When Does Life Become Valuable?
Scientists agree that a new human’s complete genetic composition is formed at the moment of fertilization. Still, that same moment is where the controversy begins. The preborn are at the mercy of a nation’s culture, moral attitudes, and socioeconomic factors. However, in the book of Jeremiah, God declares, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” (Jeremiah 1: 5-6)
Today, modern science gives a baby born at just 24 weeks an 80% survival rate if given specialized care. The line between viable and non-viable is narrowing.
What about poorer nations where adequate health care is less accessible? A country where a woman is legally allowed one child only? Or, where the prospect of a decent wage to put food on the table is unthinkable. Does that make these children any less valued? Individually, we must wrestle with the statement, “Life, in all circumstances, is valuable.”
Statistics of Life and Death
Global birth rates are affected by several factors. Government policy, health care, poverty, natural disasters, and women’s opportunities all affect the statistics. Easier access to birth control, financial challenges, and more women focusing on their careers are reasons for the drop in the United States.
The Birth and Abortion Rates in America
- Just under 4 million babies are born each year in the US.
- The birth rate in America has steadily been decreasing and is at its lowest point in 32 years.
- Even though the number of abortions performed in America has decreased over the years, it remains over 660,000 annually.
- Since the legalization of abortion in 1973, over 62,889,000 babies have been aborted in the US alone.
The Birth and Abortion Rates Globally
- Although it is impossible to get an exact number, the UN estimates that around 385,000 babies are born each day worldwide.
- Roughly 140 million babies are born each year.
- By 2023, we are projected to have a world population of 8 billion.
- Worldwide, abortion figures are difficult to tally. The estimate is around 32 million annually.
- In the last 40 years, over 1.6 billion babies have been aborted.
Loss of Children Through Infanticide
Infanticide seems like an impossibility in the 21st century, but it is very real in some countries. Newborns are at risk if the child is deformed or premature, if its mother already has other children, if it’s illegitimate, if the country is especially impoverished, or just because it is female, in some countries.
- In India, second daughters are often killed because families cannot afford the price of a dowry. Nearly a third of the world’s newborn deaths occur in India, and the country has lost 10 million girls in the past 20 years.
- At least 117 million girls around the world demographically go “missing” due to sex-selective abortions.
- In 2015, China ended its one-child policy now allowing Chinese families to have two children.
- “Reproductive tourism” is the practice of visiting countries that allow ultrasounds specifically to identify the sex of a baby from countries that do not. Millions of girls go missing each year, and as per the United Nations Population Fund, over 170 million girls are missing in Asia alone.
In Brazil, children are killed for religious or spiritual reasons, according to Indigenous leaders. Disabled children are believed to be cursed, and twins or triplets are assumed to be harboring evil spirits. Sometimes, a Shaman can choose to have a child killed simply because he got a bad impression.
Many of the same arguments to justify the rationale for abortion will and are being used to justify infanticide.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13