Last week we saw the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade decision, and with it, the annual March for Life. Yet again, the mainstream media either ignored the protest altogether, or downplayed the number of protesters – with the weather this winter in the Northeast, having anyone show up would be significant, but having tens of thousands march on Washington is huge.
But with the March for Life held in January, they go through this pretty much every year, and let’s face it – media bias is nothing new.
The real story about the March for Life is that since Roe v Wade, over 55 million abortions have been performed in the United States. That is as astounding as it is disgusting. And yet, the same people who would revoke the 2nd Amendment in the name of saving even one child’s life seem to have no problem with the wholesale slaughter of millions of unborn children.
As I have written about abortion, I have heard many objections to the pro-life stance.
- “It isn’t an unborn child, it is a clump of cells. Calling a fetus an unborn child is just praying on people’s emotions.”
- “A woman has the right to choose what to do with her own body.”
- “What about poor people who cannot afford to raise children? Would you subject that child to a life of poverty and destitution?”
- “What about fetuses with genetic disorders? By denying the mother’s right to choose, you’re sentencing that child to a life of hardship.”
The argument that it’s “just a fetus” or “just a clump of cells” is intellectually dishonest tripe that, at its root, is meant to remove any emotion from the debate, and to remove any moral implications from the decision to end a life. Is it a fetus? Is it a clump of cells? Yes, it is. But in that sense, we are all just clumps of cells, so how does that have anything to do with it? What is a fetus but a human being in an early stage of development? And so, by using the “clump of cells” argument, pro-abortion advocates are just justifying infanticide because early stages of development don’t fit their particular definition of “life.”
After all, if it’s okay to abort the unborn because they are just a clump of cells, then why isn’t abortion allowed in the first days or weeks of that fetus’s life outside the womb? If we’re all just clumps of cells, then why is murder, or torture, or child abuse illegal? Why is it okay to kill a small clump of cells, but illegal and immoral to kill a larger clump of cells? Why is it wrong to kill one clump of cells as punishment for killing or maiming other clumps of cells, as we do with the death penalty? Why do we spend billions of dollars every year for research to fight cancer or AIDS or any other diseases that just amount to cells interacting with other cells? Why worry about climate change, pollution, or nuclear proliferation?
Reducing an unborn child to a meaningless clump of cells, like it is no different from a tumor, has implications far beyond the debate over abortion. If you remove humanity from the unborn, you remove the humanity from us all. We are all just large clumps of cells. Our emotions and feelings are just electrical interactions between cells. A life, defined by this rubric, consists of cells interacting with other cells. There is no morality, or humanity, or society. There is no art, or music, or beauty. All of it is reduced to interactions of biological matter, and the only reason we care about any of it is because the meaningless interactions of cells within our own minds tell us to.
And if an unborn human is just a clump of cells, then what about other types of cellular clumps? Why have laws protecting the eggs of eagles or falcons – if we’re all just biological matter, why protect any endangered species? Why care about the fur industry or dog fighting or inhumane treatment at commercial chicken farms?
If we’re all just biological matter, then all morals are meaningless. We may as well drop the pretense and admit it: according to pro-choice ‘logic,’ we’d be better off abolishing all law and government, give up on all academic, artistic, athletic and nationalistic pursuits, and let the chips fall where they may – every clump of cells for himself.
Arguments about poverty and disease fall just as short. For starters, if we’re all clumps of cells, why does it matter whether a child is born in poverty or with a genetic disease? In the end, all that comes down to is a matter of convenience for the would-be parents: due to their circumstances, they don’t want to make the sacrifices necessary to raise a child on a limited income, or to raise a child with Down’s Syndrome or some other disease.
But life (if it actually matters) is all about opportunity. My father didn’t start out with much, but he worked hard to provide for his family, for which I am eternally grateful, because his hard work gave me the opportunity, the ethics, and the drive to do what is right for my own family. Some of the greatest success stories we hear are about people who were born into challenging circumstances, but managed to overcome their hardships and build a better life for themselves. If we abort those children because we deem those challenges just aren’t worth facing, we deny them the opportunity to even try. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve heard stories from parents who were devastated when they got the results from the prenatal tests, and found out that their son or daughter was less than perfect – and yet, is a person born with cerebral palsy still a person? How is it that bullying a child with Down Syndrome is worse than ending that child’s life before it’s even begun? How can we so arbitrarily judge the quality of a life that isn’t even given a chance? The death penalty is considered “cruel and unusual” when applied even to the worst criminals in our society, yet it’s okay to tear apart an unborn child limb from limb for the crime of being conceived in inconvenient circumstances or having a genetic disease?
Don’t get me wrong – there are circumstances where an abortion may be necessary – specifically, when the mother’s life is threatened and an emergency c-section is not possible. But those cases don’t account for 55 million abortions over the course of 41 years. A 2005 survey showed that most women who had abortions did so because they didn’t want the life change that came with child rearing for one reason or another.
In the end, it comes down to selfishness. We have created entire industries built around helping people get out of helping people to use sex as instant gratification, and if any of the many contraceptives on the market fail, well, we’ll just chop up the baby and get rid of it. All of the physical pleasure you could want; none of the consequences (if you ignore the long-term health risks, that is).
I always cringe when I hear people call parents of large families “selfish.” I don’t even know how that ‘logic’ even works. Raising a child and being a good parent requires constant sacrifice – you can’t do all of the things you want to do, you can’t buy all of the things you want to buy. You have to invest yourself wholly and completely into the new life you have created. Abortion for convenience is perhaps the most selfish action a person can take – the choice to exterminate a life in order to get out of the consequences of your actions – because maintaining your lifestyle and doing what you want to do is more important than the life you’ve created.
Attempts to deny the personhood of an unborn child add up to little more than justifications for an inhumane act. Abortion is more than just a woman’s decision of what to do with her own body, because it isn’t just her body anymore. There is another life there – a distinct being with its own heartbeat, its own DNA, its own senses and feelings. From the time that new life is conceived, your life is more than just your own; there is another life depending on you for survival, and your “choice” is the choice to protect the most innocent of life, or to throw it away as though it means nothing.