As abortion abolitionists interacting with the public – whether on clinic sidewalks, college campuses or church lawns – it is extremely vital to be well versed in all aspects life apologetics.
As such, I thought it would be a good idea to post some “101” informational posts from time to time, to brush up on your life-saving debate / conversational skills and baby-saving savvy!
This post I’d like to address some federal and state laws regarding unborn children. I am well aware that there is some contention among the Abolitionist Societies over whether we should be focused on legal methods of abolishing abolition. However, regardless of your approach to abolishing human abortion, I think it would be folly to remain intentionally ignorant of current state and federal laws.. especially when addressing life-affirming and Biblically sound laws while reasoning with others can be used as a tool to sway minds and hearts toward life.
One of the classic comments from pro-aborts is, “Well, killing a fetus isn’t illegal.” Or, “Legally, a fetus isn’t a person.” Usually this is countered with, “Slavery was legal at one time, does that make it okay?” While that is a powerful answer, a more accurate response that triggers equally good critical thinking on the issue is, “Actually, murdering a fetus is NOT legal. Legally, a fetus is recognized as a person with full rights to life.”
If a person claims to live by a moral code that is determined and outlined by the rule of American law, they should be willing to acknowledge and accept that an unborn child is a person, with legal rights and protections.
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 (Public Law 108-212) is a United States law which recognizes a child in utero as a legal victim, if they are injured or killed during crimes of violence. The law defines “child in utero” as “a member of the species Homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb”. The law is codified in two sections of the United States Code: Title 18, Chapter 1 (Crimes), §1841 (18 USC 1841) and Title 10, Chapter 22 (Uniform Code of Military Justice) §919a (Article 119a).
This essentially means that an assailant who kills a pregnant woman and her unborn child would be guilty of two murders, not one. Likewise, if an assailant assaults a pregnant woman and she survives, but her unborn child does not, the assailant would still be guilty of the murder of a human being.
This simply falls into line with common sense thinking in July 2000, when the House unanimously passed a bill prohibiting states from executing pregnant women. (Even politicians who usually stand for abortion on demand could not deny the existence of two humans being killed during a death penalty for the mother.)
California Feticide Laws
In addition to the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, 38 states (California included) also recognize the fetus or “unborn child” – regardless of age or stage of development – as a full person with equal rights, at least for purposes of homicide or feticide.
California laws concerning the unborn were reassessed, strengthened and upheld after Scott Peterson was convicted of double homicide under California’s fetal homicide law for the killing of Laci Peterson who, at seven-and-a-half-months pregnant, was brutally murdered by her husband.
Moral Schizophrenia in the Law
As cut and dry as these fetal homicide laws and legal standards are, both federal and state laws explicitly contain provisions excepting abortion. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act states that the bill would not “be construed to permit the prosecution” “of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized by law to act on her behalf”, “of any person for any medical treatment of the pregnant woman or her unborn child” or “of any woman with respect to her unborn child.”
To a thinking person, these obvious double standard (calling the intentional killing of a human being a murder in one case and a “personal choice” in another), is straight out of the pages of history, when harming a free black man would be a crime, but harming a black slave was merely a “personal choice”.
Why This Information Is Good To Know
When reasoning with individuals who hold to a “it’s legal, therefore it’s okay” standard, it is important to point out these common sense and life affirming laws and legal standards for the personhood of the unborn.
While it is obvious to believers that the ultimate authority on life is God Almighty, many unbelievers think that the ultimate authority on moral issues is our man-run government and laws. Pointing out the inconsistencies and inevitable evils of resting on the reasoning of man via our hypocritical moral standards is a great way to illuminate why resting on “the law of man” is folly. How can these inconsistencies – from slavery to abortion – possibly be the ultimate authority on the matter?
By our legal standards, a woman with an appointment for an abortion tomorrow can be assaulted, punched in the stomach, and if her child dies, the act is deemed a legal and punishable murder of a human being. Yet if the woman avoids being assaulted and keeps her appointment, and pays a man to murder her same child in a far more brutal, gory and inhumane fashion, her child who otherwise enjoyed legal rights the day before, is now nothing more than a “blob of tissue”.
Surely some people who truly value our legal standards of personhood will begin to see the moral schizophrenia reflected in this exception. Once the idiocy and fallacy of the rule of man is illuminated for the inconsistent joke that it is, you can easily segue into introducing your new friend to the one and only true standard of righteousness, and what HE has to say about the precious lives of the unborn.
In this battle for life and death, take all the information you can and use it to glorify God and stand for life! You never know how God will reach those you speak out to, and these legal guidelines and their shameful loopholes may just be the catalyst to critical thinking and open minded reasoning for some.
I hope this information proves useful for you in future discussions concerning abortion and our precious brothers and sisters in the womb! God bless!