The Sanctity of Human Life

Back in January 1984, President Ronald Reagan made the proclamation designating January 22 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. He chose January 22nd because on that date eleven years earlier, the Supreme Court ruled on the case of Roe vs. Wade legalizing abortion on demand in all fifty states. During each subsequent year of his presidency Reagan issued the proclamation declaring that National Sanctity of Human Life Day be observed on the third Sunday of January. Not every president followed suit, but many in the United States have continued on this day to celebrate life, and commit themselves to protect human life at every stage.

While all living things have been created by God including plant and animal life, mankind is both unique and sacred. All other parts of the creation were brought about by God’s command: “Let there be light,” “Let the earth bring forth grass,” or “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind.” But when it came to the creation of man there is a very noticeable difference: God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” Man is unique in that he is the only being created in God’s image. Humans are sacred because they are set apart to worship and fellowship with their Creator.

The sanctity of human life is confirmed later in the Bible where the penalty for taking human life is death (Gen 9:6; Exo 21:12-15). Under God’s law the taking of an unborn human life was also punishable by death (Exo 21:22-25).

The unborn, even the unformed human being, is seen by God as a person. God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer 1:4b). The Psalmist wrote, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb” (Psa 139:13). Since God puts such great value on human life, so must we!