Dr. Willie Parker doesn’t believe that performing abortions conflicts with his faith in God. Why? In describing abortion, he writes, “Before twenty-two weeks, a fetus is not in any way equal to ‘a baby.’ . . . This is organic matter that does not add up to anything that can live on its own” (Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice, p. 12). In his thinking, an 18-week fetus can’t live outside of the womb, which means it must not be a human life.
Like Paul “reasoned with” (Acts 17:2) the people of his day, let’s examine this belief. Dr. Parker said his belief applies to “before twenty-two weeks.” Why that number? Because, as of the writing of his book, First World NICU technology has been able to sustain the life of a child born that early. But imagine if a pregnant woman flew to a Third World country without the advanced technology to save a 22-week-old. Would her change in location change the fact that her child is a child? Or imagine if that same pregnant woman lived in the 19th century instead of the 21st. Would changing her birthday change the fact that her child is a child?
Dr. Parker’s reasoning falls short not only of biblical standards, since John the Baptist was called a baby (brephos) despite being six months along in a world that lacked our technology. But this argument also falls short of reason. Something as vital as human life isn’t measured based on the year or location of your birth. This is why we need to open our Bibles and ask deeper questions about when life actually begins.