Guess what? This generation, everybody knows that a fetus is a human life. Pro-Lifers need to stop thinking it's a convincing argument against abortion.
Pro-choice advocates no longer try to convince people that a fetus is just a blob of tissue. 3-D ultrasounds fixed that notion long ago. Maybe there's some uneducated 15-year-old girl out there who still thinks that, but not the abortion advocates.
Science has proven that life begins at conception. It's not contested anymore.
The real question at stake today is whether the unborn child is a person. This is where the real debate begins.
"'The question is not really about life in any biological sense,' intones Yale professor Paul Bloom....'It is instead asking about the magical moment at which a cluster of cells becomes more than a mere physical thing.'" (***see below for source of this and all further quotations)
"Princeton ethicist Peter Singer acknowledges that 'the life of a human begins at conception.' But 'the life of a person--a being with some level of self-awareness--does not begin so early.'"
If our universe has materialistic origins, then the human body is nothing more than a disposable, yet complex machine, and our personhood is a mysterious entity that is separate from the body. This split worldview began in the Enlightenment and has been subconsciously absorbed by most westerners. Our biological body can be manipulated like any other machine to match up with our unseen person. Just because a human is alive doesn't mean he's a person. Thus, the pregnant woman, an established person, should not have to sacrifice her well-being for the sake of a non-person, the fetus.
Ask the Right Question
Pro-Lifers....you've got to stop using the argument, "It's life, so therefore it's murder." It's falling on deaf ears! The real question is, "What makes a person?"
And that question, right there, is the best one to ask in an abortion discussion. Because guess what? No one really knows the answer. And that's dangerous. "Once personhood is separated from biology, no one can agree how to define it." It won't just stop at unborn children.
"James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA double helix, recommended waiting until after birth [to call a baby a person] and giving a newborn baby three days of genetic testing before deciding whether it should be allowed to live. For Singer, personhood remains a 'gray' area even at three years of age."
If an unborn baby is not a person, then what about anyone who is a burden on society? What about children born with disabilities? What about terminally ill people? What about mentally ill people? What about the poor? What about the elderly? Who gets to decide who is a person with a right to life?
Why I Really Must Stick My Nose Into Other People's Business
A political candidate's view on abortion is, unequivocally, the most important issue for me in any election. Not because it's the only important issue in our society, but because it's the most vital indication of worldview. How does the candidate define a person? If he won't defend the most vulnerable members of our society as having the right to life, then how can I be sure he will defend anyone else's rights?
"Liberals sometimes say, 'If you're against abortion, don't have one. But don't impose your views on others.' At first, that might sound fair. But what liberals fail to understand is that every social practice rests on certain assumptions of what the world is like--on a worldview. When a society accepts the practice, it absorbs the worldview that justifies it. That's why abortion is not merely a matter of private individuals making private choices. It is about deciding which worldview will shape our communal life together."
What Does the Pro-Life Position Have to Offer?
The pro-life position is by far the most humanizing worldview out there. A human is a person and a person is a human. There is no dichotomy. If I become disabled, I will still be a person. If I am in a coma, I will still be a person. If I become elderly and frail with drool coming out of my mouth, I will still be a person. If I become pregnant, a new person forms inside of me with an equal value of personhood. Whether or not I choose to raise that person, he or she has a right to life.
"The pro-choice position is exclusive. It says that some people don't measure up, don't make the cut. They don't qualify for the rights of personhood. By contrast, the pro-life position is inclusive. If you are a member of the human race, you're 'in.' You have the dignity and status of a full member of the moral community."
Are You Pro-Life or Just Anti-Abortion?
Listen, Pro-Lifers. This is where our passionate arguments often fall flat. It's got to be more than a political position. It's got to be a lifestyle. Don't just be anti-abortion. Pro-life means pro-foster care. Pro-adoption. Pro-hospice care. Pro-Pregnancy Center. Pro-Single Mom Ministry. Pro-job training. Pro-Special Needs Ministry.
Picketing only does so much. Voting on election day only does so much. Are we just anti-abortion? Or actually Pro-Life? Are we willing to carry these "burdens to society?" We are asking women with unplanned pregnancies to make a huge sacrifice. Are we willing to walk alongside and sacrifice with them?
|Ah, sweet boy, they tell us that now you know that you are getting a family, and you are so excited! We can't wait....hopefully any day now!|
***All quotations are taken from Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey, who has been the most influential voice in my life on this subject. Read her brilliant book.