One of the most significant debates separating Christians in America is the debate over how to fight against abortion in our nation. On the one hand, there are the mainstream pro-life leaders who argue that the best way to fight against abortion is to wage a war of attrition by passing incremental laws that make more and more abortions illegal until we finally eliminate all abortions entirely. On the other hand are the personhood and abolitionist leaders who argue that the incremental approach is immoral and that we must strive to pass laws which outlaw all abortions without exception. The two paths are irreconcilable. We must choose one or the other, but how do we know which one is right?
From 1997 to 2002, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) forced children in the foster care system of New York to take experimental medication that made them severely ill and had potentially lethal side effects. In 1997, Pfizer conducted an illegal drug trial on two hundred children in Nigeria that left fifty children dead and many others with severe brain damage and paralysis. Between 1932 and 1972, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted an illegal study of syphilis patients at the Tuskegee Institute, which resulted in the death of 128 of the study participants.
The history of medicine is replete with examples of people being ruthlessly subjected to unethical testing. The potential for amassing wealth from drug sales has often proven to be too great a temptation for those in the medical profession, and countless innocent lives have been lost as a result. When these practices are exposed, we are understandably outraged, and the demand for justice echoes around the globe. Unless, that is, the victims of this injustice were killed before they were even born.
I did not watch this year's State of the Union address. In fact, I have never watched a State of the Union address. I always wait to read the transcript afterwards instead. I have found that reading a transcript of a speech allows me to focus on the actual content of the speech without the distraction of the speaker's theatrics. And when I read this year's State of the Union address from Donald Trump, I found that this practice of separating content from theatrics gave me a fairly unique perspective of a speech that many of my friends were describing as the greatest State of the Union address they've ever heard.
A Question for Trump on Abortion
I am glad that Trump attended the March for Life instead of the Planned Parenthood gala like Obama did, and I'm glad that he gave a speech proclaiming that "Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God." I just have one small question:
Alabama Representative Terri Collins, along with 66 cosponsors, has introduced a bill in the Alabama state house which would make abortion a felony in the state of Alabama. As you are well aware, I have been trying to get abortion banned from Alabama ever since I moved back to the state 10 years ago. You would think, then, that I would be ecstatic to see our legislature finally promoting a bill that would accomplish that goal, but this bill is a very dangerous bill. Let me explain why.
There's an old pro-abortion argument that has received a lot of attention on twitter lately. It goes something like this:
Imagine that you are in a burning building along with a five year old child and an incubator of human embryos. You know that you can save either the single child or the entire incubator full of embryos, but you cannot save both. Which one will you choose to save? If you chose to save the child, then you have proven that a child is more valuable than a human embryo which means that unborn humans do not have as much moral value as born humans.
There have been several excellent responses to this argument, but I'd like to point out the two responses that I think are the best of the lot.
A review of the book "Life's Work: A Moral Argument for Choice" by Dr. Willie Parker.
Let me begin this review by pointing out that Dr. Parker would take exception to my use of the word “children” in the title. He made it very clear in his book that he does not like people using “the loaded term ‘unborn child’ interchangeably with the more medically accurate ‘embryo’ or ‘fetus’” According to Dr. Parker, “Before twenty-two weeks, a fetus is not in any way equal to ‘a baby’ or ‘a child.’” Of course, he also says that he sees nothing wrong with abortions after twenty-two weeks either, so I’m not real sure why he objects to using the term “child” in reference to prenatal humans prior to twenty-two weeks of gestation.
On April 4th, 2017, yet another book was published which claimed to present a moral argument for abortion. Dr. Willie Parker – the book’s author, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a nationally celebrated child killer – claims that he is “doing God’s work” by providing abortions. I disagree. I think that Parker’s “God” is a construct of his own imagination and that his so called “moral argument for choice” is a farce. I’ve challenged Dr. Parker to a public debate in Birmingham, and I am eagerly awaiting his response.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me for my thoughts on Dr. Wayne Grudem's article answering objections to voting for Donald Trump. Dr. Grudem responded to 11 objections and then wrote a lengthy comparison of the proposed policies of Trump and Hillary followed by an appeal for Christians to "seek what is best for the nation." I read Dr. Grudem's article and jotted down the following thoughts in response to his answers:
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
Contact Us if you would like to schedule Bill to speak to your church, group, or club.
"Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:9)