GOP, American and Christian Values: Innocent Human Life

Thus far, in a series examining various “controversial” issues and whether they can be considered Republican values, American values, and Christian values, we have examined illegal immigration, limited government, marriage and family, and open government.

This installment will examine the issue of protecting innocent human life. Some Republicans claim a woman should have the right to kill her own child in her womb, and that we should be able to destroy innocent human life at the embryonic stage in the pursuit of medical advances.  Some claim it is an American value to preserve the “right” of a woman to kill her unborn child.  Some even claim that abortion is a gift from God, and that it wouldn’t be “compassionate” to prevent a woman from killing her own child.

So let’s take a look at the question of protecting innocent human life.

Republican Values

The last published South Dakota GOP platform states the following concerning innocent human life:

The South Dakota Republican Party reaffirms its long-standing historic support and respect for the sanctity of human life, including the unborn, the elderly, the chronically ill and the terminally ill.

The South Dakota Republican Party opposes partial birth abortion and supports the congressional ban on partial birth abortion. We support those who provide alternatives to abortion or offer adoption services.

The South Dakota Republican Party, consistent with South Dakota law, opposes funding abortions with public resources.

The South Dakota Republican Party opposes all embryonic stem cell research. The Party, however, supports alternatives to stem cell research that do not involve the killing of human embryos.

The 2008 national GOP platform states:

Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.

We have made progress. The Supreme Court has upheld prohibitions against the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion. States are now permitted to extend health-care coverage to children before birth. And the Born Alive Infants Protection Act has become law; this law ensures that infants who are born alive during an abortion receive all treatment and care that is provided to all newborn infants and are not neglected and left to die. We must protect girls from exploitation and statutory rape through a parental notification requirement. We all have a moral obligation to assist, not to penalize, women struggling with the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. At its core, abortion is a fundamental assault on the sanctity of innocent human life. Women deserve better than abortion. Every effort should be made to work with women considering abortion to enable and empower them to choose life. We salute those who provide them alternatives, including pregnancy care centers, and we take pride in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives…

…just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide..

Obviously, protecting innocent human life is a very important Republican value.  Further, blocking efforts to protect innocent human life, as well as harassing those who seek to preserve innocent human life, has no legitimate place in the Republican Party.

American Values

America’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, says “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…” Without life, no other freedom, no other liberty, is of any value whatsoever.

The U.S. Constitution states that the purpose of the document was, among other things, to secure the blessings of liberty “to ourselves and our Posterity.” For those not familiar with the term “posterity,” it means our offspring.  Obviously the founders of our nation were thinking not only of themselves, but their children, and their children’s children–many of which were not born yet.

The Fifth Amendment says, “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”  Obviously the founders recognized that there are times when human life may legitimately be taken (war, protection of other innocent human life, justice, etc.), but human life is so sacred that they considered it necessary to have due process of law before it is taken from someone. As the Declaration of Independence recognizes, life is the gift of God, and it is not to be taken lightly by man.

Though modern science and medicine was very minimal at the time our nation was founded, the founders nevertheless understood that life existed in the womb, and was deserving of protection.

James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a Supreme Court judge, said, “With consistency, beautiful and undeviating, human life from its commencement to its close, is protected by the common law. In the contemplation of law, life begins when the infant is first able to stir in the womb. By the law, life is protected not only from immediate destruction, but from every degree of actual violence, and in some cases, from every degree of danger.”

Obviously pregnancy tests and ultrasounds were not even remotely possible 200+ years ago; the only way to know for sure that innocent human life existed in the womb was the movement of the child in the womb. Today we have hormone tests which can detect changes in the woman’s body which reveal pregnancy, and ultrasounds can confirm human life in the womb. Modern science has also revealed that the brain and nervous system has begun to develop within just a few weeks, as has the unborn child’s ability to feel pain. In reality, from the moment of conception, we have a genetically unique and genetically complete human being with DNA all its own; all it lacks is development…which will continue for approx. the next 20 years.

Prior to the Supreme Court judicial activism of the Roe v. Wade case in 1973, most states outlawed abortion with only a few allowing it in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother; almost nowhere could you get an abortion for pure convenience. Had not Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun been personally affected by the abortion issue and thus led the court to legislate from the bench, it is highly likely that, due to all science has shown us since then about human life in the womb, most states would still ban this barbaric practice.

Christian Values

God makes it clear in Genesis 1:26 that human life is considered special among all other life on earth: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'” Unlike all other life, human life is created in God’s image. Unlike all other life on earth, human beings have a free will, an immortal soul, and moral cognizance.

God makes it clear in multiple locations of the Bible (Genesis 9:6, Exodus 20;13, Matthew 5:21, Romans 13:9) that the taking of innocent human life is unacceptable and morally reprehensible.

The Bible says in Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” Here we see not only God’s creative act regarding human life in the womb, but the fact that he is knowledgeable of that life and that it is important to him.

Psalm 139:13 speaks of God’s guiding hand over human life in the womb: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Luke 1:15 tells of God’s Spirit already working and infilling human life in the womb of John the Baptist’s mother: “…he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.”

Luke 1:41 also tells us that through God’s Holy Spirit, John the Baptist was able to recognize the Messiah even while both he and the Messiah were still inside the womb. The supernatural work of the Holy Spirit notwithstanding, it seems a stretch to consider that a “blastocyst” or “blob of tissue” would respond to something or someone; people respond, miscellaneous body parts and pieces of tissue do not.

Clearly, the protection of innocent human life is a central Christian value.

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