Sometimes slippery slopes are indeed slippery. When President Bill Clinton announced in 1992, just shy of 30 years ago, that abortions should be, “Safe, Legal and Rare,” I am guessing that a lot of people bought into that as a standard. And others saw it as the camel’s nose under the tent, which is why we are where we are today.
And today, both sides of this most controversial issue are getting it all wrong; both sides beg the basic questions with their emotional arguments. Those supporting abortion cry out, “It is a woman’s right to choose!” and “My body, my choice!” Those opposing abortion are equally emotional when they say that there is no Constitutional right to kill innocent babies. Both sides ignore the key questions:
1. When does life begin?, and,
- When is it appropriate for the state to sanction the taking of a human life?
And tying into one of the two fundamental principles here at Revolution 2.0™, do these unborn beings qualify as our Brothers as in “Am I my Brother’s Keeper?”
That is the subject of today’s 10 minute episode.
This is a highly controversial subject, but it should not be. Using simple common sense, it becomes so very clear cut.
In the United States alone, we perform over 600K abortions each and every year. I start with this concrete fact to alert all of us to the critical nature of this discussion, and to the vital importance of getting the answer to this much discussed and controversial question absolutely right. The core of this question is life and death on a massive scale. Many times bigger than all of our war deaths, gun crime fatalities, deaths due to alcohol and other drugs. Anything.
And don’t we need to know exactly when life begins; I mean with great precision? Without being able to pinpoint the moment when life starts, we are clearly left with an agonizing grey area. As in the grey area when the fetus might be a life, and then again, it might not be. Is it a non-viable tissue mass or is it a human? In this grey area, aren’t we obligated to give the benefit of the doubt to the fetus, and treat it like a living human? We can’t be willing to abort a fetus if it might be a living human any more than we would fire a shotgun into a darkened room, not knowing if anyone was there or not.
Now that we know that we need a precise moment, what is that moment? Using trimesters as a standard does not give us that precise moment. Cutting the cord is a precise moment, but we clearly have a child by then, so that does not help. Is it when the entire baby emerges, or just the head? And if we call the baby fully emerging from the mother the test for the precise moment, what is so special about the feet? And how do you handle your thinking with breech babies and C-sections? The only precise moment in the whole process is conception. That’s when human life begins.
Now comes perhaps the more important question of when it is appropriate for the state to sanction the taking of a human life. Wars, law enforcement and self-defense are accepted examples. Capital punishment is more controversial.
Now, what about the taking of a life for economic purposes, or simply for convenience or personal preference? As in the prospective parents cannot afford to have that child? Or convenience, as in it would be a 20-year burden to have this child? Or because the child might be mentally challenged? Or the wrong sex? What about when it is highly likely that the child will grow up with few–if any–advantages, and be born into the middle of a drug-infested, gangbanger neighborhood? Is it OK to kill the child under any of these circumstances? Because that’s exactly what we are doing now. We don’t want this baby, so we pretend that it is not a human. And when we convince ourselves that a class of beings is not human, we have given ourselves permission to do anything we want with them. Blacks were not seen as human, so it was OK to enslave them. Jews were declared not human, so concentration camps and mass extermination were OK. And now the issue is the child in the womb. If it is judged to be not human, it is OK to exterminate it. But it is a child, and if we, as individuals or a society, want to do away with it, let’s at least say out loud what we are doing.
The inconvenient truth, with no apologies to Al Gore, is that we are taking a human life for convenience. We should be ashamed of our attempt at absolving ourselves of our crimes with the pretense that it was not human in the first place.
Most of us have a very hard time imagining the twisted logic and moral void that would have been required to see either blacks or Jews as non-human–and then act on that belief. We revere the abolitionists and the occasional Holocaust savior like Oskar Schindler, while we despise the Nazis and hate the slave owners. But which are we; are we good guys or are we participating in evil? Even if we are not directly involved in abortions, we are participants in that we allow them to proceed. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” –Edmund Burke, Irish statesman and philosopher.
The people involved in various pro-abortion marches and other actions are doing something to support abortion. If we are opposed to abortion, we must act, and act effectively. What will you do? It is not hard to imagine a world in the not-too-distant future where the people look back on abortion with the same disbelief and horror as we now see slavery and the Holocaust. How will they see us; you and me? How will history judge us? After self-reflection, how do we see ourselves?
Forget the Supreme Court and Roe v Wade and the recently enacted law in Texas; this is not a legal question, it is a moral one. And, as with all laws, abortion laws should arise from morals–our moral compasses as we like to talk about here at Revolution 2.0™. We should not be aligning our morals to comply with current law.
A quick note on two arguments we often hear in defense of abortion, e.g., “A woman can do anything she wants with her own body.” First, if it is a child, and that is the clear case I am making here, it is not her body. It is a separate person with his or her own DNA. Second, a woman cannot do whatever she wants with her body any more than I can. She is not allowed to punch someone in the nose even if her fist is part of her body. And I cannot take what I want from a store without paying, even if I do it with my own body.
And what about a woman’s reproductive rights? Good question. She has 100% control over her reproductive rights, as does a man, until the moment she has a separate person growing inside her.
We all have the personal responsibility to be our Brother’s Keepers, especially when our tiniest Brothers cannot help themselves. Speaking of being our Brother’s Keepers, this principle does not stand alone; the two main and interdependent principles at Revolution 2.0 are:
1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.
Where do you stand? What are you going to do? Remember, it does not matter where you stand if you don’t do anything. You can start by subscribing to these episodes, and encouraging others to subscribe with you.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:1.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
This is Will Luden. We’ll talk again in a few days.