A major controversy in contemporary culture is the question of when human life begins. Religions have given different answers and the consequences that have followed have been very divisive. Does life begin at conception, or at implantation, or at quickening, or at birth, or…? Family planning and contraceptives have further complicated these controversies. Is pregnancy the normal/natural purpose/result of our sexuality—or is it an outcome that can be either intended or accidental (and thus probably undesired)?If nature is so wasteful toward human embryos, how can anti-abortionists be so sure that there is a divine imperative to preserve embryos that were produced by rape, incest and in instances where the life and health of the mother is at risk?
We know now that perhaps 30 percent of fertilized human eggs spontaneously cease development and are thus aborted in the early stages of pregnancy—often undetected. A considerable number of embryos miscarry during later stages of pregnancy. If we use the phrasing of the country’s founders — Nature and Nature’s God — what do we make of this reality? Should we view Nature or God as the supreme abortionist? A friend of mine who is a churchgoing fertility specialist speaks of such events as “accidents” but the theological and philosophical implications are enormous. A current metaphor is that not every acorn can or does or should become an oak tree.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Robert Tapp, in an essay on Religion Dispatches, asks a question that the anti-abortion movement refuses to address. He asks, "Is God the Supreme Abortionist?" The question arises from our knowledge of the number spontaneous abortions that occur by natural processes:
Posted by Bruce Prescott at 8:59 AM