Anglican Diocese of Armidale

The Anglican Diocese of Armidale exists to glorify God by introducing people to Jesus and helping them home to heaven.


In Focus

Zoe's Law

Monday, October 15, 2018

The death of Katherine Hoang’s unborn twins is worthy of consideration by us all. The law charged the driver with Katherine’s manslaughter, but proved silent on the twins killed one week from their due date. Zoe’s Law, named after another unborn child killed by a drug affected driver, allowed for the killer of the unborn child to be charged with murder or manslaughter. For obvious reasons abortion activists oppose this law because it gives “personhood” to the Foetus. That puts a judge in a very awkward place. To the unwary it is worth realising that the politicising of issues such as abortion and euthanasia confuses the inviolable nature of the human life and makes the State the arbitrator on life and death. That’s a chilling thought when God’s perspective is missing!

The great dilemma of writing on this topic is the world and worldviews it encounters. On a car journey carrying twins, Katherine is an expectant mum full of expectation at the birth of her beloved children. On another car journey to a clinic the expectant’s mood is uncertain as she seeks the termination of tissue within her. Jesus met people on similar journeys. To the grieving he offered comfort and hope in resurrection. To those confronted by their choices he offered loving wisdom in decision making and for those imprisoned by their choices he offered, at the cross, grace and forgiveness to set them free. Jesus was pro-life but his pro-life sticker reaches way beyond the issue of abortion to cover all of life and everyone’s life.

Historically abortion advocates denied that a pre-born baby is human. Due to advances in genetics and DNA nearly all professional bioethicists now agree that human life begins at conception. We may consider this a good thing but this did not provide conclusive evidence that the killing of the unborn was morally wrong because of what is known as “personhood theory”. The argument proceeds that, yes life begins at conception but personhood comes later.

The worldview that governs such thinking is dualistic, separating biology from personhood. What you are bodily is separate to who you are as a person. Subjectively, this dualism dehumanises us and bears no consistency with how my body impacts my person or other persons. What I do with my body or to the body of others matters physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Nancy R. Pearcey in her very helpful book, “Love thy Body”, says, “Bioethicists who adopt personhood theory often claim to be scientific yet the theory has no scientific support. Clearly it would take a dramatic transformation to turn a mere human organism with no rights into a person with an inviolable right to life. But there is no scientific evidence of such a transformation – no single, dramatic turning point that can be empirically detected. Embryonic development is a continuous process, gradually unfolding the potentials that were built in from the beginning.”  

The danger of this dualistic world view, as I see it, is its arbitrariness and the power it puts into the hands of an individual dealing with the life of others. When does a child/foetus become a person? What would be the markers of personhood and who would determine this? This last question has significance not just for the beginning of life but also as we approach life’s end.

According to the body/person dichotomy, just being biologically part of the human race is not morally relevant. Hence the problem when it comes to justice for Katherine’s unborn twins killed by the irresponsible.

The Bible tells us that we are beautifully and wonderfully made, knitted together in a mother’s womb by the God who makes us in his image. There is no dualism here, just the blessing of life and with it all the accountabilities that justly protect it. This article may not be easy for some to read so I wish to remind us all that God is for the best life, the grace affected, forgiven life that finds enjoyment in it all without the guilt that so often drags our feet through life. He loves you!

 Rick Lewers