There are a number of comments to be made on this article. First of all, this is hardly something new. In 1974, a year after the Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion throughout the U.S., a constitutional amendment was proposed to congress essentially establishing the same thing. A couple of years ago I was asked to visit our congregations in South Dakota because they had a comparable referendum in the state. So, error # 1 – this is not new.
Secondly, the article states that the initiative “would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person.” What is a “fertilized human egg?” Fertilizing an egg is an event. A “fertilized egg” is convenient terminology to dehumanize the amazing change that has happened at fertilization. At that moment the egg is no longer an egg but an expanding and maturing human life with a dramatically different biology than when it was just “an egg.” So, error # 2 is the sloppy language to describe what has happened. If allowed to stand then that would make me a 55-year-old fertilized egg.
Thirdly, the article does correctly point out that the pro-life community finds itself divided on how to take this initiative. I know it seems odd that not every pro-life agency isn’t jumping on the bandwagon but the reasoning has to do more with politics and methodology than ideology. It is difficult on the one hand not to get excited at the prospect of calling unborn life what it is – human and deserving of protecting. It is also scarey to see what can happen when well-intentioned efforts like this falter and the consequences that result.
To learn more about the concerns of a failed effort read: “Politics for the Greatest Good: The Case for Prudence in the Public Square” by Clarke Forsythe. Clarke does an excellent and meticulous job of detailing the risks of such “all or nothing” efforts.
Finally, the author of the Times article ties the effort to birth control. It has long been the claim that banning abortions is the Roman Catholic tool to also ban birth control. Without a doubt the Roman Catholic teaching against all artificial birth control has been troubling in the public arena. But, some forms of birth control (hormonal) are, in fact, listed in the pharmaceutical guides and on the FDA website as having the potential to act as abortifacients. No one knows for certain if and how often they act in this way but there is no denying the statements that they can act in this way. I have written on birth control numerous times. Visit the Christian Life Resources website and search for “birth control” to view some of those articles.
So, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. I tend to favor Clark Forsythe’s measured approach to correcting this moral wrong in society. But, like slavery, it is clear the abortion issue will not be permitted to fall off the radar. Such injustices need to be kept before the public for correction to occur.