Yesterday, I had the questionable pleasure of driving by a small abortion protest in front of a local medical building. Two men and a woman were each holding signs while one of the men used a bull horn to shout something from the sidewalk. One of the signs in particular, caught my attention. It read, “God Chose That Baby“.
In the wake of the recent Todd Akin debacle, I’ve heard a number of so-called Pro-Life advocates claim that abortion is always wrong. This troubles me. I agree that life is precious, but the mother has a life too. And life is much more than being physically not dead. I would never advocate for abortion as a casual form of birth control, but drawing hard lines around exactly when pregnancy is too much for the mother to bear is beyond my pay grade. Choose life? Sure. But whose? And at what quality of life? I’m not qualified to make that decision, and frankly neither are you… or the government.
But the sign started the wheels turning in my mind. A Pro-Life friend recently explained that when God conceives a baby, He has a plan. If the mother dies, or is physically or mentally traumatized or disabled in the process, that’s tragic. But it’s still part of the plan. If God means for the mother to survive, she will. It is not for us to intervene. Hmmm… And then, the apparent worldview of these folks clicked into place for me… and then quickly went all askew.
While I don’t agree with the position, I can at least respect a position that says God plays an active role in our everyday lives. He chooses the key events of our lives, and we are not to meddle in His affairs. He has a plan. It’s not possible to know what it is, but He has one. At least I can respect the position if the person actually lives their life by that philosophy. But I can’t see how that’s so.
According to this philosophy, there’s no reason to seek medical intervention on anything, not just pregnancy. If you have a heart attack, God meant that for you. If you were meant to survive it, you will. To expect that God’s plan included a paramedic with a defibrillator makes no sense. It would then be equally reasonable to assume God’s plan included a pharmacist with a morning-after pill.
If, in fact, God did choose that baby, who among us can say what for? God sent his own son to die for us—to teach us something. Is it so farfetched that he might send an embryo to die for a person or a family to teach them something? There are several references in the bible to men being called to a destiny from the womb. Who is to say fulfilling that destiny requires reaching adulthood? The simple reality is, you can’t say there is a plan; no one knows what it is; but that thing there is definitely not part of it.
The only rational counter argument is that there is something special and sacred about the life of a child. That the value of a child’s life is always above and beyond the value of anyone else’s life. But (since we can’t know the plan) this valuation would have to be supported by the bible, and that’s not at all clear. Jesus may have loved the little children, but Abraham was told to kill his own son, and Deuteronomy instructs fathers to have their non-virginal daughters stoned to death. Further, the bible says nothing about abortions. The closest it comes is in Exodus when it is stated that if you strike a pregnant woman and cause a miscarriage, you must pay a fine to the woman’s husband. God’s plan for the life of children is a bit cloudy at best. Clearly, “Thou shalt not kill,” is not quite the black and white rule you might assume.
Perhaps you believe that God chose that baby. But it seems that unless you’re purporting to know God’s unknowable plan for it, you’re a hypocrite.