Pro Choice (Abortion): The Subtle Dangers Of The Pro-abortion Dogma
In 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that women had the right to abort their unborn children. The majority opinion argued that making abortion illegal infringed on the mother’s right to privacy, a right ostensibly protected by the fourteenth amendment (Roe v. Wade, n.d.). The majority opinion took a multitude of various factors into consideration, from historically held philosophical and legal positions to religious arguments for when life begins. Their ultimate ruling only allowed the abortion of an embryo or a fetus who could not live outside the womb (Roe v. Wade, 1973).
The Supreme Court refused to offer any statement on when a human began to be a person, citing, as their reason for this, the great variations in opinion on the subject (Roe v. Wade, 1973). However, is it not the answer to the question of when a human is a person, that is the hinge upon which any decision on the abortion issue turns. Did not the Court’s ultimate decision belittle the worth of human life by saying there was a possibility of their being wrong and yet going forward with legalization of abortion anyway? It would seem they were ok with the possibility of being the accessories to millions of murders.
Since, the Roe v. Wade decision knowledge of the unborn stages of human development has exploded. Each new fact points with an ever-increasing certainty, to the fact that what dwells in the womb of a mother is a living human being even at the earliest stages of development (George & Tollefsen, 2008). So conclusive is this evidence that even pro-choice philosophers are forced to admit that what is being destroyed in abortions is a human entity. Many pro-choice intellectuals have, as a result, argued that while the unborn child is a living human it is nonetheless a non-person and therefore not eligible for the rights commonly given to those denominated “persons” (Henriques, 2015). Thus, the pro-abortion crusade is undermining the universal right to life by arbitrarily giving the denomination of “personhood” to only certain types of humans rather than to humanity in general (George & Tollefsen, 2008). The reality is, all humans are humans deserving the right to life, and the pro-abortion movement is dangerously breaking down the foundation of freedom by seeking, in their attempt to excuse abortion, to make freedom’s paramount right–the right to life– dependent on their elitist definitions of personhood.
Humans are Humans
Modern scientific discoveries have made it nearly impossible to argue that a fetus and even an embryo is not human (Miklavcic & Flaman, 2017). This is very important. While past ages may be excused, to some degree, in their views of life before birth the modern age has no excuse. It is known now, for instance, that at fertilization a complete, genetically unique, and functioning human organism comes into being. (Agresti, 2014, Henriques, 2015). Also, known is the fact that at fifteen weeks gestation the human fetus can suck its thumb (Thumbsucking in the Womb, 2004). Wait, or is it the mother’s thumb?
Radical pro-abortionists argue that while a fetus may be considered human it does not follow that it is a human being. They will point out that it is dependent on its mother alone for life and that it is attached to the mother as reasons for why it should not be considered a human “being” (Arthur, 2001). But this begs the question: what is it that is dependent on the mother? The pro-abortionists seem to conveniently forget that even a human zygote becomes an adult, without unnatural human interference, in around 19 years if it is not prevented from doing so. This cannot be said of a sperm or a stem cell, comparisons commonly made to embryos by the hardline pro-choice movement (Sagan & Singer, 2009).
A fetus is a completely different organism than its mother. Yes, it is attached but it is attached by a cord– its tissues are not its mother’s tissues, its organs are not its mother’s organs, its brain activities are not its mother’s. Yes, it is inside the mother but it is not part of the mother. Neither is it a tumor; a tumor does not become a giggling two-year-old. A tumor does not suck its thumb like a fetus does, or feel pain like a fetus does, possibly, as early as eight weeks after fertilization (Charlotte Lozier Institute, 2018). Are these facts simply to be overlooked? So, pro-lifers and most pro-abortionists agree, at the very least, on the fact that at the fetal stage the preborn are living humans (Lee & George, 2005). Thus, it should be beyond dispute that when a fetus is killed a unique human individual is being killed. So, who gets to decide when a human individual becomes a human worthy of human rights? According to the pro- abortion intellectuals–they do.
The Right to Life is the Paramount Right
Having established the fact that, at the least, fetuses are human, it is now important to step back and look into the subject of human rights. As stated before, in the Roe v. Wade majority opinion the right to privacy was the legal reasoning behind the court’s ultimate decision. A large majority of the judges in this case decided that the right to privacy for the mother trumped the theoretical right to life for the child, because it could not be conclusively determined that the non-viable embryo or fetus could be termed a “person” either in a constitutional or philosophical sense (Roe v. Wade, 1973). In giving this explanation the court seems to have implied that the right to life is paramount. Therefore, it can be argued that if the embryo or fetus can be considered a person then its right to life annuls the mothers right to privacy when it comes to her having an abortion.
The right to life is the most important of all human rights. Without the right to life all other human rights are null and void. In other words, without life, the other two foundational rights of, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are very nearly or completely impossible (Sullivan, 2016). Liberty means one is free. What greater infringement of freedom can there be than to say that one’s very life belongs to some other human or group of humans? Perusing happiness when one is in fear for one’s life is also laughable. Consider what it must have been like to be a Jew in Nazi Germany or a slave in a slave ship.
