The hot topic one morning recently on a local radio talk show was abortion. The conservative host’s position was that life is sacred and abortion is morally wrong. He found it disturbing that so many callers found abortion acceptable. He found the callers who believed that one could be pro-life and approve of abortion in the case of rape and incest especially disturbing.
The host’s position was that the newly created life is either sacred or not. If it is sacred, abortion is absolutely wrong, with one exception. The exception is one that many would accept, but it lays waste to the host’s seeming certainty that he has the moral and religious high ground in this argument.
The discussion was interesting. It did at times drift toward the absurd as callers tried to support or disagree with the host’s point of view. Still, for the most part, it was interesting, if predictable. The pro-abortion callers were adamant. It was the woman’s right to choose. Pro-life or anti-abortion callers were adamant that the unborn child had the right to be born, with several possible exceptions.
Some pro-abortion callers would feel that abortion at some point in the development of the baby was probably not acceptable. Some anti-abortion callers agreed that abortion, while wrong, might be acceptable in certain cases. The one point of unanimous agreement was in the case of a serious threat to the mother’s life. Even the most adamant anti-abortion advocates, including the host of the show, agreed they would abort the baby if it was the only way to save the life of the mother.
It is this point of agreement that is a sticking point for this writer. The show’s host stated many times that the child’s life was sacred. He would chastise callers who claimed to be Christians, yet agreed that abortion was acceptable under circumstances such as rape or incest. He would say, “What is it you don’t understand about the word sacred!” Still, when it came to the survival of the mother, the host agreed the child should be sacrificed in the interest of saving the mother. After all, the mother was “already here” in his words.
The question is, what is it he does not understand about the word sacred? If human life is sacred, all human life is sacred. Obviously in the host’s opinion, sacred meant the life was protected and man should not interfere with God’s will by aborting the child. Yet, he had no trouble saying that if it came down to the sacred life of the child or the sacred life of the mother, the mother received the thumbs up.
Please understand. It is not the position of this writer that the mother should be sacrificed to save the child. The host’s position is understandable. The position of all who agreed with him is understandable. The idea of allowing a human adult to die to give an unborn child a chance at life seems clearly and logically wrong. The problem is that at its core, the pro-life position is not a matter of logic. It is a matter of faith.
Many Christians believe human life is sacred. They believe life begins at conception, and God either allowed the conception or ordained it. Because of this belief, they argue, abortion is wrong. They believe aborting the child is to go against God’s will. This is the most basic argument of the pro-life, anti-abortion group.
That is basically the argument of the talk show host whose program inspired this post. Aborting the child is against God’s will. God made that life sacred and taking it is going against God. Aborting the child is a sin unless it is necessary to save the mother’s life.
The decision to save the mother seems clearly logical. It is logical, but who gives this host, the mother or anyone else the right to decide if saving the mother is God’s will? By any definition of the sacredness of life, two sacred lives are in jeopardy, the mother and the child. Does the fact the mother is alive make her more sacred? Does the fact the child is not yet born, has not yet had any life experience or has not yet done anything noteworthy make it less sacred?
This is the point at which the talk show host’s faith and argument seem to falter. It is the point at which most Christians’ faith would falter. Trusting in the will of God is hard. It is especially hard when trusting God means placing someone’s life in His hands. When fear overrides faith, logic is a great way to justify the weakness of one’s faith.
Some people have the faith to say let God’s will be done. They would tell the doctors to do their best to save the mother and the child. They would place the fate of both the mother and the child in God’s hands, through the doctors. That is an act of faith most can only imagine, and many would argue goes too far, even within the Christian community.
The question then becomes, what do we not understand about the word sacred? We need to ask ourselves a tough question. Do we really think life is sacred, or do we only believe life is sacred when it is convenient or helps our argument?
© S. E. Jackson 2012