I’ve recently been surprised by something I’ve noticed among many people I know.
Even among the most pro-life of my acquaintances, people tend to have an attitude that a human being has worth that is dependent on age.
Karen Santorum really nailed this on the head in her book Letters to Gabriel. She points out that a person is allowed less grief over an infant that dies at 20 weeks gestation than for an infant that dies at full term, and both are allowed less grief and sympathy than someone who loses a child at 20 years old. It’s as if people increase in value as their ages increase. If we believe life begins at conception (and at that very moment a human being receives a soul and is in the image of God), then value cannot increase or decrease. At conception, we are exactly what we will be.
It upsets me further that the same people who will picket abortion clinics to convince women who are considering aborting their unborn children (which is a very sad thing indeed) will also shrug their shoulders and make less than even half-caring remarks about a woman who expects her child to die shortly after birth. A child that dies in the womb is worth less than a child that dies shortly after birth, and both are worth less than a child murdered by its mother before birth. This makes no sense.
I hope that we can eradicate this sentiment among Christians at least, and if more people were aware they were doing this, perhaps they would think more about the message of human value they are developing and sending.
I find peace in knowing at least that God does not rank our value in such ways. If God is outside of time and if we are created in His image at conception, then of course value cannot be placed on us based on age.