Abortion advocates will sometimes say that the issue in abortion is not always the sanctity of life but the quality of it.
Severely handicapped persons, it is argued, will not have a life worth living. On this basis, detection of abnormalities in a fetus (through procedures like amniocentesis) often leads to abortion. Why? Because it is concluded, as one handicapped person said, “that certain people are better off dead, and may therefore be killed for their own good.”
There are obvious dangers in this line of reasoning. Christian ethicist, John Feinberg suggested that, “A utopian society is a tricky one. It immediately raises the question, whose utopia? One must be careful not to ticket oneself for termination in the process.”
One must also call to mind the ominous historical familiarity of attempts such as those of Hitler’s Third Reich.
Further, “While methods for detecting disabilities in unborn infants are constantly improving, there are still cases of false positives and false negatives. The former leads to the abortion of perfectly healthy infants, while the latter raise the question as to whether those who escape detection pre-natally ought to be euthanized post-natally. After all, if expectant parents tried to determine whether their unborn child had some handicap and the tests failed to reveal the difficulty, why should they be burdened with a child they did not want?” (Feinberg)
Unfortunately, those who support eliminating the handicapped will carelessly appeal to rare exceptions. They say, “what about the anencephalic baby (one born without a brain)?” “What about people unable to live independently of artificial life support?” These rare exceptions must be handled with great care, but they must not be used as a basis for removing a rule forbidding man to determine whose life is or is not worth living.
“Society in general and family and friends in particular must deal compassionately with any parent called upon to take up the added burden of caring for a handicapped child.” “…many testify that just such a child has been an incredible blessing, even drawing the family closer together and to the Lord” (Feinberg).
In a dialogue between God and Moses, the Lord clearly teaches that His authority extends to the quality of life. God said: “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Ex. 4:11; cf John 9:1-3).
Evidently there is sanctity in the quality of human life.