“Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?” —Job 31:15
The apparent Christmas Eve murder of Laci Peterson in California, then eight months pregnant with her first son, Connor, has once again thrust into the limelight one of the most glaring inconsistencies within the law. Laci’s husband, Scott, was arrested and charged with two counts of murder for the deaths—one count for the murder of Laci, one count for Connor.
In typical fashion, immediately upon hearing that two murder charges were pending, the usual pro-abortion suspects condemned the second murder charge. Abortion proponents have once again shown that their agenda is not the protection of “choice” but rather a drive to make abortion that “choice.” If they were truly believers of their stated ideals (the protection of women), they would have been the first to denounce the killings and call for murder charges for the deaths of Laci and her unborn son. Rather than denouncing these horrendous crimes, abortion activists are calling for the authorities to drop the murder charge for the death of Connor.
Possibly the most incredulous remarks came from Marva Stark, head of the New Jersey chapter of NOW (National Organization for Woman). Stark said: “If this is murder, well, then any time a late-term fetus is aborted, they could call it murder. There’s something about this that bothers me a little bit. Was it born, or was it unborn? If it was unborn, then I can’t see charging with a double-murder. He [Connor] was wanted and expected, and [Laci Peterson] had a name for him, but if he wasn’t born, he wasn’t born.”
On the pro-life side of the argument, Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, called it the "height of illogic to say that because Connor was a wanted baby, the act against him was murder, but that if he had not been wanted, he would have been a clump of human cells."
California is one of 29 states that provide some level of punishment for killing an unborn child. The existence of laws that punish the killing of an unborn child as murder begs the question: How then can abortion be legal? This amazing paradox is the result of one of the many inconsistencies that exist within the law. Human laws enacted by imperfect humans are at times imperfect and inconsistent.
The answer to the legality of abortion in California and many states is this: When the life of an unborn child is ended through abortion, no crime has been committed—but if the same life was ended without the consent of the mother, then a murder occurred.
Incredibly, the consent of the woman to the act causing death is placed higher than the life of the child. Unbelievably, the woman has the power to alter the elements of a crime by simply agreeing to end the life of the child, transforming what would have been murder into a court sanctioned act. Essentially, the law equates the life of the child as mere property, without rights in itself, but absolutely subject to the wishes of its “owner.”
However, isn’t an unborn child a separate life, not a mere property asset? Does this mean that a woman’s power over the life and death of a child should only be valid while the child is unborn? If the law recognizes that an unborn child is only entitled to protection when the mother so desires, it is not a large step to decide that any unwanted child, regardless of age does not have the right to life. The same logic that enables the killing of an unborn child will allow the killing of any unwanted person, regardless of age. To me, the injustice is appalling and deserves an outcry from every Christian. In the words of former President Ronald Regan: “Regrettably, we live at a time when some persons do not value all human life. They want to pick and choose which individuals have value. We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life—the unborn—without diminishing the value of all human life.”
The U.S. was founded with the ideal that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The most recent cases from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding abortion hold that abortion can be “Constitutionally” regulated as long as the regulation is not "unduly burdensome." Unfortunately, the courts have seen fit to give the consent and will of the woman more power than the will of an unborn child to life. The courts have placed the mother’s "pursuit of happiness" over that of the child’s "right to life.”
Simply put, Connor did nothing that entitled him to more protection than any other living person. The fact that some children are unwanted should not deprive them of the right to life. If Connor’s life is worth protecting, then so is the life of every unborn child. It is high time that we turn once again to protecting innocent life at every stage, from conception until natural death.
One of the most compelling analyses of the impact of abortion came from Mother Theresa, who said she felt the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion because it is a war against the child and murder by the mother herself. “How do we persuade her with love (and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts)?” she asked. “Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child.” Mother Theresa also had words for the father of the child: “Whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take the responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble.” Her conclusion was that abortion just leads to more abortion. “Any county that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.”
The respect and protection for innocent life, especially those lives who cannot protect themselves, should be high on the list of priorities for any country. If we do not protect the innocent within our midst, how then can we be the moral light to the rest of the world? Matthew 6:14-16 says: "You are the light of the world … Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” God demands respect for innocent life. By renewing our country’s respect for the life of the unborn, we will take a step in once again being a light to the world.
[Nathan Paul Mehrens holds a doctorate in law and is the Director of Research for a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C.]
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