Arguing that natural family planning is murder...

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The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)

Dr. Kyle Swan of the Department of Philosophy, National University of Singapore, forwarded to us a link to an article that ran this year in the Journal of Medical Ethics titled, "The Rhythm Method and Embryonic Death." The article's author, L. Bovins of the London School of Economics and Political Science, seeks to show the absurdity of pro-lifers' concerns about the lives of very young unborn children--specifically a fertilized egg traveling towards the uterus, seeking the shelter of his mother's womb. Here's the short summary of Bovins' argument:

Some proponents of the pro-life movement argue against morning after pills, IUDs, and contraceptive pills on grounds of a concern for causing embryonic death. What has gone unnoticed, however, is that the pro-life line of argumentation can be extended to the rhythm method of contraception as well. Given certain plausible empirical assumptions, the rhythm method may well be responsible for a much higher number of embryonic deaths than some other contraceptive techniques.

How does Bovins demonstrate that the practice of periodic abstinence of sexual intercourse (natural family planning) causes the deaths of unborn children?

He doesn't.

Yes, he multiplies words and many readers could come away from his argument thinking that, morally, there are more similarities than differences between the deaths of unborn children caused by the IUD, hormone therapy (the pill), and natural family planning. But in this case, the majority of the story is not Bovins' perverse argument but the many correspondents who point out his many errors. (Be sure to read all the letters to the editor immediately below the article.)

So why bother to post the link here?

Because Christians need to recognize the hostility of the pagan, utilitarian world against the Christian reverence for human life, particularly when that life is very, very young or old. To intellectual sophisticates such as Bovins, Christians' efforts to protect very young children from becoming the uninformed and unwilling doomed donors of stem cells are intolerable. They flow from religious convictions that serve only to obstruct the worship of the only true god who first demanded this human sacrifice--Scientific Progress.

So we find buried in Bovins' footnotes this argument originally made by John Harris in the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics:

If one is genuinely concerned about embryonic death, then one should choose reproductive techniques that minimise embryonic death. If IVF [in vitro fertilization--in other words, fertilization done artificially in a laboratory rather than naturally, through sexual intercourse] had developed to the point that a pregnancy could be brought about at minimal cost of embryonic death, then one would be required to refrain from reproducing through sexual intercourse, because it would come at a needlessly high cost of embryonic death.

Bovins ends the footnote by pointing out (again through Harris) the "reductio ad absurdum of the reverence with which the pro-life movement treats embryos in the discussion about stem cell research."

Really? The pro-life movement has an excess of "reverence" for "embryos," thus obstructing stem cell research and Scientific Progress?

But of course Bovins and Harris have escaped any hint of "reverence" in their purely objective and Scientific work, right?

Then what about Bovins' and Harris' utilitarian ethic? Wouldn't it be fair to call it "reverence" for man's happiness as the highest good? And if so, what well-reasoned argument does Bovins give for his opposition to a religious reverence for God's Image resident in each man from the moment of conception? Is ridicule all he's got?

So here we have it: Bovins, Harris, and the high priests of Scientific Progress worship at the altar of man's happiness--or rather the happiness of those they and their colleagues are willing to define as "persons." But those who are unwilling to see (born) persons' happiness as the highest good, and instead hold that the glory of God alone deserves that place, are to be dismissed. They're not scientists and philosophers and ethicists, but only the contemptible "pro-life movement." And while the "pro-life movement" is "reverencing" zygotes, smart men who talk loudly in restaurants and use big words are "thinking" and "considering" and "objectively weighing competing claims" and so on.

Well, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to love these enemies of God in the same way Christ loved us back when we, too were His enemies. But we must study the carnage they spread carefully because real lives of those who bear the glorious Image of God are at stake.

Those who reject reverence for God and His Revelation, clinging instead to the liberal project in which the greatest good for the greatest number of people is the only altar, are not objective, rational, enlightened, progressive, tolerant, or open-minded.

Rather, they are fascists who will tolerate nothing outside their own ill-considered and heartless equations of happiness and they are seizing the reigns of power, from the judiciary to the laboratory and classroom. It is godly holiness to expose and oppose them.

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. (Ephesians 5:11, 12)