This piece was first posted by this author on Life of the Party, a pro-life organization in Washington State. Please visit their website to learn more about them.
Success! Finally, Congress is banning abortion! This is a great victory! Let’s all relax and go home, folks.
What am I talking about, you ask? Why, the ban on abortions after 22 weeks that was passed by the US House, of course. Except no such thing happened, contrary to some people’s Facebook posts. The House Judiciary Committee has simply approved a bill called “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” moving the bill onto the entire House for consideration, possibly as early as Tuesday June 18.
This bill says that pre-born babies feel pain once they reach 20 weeks of development, and thus, with those words, we’re redefining our humanity. Of course, we’re meant to believe that this is a great accomplishment, but is it? By accepting this argument, we’re telling the world that our humanity depends on arbitrary factors such as the ability to feel pain. (It should be noted that some folks claim that pain is felt well prior to or only well after 20 weeks development.) What of a 30 year old human that has suffered severe nerve damage? Is he human? Does he have worth?
We’re told that this is “at least a step” in the right direction, but it’s really not. Probably most reading this will disagree with me, so let’s look at this a little differently. Let’s go back in time to a period in our history when we accepted another horrific evil: Slavery. Surely, we can all agree, looking back at the facts, that slavery is wrong and evil, and it should absolutely have been abolished (with the exception of some so-called “libertarians” who argue that although they personally think that slavery is wrong, it should have never been abolished as it is a “state’s rights” issue).
I wonder, would any of us, if given the chance, go back and testify that slavery should only be abolished prior to or after some arbitrary temporal benchmark? Should slavery have only been banned based on a stage of the slave’ development? What about puberty? Ah, well, puberty takes place at a different age in different people, so let’s say 12 years old. How’s that? Slavery should only be allowed once a sufficiently de-humanized black person has reached the age of 12. How does that make you feel reading those words? Does setting that limit change the rightness or wrongness of slavery? Putting yourself back into that time period, does that seem like an acceptable, rational or logical case to make?
Of course it doesn’t! Slavery is evil without regard to the age or stage of development of the enslaved or soon to be enslaved human. Each of us would maintain the position that slavery should have been abolished in its entirety. This is how the murder of pre-born human ought to be thought of. My stage of development does not define the humanity of a person, and making the claim that it does nothing but justify the destruction of millions.
There are a couple of not-so-bad bits in HR 1797: The drafters omitted rape and mental/emotional heath of the mother exceptions, and the language “kill the unborn child” was actually used as part of the definition of the word “abortion.” As of this writing, exceptions have been added in to the bill that allow for rape/incest exceptions as well (these exceptions were not in the bill that passed out of committee.) The bill does, however, specifically protect the mother-turned-murderer from any legal ramifications should she seek or succeed to “kill the unborn child” after the 22 week ban. Going back to our previous scenario, would it only be wrong to sell a slave, or would it also be wrong to buy one?
We need to completely change the tone and content of our conversations about abortion. Let’s stop talking about killing humans based on their stage of development, or their ability to feel pain, or their chances to survive absent any support (because we all need support, don’t we?). Let’s put all of these things out of our minds and simply work to abolish human abortion.