Abortion: What’s the Law?
Abortion is a special case, despite the closed minds of so many of the people on different sides of the issue. (You can tell from the basic language used, “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” as if one side hates freedom and free will and the other side hates life, that a lot of minds are closed.)
Here’s the law:
Before birth, the fetus is only an expectancy, not a full-fledged human being. From the time of conception up until the fetus is 40-days old, it’s “mere water,” a “hairy egg.” From that 40-day point up to birth, no one has the right to destroy it - unless it’s necessary to save its mother’s life.
It’s as simple as that – or, at least, it’s not any more complicated than that.
This is, to us, an extraordinarily sophisticated ordinance. We think it’s amazing that Israel’s ancient sages propounded it. If it comes from revelation, as we think, it’s hard to see how it can be part of the 7M (the sheva mitzvot, the Seven Commandments of the first and orginal covenant, the covenant between God and all the Earth) - except that it’s also entirely rational!
This article was written in connection with the lead story in The Covenant Connection for November 2010, which sets out the 7M in their particulars, explaining that every part of the 7M system can be discovered naturalistically, through plain logic and rational human thinking, even if God had never revealed any part of it through prophecy and miracle. See: The Covenant Connection, Nov. 2010.
Any human society with a tradition of experience with healers and mid-wifery, miscarriages and abortions, will have learned enough to confirm this. Up to 40-days post-conception, the fetus doesn’t even look like a human being. It lacks a heartbeat, brain or nervous system, eyes or feet or fingers. Yet after 40-days, its heart is beating and it’s recognizably human, with eyes and feet and fingers, together with a nervous system and human reactions to pain.
So … every culture SHOULD know better than to perform a medically unnecessary abortion on a mature, 40-day old or older human fetus – a fetus that’s already clearly, obviously “made in the image” of man. We say this even though it’s controversial in our own society.
Our modern nations don’t entirely know better – we abort harmless suffering fetuses all the time. This will change, certainly, as people get more information. We all SHALL know better than to perform a medically unnecessary abortion on a fetus that’s already obviously human.
Similarly, based on this 7M Commandment, every society should know better than to “trade flesh,” to kill any innocent person in order to somehow benefit some other person.
By Michael Dallen