Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Prenatal Testing: Just because we can, ought we? [Megan]

This Christianity Today post (from the magazine's blog for women, "Her-meneutics") sheds light on  some advances in prenatal testing. Newer testing processes are non-envasive, and provide amazingly accurate results (though the accuracy rate falls short of 100-percent certainty).

The question is whether or not prenatal testing is a good idea in a country where abortion is legal. The rate at which down-syndrome babies are aborted (because parents find out prior to birth) is stunningly high.

The post makes some good points. When it comes to bioethics issues like this one, the real question is "Just because we can, ought we?"

Gaining knowledge of scientific facts, as is the case with prenatal testing, is a good and God-honoring thing (when the method of gaining them does not endanger human life) — it is a quest for truth. What can be known about human beings in the womb now is truly awesome! But facts do not change the value of human individuals or the wrongness of taking human life without justification. Moral truths still stand.

Christians and pro-life advocates must be equipped to enter and navigate these discussions meaningfully and confidently.

Technology is advancing, and oftentimes Christians in particular are accused of being anti-technology. I don't think that's the case, though it may be true that some well-meaning individuals blame the technologies, and not the willful human beings behind them, for certain wrongs.
Careful thinking dictates that we can, and should, be for technological advances to the glory of God (unless the advance itself crosses moral boundaries, of course), and — even more-so — for human life and value.

Technology is a tool that can just as easily be wielded for good as it can for evil. It allows me to communicate effectively, keeping in touch with family and friends in ways that would have been impossible only decades ago. It allows me to carry hundreds of books on board an airplane for my reading perusal in my handheld Kindle. It may one day enable human beings to live on the moon!
It enables physicians to enter the womb itself and improve the quality of, or even save, human lives with minimally invasive procedures. And these types of operations are becoming more and more prevalent across the board.

It is these types of conversations in which the truth of the pro-life view, grounded in the Christian worldview, shines.


  1. Great post!

    The Abortion Choice crowd is going to have a harder and harder time avoiding the logical conclusion that if abortion is indeed a fundamental right, there is no bad reason for having an abortion. Abortions done for sex selection or to avoid children with defects would have to be morally no different from abortions done for different reasons or no reason at all.

  2. Jay, thanks! And I agree. For those who pull the "fundamental right" card, it's a good opportunity to press on exactly those points.

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