A Fatal Flaw in the Pro-Life Movement
This article originally appeared in the blog of Human Coalition under the title What if they were toddlers? You can view the original article here.
On January 22 every year, we memorialize the darkest day in American history, when Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton were handed down. On that day, the Supreme Court heinously struck down preborn human protections in all 50 states, ushering in a new culture of abortion and death in America. Certainly, there were abortions prior to Roe. But no one could have predicted 61 million deaths and a growing cultural narcissism and hatred of preborn children that has divided our nation ever since.
New York court celebrates the impending deaths of full-term babies and I’m sure no one at that time predicted that, 46 years later, New York would gleefully celebrate the impending deaths of full-term preborn babies. The fact is that New York was not the first but the 8th state to remove protections for third trimester preborn children. In addition to the District of Columbia, children can be aborted until birth in Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Vermont.
For every victory the pro-life movement celebrates, it seems, we are met with a blow from the culture of death.
This is not healthcare
While the blood of our children flows down into drains and sinks, the media uplifts the so-called “right to choose,” now shrewdly positioned as women’s healthcare. Imagine that – “healthcare” now includes helping mothers kill their own innocent babies all the way to birth. Too many in our nation no longer remember or care who Hippocrates is, or what his commitment to do no harm was.
The zygote should have value
In the midst of this tumult, it’s important to take a step back and remember the simplicity of what we believe as a pro-life community. The pro-life ethic can be distilled to this: the zygote has the same value as the adult. And because both preborn and born are equal in value, we should treat them the same.
We are equally valuable because we are human – our humanity is both our lowest and highest common denominator. There are no other valuation factors. We don’t devalue our fellow humans based on race, color, creed, gender, size, healthiness, level of development, location, degree of dependency, disability, emotional attachment or detachment, or circumstances of conception. Because we value each other only due to our common humanity, we extend rights, securities, and privileges to each other, including the fundamental right to live. That is the heart of the pro-life ethic – we all deserve to live and thrive because we are human, full stop.
Why are kindergartners valued more than the preborn
The challenge we must address today is whether that belief aligns with our behavior as a pro-life people. If the zygote does indeed have the same value as the born human, then we should expect ourselves to treat the preborn the same way we treat a 5-year-old kindergarten student. If 3,000 kindergarteners were being slaughtered on playgrounds across America every day, would your response and mine be any different than to those 3,000 children being aborted each day in our country?
If 3,000 kindergarteners were being slaughtered on playgrounds across America every day, would your response and mine be any different than to those 3,000 children being aborted each day in our country?CLICK TO TWEET
It’s an unsettling question because, if we are really honest, we all would admit our response would be different.
We can see and relate to elementary school kids. We would all be appalled and deeply distressed if we saw such atrocities on television. We feel emotionally attached to the school age children.
However, because we can’t see, touch or relate to an embryo, we have little emotional attachment, unless the fetus is a member of our family or someone close to us. Furthermore, the media has willfully censored attempts to display or discuss the gruesome and brutal act of abortion. It’s been sanitized and euphemized to the extent that one must go out of his way to see the truth and give the barbaric procedures a second thought. And barbaric they are!
The pro-lifer, however, rejects emotional attachment as a valuation factor. A stranger’s preborn daughter is as intrinsically valuable as we are regardless of how we feel about her – and thus she is worthy of our protection and our help. The confusing logic of abortion is that no one can explain why the preborn child deserves less protection than any other human being. Would New York’s abortion activists be cheering the RHA if it gave parents the right to kill their preschoolers?
A Fatal Flaw in the Pro-Life Movement
I have volunteered and served in the pro-life effort for over 20 years. And while I am honored and privileged to do so, I am increasingly aware of a fatal flaw in our movement — one that must be rooted out and rejected if we are to finally end the killing.
That flaw is this: We ask for and accept far too little of ourselves, our churches, and our government in the face of three thousand senseless slaughters a day.
To some this may be an offensive and stinging indictment. After all, many of us have worked to end abortion for decades. But we must ask ourselves why, after 46 years, are 1 million children still dying in abortions each year? How have our actions aligned with our beliefs?
It is good and right to celebrate pro-life laws and policies. A 20-week ban saves lives, no question. Not funding abortions abroad is a good and just policy. Giving proper burials to aborted babies is an honorable and necessary thing to do. And those who fought for these victories should be commended for their compassionate and committed efforts.
However, let’s presume for a moment that we lived in a population control-obsessed dystopian society that permitted killing children up to 5 years old for any reason. If a politician introduced legislation that banned such killing after 2 ½ years, what would our response be? Would we as a pro-life movement trumpet such legislation as a victory, or would we be daily and aggressively demanding that all children be protected? Would we not be engaged in all types of rescue operations, finding and saving killable children from slaughter and families from grief and suffering? Would we fill our politicians’ offices every waking moment of every day, passionately demanding they truly stand for children and families and stop those institutions that were killing them?
The Church has a role
If we lived in such a toddler-killing society, would we be satisfied with one sermon per year on the injustice, or would we expect our churches to take a leading role in ending the slaughter? Would we, as laypeople, demand that our church leaders preach, teach, and find ways of being directly involved in the rescue operations for the children? And if we came across a pastor or priest who maintained that he and other church leaders were “too busy” with capital campaigns, homeless work, and premarital counseling to be involved in rescuing children, would we not think them horribly, morally inept?
And if the political leaders of our dystopian society implemented policy that protected a few children at home and abroad, but one million toddlers were still being slaughtered every year, on our own soil, how would we respond? Would we celebrate such a “pro-life” administration for its achievements, or would we rise up and demand that a government that claims to be pro-life work aggressively, immediately, and effectively to rescue all one million toddlers – right now? Would anything else matter to us until this injustice was addressed?
If the leading cause of death in our dystopian society were the slaughter of toddlers, would we not behave urgently, passionately, and without excuse in order to protect our children and families? Surely the overwhelming majority of Americans would do just that. And we would demand our churches and the government do the same – we would accept nothing less.
Sadly, we do live in this population-control-obsessed dystopian society where the leading cause of death is the killing of our children. But because the victims are smaller, unseen, and unable to raise their voices in their own defense, we forget about them, ignore them, discriminate against them, devalue them, and go about our busy lives, as if the genocide isn’t happening in our communities.
And we do the same to their mothers.
We sit in strategic planning meetings and political listening sessions. We write long praises and articles about this court decision or this small pro-life legislative win. Our churches give $100 a month to a local pregnancy center and perhaps preach once a year about abortion on Sanctity of Life Sunday. The majority of “pro-life” politicians make promises in our eager ears, and then move to D.C. and fail to stop our tax dollars from funding the nation’s largest serial killer.
We should take some comfort in small victories. We should praise those few in number who fight to rescue children and families. And we should march.
We must repent But we should also repent. And we should, in quiet moments of silence, contemplate our current behavior compared to how we might behave if toddlers were being slaughtered on playgrounds across the country. And then we should, with somber and sober hearts, ask ourselves this question: Am I really pro-life?