Confused about when human life begins? Here’s 2 simple examples to help you know…for sure.

Confused about when human life begins? Here’s 2 simple examples to help you know…for sure. April 14, 2016

Baby in the WombOne aspect of the abortion debate that has emboldened pro-choice advocates is their stated uncertainty about when human life begins. For example, in 2008, at the Saddleback Church Civic Forum, Pastor Rick Warren asked then Senator Barack Obama, “At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?” Obama responded, “Well, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.

Now, when I heard Obama’s response I was surprised and concerned for a few reasons. First, given that this question is at the heart of what it means to be human, his response was certainly flippant. (He acknowledged this fact in a follow up interview.) Second, as a steadfast supporter of abortion — even abortions after 20 weeks — his apparent uncertainty about when human life begins is in conflict with his pro-abortion worldview. Here’s why.

First, even if he is uncertain about when life begins from a theological or scientific perspective, as a father, he assuredly has a certainty from a practical perspective. I have heard Senator and President Obama speak passionately about becoming a father and about the importance of fatherhood in his life. In fact, as a committed father and a longtime responsible fatherhood advocate, I have been inspired by his moving remarks.

That said, through the lens of fatherhood, there is another way to pose Pastor Warren’s question to Obama, and it is this this: “At what point, in your wife’s pregnancy, did your fatherhood begin?”

You see, when Michelle Obama first told her husband that she was pregnant with Malia, she was really saying that life had begun inside of her. No doubt, as a loving husband and father, Obama did not consider this news from a theological or scientific perspective. He received the great news of what was forming inside his wife as a practical fact of life…of human life. It was his daughter. Fatherhood had begun.

Moreover, one of my fondest memories as a new father was when my wife guided my hand across her stomach so that I could feel the movements of our first son. As an engaged father, I suspect that Obama had the same experience with his first-born daughter. And this begs a question. When he first felt Malia’s kick, did he have any uncertainty that her life had begun? I doubt it. In fact, I suspect that his daughter’s movement engendered in him a desire to do anything possible to protect her, and rightly so.

Why? Because, no doubt, Obama believes as I do that human life is precious and worthy of protection. In fact, he has said this in situations like school shootings and, most recently, during the Syrian refugee situation. However, he fails to ascribe to the concept of protecting the precious humanity of those in the womb because he wrongly fails to ascribe humanity to those in the womb.

And, this leads naturally to my second point. An uncertainty about when life begins would logically lead one to a pro-life, not a pro-choice, perspective.

For example, suppose that a friend invited you to help him move to a new home. However, when you arrive, your friend apologetically makes a confession to you. In his haste to pack boxes, he neglected to mark “fragile” on a box containing a unique, irreplaceable, and priceless Fabergé egg that had been in his family for 100 years.

Then, he hands you a box.

Now, the question is, how would you handle this box and all of the boxes that need to be moved? Would you casually toss any of the boxes on the moving truck? Nope. Why? Because you are uncertain about what is in each box. Therefore, each box must be treated as if its content was the precious Fabergé egg. Indeed, your uncertainty makes you more careful and more protective. And this is why being uncertain about when life begins should logically lead one who believes that human life is precious and worthy of protection to a pro-life, not a pro-choice, worldview.

It’s worth noting that this principle of uncertainty leading to heightened protection of the vulnerable should not be a foreign concept for President Obama since he is a constitutional lawyer. In fact, longstanding American jurisprudence reflects this principle — known as the “Blackstone Formulation” — made famous by jurist William Blackstone who famously said, “…better ten guilty men escape than that one innocent party suffer.”

If we apply this principle to even protect those who could be guilty, should we not apply it to protect those who most assuredly are innocent? Indeed, no human beings are more innocent than those forming in their mothers’ wombs.

Now, given the stark partisan divide that has gripped our nation, you might be tempted to view this commentary through a political lens since it focused on President Obama’s remarks. But you should not.  Others across the political spectrum have used the “uncertainty of when life begins” argument to justify abortion. But the bottom line is that fatherhood begins at conception just like human life does. And babies in the womb are more unique, more irreplaceable, and more priceless than any Fabergé egg.

This fact is self-evident. Indeed, it is within everyone’s pay grade to know it.

