The Golden Rule and Abortion

golden-rule-and-abortion-001Because we currently are in a national election cycle, the issue of elective abortion is again in the headlines. The Bible speaks to this issue, and so we must speak to this issue (1 Peter 4:11).

There are many good arguments against elective abortion (“elective” means “by choice.” For purposes of this article, I am discussing “convenience abortion.”). Here are three arguments: (1) The murder of pre-born children eliminates their potential usefulness to society. (2) Abortion inflicts many psychological harms on the mother. (3) Abortion robs loving, potential parents of the opportunity to adopt.

But the fundamental reason why elective abortion is wrong has always been the following fact: Elective abortion is murder. That is, elective abortion is the deliberate taking of an innocent human life.

Some contend, however, that elective abortion does not constitute murder, because the pre-born baby is just a clump of its mother’s cells, no different from cancer cells that she feels free to eliminate. In other words, the pre-born child is not an individual human being at all, but merely a small part of the mother, and perhaps an undesirable part.

Now, the pre-born baby cannot be merely a part of the mother, for for the baby has its own genetic code. Yet, notice that even if we were to allow that the pre-born baby is merely some set of the mother’s cells, the pro-abortion position would be no stronger. For if it is wrong to kill an adult, it would have been wrong to kill him at any earlier stage in his development—including the pre-born stage. In other words, one may rightly assert: “If it is wrong to kill me now, then it was wrong to kill me when I was two years old. It was wrong to kill me when I was a year old. And, it was wrong to kill me when I was a fetus.”

This powerful argument against abortion was developed by Alexander Pruss of Baylor University. Pruss’ argument is an application of the Golden Rule: “Treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matthew 7:12). If everyone followed the Golden Rule, there would be no elective abortion, for nobody wishes he had been killed at any earlier stage of development.

Thankfully, God’s grace is available to forgive all of us who are sinners, including those who have committed the sin of elective abortion (Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:9).

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- 2017