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The Value of Human Life

April 21, 2013

“Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets’ ” (Matt. 22: 35-40).

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, a Philadelphia trial dealing with the murder of live infants at an abortion clinic has not gotten much press.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is, among other things, accused of having routinely aborted babies far beyond Pennsylvania’s 24 week abortion limit, and having killed seven infants who survived abortion. Experts have estimated the gestational age of one such infant as nearly 30 weeks (full term being 40 weeks). Kareema Cross, the key prosecution witness against Gosnell, testified to seeing more than ten babies breathing post-abortion.

It should hardly surprise us that there was little effort made to distinguish between aborted fetuses and live infants. In reality, there is little difference. Not because a live infant should be as readily disposed of as the fetus it was moments before, but because the fetus and infant are essentially one and the same [1]. Their primary distinction lies in the intention of the mother.

Meanwhile, the mother may be living in poverty or be victimized herself.

Human trafficking — sexual and labor — is all too common in the 21st Century and not confined to distant shores. Research shows that one in every three runaway children is approached by a pimp, madam, or other trafficking promoter within 48 hours of leaving home. Tragically, the average age of entry by sex workers into the trade is 12 to 14 years. Victims are more vulnerable, if they have experienced child abuse and/or domestic violence.

Terrorism, abortion, and human trafficking hold up a mirror to our society we might prefer not to examine. Terrorism, thankfully rare, reflects a total disregard for the lives of others. Abortion, that most personal of decisions, is an imperfect solution to a problem as old as mankind, i.e. unwanted children. Human trafficking, while reprehensible, is tolerable to us so long as its participants are nameless.

What does all this say about us? Clearly, we do not value life as much as we might claim. It is easier to close our eyes to certain behavior, and pretend it does not exist, than do something about it.

Attorneys are especially culpable. We are uniquely empowered and uniquely equipped to voice the needs of those who would otherwise go unheard. Moreover, as Christians, we are expressly charged to love our neighbor.  Complacency will not suffice.  Literally and figuratively, we should be running toward the explosions wherever they occur.


[1] While this is not the norm, advances in medicine have made it possible to salvage some premature infants even below the abortion limit, if sufficient resources are committed to the task.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  http://www.avoicereclaimed

One Comment
  1. Ted Oswald permalink

    Great piece, Anna–thank you!

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