The Most Important Social Justice Issue of Our Time

Author Brett Kunkle Published on 03/05/2013

Abortion is unjustly denying the most fundamental human right to thousands of human beings every day, and we should act to restore justice.

It’s abortion.

I know, I know. That’s the least cool thing I could’ve said. If I really wanted to be a hip young Christian, I would’ve said poverty, or the environment, or pointed to some need in Africa (and certainly, these are very important issues). Recently, it’s been trendy to move away from “out-dated” and more volatile social issues like abortion or homosexuality. Oh well. I’m not much for being cool anyhow.

In the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, seven Supreme Court justices gave us license to kill growing human fetuses in a mother’s womb. Oooh, sound harsh? There should be nothing controversial about that last phrase because it accurately describes abortion. “To kill” is accurate because the fetus is alive biologically, so whatever it is, we’re killing something that is alive and growing. That’s supposedly the problem, right? “Human fetuses” is accurate because it’s in the fetal stage of development and it has human parents. Human parents are only capable of procreating something human. And of course, “mother’s womb” is accurate because that’s its location.

Why is this the most important social justice issue? Well, we must first get clear on justice. There are two primary types of justice: retributive and distributive. Retributive justice has to do with when and why punishment is justified. This kind of justice demands the guilty are punished and the innocent go free. Distributive justice has to do with the fair distribution of resources. If humanitarian aid is being given to one of group people over another because of ethnicity, it violates distributive justice. (Side note: Oftentimes, the issues we associate with “social justice” should not fall under this category, strictly speaking.)

Fundamental to the issue of justice is the issue of rights. A right is simply a just claim. The proper source of rights is our Creator. Jefferson summarizes in the Declaration: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Yes, the issue of abortion is a human rights issue. Human beings have a fundamental right to life. This right is our most basic human right. Without this, all other rights are irrelevant. This right is God-given. When it is violated, we are obligated to act.

On my view, the unborn child is fully human (of course, I have an argument for this view) and therefore, has a right to life. Abortion kills that life. Therefore, justice demands that we act.

It happens everyday. It happens in our country. It happens right under our noses. Almost 4,000 each day. Almost 1.3 million each year. Innocent human beings killed each year is the greatest injustice in our country today.

And that’s why abortion is the most important social issue of our time.