“Maybe we won’t agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually. It has both moral and spiritual dimension…So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions. Let’s reduce unintended pregnancies. Let’s make adoption more available. Let’s provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term.”
This was a portion of President Obama’s speech at Notre Dame yesterday. And, of course, I have a comment or two.
First, it’s hard for me to take any words of his on this particular subject seriously, given his prior support for partial-birth abortion. This procedure involves cutting open the skull and suctioning out the brain of a child who is capable of feeling pain and, in less than 10 seconds, would be an American citizen. There is no medical reason for doing it, theoretical or otherwise. It is done only to kill the baby because the mother decides she doesn’t want it. He votes to keep this legal, but tells us that dumping a bucket of water on the head of a terrorist is “torture”. I wonder what Obama would think if we interrogated the prisoners with a method similar to partial-birth abortion? So I write this with some obvious bias and disdain for his conflicting positions.
I disagree with the protestors who interrupted his speech. That is something the Left does. It is NOT appropriate behavior. People should be allowed to speak and attempting to shout them down is un-American. Protesting is fine, but let’s not try to suppress the free speech of another human being.
Notre Dame made a mistake. Quite simply, they shouldn’t have invited him. It looks like a sell-out in order to gain prestige, and it confirms what many of us have thought all along: That Notre Dame is just another secular university that doesn’t really stand on any strong principles. However, I am glad that once they invited him they stood by it. The office of the President should be honored, and disinviting him would have failed in that regard.
Now, to Obama’s words. He calls for dialogue and, to some extent, compromise. I agree with the words I quoted above. We should reduce unwanted pregnancies. We should help teenage mothers who give birth. We should make adoption more available. But all of those things miss the point of the argument and doesn’t really equate to compromise.
Everyone who is anti-abortion agrees with these things, so compromise in those areas isn’t necessary. It’s not like we want a bunch of illegitimate children running around. But that misses the point of whether abortion should be legal, and this is where the anti-abortion crowd will never budge in the name of finding common ground. You see, in our minds a human fetus is a human life. If it’s not a human life, then what is it? And since it is a human life – innocent of a crime and not engaged in war – then it should be against the law to kill it. Period.
Obama’s words allude to the old “safe, legal and rare” argument that pro-abortion folks love to parrot. Well, if it’s NOT a human being, then why should abortion be rare? If it’s NOT a human being, then why would killing it have both “moral and spiritual dimension”? If it’s NOT a living thing, then why would killing it be a “heart-wrenching” decision? It’s this kind of double-speak that tells me that the pro-abortion crowd most likely understands that a human fetus is a living creature, but simply doesn’t care because the mother’s convenience takes higher priority. It’s this kind of “one life is more valuable than another” thinking that threatens our moral foundations.
When we start deciding that one person should die so another isn’t burdened, then we’re walking a very dangerous line. Redefining “life” in order to justify killing that other person doesn’t solve the problem, it only complicates it, which is why people say that the abortion issue is a complicated one. No, it’s not! Saying that it’s okay to kill a fetus because a fetus isn’t human doesn’t hide the fact that we are killing one person so another isn’t burdened. Once we justify that – by redefining life or any other method – then we open the door to a lot of horrible things. Are we prepared to actually say that we are all endowed with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but we are not endowed with them until we fully emerge from the birth canal? Therefore, an unborn baby has ZERO rights? Except in cases when the pregnancy is wanted, then the baby should have rights, which contradicts the entire meaning of the term “unalienable rights”, since the presence of those rights would be dependent on whether the pregnancy was wanted or unwanted. Well, that’s not unalienable, it’s prerequisite. Can you imagine Jefferson saying that we are endowed with “prerequisite rights”? The double-speak makes no sense!
That’s why compromise is out of the question, because if we compromise on it we essentially compromise our values. If a fetus is a human life in the second or third trimester, then it MUST also be a human life in the first trimester. Nothing changes between 13 weeks, 6 days and fourteen weeks. And if a fetus is a human life, then the method of conception doesn’t change that, and neither does the desirability of the pregnancy. So, yes, EVEN in cases of rape or incest, a human fetus is STILL a human life. The fact that such a life came about via a crime doesn’t redefine its status as a human life.
These inconsistencies are part of the reason why I changed from pro-abortion to anti-abortion. The other side of the argument just doesn’t make sense, and logic is totally absent from their claim. Either it IS a human life or it is NOT a human life. If it IS, then the law should protect it. If it is NOT, then there should be no regulations and abortion should be available on demand, without restriction, “safe, legal and rare” should not be necessary, and there should be no laws against harming an unborn child; yet those are the things that make us a bit squeamish.
So is it a human life or not? The fact that so many people are wishy-washy in answering that question tells me that they have obvious moral conflicts about it. Chances are, deep down they know what the answer is however inconvenient that may be. As a result, we get this typical fence-riding like: first-trimester only, or only in the case of rape or incest. People don’t want to declare one side or the other because to say that it IS a human life is to say that it should be illegal in any circumstance to kill it; and to say that it is NOT a human life is to say that it can be killed under any circumstances, without reason, without restriction, without repercussions. Most people won’t commit either way because one side is inconvenient and the other is grotesque. Instead, they choose the safe route. And leading their efforts is our President, who once said that such a decision is above his pay grade.
That’s not true, Mr. President. It is well within your pay grade as a human being, just as it is with all of us. It’s a simple yes or no question with a simple answer. Is a fetus a human life? The answer is simple, even though the consequences of the answer may be difficult.