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Playing God: Abortion and Human Cloning

by David A. DePra

     Stem cell research and human cloning have dominated the news

lately, and this has naturally brought the related issue of abortion

back into the conversation of many people. Somehow we know

that the topics are connected. They all have to do with whether

human beings have the right to give and take life.

     The issue of abortion gravitates back and forth between

"pro-life" and "pro-choice." But there is really only one issue here:

Is a "fetus" a human being?

     Now we all agree that if the fetus is left alone, and remains

healthy, it will BECOME a human being. But pro-choice advocates,

to a greater or lesser degree, rationalize that the woman's choice

must nevertheless have priority. After all, it is her body, and she

has the right to do with it as she pleases. And "her body," in this

case, includes the unborn child within -- according to the

"pro-choice" point of view.

     Actually, the question as to whether a fetus is a human being

is nonsense. Of course it is a human being. There is life there,

isn't there? What kind of life? Human life.

     Think about it. If my child is born on December 31, was he a

human being on December 30th, one day before he came out of

the womb? Sure. Some babies are born months ahead of

schedule. Many of these are alive and well. They prove the fetus

is human long before birth.

     So when did my son become human? A week before he was

born? How about a month? Maybe 5 months. The point is this: If

we agree that a BORN baby is a human being, then at some point

either at conception, or thereafter, he BECAME a human being.

There had to be a specific and indentifiable point in time where he

became a human being. Sane logic demands that this be so.

     "Pro-life" advocates rightly identify the point at which a human

life begins: At conception. It HAS to begin there. It has to, because

there is no other event which intervenes between conception and

actual birth to create a human life. What emerges at birth is simply

the natural outcome of what began at conception: A human being.

     Now if I say that this is not so, and that we cannot know at what

point in the womb a fetus becomes a human being, I am admitting

that abortion consitutes russian rollette with human lives. We abort

the fetus even if we don't know -- according to our reasoning --

whether it is yet "human."

     Actually, once we question whether there is human life at

conception, we leave ourselves with unacceptable alternatives.

Think about it. If we say that when conception takes place that there

is NOT life in the body of the woman -- then ask: What IS there then?

Death in her body? Non-existance? No. She says she is pregnant.

Then what kind of life is in there? A non-human life? No, a human

life. And one that will be a baby in less than a year.

     The first principle of knowledge states that a thing cannot exist

and not exist at the same time. This is a self-evident truth. And it

applies here. There is either human life at conception or there is

not. You cannot have it both ways. And this is the basic question

with abortion. Answer that question, and the issue is settled as to

whether abortion is murder, or merely a legal right to choose.

     When we plant a seed in the ground we are intelligent enough to

know there is life there -- even if it has yet to sprout. We don't like it

if someone tramples through our garden because doing so will kill

our plants. But we refuse to call human life what it is at conception.

If we did that, we would realize that we don't have the right to do as

we please with it. To many people, that is unacceptable.

     In many states in this country, you can be convicted of a crime

if you cause the death of an unborn child. In Pennsylvania this is

the case. If you, for instance, shoot a pregnant woman, and thus

cause the death of her unborn child, you can be convicted of a

crime for doing so. Yet if that same woman had an abortion the

day before this hypothetical shooting took place, she would be

within her legal rights. The same unborn child would be dead. But

the woman had the right to take it's life because it was in her body.

The hypothetical shooter does not have the right to kill the child

because it isn't in his body. The issue of whether the unborn child

IS a life is pushed to the back. Who has, or doesn't have, the right

to take that life is made to be the important issue.

     The line of reasoning used to justify abortion makes me wonder

why assisted suicide is illegal. A woman has the right to choose to

abort a pregnancy, and to obtain medical help in doing so. But a

grown person has no right to do as they please with their body.

They cannot choose to obtain medical assistance to take their

own life. Even if it means ending great suffering. The doctor who

helps them can be arrested.

     So now we are at the place where science has enabled us to

not only take life, but to create it. Outside the United States, they

are going to go right ahead and begin the cloning of human beings.

Of course, we don't have the slightest notion as to what we will end

up turning loose on society. For instance, suppose we do clone a

number of human beings. Will there be terrible genetic results two

or three generations down the line? Will we, in this process, end up

creating some new disease or defect which will cause untold

suffering in the future? Do we actually believe we know so much

that we have the right to plunge ahead with this?

     Science is not god. Neither is it all-knowing. History proves it. At

any point in history if you questioned science, you would be

ridiculed at best, and at some points in the past, even arrested. Yet

today we look back and chuckle at how ignorant some of those

scientists were in those days. Is it possible that future generations

will be doing the same when they look back at us?

     Science and medicine have accomplished great things for

humankind. We should be thankful for them. But we, as human

beings, seem to have an inbred desire to play god. And the bad

news is, science has created a means by which we can do this. We

can now add "creating" life to our well-practiced pattern of taking it.

     The fact that something is legal never means that it is moral. It

is either moral, or isn't, long before the human legal system defines

it as such. Today we don't want to admit that there is a higher law

than that which we create in the courts. To admit that would make

us accountable to God, and supposedly deprive us of our rights.

     So society goes on, proudly displaying it's "rights," and then, in the

next breath, denying the existance of God on the grounds that He

lets human suffering continue. Apparently, what we really want is

to do exactly as we please, and then blame God for the outcome.

     Now the reason such things as abortion, cloning, homosexuality,

and the like, are wrong in the sight of God is, of course, the same

reason all sin is wrong: It is playing God. It is the human race

deciding for itself what is right and wrong, and in doing so, rejecting

God Himself AS God. But because Jesus Christ has come, there

is now a reason why sin is all the more evil. Do you know what that

reason is?

     The reason sin is all the more evil in the eyes of God today is

that Jesus Christ made a way out of sin. Therefore, we have no

excuse for staying in it. THE SIN of the human race is UNBELIEF.

It is the refusal of God's forgiveness in Jesus Christ. We do this in

many ways. Some of us do it outright. But most of the rest of us do

it through neglect, and a gradual hardening of our hearts.

     The good news of the gospels states that if I have had an

abortion, I can be forgiven in Christ. If I am homosexual, there is

deliverance in Jesus Christ. These are not theories, or political

agendas. It is the Truth. And each one of us are going to be

accountable -- not for being born a sinner -- but for how we

responded to the LIGHT once we saw it. The greatest darkness

of all is the darkness in one who has seen the light, but loved the

darkness, because he did not want to be exposed for what he was

as a sinner in need of the free gift of grace found in Jesus Christ. *

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