To be clear, I strongly believe a "fetus" is a person, at the moment of conception. And I strongly oppose the murderous law of human abortion, on which I've written, here, here, here, and here (among other places).
But I also strongly oppose trial by internet, and presuming on the principle of guilty until proven innocent, rather than innocent until proven guilty.
Contrary to what this video suggests Gorsuch does not say: "A fetus it not a person."
Here is the pertinent transcript, starting at 42 seconds in:
Sen. Dick Durbin:
The clip starts with Neil saying "words matter." And from everything I've heard him say, he holds true and steady to that.
Notice that he did not say he agrees that a fetus is not a person, but that he agrees that SCOTUS held that view in Roe vs. Wade, and that he agrees it is currently the law of the land.
It's hard for any one of us to believe otherwise. Obviously I think Christians should fight against the Roe vs. Wade decision and its consequent being the law of the land. But I don't think hearing a well-crafted, calculated response in a confirmation hearing ought to have us give up hope of this man being used by God to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
There are two things I think we ought to seriously consider here:
1. In the Roe vs. Wade decision itself, a hole was left open for it to be completely overturned.
Because of where medical science was at the time of Roe vs. Wade, the ruling stated:
"If . . . personhood [for the unborn] is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment..."
(Roe v. Wade [410 US 113 at 156-7])
Due to the advancement of medical science since then, a legislative bill would be able to establish (via scientific testimony) that personhood begins at conception. This would instantly overturn Roe v. Wade and other similar cases that advocate for abortion until the fetus is determined a person at a later time from conception.
2. Neil Gorsuch is in a confirmation hearing.
He is not able to lie (nor should he); but he is being very careful with his words so as to get confirmed. He is the very opposite of Trump when it comes to opening his mouth, and I think he is being very calculating (and yet maintaining his integrity) with his responses.
Is he a born-again believer? I have no idea. But we still ought to presume innocence until proven guilty, rather than the other way around.
So far he has said that precedent is important to interpreting law. What Christian theologian would not say the same thing regarding the history of doctrine? (This is why we tend to frown on those, or at least put flags up, who have just now "discovered" a new way to interpret Scripture that the church has been wrong about in its 2000+ year history.)
And in this case he has said that Roe vs. Wade declared that a fetus is not a person, and that that is the current law of the land. As much as we don't like it, it's a fact nonetheless.
However, at this point, he has given us no cause to abandon all hope in Roe vs. Wade (and similar cases) being overturned if he should be confirmed. To the contrary, I'm actually encouraged all the more (as both precedent and words matter to Gorsuch) that we could easily pass in our respective states (and via our legislative branches) a right to life bill that legally defines personhood (via scientific testimony) as beginning at conception.
Again, Roe vs. Wade left that open to us all along.
One last thing to consider though. If and when abortion becomes illegal in this country, are we Christians ready to adopt the children who need parents and homes and support those mothers who otherwise would have sought an abortion and now are without that option? Because we need to be. And we need to be demonstrating that readiness right now - by adopting children without parents and homes and supporting mothers who otherwise can't take care of a baby themselves.
Something to prayerfully think about...
As for now, rather than making hasty judgments and giving up hope, perhaps we should continue in prayer and action to put people in the best light we can (Phil. 4:8) until proven otherwise, while continuing the very needful work of exposing the unfruitful works of darkness in this world (Eph. 5:11).
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