Tomorrow’s lecture, in the Medical Ethics class that Ken and I are co-teaching, discusses beginning-of-life issues, which are exceedingly complex. To examine the technicalities of the events of conception compared with the ethical and theological issues of original genetic material is dizzying. To acknowledge that life begins at conception is a given for most, but the more intriguing and difficult question is when does biology encounter the eternal?
- When does God impart the soul?
- If life begins and the soul is imparted at conception, do identical twins share a soul?
- If the soul leaving the body and cessation of brain activity defines death, how to we conversely define life?
These questions are not so easy to answer, but the answers have terribly important implications– not only for the issue of abortion, but for stem cell research, and even contraception.
I’ve always been pro-life. I’ve even worked at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. But even within the pro-life movement, there are many different beliefs and definitions. That doesn’t even include the pro-choice side of the debate. The sanctity of life has been debated for nearly 40 years now, and the end of the dispute is nowhere in sight.
During adult Bible study last night, the issue of abortion came up as we were discussing the role of politics in the life of a Christian. Ken pointed out that when Mother Teresa visited the United States, and spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, she cut to the issue of abortion when she said of unwanted fetuses, “Please don’t kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted.” Rather than casting out caustic words of judgment, she simply answered the question of what to do with unwanted children with open arms and with a heart of love.
For me, at the heart of the pro-life movement is a connection to adoption– adoption of infants, adoption of children from other countries, adoption from foster care. I believe that life is precious. I believe that every child deserves a forever family, regardless of how old they are, what country they live in, or how much it costs to unite them with a family. I believe that God loves each of the children of the world every bit as much as He loves you and me. And I believe that orphanages break His heart.
God, help me to see the things that break your heart, and react not with judgment or harsh words, but with open arms and a heart of love.