Andrew Tallman wrote an excellent column at TownHall, A Christmas View of Abortion. I encourage everyone to read it in its entirety. In one respect the title is misleading because the medical practice of abortion is not directly addressed anywhere in the Holy Bible. What the Gospel According to Luke does address directly in Chapter one is the recognition of life less than a week after conception.
3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
4 That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.
Unlike the other Gospel writers, Luke will tell us his story in the form we modern readers best comprehend: chronologically. This means we can rely heavily on the order of things in any of our conclusions.
5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;
40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
Working solely with the calendar of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Luke has told us that Jesus was a person with sufficient individual identity that His cousin could recognize him through the assistance of the Holy Spirit. He was only a few days old (perhaps not even implanted yet) when John recognizes Him. Mary certainly wouldn’t have even been able to know by ordinary means that she was pregnant yet.
So the pressing point of all this analysis is not that John (in his third trimester) was a person in the womb when he leapt for joy. The unavoidable and much more forceful point is that Jesus was in the very earliest portion of His first trimester when He was recognized by John as a person.
Andrew Tallman concludes his column with this final paragraph-
So as we prepare to celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Savior this year, I have a simple question. Since we now know that Jesus was somewhere between a few days and a few weeks gestation when he was recognized in scripture as a person, then who or what is it in the young woman’s womb today if not a person—and somebody’s grandchild?
I expect sometime in the afternoon of January 20th 2009 for President Obama to issue executive orders that will undo every obstacle and delay that are currently in place to reduce the number of abortions that are performed. This will all be legal, however in my reading again the account by St Luke of the First Christmas this will be morally wrong.