I first heard about the horror story from the Philadelphia abortion clinic two years ago. Finally, after all this time, some of the media have been shamed into covering it as the trial unfolds. If you depend on the mainstream media for your information, you will need to look on the internet to get up to speed on this. One important element that the media will never cover is the biblical perspective.
One can define murder as the willful and unlawful taking of a human life. The Law makes provisions for war, self-defense and accidental death. The reason that murder is such a heinous crime is that the victim is in the image of God. The sanction for this crime is the death penalty (Gen. 9:6). Note that this sanction precedes the Mosaic Law. The law extends the sanction to “fetuses.” Exodus 21:22 refers to premature birth (“fruit” is literally “child”). Verse 23 considers the case where either mother or child die.
I will leave it for others to flesh out these arguments. I want to argue here against a false equivalence which some are already making. The argument goes like this. The pro-gun activists say that just because one homicidal lunatic killed a bunch of school children in Newtown, Massachusetts, does not mean that the state should take away guns from law abiding citizens. Similarly, because some abortion doctor in Philadelphia did some shocking things does not mean that abortion is unsafe and that we should deprive women of their right to a safe abortion.
The cases are different for several reasons. For one, the Constitution clearly states that citizens have the right to own guns. The so-called right to an abortion is in the “penumbras” of the Constitution that a Supreme Court justice found somewhere in his imagination. Surprisingly, no one noticed the right to an abortion in the Constitution before the Roe v. Wade decision.
Another difference is that everyone agrees that the slaughter of innocent school children is bad. Not everyone agrees that the slaughter of innocent “fetuses” is wrong. What the Philadelphia tragedy exposes is not just the depravity and greed of an abortion doctor and his staff, not just the willful, criminal negligence of a state oversight agency, but the very nature of what abortion is. If we believe the “pro-choice” side, what was wrong in Philadelphia is that the killing of the children happened outside of the woman’s body. If the same thing happens inside the woman’s body, it is all right, because you cannot see it.
The president of the United States is on record as favoring infanticide. I am waiting for some White House reporter to ask him about this in light of the horror of Philadelphia with the same relish as the questions after the Newtown killings. Still waiting . . .
David Potter serves as a missionary in Hungary with Baptist World Mission.