For the week of November 26, 2011 / 29 Heshvan 5772
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 25:19 - 28:9
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 20:18-42


It's a Baby!

The children struggled together within her, and she said, "If it is thus, why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. (Bereshit / Genesis 25:22; ESV)

It seems to me that there are many people who claim to be pro-life who are not anti-abortion. It is common to claim to greatly value the unborn, but hesitate to be seen as coming on too strong toward others who may choose to terminate them. We might think that abortion is bad, but our unwillingness to impose our viewpoint upon someone else might be of higher value than our being considered pro-life.

There are two different issues at play here. Each of these has an effect on the other, but they are different. The first has to do with when is it right and good, if ever, to impose our viewpoints on someone else. I don't know if we could establish an absolute principle on this. How much we speak into the lives of others differs quite a bit from culture to culture. People in some cultures readily criticize one another about anything and everything with no offense taken, while other cultures so value the individual that it is thought we have no right to offer an opinion about anything personal unless explicitly invited.

Regardless of how free or hesitant a particular culture might be, every culture has a range of acceptability that governs when it is appropriate to impose one's viewpoint. In those cultures where people feel more free to speak up, there are still subjects that are off limits, and in the hesitant cultures, there are times when even the most hesitant will voice their opinion. This demonstrates that whatever else might influence our tendencies to speak up about a matter; what drives us is determined by our perception of the topic's importance.

I am aware that there are other factors that keep us from doing what we think is good and right. Fearing for our lives may prevent us from standing up for someone else, for example. But fear aside, confusion or doubts about a cause will obviously result in inaction.

This is why some people who claim to be pro-life are not anti-abortion. They don't believe that pregnant women carry real babies. For some, the unborn child is becoming a baby, which somehow makes it less than a baby. It might be nice to protect this potential life and preferable for the mother to carry it to term, but is aborting a fetus equivalent to murdering someone post birth? Well, not really. Sad? For sure. Bad? Possibly. But worth making big deal about? Probably not.

The "it's not really a baby" viewpoint is deeply rooted in a non-biblical perspective on human development. The naturalistic, scientific worldview is a warped lens that devalues life based on a cold analysis of its parts. Value, according to this worldview, is based on pragmatics with a focus on short-term benefits in the service of self (What does it do? What difference does it make if it survives or not? How best can I use it?).

In contrast, the biblical worldview derives value from God, the Creator. When the biblical writer refers to Isaac's wife Rebekah's unborn twins as children (Hebrew: banim, meaning "sons" or "children"), he regards the unborn as children, not potential children. There really were babies in there!

It is overwhelming to think of how many abortions take place worldwide every year. The Guttmacher Institute estimates the number at 46 million ( Based on a biblical view of life, that works out to more than one cold-blooded murder of an innocent child every second of every day of the year. Until we accept that these are actually babies, we shouldn't be surprised at how little is being done to save them.

Comments? E-mail:, or
leave a comment on

E-mail this TorahBytes to someone? Click here

Subscribe? To have TorahBytes e-mailed to
you weekly, enter your e-mail address and press Subscribe


[ More TorahBytes ]  [ TorahBytes Home ]