‘It’s about providing basic human rights to a vulnerable group’


  • FILE - In this Jan. 18, 2019, file photo, anti-abortion activists protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, during the March for Life in Washington. Emboldened by the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court, anti-abortion lawmakers and activists in numerous states are pushing near-total bans on the procedure in a deliberate frontal attack on Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File) Jose Luis Magana

Published: 5/8/2019 3:22:02 PM

Abortion rights have been a rallying cry among progressives for generations now. As a young man who confined sex to the woman I married and who was happy to bear my children, abortion was never a personal issue. Besides, all of the educated influential personalities in my life constantly described any restriction on ready access to abortion as male subjugation of women, and it’s hard for a young person to stand up against such monolithic authority, so I tacitly acquiesced to their view.

Conservatives are often described as science deniers, but progressives are just as inclined to deny inconvenient science, whether in the safety of GMO foods, the synonymy of gender and sex, or the nature of a human fetus.

I don’t know of any scientist who would deny that a human fetus is a human being. Each living thing begins life as an embryo that progresses through various stages to maturity. Like saying a caterpillar is different from a butterfly, distinguishing discrete stages is useful, but it doesn’t alter the fact that it is indeed the same organism. A human fetus doesn’t cease to exist when it is born: it merely continues its existence outside the womb.

It’s not surprising that abortion defenders choose to deny the humanity of the fetus. Whenever any group intends the destruction of another, the first thing they do is de-humanize them. It’s easy to kill others once you define them as being less than human.

As the distinction between fetus and child is artificial, so is the distinction between viable and nonviable outside the womb. Dialysis patients depend upon machines to survive, and diabetics rely upon exogenous insulin, but we wouldn’t deny the humanity of either group simply because they cannot exist without technology. The survivability of a fetus is a technological issue, not a moral one.

“Unintended pregnancy” is nonsensical. Science is very clear that sex is a reproductive act. Choosing to have sex but being surprised at pregnancy is like a person who chooses to drink and chooses to drive, but denies intending to be a drunk driver. His denial may be sincere, but actions have consequences, and people are expected to take responsibility for the actions they freely undertake. A man and a woman choosing to have sex are choosing to have children, and once they have created one, they have a responsibility to care for it. It’s a cruel society that normalizes infanticide as “family planning.”

Science also clearly states that a child is created by a man and a woman. For nine months, the child may be a captive in a woman’s body, but the man had an equal role in its creation, so he has equal responsibility. Our child-support laws recognize that reality. So, it becomes bizarre to allocate joint responsibility for the child, while granting the power of life and death over that child to the woman alone. If the father has legal responsibility for that child in its later life, why is he legally deprived of those responsibilities in its earlier life within the womb? From simple logical consistency, shouldn’t both parents either have to agree before the child can be killed, or else shouldn’t the father’s responsibilities to the child post-utero be voided? Is it only because the woman can more quietly kill the child that she is given sole power of life and death over it? Do our morals only require that appearances be maintained? Is murder okay as long as it’s not too visible?

It’s understandable that confusion would reign around abortion as society struggles to catch up to science. In earlier times, other races were considered non-human, so they could be exploited, abused and killed to benefit the dominant community. Then, science informed us that, despite what cultural authorities taught us, other races are our kin, and our destruction of them became morally untenable. In earlier times, an unborn child wasn’t considered a person since it didn’t conform to the social authorities’ definition of “human,” but embryology informs us that a fetus is as much a human being as in any of its other stages of existence.

There have always been reasons to kill people. Sometimes it’s for gain. Sometimes from fear. If it can be accomplished against silent, helpless people, the appeal of simply doing away with someone who has become inconvenient to one’s plans and ambitions can become irresistibly attractive. Historically, we have done that with entire peoples and any number of disposable individuals. But it seems bizarre that progressives, who pride themselves on defending the victimized, should demand support for the destruction of innocent people as a litmus test for inclusion within their society. This isn’t a “women’s or “men’s” issue.” It’s about providing basic human rights to a vulnerable group.

John Blasiak lives in Greenfield.
He welcomes thoughtful comments at

Greenfield Recorder

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