It has been mentioned here and elsewhere that the millennial generation in recent polls has been more conducive to restrictions on abortions. This is perhaps the most technologically savvy generation ever. It is not hard to understand how their views on abortion differ from the views of other generations. If they had the good pleasure to have a sibling, they are likely aware of and remember ultrasound pictures of that sibling hanging on the refrigerator, or perhaps they have seen saved ultrasound pictures of themselves. They no doubt have also come to see and realize that there is a very real human being in that ultrasound picture.
This change in attitude is attributable not from some outside pressure, although the modern feminist movement certainly tries. At one time, Jesse Jackson described abortion as genocide. Today, he is firmly pro-choice (he was right the first time). Nor was it born of political expediency like Bill Clinton and Al Gore, at one time considered pro-life, until they found their political aspirations were advanced by becoming pro-choice. These are the hypocrites of the pro-choice camp. The millennials have seen real tangible scientifically-proven evidence that it is not some amorphous clump of cells or uterine tissue worthy of only being discarded at the whim of “the host.”
This writer always believed one thing when it came to Roe vs. Wade: the decision was a wonderful dissertation on the history of abortion, but seriously short on constitutional law (unless we start talking about emanations and penumbras). The problem with the decision is that despite saying they were ill-equipped to answer deep philosophical, moral and ethical questions of when life begins, they did exactly that out of convenience. They established the age of viability which was at about 28 weeks. But, if you live by the viability standard, you fall by it. Today, given technological advances in neonatal and even prenatal care, the age of viability is now being considered to be at about 22 weeks. What was seven months in 1973 is now five and a half months in 2018. What will it be in 15 years?
It is true that the majority of abortions occur in the first trimester. But even at the early stages of the second trimester, some medical centers are now performing surgery on genetically abnormal babies while in the uterus. As one doctor noted, they were not some “sub-human form…but a developing human.”
Yes, some of the more logical among the pro-choice crowd say, its human, but is it a person? At what point does the human being become a “person?” Is it at birth, in which then discarding of it up until the time it emerges from the mother is acceptable? Is it the ability to feel pain and react to painful stimuli? If so, then even the absence of this ability to feel pain stands on shaky moral and ethical ground. Certainly, the person in a coma feels no pain, but are they somehow less a person and therefore a candidate for euthanasia? For those who argue that birth and the first breath signify human personhood and all the rights that go with that status, then are they willing to terminate the lives of those living on ventilators?
The fact is there is no magic moment when a non-person suddenly becomes a person. It is not viability, it is not the ability to feel pain, it is not a heart beat, brainwave activity, breathing, sucking a thumb or smiling. The only fact is that human life exists on a continuum from conception to death. We may exist in different sizes, or at different stages of development, or in different environments, and we may have different degrees of dependency. However, there is absolutely nothing that changes the fact that they and we are people. More importantly, we are a people with inherent dignity, and/or God-given rights. That is the one commonality that is immutable and unchanging.
It is also why there are less pro-life people who have gone to the dark side than are those who were pro-choice now becoming pro-life. In fact, the pro-choice side is a ruse. One of the reasons for Roe vs. Wade was the belief that thousands of women died every year from botched illegal abortions because they were denied this new-found right. Bernard Nathanson was the leader of NARAL in the 1960s and 1970s and he helped push the narrative that 10,000 such women died every year. We later found out through Nathanson’s own admission that the number was really somewhere between 200 and 250.
In a single year, the number one cause of death worldwide is heart disease, claiming 7.4 million human lives. AIDS, a serious epidemic, has claimed about 35 million lives worldwide since it first appeared on the scene. In the United States, the #1 cause of death is heart disease, snuffing out 600,000 precious American human lives.
Now put this in perspective: in a single year, over 50 million human lives worldwide are aborted- far more than those who die from heart disease, and more in a single year than all the AIDS deaths in three decades. But, AIDS is an epidemic worthy of billions of dollars? In the US, about 1 million abortions are performed every year which, if we counted them as human deaths, would outrank heart disease by 400,000 deaths.
This shift in thought spurred by technological and medical advances proves what the pro-life movement has consistently said for over 40 years: that the fetus is a human life worthy of protection. Originally an abstract idea and the interest of the philosophical class, it becomes more tangible when one can see that “blob of cells” sucking its thumb, smiling and “clapping” in the womb. This new technology makes it much easier to see the humanity in the womb.
In the end, all the pro-choice crowd has left is some amorphous Court-created “reproductive rights” which must necessarily take a back seat to the infinitely more important basic human right- the right to life. It is not enough for the pro-life movement to stand down or rest on its laurels. There are still bastions of a pro-death merchants. There are states (California) trying to force crisis pregnancy centers to advertise abortion services while abortion centers are under no obligation to advertise adoption services. The very term “pro-choice” is nothing short of a clever marketing scheme. Who doesn’t like “choice?” Apparently, the pro-choice advocates.
The hypocrisy of their side is so apparent. The notion behind a culture of abortion is that with this “reproductive choice” dangerous back-alley abortions would be the norm and thousands of women would die. We know from history that was not true then and it is not true now. Yet, when a state attempts to create conditions by regulating clinics to ensure women do not die, suddenly this is an intrusion on “reproductive rights.” They claim to be pro-choice and then insist doctors have no “choices” when they oppose abortion. As one supposedly pro-life feminist explained the situation, they are pro-life except in three instances: rape, incest and themselves.
Leaving theology out of the equation, the issue is simple. A fetus is a human being and there is no consistent, objective and universally-accepted distinction between a “human” and a “person.” As such, human beings possess certain basic human rights, the most important of which is the right to life. All the objections offered by the pro-choice advocates are not sufficient to overcome these basic facts in most cases.