Author’s Note: If we listen to the candidates on one side of political aisle, the primary issue on the ballot this Tuesday is the matter of abortion. Therefore, Tuesday’s election is about more than politics; it is about determining the moral direction of our nation. Be sure to vote!
In an interview on the rabidly liberal show, The View, Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway presented her case for supporting abortion in America: “We know that no two pregnancies are alike, and it follows that no two lives are alike. It follows that no two conceptions are alike. So how can we have a law—how can we have a point of view on this—that says we must treat everything the same? And where I come at it from is, when you allow for choice, you allow for flexibility, which is what we need in order to be human.” While we may be tempted to simply dismiss this as another example of The View’s daily dose of absurdity, it is imperative that we, as Christians, be capable of responding to this line of reasoning.
When Anne Hathaway says that no two pregnancies are alike, to what is she referring? Does she mean to say that every pregnancy is not fundamentally an incubation of new life? Does she mean to say that there are not universal and scientifically identifiable steps in the development of the baby from conception to birth? Does she mean to say that the point of conception is not universal, or that every pregnancy, taken to term, does not result in a living human being? Or is she, instead, ignoring the science of how a pregnancy develops in order to focus entirely upon the mother’s personal experiences and emotions? If so, then by this reasoning, no two 21st birthdays are the same; no two marriages are the same; no two speeding tickets are the same. How then can we possibly have laws that penalize every speeding ticket the same, tax breaks that benefit every marriage the same, and age restrictions that treat every 21st birthday the same? In truth, society simply cannot function according to Hathaway’s unsustainable standard for determining law.
Anne Hathaway’s appeal is pseudo-intellectual babel. Moreover, her appeal only works if we deny that God is the author of life. It requires an entirely Humanist perspective that undermines any standard for determining purpose and morality.
How a baby was conceived does not change the reality that a baby was formed. The personal experiences and circumstances surrounding a conception have no bearing on the outcome. Therefore, even if no two conceptions are alike, every conceived baby is alike in the fact that it is a human being created in the image of God, and it is in possession of a spirit of life that comes from God (Gen. 1:26–27; 2:7).
All human life is equally valuable because all human life finds its origin in God. “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). Job understood this, saying, “As long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils…” (Job 27:3). Once God has bestowed His spirit of life upon a human being, it becomes God’s prerogative—not the parents, or anyone else’s—to determine whether to continue that life.
Make no mistake, life begins at conception. Even Humanists, who have no explanation for the origin of life, must acknowledge this reality, if they value science as the ultimate standard for truth, because the reality that life begins at conception is affirmed in our medical textbooks:
- “A zygote (a single fertilized egg cell) represents the onset of pregnancy and the genesis of new life.”
- “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of the life of a new individual.”
- “Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.”
- “In that fraction of a second when the chromosomes form pairs, the sex of the new child will be determined, hereditary characteristics received from each parent will be set, and a new life will have begun.”
This was also the conclusion of internationally renowned geneticists and biologists who testified before a 1981 Senate Judiciary Subcommittee:
- “It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive…It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception” (Micheline M. Mathews-Roth, Harvard medical School, supported his conclusion with references from over 20 embryology and other medical textbooks).
- “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion…it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception” (Dr. Jerome Lejeune, known as the Father of Modern Genetics).
- “To say that the beginning of human life cannot be determined scientifically is utterly ridiculous” (Dr. Richard Jaynes).
- “By all criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception” (Gordon, Hymie, M.D., F.R.C.P., Chairman of Medical Genetics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester).
The official Senate report concluded, “Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being—a being that is alive and is a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings.”
No two conceptions may be alike, but every conception produces life. Considering that Adam became a “living soul” when his body was given a spirit of life from God (Gen. 2:17), even a zygote must be considered a living soul because it is also a combination of body and spirit. The body may not yet appear and function like a fully developed child’s body, but it possesses a unique genome, and it is alive with the spirit of God. Thus, at conception, a living human being is produced.
Moreover, this human being is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–27). Therefore, no human has the right to destroy God’s image. When re-establishing His covenant with mankind, God warned Noah, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image” (Gen. 9:6). Only God may determine when it is lawful to kill another human.
Finally, our humanity is rooted in the fact that we are created in the image of God. It does not come from our ability to choose. Recall that Hathaway concluded her argument by saying, “When you allow for choice, you allow for flexibility, which is what we need in order to be human.” If our humanity were rooted in our ability to choose, then our very humanity would be fundamentally denied every time we were obligated to pay our taxes, wear a mask, receive a vaccination, or serve jury duty. A law preventing a mother from choosing to kill her unborn child is not a denial of her humanity; it is the affirmation of the child’s humanity.
As Christians, it is our obligation to engage ideas, like Hathaway’s argument in support of abortion, that stand in opposition to God’s moral standards. However, it is not enough simply to disagree. Instead, we are called to confront these ideas with God’s truth, so as to bring it into line with God’s moral standards. Indeed, when describing the spiritual war to which we have been enlisted, the apostle Paul wrote, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Therefore, Anne Hathaway’s pseudo-intellectual babel is truly a call to arms for God’s righteous warriors!
1. Estes, Matt (@Matt_Estes_). “You have to be absolutely dead inside to say ‘Women’s rights are human rights’ when stating your case for killing babies. Human babies.” Twitter, November 2, 2022, 1:21 p.m. https://twitter.com/Matt_Estes_/status/1587857517723402241?.
2. Turner, J.S., and D.B. Helms. Lifespan Developmental, 2nd ed. CBS College Publishing (Holt, Rhinehart, Winston), 1983, page 53. Source: Terzo, Sarah. “When Does Life Begin?: Quotes from Many Sources.” Eternal Perspectives Ministries, April 27, 2011. https://www.epm.org/resources/2011/Apr/27/when-does-life-begin-quotes-many-sources/.
3. Patten, Bradley. Human Embryology, 3rd ed. New York: McGraw Hill, 1968, page 43. Source: Terzo, Sarah. “When Does Life Begin?: Quotes from Many Sources.” Eternal Perspectives Ministries, April 27, 2011. https://www.epm.org/resources/2011/Apr/27/when-does-life-begin-quotes-many-sources/.
4. Potter, E.L. and J.M. Craig. Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant, 3d ed. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii. Source: Terzo, Sarah. “When Does Life Begin?: Quotes from Many Sources.” Eternal Perspectives Ministries, April 27, 2011. https://www.epm.org/resources/2011/Apr/27/when-does-life-begin-quotes-many-sources/.
5. Kaluger, G., and Kaluger, M. Human Development: The Span of Life. St. Louis: The C.V. Mosby Co., 1974, pages 28–29. Source: Terzo, Sarah. “When Does Life Begin?: Quotes from Many Sources.” Eternal Perspectives Ministries, April 27, 2011. https://www.epm.org/resources/2011/Apr/27/when-does-life-begin-quotes-many-sources/.
6. Terzo, Sarah. “When Does Life Begin?: Quotes from Many Sources.” Eternal Perspectives Ministries, April 27, 2011. https://www.epm.org/resources/2011/Apr/27/when-does-life-begin-quotes-many-sources/.
8. “When Human Life Begins.” American College of Pediatricians, March 2017. https://acpeds.org/position-statements/when-human-life-begins.
9. Estes, Matt (@Matt_Estes_). “You have to be absolutely dead inside to say ‘Women’s rights are human rights’ when stating your case for killing babies. Human babies.” Twitter, November 2, 2022, 1:21 p.m. https://twitter.com/Matt_Estes_/status/1587857517723402241?.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.