In a recently published opinion in your paper titled, "Balanced discussion of abortion rights," John Young writes to his son (and to the rest of us), assuring us that abortion is a "medical necessity," and arguing that the procedure is particularly suitable when conception is the result of rape or incest. He tells us that his chief concern, however, is that the state should not force "a pregnant women to gestate—to carry a pregnancy to term."
Mr. Young is right if we will but grant him one presupposition: The "product of conception" is not an innocent, living human being. If this is true, then we can dispose of it at will. We can deal with the inconvenience of pregnancy the way we might deal with the inconvenience of too many kittens or the threat of too many rattlesnakes. Tumors are simply removed when they present a threat, and so too, this "protoplasmic mass" we call a fetus can be surgically removed and dumped. If Mr. Young is correct, then abortion is little different than pulling a bad tooth—problem solved.
If, however, Mr. Young's presupposition is false, and a pregnant woman (however she became pregnant) is carrying an innocent, living human being, made in the image of God, we have an entirely different proposition. To destroy such a life is the intentional killing of an innocent human life. We can cloak it in medical terms and euphemistically turn it into a "clinical procedure," but renaming it does not change its true nature. Neither the mother nor a doctor nor anyone else can justify killing an innocent human being no matter how inconvenient this life might be.
As doctors seek to preserve life, no doubt some lives cannot be saved. Life is full of difficult and sad circumstances, but we are not free to solve these problems at the expense of others. As some men sexually violate women we should deal justly with them and also justly with their innocent victims. Kill the rapists, not the babies. Protecting innocent life from violence is a primary duty of the state. It is unfortunate that while overstepping its mandate in many directions it falls short in the lives of the most needy.
Pastor Randy Booth, November 20, 2003