Those Children Have Names

The argument isn't my primary concern. Articles like "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live" are more treacherous for the outcome of their argument than the argument itself, as silly as it is. Ideas really do have consequences.

When I read academicians pontificate from their ivory towers I think about children with names. Children like Paul and Andrew and Michael and Kristina and Mia. Real children. 

And I remember the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the church:

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable. . . (1 Corinthians 12:21–22)

Drafting a Death Warrant

The case made in this particular article of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not merely a scholarly argument considering the rational outcome to a neutral idea on personhood. It is yet another draft to the death warrant on future children — indispensable children — who God intends for his glory and for our good.

Most people still consider infanticide to be outrageous — even though it has the protection of law in the Netherlands and proponents for its expansion to other countries. Usually, the argument for infanticide is limited to babies with disabilities.

The authors of the after-birth abortion article remove that disability requirement and apply the logical acceptability of infanticide to all babies. They claim it's obvious: since we currently allow abortion for social as well as medical reasons, and since infants have not yet achieved ‘personhood,’ then infants can be killed for social reasons along with medical ones.

They Connected Some Dots

As nearly everyone admits, the authors are not proposing or arguing anything new. They have, in fact, done a great service to the cause of the unborn by openly and clearly connecting the argument for infanticide with abortion. 

But let’s not stop there. Let's drag the idea of infanticide and its connection to abortion into the full light of day. Horrific ideas can't live in the light of Jesus — and this is one idea we’ll have to keep killing until Jesus returns.

Here’s one way to do it. Attach a real person to what infanticide does. Don’t allow it to be an abstract idea about an unnamed, unknown child with a specific set of circumstances — circumstances that are usually hard enough to make us recoil at the potential suffering. 

Children You Know

Make it children you know: Billy or Mariana or Chua or Narong or Desta or your own. Feel the horror in yourself at the thought of that child’s destruction, and then talk about it openly. You already know and should be teaching your church that this child, no matter his or her circumstances, is a gift from God for God’s glory and for the benefit of his church. If they come with complications because of disability or poverty in the family or any other reason, that child is a call to the church to demonstrate the love and grace and mercy and power of God in Christ.

That child is a call to demonstrate Jesus is a greater treasure than your comfort.

Let’s keep pressing into the issue until the very idea of killing our most vulnerable children — born and unborn — becomes impossible to entertain, much like slavery or human trafficking. 

We must extend this protection over the children who will live complicated, difficult lives because of their disabilities. Our culture does not yet see them as real people. But they have names, too.  And every one of them comes into this world made in the image of God.

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John Knight is Director of Donor Partnerships at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments, and a seizure disorder. John blogs on issues of disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.