Conception or Parent’s Choice: When Does Life Begin?
As the argument surrounding abortion and women’s rights has come to the forefront in recent days with the passage of the Texas abortion law – many of the rabid liberal extremists have crawled out of the woodwork to state their own vile opinions about the importance or in their opinion, unimportance, of human life.
One such person is MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry. In a recent newscast where Melissa mulled the fundamental question at what point life began she said, “When does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling–but not science.”
Her statement is understandably shocking to any person who values human life but if you really start to look at her, or other people who think like her, reasoning and the way they view human life – their view becomes much less shocking. In my opinion their view is no less reasonable than a person who says that life begins at 16 weeks or 28 weeks or whatever number they decide to choose before the baby is born.
People like Melissa and other abortion extremists, including our own President, could (would) argue that until a baby is self-aware or is able to support its own functions – that baby has no value as a human. So to them a parent could decide to end its child’s life up until the point that a child has the ability to possess self-supporting functions – including after they are born.
I personally agree with the liberal extremists who take this view. If a person is going to take another person’s life – why does it matter if it is inside the womb or outside the womb? Many proponents of abortion think that once a baby is able to survive outside of the womb then abortion is no longer a moral option but regardless of what age a baby is in the womb – once they are born they must be supported in order to live outside of the womb. A newborn baby is no more aware or self-sufficient outside of the womb than they are inside the womb. In the womb the baby is living off of the nutrients that the mother provides; outside of the womb a baby is living on the nutrients that the mother or other caregivers provide. So what difference does it make if you kill that baby inside or outside of the mother’s womb? In my opinion there is no difference.
Pro-abortion advocates have used the theory of reductionism to explain away human life and abortion up until a certain point. Renaming the growing life of an unborn baby to a group of cells or zygote or fetus or whatever scientific name that a baby holds at a certain point of gestation. These people reserve the term “baby” for an infant that has left the mother’s womb. By doing this they are reducing the complexity that is human life to nothing more than the sum of its parts. Once you reduce a human life down to cells it is no more valuable than a cancerous tumor.
Once a life is reduced down to nothing more than cells it is much easier to explain away killing a life – even beyond the womb. Just last year, in an article published by the Telegraph, two ethicists in Australia tried to further the extremist pro-abortion agenda and what they call the “after-birth abortion” agenda by arguing that:
“Both a fetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a ‘person’ in the sense of ‘subject of a moral right to life’. We take ‘person’ to mean an individual who is capable of attributing to her own existence some (at least) basic value such that being deprived of this existence represents a loss to her.”
They went on to say that killing a child born with Down syndrome was permissible because: “To bring up such children might be an unbearable burden on the family and on society as a whole, when the state economically provides for their care.”
However, they did not stop there – they also stated that “what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is (allowed), including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”
These ethicists said that a parent could attribute a “subjective” personhood (just as Melissa implied) to a child, therefore giving that child value, because the parent was already a true person.
However, taking such an extreme view once again opens up the debate at what point a person has “true” personhood. If it is when the parent attributes them that personhood; when is it no longer the parent’s decision? Is it when the child can support themselves physically, financially, or emotionally? Can a parent kill a pre-school age child because that child cannot support itself financially, emotionally, or physically? If a 4 year old is unable to support itself and it isn’t a true person – shouldn’t the parent be permitted to physically abuse or kill that child whenever the parent sees fit? If you use the same reasoning that many of these pro-abortion advocates use – I can’t really see the difference.
When any person or group of people try to play god and make the decision regarding at what point life begins by reducing human life to nothing more than a sum of its parts rather than as a whole – there will never be a clear line. Life begins when God says it begins and that is at the point of its creation. C.S. Lewis once called for a new natural philosophy beyond the currently held view of reductionism where human beings would be explained as they are and not in parts when he said in his book “The Abolition of Man” that “When it (human life) explained it would not explain away. When it spoke of the parts it would remember the whole.”