Personhood and the law

Paul Schrag’s Aug. 26 editorial discusses Ronald J. Sider’s views on abortion and government policy. Sider believed that the fetus is a full person from the moment of conception and that this viewpoint should be embodied in legislation. 

The reality is that Bible does not speak with clarity on abortion. Belief in immediate personalization is not anti-biblical, but neither is it biblically mandated. Nor can the issue be settled empirically because, ultimately, it is a philosophical or ethical question. My approach is that the fetus develops into a person gradually, with the key moment probably being viability. Most likely, a majority of Christians would subscribe to some version of this. 

The basic question, though, is ­whether the immediate personalization view should be imposed by the coercive power of gov­ernment. In a free society, should people be prevented from doing what their consciences approve in a matter as disputed as this? If we wish to live in a peaceful ­society, do we not have to allow them to obey their convictions? Every unintended pregnancy brings its own unique dynamics. Do we ignore the specifics of individual cases and impose legislation based on a sincere but very specialized understanding of human personhood? I am persuaded that this would contribute greatly to the tearing apart of our nation’s social fabric.

Donald Delano, Orange, Calif.

Anabaptist World

Anabaptist World Inc. (AW) is an independent journalistic ministry serving the global Anabaptist movement. We seek to inform, inspire and Read More

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