It’s a wonder why, if abortions are nothing more than the “termination of an unwanted pregnancy,” involving no loss of human life, Planned Parenthood feels the need to lie about the amount of their business that is dedicated to abortion. That they do is itself a confirmation of the central moral question regarding abortion: “Is the one in the womb a what or a who?” If the one in the womb is a what, merely a mass of cells that no one in their right mind regards as a distinct person, than abortion is no more a moral dilemma than reducing a hernia or removing a skin tag. But, if the one in the womb is a who, a distinct human life, a person, than abortion is a moral horror. Then, it doesn’t matter if abortion represents 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services, or 2% or 1% or 0.001%. The very fact that they provide the service of killing people is enough to condemn them. The satirical article offered by Babylon Bee demonstrates how absurd it is to claim that only 3% of what they do is kill people!
The fact that Planned Parenthood lies about the amount of their business that is dedicated to abortion is an indication that even they are aware that there is good reason to identify the one in the womb as a distinct human life. Indeed, all of the biological, philosophical, and theological evidence points to the one in the womb being a who, and not a what. The claim that the one in the womb is a what and not a who rests on nothing more than a social construct created for the purpose of justifying the killing of those in the womb, like the claim that African slaves were more akin to dancing bears than human persons, a social construct created to justify their enslavement.
Now, there are some on the pro-abortion rights side of the table that recognize the humanity, the who-ness of the one in the womb, and still justify abortion. John Kerry and Joe Biden, for instance, to name just two. Kerry and Biden, who are both Catholic, claim that they agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching (and, by the way, the consensus of biology and embryology) that human life begins at conception and that each conception represents the creation of a new, distinct human life. They dissent from the Church’s teaching, however, with the claim that whatever dignity or rights these unborn human lives possess are given them, not by God, but by their mothers, and that the protection of a just and responsible society is extended to these children only if their mothers so determine, and then only maybe. If the mother chooses to extend human dignity to her unborn child, then her unborn child possesses human dignity and, by extension, human rights, including the right to life. If the mother does not choose to extend human dignity to her unborn child, then the child possesses no more dignity and no more rights than the above mentioned skin tag. This creates the peculiar situation where human dignity, and the concomitant rights of such dignity, are possessed by some unborn children, but not by others.
You can see the problem, I hope. If the human dignity of an unborn child is contingent on the willingness of his or her mother to extend that dignity to the child, then we’ve made the very dubious and frighteningly dangerous claim that human dignity is given to one not by God, but by other humans. As well, if the human dignity of the unborn child is contingent, then why not the human dignity of others? Indeed, it’s the only reasonable conclusion. So, if a grandparent is determined to be a burden by the family’s later generations, can they simply decide that grandpa or grandma no longer possesses human dignity and human rights? In fact, some say, “Yes!” We know that in those countries where physician-assisted suicide is legal people have been killed, not because they requested assistance in killing themselves, but because others, family members and sometimes even doctors, made the decision that they should die. We know that many children who are diagnosed in utero with Down Syndrome are aborted as a result of that diagnosis. In the United States, the abortion rate for Down Syndrome fetuses is over 60%, and in some European countries, the rate is over 90% and even 100%. The test for Trisomy 21 is not 100% accurate. There are those Down children who manage to escape the abortionist because their test inaccurately reported that they were “normal.” Is it too much of a jump to imagine that this practice, carried out on these children while still in utero, may eventually find support for being carried out on those ex utero? I don’t think so.
This is what happens when the legal, political, and philosophical concept of personhood is divorced from the biological identity of human. Just because one is a human no longer means that one is also a person. The claim is made that persons have rights, while humans, well … not necessarily. Being human isn’t enough, anymore. Kerry and Biden both agree that those in the womb are humans. They simply don’t think that matters in the face of the political and social agenda they support. One can only wonder what other humans they might be willing to sacrifice in the name of political and social agendas.
It’s a question we all need to ask ourselves.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.