Sanctified Life

While marking the legalization of abortion in the cases of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, Sanctity of Human Life Week brings us face-to-face not only with the ever-present issue of abortion, but with other, increasingly urgent ethical quagmires. We start from the position in this Special Focus that human life is divinely gifted, sanctified and largely beyond ethical bounds to control, except in order to heal and as a function of governmental justice.

How did we get to the point where we are discussing when to end life, how to best ensure a better genetic makeup for our offspring and various methodologies for excising the unborn? If life is indeed God-given, sacred and beyond our authority either to end or to transform for our own purposes, what are we to do with the staggering abilities we now possess to do those very things? We present recent thought on stem-cell research, bioengineering, findings on how babies think, euthanasia and an assortment of abortion issues in this timely Special Focus.

Photo credit: Max Aguilera-Hellweg

—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University

Feature Articles:

Abortion: A Failure to Communicate
Paul Swope
Swope concludes, "If pro-lifers are willing to reframe the debate in a way that affected women can better understand..the movement can regain the moral high ground...and begin to reach successfully the very women who most need the pro-life message."

Designing Our Descendants
Gilbert Meilaender
Meilaender writes, "My aim in this brief essay is to invite thought about present uses of genetic screening and the attitude we ought now to have toward the project of shaping our children, lest a focus on future possibilities should tempt us here and now to 'an entirely "frivolous conscience."'"

Capital Punishment
Kerby Anderson

Looks at Old Testament Law, New Testament principles regarding capital punishment. Also, answers the question of whether capital punishment is just and whether it is a deterrence.

"Right to Die"--Good Slogan, Fuzzy Thinking
Yale Kamisar
The author, Darrow Distinguished University Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, unpacks the often misleading debate on the so-called right to die issue, distinguishing between allowing natural death, "rational" suicide, assisted suicide and active voluntary euthanasia. These distinctions, rarely made, are key.

The Sanctity of Human Life: Harvesting Human Fetal Parts
Dr. Ray Bohlin
Once a sanctity of human life standard is abandoned for a quality of life ethic, a slippery ethical slope leads to horrors undreamed of even 20 years ago. Legalized abortion has led to the sale of fetal tissue and eventually to legalized euthanasia.

Facing Up to Infanticide
J. Bottum
Even abortion advocates are beginning to admit that abortion, although it should remain legal, is actually the killing of a child. The attempt to reconcile a belief in legalized killing with liberal "compassion" is most difficult.

Arguments Against Abortion
Kerby Anderson
Biblical, medical, legal and philosophical arguments against abortion are offered.

Always to Care, Never to Kill: A Documentation on Euthanasia
Editors, First Things
A published declaration on euthanasia produced by the Ransey Colloquium of the Institute on Religion and Public Life (NYC). The colloquium is a group of Jewish and Christian theologians, ethicists, philosophers and scholars who consider such issues.

Attacking the Tabernacle
Peter J. Leithart
Psalm 139:13 is often quoted for Scriptural support of the pro-life movement. Liethart advances an interpretation that makes this passage an even stronger condemnation of abortion.

Fetal Psychology
Janet L. Hopson
Behaviorally speaking, there's little difference between a newborn baby and a 32-week-old fetus. A new wave of research suggests that the fetus can feel, dream, even enjoy "The Cat in the Hat." The abortion debate may never be the same. This article explores fetal alertness, fetal movement, fetal taste, fetal hearing, fetal vision, fetal learning, and fetal personality.

Sue Bohlin
A woman's look at abortion from a biblical position. This essay explores the reason abortion is such an emotionally volatile subject, as well as biblical and medical reasons it is wrong, concluding with some personal stories dealing with handicaps.

Life, Law, and Suicide
Editors, First Things
Excerpt taken from a 1997 supplement of the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law to its highly influential 1994 report "When Death Is Sought: Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia in the Medical Context." Provides a synopsis of the dangers.

Two Boats, a Helicopter & Stem Cells
Russell E. Saltzman
Saltzman writes about his own experience with diabetes and his reaction to those who would harvest fetal tissue in order to advance research into cures for his disease.

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