Pro-Life Argument: When Does Life Begin?

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In Come What May, Caleb Hogan is trying to develop a legal argument that unborn children are alive. His moot court case—central to the plot of the movie—rests on it. We asked George Escobar, the co-writer of the script and the head of Advent Film Group, to provide insights into this argument.

During this pivotal scene, Caleb's father Don explains that life does not begin incrementally; it's an "event" that only happens once in the human experience. We are not any more alive today than we were the day before, or the day before that, going all the way back to the unique moment of conception.

In the final round of the moot court competition, Caleb argues from a legal standpoint that Roe v. Wade is in fact unlawful and unconstitutional because regardless of the popular opinion of the day, the Fourteenth Amendment already protects the unborn. That Amendment states: No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Fourteenth Amendment, which includes this key phrase: nor shall any State deprive any person of life, was ratified in 1868. At that time an unborn child was considered to be a "person," including by the American Medical Association. Hence, it was understood that any person, including an unborn child, shall not be deprived of life. For Roe v. Wade to be constitutional, Congress must pass an Amendment to supercede the Fourteenth Amendment.

That's the legal argument. The biblical argument is even more obvious. The Psalmist writes:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
(Psalm 139:13-16, NIV)

In Come What May, Don says people understand his argument, but that they do not want to hear it. The hope is that more people will hear and understand this legal and biblical justification.