“If a woman can legally terminate an unwanted pregnancy, he argued, how can she be jailed for unintentionally ending a wanted one?”
The Mississippi State Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on whether prosecution can move forward on a case in which a woman, who was using drugs while pregnant, can be tried for manslaughter for the drug-caused, in utero death of her baby girl.
This story is just another example of how confused we are as a society when it comes to the sanctity of life and when a human is truly a person deserving of legal protection. If you can prosecute a woman for taking drugs while pregnant when it results in the death of her baby, then why is it legal for that same woman to have her baby’s life ended at the hands of an abortionist?
No matter what side of the abortion debate you are on, I think we can all agree that this makes no sense whatsoever. Consider this statement from one of the mother’s lawyers: “Charging a woman with manslaughter for using drugs while pregnant is just a backdoor way of establishing legal “personhood” for fetuses.” Stories like this are confusing whether you are pro-choice or pro-life because we are trying to make some sense out of chaos. Shouldn’t it either be illegal to kill (intentionally or unintentionally) a baby in utero because that baby is a person and, therefore, deserves protection, or legal because, presumably, the baby is not really a baby and so has no rights to protection and life?
This topic was brought up for me during the Gosnell trial, as well. Why are we so upset that he killed those babies right after they came out of their mothers when 5 minutes and a few inches earlier, it would have been perfectly legal to do what he did?
We, as a society, really have no idea what we believe. When should the baby be considered a person? Is it okay to kill the baby in the womb but 1 minute after delivery, it’s now murder? If I’m pregnant and someone (say a stranger) causes my baby (whom I want) to die in my womb, was that murder? If so, what about if I’m the one who decides to let them (in this case, a doctor) end my baby’s life? Should it be illegal if my actions (like drug use) lead to the unintentional death of my baby? If so, then why isn’t it illegal if my actions (abortion) lead to the intentional death of my baby?
We are confused because we have no objective standard. We cannot know what is right or wrong unless there is an absolute standard to compare it to. Without that standard it’s just my random, meaningless feelings against your equally random, meaningless feelings.
“The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others. Or put it this way. If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something—some Real Morality—for them to be true about.” - C.S. Lewis
I believe that God is that absolute standard. I also believe that His Word makes it clear that he considers us living beings even in our mother’s wombs. Consider what the Lord says to the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5-
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
In addition, hear these beautiful words from Psalm 139: 13-16-
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
Having an objective standard helps us to see the issue clearly. This frees us from the confusion of knowing whether what we just killed was a baby or simply a “fetus.”
Are babies persons deserving of legal protection and the right to life even while in their mother’s womb? Yes.