A popular saying on abortion by Mother Teresa is, there are two victims in every abortion: a dead baby, and a dead conscience. Abortion which has become one of the biggest topics in the 21st century has gone from being murder and an unjustifiable act to now being seen as a means of correction. Scott Klusendorf is a graduate of UCLA, holds a Masters in Christian Apologetics and is the president of Life Training Institute. Klusendorf in this book The Case for Life, argues the truth on abortion questioning how real and knowable moral truth is, or is it preferential like making a daily choice between tea or coffee. The author against the wrongness of abortion aims to explain that although humans differ in their respective degrees of development, they are nonetheless equal because they share a common human nature that bears the image of their Creator; hence humans have value simply because they are human.
Firstly, what is the unborn? Many people who are or have participated in abortion always defend their actions claiming that the unborn are not fully human. Scott explains that until you clarify what’s really at stake namely, that we can’t answer the question, can we kill the unborn? until we answer the question, what is the unborn? there’s no point advancing your case. For too long the pro-life movement has been creating conclusions rather than establishing facts. Staying focused on the status of the unborn brings moral clarity to the abortion debate. It allows you to engage friends and critics in conversation so that you do not talk past each other. According to science, right from the earliest stages of development, the unborn are living, making them human beings. Hence every abortion takes the life of a living being.
Scott explains that the biggest defenders of the pro-life movement are Christians, and the use of theology in the fight for abortions does not only help in putting a halt but to also understand the biblical worldview on human dignity and equality. Hence, “Theology gives church members a biblical foundation for their pro-life beliefs. Apologetics gives them the tools to take those biblically informed beliefs into the marketplace of ideas.”
Scotts aims to help Christians in the approach towards abortion. Being a pro-life supporter, should not just mean concluding general knowledge hence ignoring the process which may consist of poor facts, causing in most cases a debate loss. Every Christian should be able to defend against abortion and the author explains that both Biblically and scientific education would be important. Therefore, to be able to defend the life of the unborn, one must understand the science behind human life. It is easy to say that God does not allow abortion (Biblical), but it is hard to convince a world that uses science to support their claims of killing the unborn. Scott explains that “The science of embryology is clear. From the earliest stages of development, the unborn are distinct, living, and whole human beings. Therefore, every “successful” abortion ends the life of a living human being.”
The author approaches the topic contrasting two ways; theology and science. Theologically, even if the pro-life view cannot be fully explained without explicit reference to Christian faith, it does not follow that the pro-life view is inherently irrational. Christian theists make rational arguments for their position, and it’s wrong for materialists to simply presume the truth of their position. The man was made in the image of God and was also known by Him before he was formed in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), therefore the unborn is also recognized by God and should be accorded dignity. Science opposes theological views with claims that the measure of true knowledge depends on scientific effects. The author explains that referring to science as the only means for true knowledge is not only wrong often ends up being problematic. Evaluating Scott’s thoughts, he seems to be writing from a denominational perspective, most likely a religious person as he tries to help Christians build defensive measures against abortion while holding tight to the faith’s beliefs.
For example, Scott says that many people may say religion has led to hateful ideas, but no Christian writer has ever published ideas as hateful as the social Darwinism of H.G. Wells. Although Religion has led to persecutions, none even nearly as massive as those produced by militant irreligion. More people were killed by the “scientific atheism” of communism on an average day than the Spanish Inquisition killed in an average decade. And largely responsible for this fact was the teaching of a contempt for religion of exactly the kind that Dawkins propagates.
The author in this book makes certain strong contributions that help in solidifying views against abortion, and why Christians should be knowledgeably prepared to defend pro-life at any given time. Moreover, not only Christians would acknowledge the fact that killing a baby is wrong, Americans, in general, would disagree, but the problem is their inability to recognize the life in a substance that has not been birthed. The author does not just support only the Christian view but respects the ignorance of non-believers as it would be hard to ground recognition of value outside a transcendent starting point for human dignity.
Firstly, humans have value, simply because they are human, not because of acquired property that they may gain or lose during their lifetime, and not understanding this fact would make it very difficult to account for fundamental human equality for anyone. Science has been resourceful in defining nature but has failed to prove the worth or rights of humans, and the author explains that humans are equal by nature, but not function. This has been a problem in the debate as most critics of the pro-life position will reject the author’s view on who should be accorded rights. Instead, they ground human rights and human equality in one’s ability to immediately exercise certain capacities that embryos and fetuses, in virtue of their immature stage of development, cannot yet immediately exercise. The truth of the matter is killing an embryo is ending a human.
Furthermore, to counter the pro-life debate another argument raised is that of the sperm and egg is alive, hence preventive measures like contraceptives would mean killing the human. The author objects such facts as it fails to distinguish between parts and wholes. Unlike the embryo, which is already a whole human organism, sperm and egg are merely parts of larger human organisms. The capacity of each is restricted to fulfilling a given purpose within the larger context of a human body and for this reason, they differ radically from the capacity of the human embryo.
Although the author stated certain facts to support the unborn concerning when a substance can be deemed to be living, Scott’s approach on the issue of the sperm and egg not being alive or just a part of a larger being and not a whole could serve as a positive, but also a negative notion depending on the audience. According to biological research sperm has life, and being a pro-life means standing against killing any substance that is living either large or little.
The author trying to distinguish sperm, eggs, and embryo in parts or whole does not seem right because that would be saying, an embryo is a whole and should not be killed, but sperm is a part and can be killed. This opinion ignores the fact that sperm or eggs are not just living organisms but play an important role in the formation of an embryo. Sperm cannot be gotten without a living man, an embryo cannot be formed without the union of the sperm and egg, and most importantly, a human will not emerge if any of this process is nullified. In Genesis 32:9 the Bible documents the story of Onan’s punishment for wasting his seed on the ground to avoid procreation. This means that from the beginning of the process, there is life involved, with the sole aim of recreating another life and either in parts or the whole killing any of them should still count as murder and God does not support such actions.
In conclusion, this book gives a better view of the case of abortion, human dignity, and equality. A common mistake that most people make is glorifying science or seeing it as irrelevant, forgetting that science cannot define human value but could be a bigger reason to add more value to it hence science should be balanced, well enough to help in the pro-life movement not overpower Biblical theology and truth. Another lesson this book teaches us that man is not in the position to define the life of another. Killing the unborn means choosing who gets to live and who does not and Acts 17: 25 explains that “Neither is worshipped with men’s hands as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” Finally, I would recommend this book to seminary students, pastors, and most importantly people struggling with the issue of abortion, to help broaden their views and provide more ideas on how to defend the life of the unborn.