While the Supreme Court was correct in stating that it is not universally accepted that an embryo or fetus is a “person” this can hardly be said to be a reason to rule as if they were not, because it is also true that it is far from universally accepted that they are not a person. The Supreme Court in choosing to deny the unborn the right to life chose to err on the side of death. It is still to be seen to what extent this decision will affect American society.
It has been proven then, that, at the least, fetuses are unique humans and also that the greatest of all human rights is the right to life. It is incumbent then for the pro-abortionist to prove that a fetus is not a human being, because if they do not, that fetus is deserving of the right to life. The pro-abortion intellectuals seek to deny this title of personhood to the unborn in a variety of ways. Their arguments range in type and perspective but they all come to the same conclusion–certain types of humans do not warrant receiving the title of “person” and therefor are not automatic recipients of the right to life. They make a wide range of scientific and philosophical arguments in order to “prove” why this can be the case. It is important to note here that it has not been very long since a variety of “scientific” and philosophical arguments were being used as reasons to not include black slaves as “persons” or to consider them human beings ( Facing History and Ouselves, 2017). History does not paint a very pretty picture of the outcomes of the type of reasoning being employed in the abortion argument by pro-abortion adherents.
The truth is that there are huge differences within the modern scientific, medical, and philosophical fields on the question of when a human life becomes deserving of legal protection or when it becomes immoral or unethical to take a human life. Nonetheless, there is near unanimity on the question of when a human becomes human. On one hand we have conjecture and theory and on the other we have a well attested fact (Lee & George, 2005). Why is this important? It is important because when we are speaking of conjecture and theory there is no end to possible extrapolations to be derived from scientific theories or even facts. John Miklavcic and Paul Flaman (2017) are absolutely correct when they say “whatever point of biologic development is deemed sufficient for personhood is arbitrary and cannot be generally assessed in an efficient or highly accurate manner” (para. 16). It seems that if public policy is to be driven by scientific theories and or scientists’ and philosophers’ interpretations of facts, then the question must be raised: which scientists and philosophers ought to be believed? Again, the answer from pro-abortion philosophers and scientists is– they should be.
However, why would a mother have any more right to kill a human fetus than the man on the street has the right to kill her? Many of those having abortions are poor and depend heavily on welfare–it could be argued that if the rich did not pay their taxes these women would die, this does not give the rich the right to kill them if they find they are too much of a fincial burden. But give the ability to those in power to decide personhood, and soon these types of arguments will be made. The poor, the mentally disabled, drug addicts, alcoholics, the terminally ill, the elderly, those deemed less evolved, religious minorities, and the list could go on, are all possible candidates for extermination using the personhood arguments. For example, Margaret Sanger (1923), the founder of Planned Parenthood, had no qualms with stating that her goal was the extermination of those she deemed less desirable, she states:
Birth Control does not mean contraception indiscriminately practiced. It means the release and cultivation of the better elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extinction, of defective stocks–those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization. (para. 9)
Compare this to Adolf Hitler’s language when speaking of the Jews in Germany, he says: For us, it is a problem of whether our nation can ever recover its health, whether the Jewish spirit can ever really be eradicated. Don’t be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus. Don’t think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis. This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst. (Irving, 1978, p.21)
Maybe there is a reason that the founder of the modern American abortion movement and Adolf Hitler sound similar. Can it be because they both share a common philosophical stance–a stance they share with the pro-abortionists of today–a stance that says not all humans are persons deserving of life?
There are obvious degrees here, an average pro-abortion activist and Adolf Hitler cannot be said to be moral equivalents nevertheless, they share a common philosophical position. This position if commonly accepted can lead to the breakdown of freedom as it is commonly known in America and the rest of the free world. The acceptance by those in government power of any argument that makes personhood dependent on elitists’ definitions of “being”, is extremely dangerous, because these definitions have been shown to change–at times taking on very sinister shapes. History is full of scientists and philosophers taking horrific positions based on what they deemed to be credible information and logical conclusions (Weikart, 2004). This is why it is important to insist on the preeminence of the right to life.
It can be said, without doubt, that in this world there will be unwanted pregnancies. These pregnancies are often fraught with many undesirable factors. The solution the abortionist offers to this dilemma is to help the mothers end their pregnancies. However, there are other options. There are many Christian organizations that give willing and absolutely free help to those with unwanted pregnancies. Christianity does not simply decry the abhorrent evil of abortion it also seeks to alleviate the plight of the mothers considering abortion. Why are these options ignored by pro-abortionists?
While there is debate over whether or not the human being in the mother’s womb is a person or not, there should be no debate about the fact that this human is alive (McCurdy, 2016). This then becomes a question of the lesser of two evils. On the one hand the suffering and risk of the mother, which can be alleviated to a great degree, and on the other the unnecessary killing of a human. In questions like these is it not wise to appeal to well proven principles rather than to changing opinions? As has been proven the principle of the greatest importance when it comes to the question of abortion ought to be the human right to life. We know that even an embryo is a living human organism and therefor, even though there is debate among the intellectual elite over whether or not it is a person, the right all humans have to life must be upheld, if for no other reason, to prevent the right to life being denied to more than only the unborn.
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