The Sanctity of Human Life

Does My Size Make Me Less Valuable?

Just before my 16th birthday, I went to the Revenue Office to purchase my first driver’s license. I stepped up to the counter and answered all the questions about my name, address, place of birth, etc. Finally, the clerk asked about my personal appearance, “What color are your eyes?” “What color is your hair?” “Do you wear glasses?” “How tall are you?” I chuckled a bit and politely said, “I’m 5 foot—maybe 5’1” on a good day.” She smiled and said, “I’ll put 5’2” just to give you a confidence boost.” size

Though that clerk made mention of my height that day, she didn’t refuse me a driver’s license. Why? Because my size doesn’t determine my right to drive.

This month we are covering the S.L.E.D. Test on the sanctity of human life. As we look at the “S”, which stands for size and appearance, we’ll see that this argument hits at the issue of abortion in particular. Not only do we care about the unborn, but we also care about the life of the unborn after she is born. Whether she’s 14 and playing basketball, or 90 and living in a nursing home, we care about her life.  We care because each person, as Jeanie mentioned last week, is made in the image of God. No matter their size or appearance, they are valuable to God, and should therefore be valuable to us.

Does size determine value?

Are teenagers more valuable because they are bigger than toddlers? Are men more valuable because they tend to be bigger than women? Many in our culture would scream, “that’s ridiculous!” but that’s exactly what we’ve concluded about the lives of the unborn. Because of their size, the unborn are often discriminated against to the point of death.

We must take a stand against this cruel discrimination. An article from Focus on the Family poses a few great questions for us to meditate on:

Why should we believe that microscopic human beings aren’t persons? Are you saying those who are larger have the right to determine whether those who are smaller deserve to exist? Doesn’t that sound like discrimination? Would that be called sizism?

An unborn child’s size, or the size of any other human, does not determine her value.  She is valued because she is human, and because she is valued, we should do whatever we can to protect, care for, and love her well.

Do humans lose value if they look different?

Did you know that “the number of people living with Down syndrome in the U.S. has declined by 30 percent over the last 36 years?” We should want to celebrate, right? There must have been a major medical discovery, helping to prevent this condition or provide a cure for it! Sadly, there’s been no medical discoveries, only an increase in abortion. With better-than-ever genetic testing, doctors have been able to diagnose Down syndrome before babies are born. Unfortunately, the outcome doesn’t come close to a celebratory matter:

Based on the results of those tests, many families choose abortion over life. A team of researchers who published a study in the February 2012 issue of the journal Prenatal Diagnosis estimated that two out of every three preborn babies nationwide with Down syndrome are aborted, often with the full support of medical professionals (Why is Down Syndrome Disappearing?).

Though we’d like to think society would value those who may look different, the evidence above proves otherwise.

Whatever her appearance, she is valuable because she reflects God’s image. God doesn’t create anyone that lacks this value, so we shouldn’t treat anyone as though He does.

What does it say about our society if we answer “yes” to the questions above?

If we say, yes, size does determine the value of an individual, and yes, humans do lose value if they look different, it simply says that our nation doesn’t value the things that God values. God values life at whatever size and whatever appearance, while our society assigns value based on what people can contribute to society. Our nation doesn’t fear God or heed His instruction, and the results of this reality lead to the deaths of millions of unborn children each year.

How should Christians answer these questions?

Genesis 1:26-27 tells us what God did after He created the world: “Then God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. So, God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” If God created humans in His image, who are we to say which of these image-bearers have value and which do not? 1 Samuel 16:7 teaches us that value is determined by God, not by man. (A helpful, expository sermon on this passage can be found here.)

We must take a stance against this discrimination based on size and appearance because Christians stand for what is right and just, not for what is culturally acceptable. We are image-bearers ourselves, and not only that, but gospel representatives. Our lives should be spent making much of Christ and His glory in every facet of life, including the issue of sanctity of life. Join with me, fellow Christians, and pray for strength to bear the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to a dark and dying world.

So, after reading this, what can I do?

Pray – Sometimes I too quickly run to the doing, that I forget about the asking—the pleading—for God to outlaw abortion in our nation.

Volunteer – There are local pregnancy resource centers that need people to clean, counsel, answer phones, process paperwork, help with social media, plan events and more in order to serve women who are contemplating abortions and to teach others about the services they provide.

Give – Pregnancy centers also need donors to support them financially. They offer a host of free services to their clients, so please consider how you can give and be a part of this work.

Foster or adopt – Consider what it might look like for you or your family to foster or adopt those in the foster care system. Our care for those the Lord values does not end once they leave the womb.

Just as my size didn’t determine my right to drive, the size or appearance of human beings, born or unborn, doesn’t determine their right to life.