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What shall we call the unborn in the womb?

If the entity is a living thing, is it not a life?

If your person began as a single cell, how can that fertilized egg be something other than a human being?

Isn't it more accurate to say you were an embryo than that you simply came from one?

So when does a human being have a right to life?

Shall we say size matters?

Is the unborn child too small to deserve our protection?

Are big people more valuable than little people?

Are men more human than woman?

Do offensive linemen have more rights than jockeys?

Is the life in the womb of no account because you can't hold him in our arms, or put him in your hands, or only see her on a screen?

Shall we make intellectual development and mental capacity the measure of our worth?

Are three year-old children less valuable than thirteen year-olds?

Is the unborn child less than fully human because he cannot speak or count or be self-aware?

Does the cooing infant in the crib have to smile or shake your hand or recite the alphabet before she deserves another day?

If an expression of basic mental acuity is necessary to be a full-fledged member of the human community, what shall we do with the comatose, the very old, or the fifty year-old mom with Alzheimer's?

And what about all of us who sleep?

Shall we deny the unborn child's right to life because of where he lives?

Can environment give us value or take it away?

Are we worth less inside than outside?

Can we be justly killed when we swim under water?

Does where we are determine who we are?

Does the eight inch journey down the birth canal make us human?

Does this change of scenery turn "its" into persons?

Is love a condition of location?

Shall we reserve human dignity only for those humans who are not dependent on others?

Do we deserve to live only when we can live on our own?

Is the four-month old fetus less than human because she needs her mom for life?

Is the four-month old infant less than human when she still needs her mom for life?

What if you depend on dialysis or insulin or a breathing apparatus?

Is value a product of fully-functioning vitality?

Is independence a prerequisite for human identity?

Are we worth only what we can think, accomplish, and do on our own?

If the unborn life is human life, what can justify snuffing it out?

Would it be right to take the life of your child on his first birthday because he came to you through sad and tragic circumstances?

Would you push an 18 month old into traffic because she makes our life difficult?

Does a three year-old deserve to die because we think we deserve a choice?

What do you deserve now?

What are your rights as a human person?

Did you have those same rights five years ago?

What about before you could drive?

Or when you used training wheels?

Were you less than fully human when you played in the sandbox?

When you wore a bib?

When you nursed at your mother's breast?

When your dad cut your cord?

When you tumbled in that watery mess and kicked against that funny wall?

When your heart pounded on the monitor for the first time?

When you grew your first fingernails?

When you grew your first cells?

What shall we call the child in the womb?

A fetus?

A mystery?

A mistake?

A wedge issue?

What if science and Scripture and commonsense would have us call it a person?

What if the unborn child, the messy infant, the wobbly toddler, the rambunctious teenager, the college freshman, the blushing bride, the first-time mother, the working woman, the proud grammy, and the demented old friend differ not in kind but only in degree?

Where in the progression does our humanity begin and end?

Where does life become valuable?

When are we worth something?

When do human rights become our rights?

What if Dr. Seuss was right and a person's a person no matter how small?

Why celebrate the right to kill what you once were?

Why deny the rights of the little one who is what you are?

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23 thoughts on “40 Years after Roe, 64 questions”

  1. Paul Reed says:

    Technically speaking, pro aborts (and Roe vs. Wade) don’t say the fetus isn’t human, but rather that the government can’t make a woman carry a child if she doesn’t want to. Even though that her having sex resulted in a child being put in a dependent position, she has no obligation to her child, according to them. It doesn’t matter than a man can be conscripted into military service — a woman’s body is still sacred and doesn’t have any obligations.

  2. anonymous says:

    thank you. realizing there are many tangents, and not to sidetrack, but may we not give up on this piece of the conversation, for believers particularly …
    the will of God, our sanctification; that is, that we abstain from sexual immorality; that each of us know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thess 4 3-8 to believers and nonbelievers alike

    may God grant eye salve to anoint our eyes that we may see; and grant repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth Rev 3:16, 2 Tim 2:25

  3. Heather says:

    I add one: If we found a single cell on Mars, would we claim we have found “life”?

  4. kpolo says:

    Along that line of reasoning, isn’t it odd that the government won’t compel a woman to carry a child to term but will compel a man to pay for child-support if the woman does decide to?

    But on a more basic level, if a mother has no obligation towards the child she carries, on what basis is the government compelling society to have an obligation towards that mother? When you severe such a basic relationship you are left without grounds to compel society to honor its obligation to the woman.

  5. James Harold Thomas says:

    Here’s another one.

    Why do some abortion clinics offer “Memory Boxes”, complete with ultrasound pictures and footprints?

  6. Phil says:

    Here’s another one:

    When is an acorn an oak tree?

  7. Friend says:

    Abortion – It is a poverty that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.
    ~Mother Teresa

  8. Paul Reed says:

    So I would add a pro-life question:

    Why can the government conscript a man into military service where he could possibly be killed on foreign soil, but it’s wrong for the government to tell a woman she has to be pregnant for a short 9 months?

    Also, science can’t tell us morality…we must go to the Word of God…we can’t even say that life becomes valuable at conception, because conception is a string of events itself and doesn’t happen instantaneously…we could easily ask, “does life become valuable when the sperm touches the egg, or when every chromosome has lined up, or right before the cell is about to divide?”

  9. Joni says:

    Inspired by your list, I am reading Horton Hears a Who to my public school students, pausing as I do to emphasize the refrain “a person’s a person no matter how small”!

  10. Matt Gammans says:

    I don’t generally comment on these, but I feel this conversation is missing an essential questions:

    Are we prepared to accept the challenges of an abortion free country (or potentially world)?

    Abortion reduces overpopulation. Abortion reduces crime ( Abortion keeps women off welfare.

    But abortion is wrong. I believe, as Kevin does, that our society has a moral responsibility to defend to the life of a child. That includes life both inside and outside of the womb. It’s time that pro-life advocates acknowledge the challenges that are ahead and the sacrifices that will have to be made (eg. subsidizing other people’s kids with our tax dollars).

    Anti-choice politicians are a dime a dozen, but a pro-life politician is one worth voting for.

  11. Mercy CasademuntCasademu says:


    I wanted to ask you a question do you believe that cave men existed as they are portrayed? I think that the cave story goes back to evolution and it’s not true.
    I understand if you are busy and can’t answer. Thank you very much for your blog.

  12. In the end the only thing that will matter is that we stood for the proven truths in God’s Word. Dr and Mrs They wwwdrandmrsthey believe all life, from unborn to elderly is a precious creation, valuable in the sight of God and He and He alone has predetermined it is life with His breath in the womb and life here until He takes the last breath.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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