This amazing photograph was taken at Vanderbilt University hospital a few years ago. It was taken during a surgery of a baby in the womb and clearly shows the baby grabbing the finger of the doctor. Indeed, life does begin at conception. And indeed, each life is precious to God.
This is not a political blog.
I typically do not post political issues here. But this is not a political issue. This is a Sanctity of Life issue. This is a matter of speaking for the little ones who cannot speak for themselves.
When we vote tomorrow, there is a little bit of “separating the men from the boys” that will show up from the previously united “Pro-Life” camp.
Let me back up and explain.
Those on the other side of the issue altogether call themselves “Pro Choice.” We, looking at the statistical fact that Planned Parenthood does 99 abortions for every 1 adoption referral, choose to label them with a more accurate “Pro Abortion.”
So over here on our side of the issue, there are a whole bunch of people running around calling themselves “Pro Life.”
But when push comes to shove, and they have a chance to vote for the Personhood Amendment, the truth starts to come out.
They are not going to be “Pro Life” if it inconveniences them. If they can’t use their favorite form of birth control anymore, or dispose of their artificial insemination embryos.
They are, it turns out, only “Anti Abortion”.
There’s actually a pastor that has made a prominent proclamation about how he, naturally “is Pro-Life”, BUT…
Then he gives a bunch of cop-out arguments.
He says, “… but what is fertilization?”
Who are you, Bill Clinton?
Please listen to (watch, but it’s a radio program) Dr. Richard Land discussing Amendment 26. Dr. Land has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission since 1988 and is an ardent supporter of Amendment 26!
He makes an unassailable case for the beginning of life, and the rightness of the cause. He then goes on to explain the necessary simplicity of 26, and the way our legal and governmental system works – laws will be drafted to codify how this law is implemented, and how each of the various hypothetical situations people raise will be addressed.
I would also encourage you to read An Examination of Mississippi’s Proposition 26 by Steven Wedgeworth. I’m going to give you a few highlights, but I strongly suggest you take a moment to read the post through in its entirety. It is very well-thought-out, very well-written, and a very compelling piece of truth.
First, a bit of definition:
“Personhood” in this conversation is a legal consideration. We are not dealing exclusively with biology or even sociology or psychology. There is a long-standing historical record to testify that slaves were once not considered legal persons. Though they were living, breathing, and thinking human beings, they were nevertheless not legal persons. This changed in America over time, and the change in the point of view was clearly influenced by moral, religious, and philosophical concerns. Even trickier is that fact that, today, Walmart is considered a legal person! It is important to remember that Prop. 26 is concerned with “person” as used in the MS bill of rights.
He clearly states the response to the very sorts of points I was discussing above. This, simply put, is where the rubber meets the road:
The fact that Prop. 26 might have implications on other areas of life is not unimportant, but those implications are not themselves enough to settle the issue. One really ought to decide whether or not he agrees with the assertion of Prop. 26 first, and then he may examine the implications. After all, if an entity is a person, then the fact that its rights might conflict with yours is simply a reality.
Complicated legal situations may arise when the rights of multiple persons come into tension with one another. This is true already, and Prop. 26 is actually not adding to this complexity at all because those issues already exist and personhood is currently undefined. Any possible “difficult case” that I’ve heard as an argument against Prop. 26 can still exist without Prop. 26. Prop. 26 does not create those difficult cases.
Further, it would seem to me that the proper way to move forward regarding legal conundra is not to deny personhood to one of the parties involved, but rather to continue the conversation, adding relevant clarifications and protections for the specific situations. Prop. 26 would not settle all or even any of these difficult scenarios. We would still need to discuss power of attorney, as well as the State’s duty to protect. But we must do that anyway.
And a tidbit about Roe. I had no idea!
Roe v. Wade actually has some insane logic on precisely this point. It says that, since it is unclear when life begins, it will decide to protect the mother’s rights up to a certain point in development and then after that point, it will protect the rights of the child in the womb. This is law by coin flip. In no sane universe does it make sense to settle a genuine legal dilemma by denying personhood to one of the two parties. We should either explore ways to respect the rights of all persons or clearly express our principles for limiting one party’s rights in a given scenario. In no case is it sufficient to simply deny personhood.
Well said! Thank you, Mr. Wedgeworth!!
And, additionally, for those who suggest that we Vote No and go back to re-write and clarify – although those concerns are amply debunked by both Dr. Land and Mr. Wedgeworth – one more item to consider:
I was initially not very motivated to participate in this discussion because I saw Prop. 26 as overly limited (exactly the opposite of its critics’ claims). However, witnessing and participating in a few recent conversations has proven to me that more than the specifics of Prop. 26 are actually at stake. Rather this is a strategic opportunity to state and clarify pro-Life principles as well as a consistent Christian legal thought. And if the national media is any trustworthy guide, Prop. 26 will be influential upon future legal decisions across the US.
Please go to your polling place tomorrow, and vote for LIFE. Go, even if you do not cast a vote on any other office or issue!