There are many people who oppose the abortion industry, but they generally can’t do a very good job explaining why. The Republican Party is officially pro-life in its platform, but I’ve never heard a GOP candidate offer a good reason for being pro-life. But there are excellent reasons for being pro-life, and it is way past time that society heard them.
Democrats and “pro-choice” proponents offer “a woman’s right to choose” as the primary reason to support abortion. But let us think about that for a moment: should women have “a right to choose?” Sure they should, up to a certain point. But should that right extend to anything a woman might want to do? What if she wants to drive her car through a crowd of people? What if she wants to hijack an airplane and fly it into a skyscraper? Clearly, a woman doesn’t – and shouldn’t – have a right to do anything she chooses. The first question needs therefore needs to be, “the right to choose to do what?”
If you were busily working on peeling potatoes over the kitchen sink when your oldest child came in and said, “Is it okay if I kill this?” What would you do? Would you say, “Sure! Go ahead! Since I’m not certain of the ontological status of whatever you’re considering killing, I’ll leave the decision up to you!” Or would you turn around and look to make sure your little gremlin wasn’t talking about your youngest child? (Or maybe it wouldn’t matter, because you’d figure your firstborn was exercising that sacrosanct “right to choose“?). The ability to use rhetoric to cast metaphysical doubt on the meaning of “being human” does not mean that ignorance is bliss, and one can abort at will. The fact of the matter is, we haven’t even begun to understand the miraculous – and it truly is miraculous – process of a baby forming in mommy’s womb. The age of viability has decreased dramatically; medical experts have been repeatedly proven dead wrong again and again in determining brain function in comatose patients who later recovered after being declared ‘brain dead’; the Hippocratic Oath recited by doctors for centuries explicitly banned the performing of abortions; and so on, and so on. When in doubt, why not choose life?
And there really is no doubt, once we truly consider the issues. Ever hear the argument that fetuses aren’t human beings, so it’s okay to kill them? Think again. Both science and logic assure us that – from the moment of conception – that thing in the womb of a human mother is fully a human being. Take a moment and consider the taxonomic system by which every living thing is rigorously categorized and classified. By that system a human embryo is of the kingdom Anamalia, of the phylum Chordata, of the class Mammalia, of the order Primate, of the family Pongidae, of the genus Homo, and of the species Sapiens – same as any other human being. Put even more simply, that embryo is a human by virtue of its parents, and a being by the fact that it is a living thing: it is a human being.
And then there’s that whole “It’s a woman’s body” line. That one falls rather flat as well. The fact is that that from the moment of fertilization there is a separate, distinct, unique genetic individual in the mother’s womb; every cell in its little body is different from that of its mother. Half of children are male, for goodness sake! We are clearly not talking about a woman’s body; we are talking about her child’s body.
Then there’s the notion of a woman’s rights to her own body, which views the baby in her womb as a hostile invader forcing itself upon her. Why should she carry it to term if she doesn’t want to? Well, for one thing, because it’s her child. The so-called “violinist argument” is fatally flawed from the outset by casting a woman’s child in terms of an unwanted intruder whom the woman has no moral obligation to care for. Furthermore, we would never consider that rather despicable line of moral reasoning after a child is born – when it actually requires a far greater sacrifice and burden to care for (ask a new mother whether her child required more chasing around the house before or after birth). We go from the rather passive act of “being pregnant” to the extremely active act of caring for a newborn – and that burden proceeds to continue for years as the child grows up. Leave your five year old at home and go gamble in Las Vegas for a week and see what happens when you come back home if you don’t believe me. See how far that, “But I have a right to my own body” line takes you. It ought to take you all the way to jail for abandoning your child.
