by Reita S.
When I was about 7 years old, I learnt all about cells from TV. I suspect it was either Bill Nye the Science Guy or Magic School Bus. Using Lego or blocks or grains of rice, they demonstrated that all living things are made of little pieces. Every person is composed of three trillion cells, if I recall correctly, and cells die and replace themselves at different rates.
All this to say that from a very young age, educational programming taught me that, at my basic level, I am a mass of cells. The same TV shows also explained that I had something called DNA, which was rather like a zipper or a ladder. (They knew from the start I would never be a scientist.) Apparently my DNA wasn’t like anyone else’s, unless of course I was an identical twin, which I’m not.
So, to recap, I am a bunch of cells, several trillion, all with unique roles and life spans, and I am also genetically unique from everyone else in the world (except potential evil twins).
Why then is the pro-choice cry so often “the foetus is just a clump of cells”? Simple: dehumanization. My roommate and I recently had a discussion about meat. Though she loves fish, she is unable to go purchase a whole fish from the store. Why? She can’t eat “something with a face”; however, fillet that fish and serve it to her and she’ll eat it happily!
In the same way, saying abortion kills an unborn child (which it does) is “eating the animal with the face”. You feel guilty because you feel empathy for the child. You know that it had to suffer and that it had to die. You are angry at the injustice when you remember every child you ever held.
Getting rid of the “unwanted clump of cells” is having your fish and chips. You are totally divorced from action that produced your desired outcome – you don’t feel guilty because there was never anything real to convict you.
This is an issue of rhetorical double-talk. Pro-choice activists and abortion clinics have convinced the public that the foetus is practically a non-living thing. It is a package of parts which can be assembled at birth, if the mother so chooses, to create a ‘real child’.
Rhetoric’s purpose is to persuade. Rhetoric’s goal should be to persuade people of the truth. Don’t be fooled by pro-choice rhetoric, which seeks to validate its own position by redefining simple biology. From the moment you are conceived to the moment you die, you are “a clump of cells”. Does that mean you deserve life any less?