What does it mean to be “pro-life”? How pro-life am I really?
Being pro-life to me means that I view all life as valuable. I believe human life as holding the most value of all living organisms. I believe this because God established man’s dominion over all creatures in the Garden of Eden and because God said that man was made in the image of God. No other creature has been given that honor.
Since we have dominion over the rest of creation, what does that mean? Strength and power do not mean abuse. They mean authority and responsibility. We are accountable to God to deal responsibly with the rest of life, to not abuse that which He has placed under our care. We are caretakers. We use responsibly — not abuse negligently. God created the rest of Creation for our enjoyment. Therefore, we need to cultivate, preserve, protect, use where needed, and enjoy. We are to be wise stewards.
What do I view life as? What does it mean to have life?
Webster-Merriam Dictionary defines life as this:
: the form or pattern of something existing in reality <painted from : the period of existence (as of a subatomic particle) — compare half-life 14: a property (as resilience or elasticity) of an inanimate substance or object resembling the animate quality of a living being 15: living beings (as of a particular kind or environment) <forest life>”Life therefore is when something/an organism came into being — began to function with life. Life begins at the beginning of that thing or organism. The beginning is the beginning.
What does that mean then when it comes to protecting life in this form? Does it hold as much value? Do we judge a form of life by its functionality? Is its worth based on how functional the organism is to us? If that is the case, the worth of an object is vulnerable to interpretation. Could we also become vulnerable to interpretation? What if our functionality diminishes? What if we lose some function of our physical abilities or even mental abilities? Has our value decreased because our function has decreased? Do we determine the worth of an organism, or does the Creator of that organism (God)? If so, it is our job then to be responsible caretakers, handling the most delicate and vulnerable with the most care.
What if I am inconvenienced in this process? Don’t I have a choice to continue a pregnancy or to terminate a pregnancy since this organism resides in my own body? Don’t I have a right over my own body?
Science/biology can be debated back and forth on this matter. It’s been done too frequently to count. Everyone wants to debate that if a fetus is dependent on you for sustenance, you can rid yourself of it at any time. Thus, the debate continues over what substitutes independent living. The argument is held that if the organism is not independent from you, you have the right to eliminate or preserve the (living) organism as you choose.
First of all, we are not debating a dead thing. The debate is over a living organism. Establishing that basic concept raises a different point.
If this is a living organism, we must then establish if it is a separate organism from its host (the mother). Medical science establishes this fact. The fetus has a different heart rate, different blood type, and different gender often from its host (mother). It is obvious this is a separate identity. Just taking the fetus’ DNA would reveal a separate DNA from its host (mother). Here’s a quote I recently saw on this matter:
“That baby’s DNA is human from the time of conception, and is separate from his/her mother’s. Yes, it proves that it is human from the very beginning. People will try and say anything to make legalized murder ok, and call it choice. EDIT- and for those who say that just because it has separate DNA from the mother does not prove it is life, and since it cannot survive on his/her own it is not life, here is another scenario that shows these statements are false. Let us say that a baby is born 2 months prematurely, and has to be in a incubator and hooked up to machines for a couple of months. That baby cannot survive on his/her own then. But try asking this question to the mother and father of this child. “Since your baby cannot survive yet on its own, it has not life”. That mother and father would not agree with you. Also even if a child is born on time, can that baby truly survive on its own. If the mother abandons that baby , the baby will die. Do they just say it is was the choice of the mother to abandon the child- NO THEY ARE CHARGED with murder.”
“To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion … it is plain experimental evidence.” The “Father of Modern Genetics” Dr. Jerome Lejeune, Univ. of Descarte, Paris
“By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.” Dr. Hymie Gordon, Chairman, Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic
Here’s an excellent link to a website written by physicians on this topic: http://www.prolifephysicians.org/lifebegins.htm. Here’s a direct quote from their website:
“According to this elementary definition of life, life begins at fertilization, when a sperm unites with an oocyte. From this moment, the being is highly organized, has the ability to acquire materials and energy, has the ability to respond to his or her environment, has the ability to adapt, and has the ability to reproduce (the cells divide, then divide again, etc., and barring pathology and pending reproductive maturity has the potential to reproduce other members of the species). Non-living things do not do these things. Even before the mother is aware that she is pregnant, a distinct, unique life has begun his or her existence inside her.”
Therefore the question arises, does the host (mother) have a right to eliminate this separate life because it is the host? In order to respond to this question, we have to return to my earlier statements:
“Strength and power do not mean abuse. They mean authority and responsibility. We are accountable to God to deal responsibly with the rest of life, to not abuse that which He has placed under our care. We are caretakers. We use responsibly — not abuse negligently. God created the rest of Creation for our enjoyment. Therefore, we need to cultivate, preserve, protect, use where needed, and enjoy. We are to be wise stewards.”
Because I may have the legal right to do something, does it make it morally right?
Using the same arguments that we raised earlier:
Don’t I have a choice to continue a pregnancy or to terminate a pregnancy since this organism resides in my own body? Don’t I have a right over my own body?
First of all, this goes beyond your own body. This is a living organism with a separate identity, as I briefly discussed.
Why do you think you have the right to terminate this organism? Because it is part of your body? It isn’t part of your body, it RELIES on your body to provide its necessary nourishment until it can function independently. That takes us back to the point of life’s worth. Is it based on its functionality or the level to which it can live independently? If it isn’t, then we have to admit that a human life, even in its most beginning stages, holds value because of its very nature. It is a living organism — not just any organism but a living human organism. It is the start of a separate human life!
As such, it should be protected under the same laws and guidelines that protect any other human life.
If we protect human life based on its functionality or ability to live independently, we fall into a “slippery slope” that can lead to the elimination of other “less” productive humans: the elderly, paraplegics, mentally-impaired, blind, and the list goes on… Perhaps, our children will use the same reasoning we used on them when it comes to determining our worth when our functionality has diminished and when it becomes physically, financially, or emotionally expedient for them to do so.
So, if I believe all the above: that all forms of life hold value and should be respected and protected, I consider myself pro-life, right? Yes, you are! The question remains, “How pro-life are you?”
Are you pro-life when it is convenient for you? Are you pro-life when you can control it? Let me make myself clearer — where I am going with this…
What happens when my husband and I have decided we are done having children? We like the number we have; we feel quite content with the number we have been given. We want a specific spacing between the children we have. What happens then when we have a “surprise” or “oops” baby? How do I respond to the unexpected life — to the “inconvenient” life? Do I still see it as having worth? Do I still see it as life — a separate human life with great value? Do I treat it with respect and with care? I may have a good cry and be surprised, and that is okay, but what is the end conclusion/the result? What is my official response to the unexpected/”inconvenient” lives that have been entrusted into my care? How pro-life am I really?