*potential trigger warning.
I was asked this the other day, and almost simultaneously had an issue similar to it in a discussion for a class I’m taking here at CTS. So below is what I settled on as a working answer beyond the typical “yes, obviously” that is spit out without reflection by most of mainstream evangelicalism.
A consistent pro-life ethic is fundamental to the life of the church because it affirms the sacredness of human life and upholds the dignity of every person, from conception to natural death. This view is supported by scholars such as David P. Gushee, Richard B. Hays, and others, who draw on different theological, ethical, and social perspectives to argue for the importance of a pro-life stance.
According to Gushee, a consistent ethic of life involves recognizing the interconnectedness of different issues related to human dignity, such as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, war, poverty, and the environment. He argues that the church has a prophetic role to play in promoting a holistic vision of life, one that challenges the dominant culture’s tendency to devalue certain groups of people and prioritize individual autonomy over social responsibility. Gushee emphasizes that a pro-life ethic is not limited to opposing abortion but also requires a commitment to addressing the root causes of social injustice and promoting a culture of life that respects the vulnerable and marginalized.
Similarly, Hays argues that the moral vision of the New Testament centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ, who reveals God’s love and compassion for humanity. He contends that the New Testament’s ethical teachings prioritize love, justice, and mercy, and require Christians to follow Jesus’ example of self-giving love and sacrificial service. For Hays, a pro-life ethic flows naturally from this moral vision because it affirms the worth and dignity of every person and opposes any form of violence, exploitation, or oppression.
Christian and secular biologists alike approach the issue of abortion from a bioethical perspective, arguing that the pro-choice position fails to address the moral complexity of the issue. We see and as Christians we contend that the fetus has moral status and that abortion involves taking a human life, and those in the secular biology community who are not influenced by feelings or political agenda but seek only to faithfully study and represent science will take that same position, though from a different base reasoning.
One could also highlight the ways in which the abortion debate is intertwined with broader social and cultural trends related to sexuality, gender, and power. I would suggest that a pro-life ethic is necessary to counteract the “sexual agenda” that seeks to separate sexuality from reproduction and prioritize individual autonomy over the well-being of others, but that we cannot be pro-life for fetuses but not for prisoners if we take David’s words in scripture, that we are born in inequity, as truth. If we believe that all have sinned in Adam as our covenant head, then we are all deserving of death at the hands of a Holy God but that on Earth in the Already/Not-yet kingdom of that Holy God, we are not the arbiter of that justice.
In sum, a pro-life ethic is fundamental to the life of the church because it reflects a commitment to the values of love, justice, and human dignity that are central to the Christian faith. It also challenges the dominant cultural norms that devalue certain groups of people and promote individualism and self-interest over social responsibility.