Last week we discussed the rights declared for us in the Declaration of Independence, particularly the right to life. We then stepped out on the road to discussing what exactly it means to have the right to life, especially the right to what happens to our bodies. This path, of course, led directly into a discussion about a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body and caused us to wonder about unwanted pregnancies. Does a right to choose apply to terminating pregnancies that interfere with the woman’s plans for her life? It does…unless it can be determined that the fetus within her is actually a living person. We then considered the definition of personhood and pondered what makes someone a person: physical development, mental activity, will to live, and unique individuality. After reviewing the stages of fetal development we realized that all of the elements of personhood exist during the fetal stages.
Some might say that this is an open and shut case. If a fetus is, in fact, a person, abortion is no longer an option. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Many would still argue that if an unwanted fetus interferes with the woman’s health, convenience, or comfort, she has the right to end it. That argument forces us to ask this question: “Does an individual’s dependence on me give me the right to end that individual’s life when his dependency becomes an inconvenience to me?” For example, a cancer patient is dependent on the doctor’s care and knowledge in order to battle the disease. What if the doctor gets tired of a particularly draining case? Does he have the right to end treatment or do something to end the patient’s life? What about wounded warriors? They are dependent on their family for care and provision as they recover and rehabilitate? What if that becomes too bothersome to their caregivers? Do they have the right to end their lives? These examples could go on and on, even including citizens dependent on the government. If we are depending on the government for all that we need in life, they have complete control over us and who knows when they may choose to pull the plug. Common sense would say that none of the caregivers in my aforestated examples have the right to end the lives of those depending on them. So why is it different for the unborn child?
The difference is between whether or not the child is wanted. Here are two stories that testify to the difference: Unwanted child vs. Wanted Children. Ultimately it comes down to this: we justify the ending of tiny, unborn lives because they are small or imperfect or unable to survive on their own, so that their existence will not interfere with our comfort and convenience. This argument, under any other circumstance would not stand in court as reasonable justification for murder, or even animal abuse! So why is it allowed for the 4,000 abortions that happen every day in America?
Their hearts beat. Their brains are active. Their nerves feel pain. They have fingerprints and footprints. They try to flee danger. If they are not human beings, what are they? They are Americans with the RIGHT TO LIFE. It’s their life. Let them live it.