I have, for weeks, avoided watching any of the Planned Parenthood videos. When Leslie asked if I had watched any of them, I told her, “No, I already know what is going on.” And really, anyone who didn’t know what was going on before these videos were released was either delusional or simply had never spent any amount of time thinking about it, which is where I think most people got caught up. Ultimately this should not shock any of us, it may horrify us, but it should not shock us, because this is the only rational outcome for anyone who has made the decision that abortion is an act defined by right and rationality.
If one claims that an abortion is a fundamental human right then the fetus is not a human life and any restrictions on it are an affront to a woman’s right to choice. If that fetus has no right to life, then there is simply no reason why its tissue should not be used for medical research, research which could potentially benefit all of mankind. From this perspective, the only ethical question raised by the Planned Parenthood videos is “why aren’t the women having the abortion compensated for their donations?”
Of course, it’s not entirely that simple, from one perspective the ethicality of the actions taken by those in the video is not really the question, it is the legality of those actions, and perhaps rightfully so. It would appear that the women in the videos are caught discussing a number of violations of US law regarding the sale and trafficking of human tissue. However, if one abides by the premise that a fetus is not a person then one should be angered, not by the videos, but by the very nature of the laws which have brought up the question of legality of the actions of those caught on camera. Simply put, privacy issues aside, discarding human tissue is a waste and any law prohibiting the transfer of such material to medical research should be considered “unethical.” One can question what type of moral behavior such donations and research might lead to in the absence of said legislation but that is not the purpose of this article.
Of course, the alternative perspective is just as radical. If one starts from the premise that a fetus is a human being then that human being has a right to life until it consciously takes actions that cause forfeiture to that right to life, i.e. if that person robs the residence of a homeowner in Texas, this would be forfeiture of that right to life since the individual has done so knowing full well that the state of Texas allows for the defense of one’s property, using lethal means if necessary. The key here is conscious action, if one unintentionally harms or kills another human being that individual has often forfeited their rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but not their right to life. A fetus still located in the womb does not have the ability to make such conscious actions and thus its fundamental right to life cannot be forfeited… period, no exceptions. Not in the case of danger to a mother’s life, not in the case of incest, and most certainly not in the case of rape.
That is an aspect of the argument that I see so few people address. Many people are all for laws prohibiting abortion but they ignore little statements in these laws like “except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the life of the mother.” To allow such exclusions eat away at the moral argument, to the point you are no longer pro-life, you are simply anti-abortion, a position which ultimately has no moral argument.
What frustrates me about this issue is those who insist on trying to take the middle ground, a position (or number of positions) that simply cannot exist. To take the middle ground erodes so much of the argument that you simply have nothing left to stand on. Either a fetus is alive and has a fundamental right to life which cannot be taken away, or it is not and any laws prohibiting abortion impugn a woman’s right to liberty and the pursuit of her own happiness. It really is that simple.
Our legal system has gotten so screwed up trying to take the middle ground that no one can make heads or tails of when life [legally] begins. Abortion is legal up to a certain point, but if the abortion is botched and the fetus exits the birth canal with a beating heart every effort must be made to save the infant’s life. Abortion is legal because a fetus is not defined as having life, yet if one murders a pregnant woman they are charged with two counts of homicide. The list goes on.
I point out the radicalism of each position and the necessity to adopt one or the other for one purpose. There is only one position which does not go against every fiber of our being. Consider the videos, who watched even a single one of those and didn’t cringe at the words and actions of those on camera? That cringe is a natural response to the moral fiber woven into the very fabric of our person, we are perfectly capable of stomping it out, but it takes time and effort. There is something inherent within us that tells us abortion is a terrible action (at least there is when we are honest about what is happening); Holly O’Donnell made the point in her interview that this act leaves emotional scars; something that is right doesn’t cause the pain (emotionally) that abortion does; and rightfully so! We have assuaged our consciences by inventing terms like fetus and tissue to refer to a child; all this is done in an effort to fool ourselves into thinking this act is anything but what it really is.
I spent quite a lot of time trying to close this newsletter out. It originally started simply as an outlet for my feelings of frustration and helplessness; eventually it morphed into something more than that. But how to close it? I started, stopped, and rewrote this paragraph several times. Finally, I had a conversation with a friend this morning that gave me fresh perspective. As with most things prayer is one of the most effective solutions, but all too often we feel that are prayers are weak and ineffectual and perhaps they are. We have been fooled into thinking we are isolated in our prayers, we have been fooled into thinking that we are alone in this. Much like a lion will separate the weakest animal from the herd; Satan has separated us from the body and is ready to pounce. We are not alone; it is time we united in our prayers against the strongholds Satan has established in our cities. What do you think would happen if seven churches in every city in America decided to begin praying one day a week to bring about the close of one of the greatest genocides in the history of the world; specific and intentional prayer? How long do you think it would take God to start moving in response to the prayers of the saints? History has shown time and again that when the saints mobilize en masse in prayer that God moves, not that God needs our prayers to move, but he responds to them! Write me off as crazy if you wish, but I for one will be encouraging my home church body to begin meeting regularly in prayer.