? If so before birth, why not after birth and in old age?”
“If an elderly person has dementia and becomes totally dependent, could SCOTUS rightly declare him or her no longer a person?”