Yesterday I was able to join in the March for Life in Washington, a public witness to the sanctity of life, held annually to mark the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision on abortion. It was a joy to go on the bus from Truro Church, joining with their chapter of Anglicans for Life and folks from a number of our churches. I was heartened to see both in our group and throughout the Mall that more and more young people—young adults, teens and families with young children—are standing for life.
Scripture teaches us from the very first chapter of Genesis that all human beings are created in God’s image. Therefore, all human life has dignity and worth. And all human life has equal dignity and worth: male and female, old and young, physically able and physically disabled. All persons are of infinite worth, because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave His life for us.
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The price that was paid for us was the very life of Jesus and so we belong to God. “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s” (Romans 14:7-8).
God’s claim on us begins from the moment of our conception. As the Lord said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
The Scriptures are clear about the personhood of the unborn. When Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, was greeted by Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, she said, “the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Luke 1:44).
Very significantly, the word used there for baby in the womb, brephos in Greek, is the exact same word used in Luke 2:16 to describe the baby Jesus after his birth: “And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby [brephos] lying in a manger.”
All human life, born and unborn, sick and well, able and handicapped, is precious to God.
But our culture has gone from an ethic based on the sanctity of life to one based on so-called quality of life.
Leo Alexander was the American psychiatric representative to the Nuremberg trials, which brought to justice the mass murderers of the Nazi death camps. Alexander explained the origin of the Nazi Holocaust by saying that it all began with the concept that there was such a thing as human life “not worth living.”
The subjective assessments of human life are nowhere more apparent than with two babies in the womb. One baby’s parents want him and the expectant mother wears a shirt that says “Baby” with an arrow pointing down, and she is cautioned by the government and by her doctor not to harm the baby by smoking or drinking. The other baby in the womb is not wanted and therefore she is not a baby at all. She is a mass of tissue or the product of conception or a blood clot or a blastocyst or perhaps a fetus, and the government and the doctor say nothing about caring for the baby, but only that this problem can be taken care of and no one else needs to know. This baby can be terminated because she is not a human being.
Simple logic dictates that saying someone does not exist does not mean that he or she doesn't exist.
The Anglican Church in North America is clear about life. We even wrote into our founding Canons this statement: “God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful. Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death.” (Canon II.8.3)
So very much is at stake. Please join in prayer for the unborn. Check out the website of Anglicans for Life to learn more ways to be involved (www.anglicansforlife.org). And mark your calendars now for next year’s March for Life, January 25, 2013 (to be held on a Friday due to the Inauguration earlier in the week).