If this isn’t enough to dispel the “woman’s right to her own body” argument, then let us think about the way they are using the term “rights.” We must realize that in virtually every case one person’s right presupposes someone else’s duty. One person’s right to freedom of speech imposes the duty upon the remainder of society to tolerate what might be offensive to them for the greater good of a free society. In other cases, the duty imposed is far more selective: When liberals describe the duty of the rich to pay their fair share of taxes, they are imposing a duty on a small class of people. The wealthiest 5% of Americans already pay 57% of the taxes, and the wealthiest 10% pay 68% of the tab. The top 1% earn 19% of the income but pay 37% of the taxes; meanwhile the “poorest” 50% of Americans earn 13% of the income but pay only 3% of the taxes. This introduces a legitimate question for some future discussion: just how much more should the wealthy be expected to pay? [Don’t allow the issue of taxation to distract you from my argument: I merely raise taxation as an issue in which certain advocates subjectively claim that a few should have a duty to pay more, while the majority should have a right to pay less]. But in the case of abortion, the right given to the mother presupposes the most extreme duty upon one single individual – her child – the duty to die for the convenience of its mother. On the side of the “right of a woman to choose” are not only women who suddenly find themselves pregnant and their anxious parents, but hedonistic men and women who want to abdicate any responsibility for their “sexual expression,” along with a powerful media culture that aggressively pursues the same end, a powerful abortion industry and its lobby, the stem cell research lobby, unelected judges who impose their will on society, etcetera. Who is on the side of the right of the unborn to live? The Constitution – which guarantees the right to life as preeminent over all others – but other than that, far too few allies. One side has sole access to the megaphone; the other cannot speak. If we were to stop focusing on the Constitutionally-invisible “right to choose” and focus just for a moment on the DUTY OF PARENTS to nurture and care for their children, we would have a very different discussion indeed. I cannot help but remember the slogan of the Ministry of Health vans that Nazi Germany used to haul away retarded children, epileptics, children with malformed ears, chronic bed wetters, and the like to their deaths: Lebensunwertes Leben – “Life Unworthy of Life.” Today I still see cars bearing bumper stickers with the equally oxymoronic – but far more deadly – slogan, “Pro child, Pro choice.” What a shame that so many Americans have so blithely come to champion Nazi morality.
Then there’s that, “It’s only a potential human being” pseudo-argument. First of all, I’m not even sure what it means to be “a potential human being” – and neither do those who are reciting it. I do understand what it means to be “a human being with potential.” Let us begin this discussion with the straightforward observation that had your mother decided to have an abortion during her pregnancy with you, that you would not have been born. It would NOT have been some potential you that perished; it would have been you. You would have been one of the nearly 50,000,000 babies in America alone who were killed by abortion. Just as you were once a child, once a toddler, once an infant, you were also once a fetus, once an embryo, once a zygote. Killing you while you in any of those stages would have killed you just as dead.
And let us pause for a moment to consider what murder actually does to the victim. The character Clint Eastwood played in Unforgiven put it pretty well: “When you kill a man, you take away everything he has and everything he’s ever going to have.” A human baby will naturally inherit every quality of human life unless someone steps in and unnaturally ends that life. It is simply his or her nature as a human being to do so. You merely have to contemplate your own life to consider what would have been taken away from you had you been among the abortion statistics. This idea of “potential” as some ambiguous term that allows a mother to kill her baby is as ridiculous as it is amoral. If I were to walk up to you in a parking lot as you got out of your car and shoot you to death, what would I be guilty of? I certainly didn’t take away your past, as it has already happened. And if your future – when is clearly merely “potential” – doesn’t count, all I truly deprived you of is the two or three seconds of immediate conscious awareness. And I could have deprived you of at least that much had I merely asked you for the time instead of shooting you! For murder to be a serious crime, “potential” has to be a real, tangible thing that has intrinsic, incommensurable value. To attempt to argue that an unborn baby’s potential is somehow meaningless but a born person’s matters is both a fundamentally irrational and immoral distinction that leads inevitably to a degradation in the value of human life. Tyrants have routinely made the same type of “status of humanity determined by selective criterion” distinction when they said that Jews, or blacks, or any other class of people should not matter.
Deep down, I believe that even the Democrats and other abortion advocates realize the immorality of abortion in their choice of language. They demonstrate this by reciting the new mantra, “Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.” But why on earth should it be rare if it is a fundamental human right? How many other basic rights should be rare? Put “free speech,” “freedom of the press,” “the right to peaceably assemble,” or any other right that liberals hold as sacrosanct into this “____ should be safe, legal, and rare” equation and see how it flies. If abortion is a good thing, why on earth should it be rare? In point of fact, we should be encouraging more of it, not less.
During the Lincoln-Douglas presidential debates, when Douglas said that states ought to have a right to choose the institution of slavery, Lincoln famously said, “One cannot say that people have a right to do wrong.” Fortunately the country chose Lincoln’s moral reasoning over Douglas’. The Civil War was subsequently waged by a Confederacy which argued that their own rights were being systematically violated, even as they inhumanly violated the most fundamental rights of the blacks they oppressed. Apart from the fact that the party of Lincoln, the party of abolition, was the Republican Party and the party of Douglas, the party of institutionalized slavery, was the Democratic Party, I cannot help but see the parallels between the Party of Slavery and the Party of Abortion. For one thing, the Party of Abortion uses the identical arguments to justify its abominable institution that the Party of Slavery relied upon. For another, the Party of Abortion is just as insistent upon its “rights” as was the Party of Slavery, even as they systematically violate the rights of the most innocent and most helpless.