A fellow pro-life advocate once asked if I ever consider the fact that I might be wrong on the issue of abortion. The answer is yes, I’ve considered it. I feel like I have engaged in intelligent and productive (and a lot of unproductive) conversation and debate and have made an effort to understand the pro-choice position held by people who I respect. But I still hold fast to this:
I am pro-life because I believe
- Unborn babies are innocent humans
- It is wrong to kill innocent humans
I am 100% certain of #1. Biology and embryology and science in general say two humans cannot make a dinosaur, or a turkey, or a third kidney. Unborn babies are human. The term fetus refers to their level of development, much as infant, teenager, or adult.
So if science proves #1 then the disagreement must be about #2. Is it ever okay to kill an innocent human? The pro-choice position is that yes, under certain circumstances, it is okay to deliberately end a human life. I won’t get into arguments on bodily autonomy or level of consciousness or size or disability or poverty or potential abuse or addiction or mental health. You know them. You’re probably composing them in your head right now. Each relies on the premise that the mother’s right to choose abortion for any reason trumps the child’s right to life. This is what I reject.
To me these arguments involve a lot of mental gymnastics and don’t make sense logically. A right to choose doesn’t trump a right to life in other circumstances. You can’t kill a man just because he is under anesthesia. You can’t kill a newborn just because she is entirely dependent on you for breast milk (imagine a blizzard scenario, if you will, with no other option). You can’t kill a child who wanders into your house without your consent. A family who loses all sources of income should have options so they don’t go hungry, but killing their children should not be one of those options. You don’t end poverty by killing poor people. A mother whose toddler has an accident that leaves him paralyzed and bedridden for life will be heartbroken and face a life she never imagined for herself. She deserves sympathy and support, but not the choice to end the life of the now-disabled child. Mothers who are suffering from poverty or mental illness or poor physical health or are young or alone or afraid – these mothers deserve sympathy and assistance and options. But you would never suggest to such a mother that making “the very difficult decision” to terminate the life of her three-year-old is an acceptable option.
So WHY is this such a widely accepted option with unborn children? Why do people fight so strongly to defend these rights? Why is it so much easier to see the worth of elephants or polar bears or dolphins or lobsters than that of unborn humans? Who deserves protection? Who deserves a voice?
Why should one person’s value be determined by another?
It should not, and our culture and laws should reflect that. As much as I want to reduce the demand for abortion, I also think we should reduce the supply.
So, what if I am wrong? Then I been wasting energy and feeling heartbreak and frustration only to one day discover I’ve been working against women’s freedom. Then I have been advocating for denying women their rights in my misplaced desire to acknowledge an nonexistent right to life of the unborn. I have then been blind to the fact that there ARE circumstances when it is morally right (or even morally neutral) to deliberately end an innocent life. If this is the case, I can live with this. I can live with being wrong about being pro-life. I cannot live with being wrong about being pro-choice.
If anything, I worry that my black-and-white view on abortion is lacking in compassion. I think you can be pro-life and pro-woman, but I do worry sometimes, because in an attempt to be a voice for the voiceless, I struggle to never diminish the fear and uncertainty of women in a crisis pregnancy. However, logic and heart always bring me back. Even when it comes to the most heartbreaking scenarios. Even when I make someone angry enough to wish me or my daughters raped and pregnant. A human’s inherent value is established at conception, when his or her life begins. There is no other logical answer. Any other depends on personal opinion or circumstance, and if everybody has a different definition of when a human qualifies as a person worth protecting, how can anybody be right?
If we can’t tell who is right, isn’t the most logical solution to err on the side of life? Otherwise it’s Pascal’s Wager with not just your soul on the line but the lives of millions of innocent children.
So yes, I’ve wondered if I’m wrong.