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  • GreyLadyBast

    Wow, are you evil. You utterly disregard the slavery you would condemn women to in order to satisfy YOUR personal definitions of when life beings, and you totally ignore the fact that fetuses already have the EXACT SAME RIGHT to steal another’s body, blood, bones and organs in order to save their own lives as any born person, i.e. none whatsoever. Tell me, do you support forced organ donation for everyone? Do you support the law mandating that you give up one of your kidneys, half your liver, to save the lives of people already born who will surely die without them? No? Why not?

    You people sicken me. You whine on and on and on about the slavery you would impose on others but refuse to step up to the plate when it’s your turn to sacrifice your body for the life of another. When you won’t give the same sacrifices as you demand others make, you are evil. Dressing it up in sentimental lies about when YOU think life begins does not make you any less evil. Your vicious position that fetuses should have special rights that no born person gets is already costing real, live, born women their lives and freedom in backwards countries that have outlawed abortion, and should you get your vile way here, YOU, personally, WILL be responsible for the deaths of real, live, born women here in America. But that means nothing to you, because women are not actually people in your eyes. If we were, you would not be espousing this vile nonsense.

  • Gregory Peterson

    Life began eons ago. It’s continued with the processes of reproduction. The writers of the Bible obviously didn’t know much about those. They didn’t know about sperm cells, the human ovum, zygotes, genetics, evolution etc.

  • axelbeingcivil

    Sperm and ova are alive. Fertilization is a change in their structure. Implantation is their attachment to the mother. Pregnancy is what follows. At no stage did anything non-living enter this equation, so how can you talk about when life begins here?

    You’re talking about personhood, not life.

  • Lady Mandevilla

    Sciencewise, the pro-abortion, anti-life crowd has nothing. Disposing of someone who is an inconvenience to you is on the slippery slope to euthanasia.

  • Mark0H

    It makes sense that cheap tramps who sleep around and let men use them as semen receptacles have no respect for human life, they don’t even respect themselves. People who are immoral about sex are immoral in everything else too.

  • Mr Cleats

    How long have you been infected with AIDS?

  • Comrade Carrot-Blog Vegetarian

    I don’t think this post takes the topic, or Obama’s position (as cited) very seriously.

    It begins by leading the reader to believe that it will be scrutinizing the question of when “a baby gets human rights”, but promptly shifts to the question of when life begins, as if a person is entitled to substitute one for the other when reading Obama’s quote. Further, it conflates the question of the morality of abortion and relevant precursory facts, with the support (or lack) of abortion legislation. It’s not a contradiction to believe that a life has begun, and that there may be cases whereby the government has no role in prosecuting an individual’s decision to end (or allow to end) that life. To accuse Obama of having a “pro abortion worldview” for failing to support a federal restriction on abortion law is every bit as flippant as anything Obama said.

    Should the casual tossing of boxes on a moving truck be made illegal, and prosecuted? No? Well, then it follows that you have a pro-precious faberge egg-destroying worldview. It you’re uncertain about which boxes have eggs, you must support the federal criminalization of reckless box-packing.

    Now, I don’t know Obama’s position on this specific question, but it’s not a contradiction to be certain of one’s present fatherhood, and also uncertain as to what precise moment one became a father. Curiously, Obama (in the follow up interview cited) referenced ensoulment as the relevant fact behind the question of human rights, and seems to disagree with the author of this post, who suggests it has more to do with biological processes than spiritual ones. This reads to me to represent a fundamental disagreement between Obama and this author as to how one would go about determining whether a thing has human rights.

    It’s also curious that, in criticizing Obama’s inability to pinpoint (with “specificity”) the point at which a baby gains human rights, the author neglects to do so as well. “Conception” is the closest we get. Of course, conception isn’t a moment in time, but a multi-step process over a length of time.

    A clarification is certainly in order, but (unfortunately) I don’t think it would advance the argument if one were made. Indeed, I think Obama and this author are talking about two very different things.

  • RustySkywater

    “Cheap tramps”. Ok, this explains it all. You don’t care one whit about fetal life, the only reason you’re anti-abortion is because you are either anti-sex or anti-woman (or both).

  • Mark0H

    You sound bored. Is your naked Cub Scouts website down, pedo?