There have been at least two other instances in American history in which specific groups of human beings were stripped of their rights of personhood as a means of justifying horrific mistreatment. African-Americans and Native-Americans both felt the brunt of a system which tried to create the artificial classification: human, non-person. This distinction wasn’t based on an honest evaluation of the evidence, but with an eye towards justifying a specific action. In the case of Native-Americans, they had land. In the case of African-Americans, they had labor. Classifying them as non-persons (even property) provided a moral framework for those in power to forcefully take what they wanted without compensation. Today, “unwanted,” unborn children don’t hold anything as tangible as land or labor, but their claims on those who would eliminate them are no less significant. They stand in the way of an unencumbered, more self-absorbed lifestyle. Once again, this notion that human beings can be classified as “non-persons” is not built on an objective assessment of the facts, but with an eye towards justifying abortion.
Here is a video that is currently trending on YouTube. It is from the BBC series Inside the Human Body featuring Michael Mosley, and it shows a CGI animation of how the human face develops between the second and third month of gestation.
Unfortunately the whole episode is not available for viewing in Canada as far as I can tell, but if you are in the UK you can watch it here. I think you may also be able to download it from there, even if you are not in the UK.
I don’t watch The View, but I stumbled across a clip from Monday’s show. It raises interesting questions about technology’s role in the pro-life movement and how women’s feelings about their abortions may change after some years have passed.
At the beginning of the summer I had to renew my First Aid and CPR training. Those who have taken these courses know that when someone needs first aid you have to take into different factors. For instance, if someone is choking and cannot make any noise (full blockage) you should administer abdominal thrusts (formally known as the Heimlich maneuver). This is when you scope your hands, in a J-motion, into the person’s abdomen in order to dislodge the object. The factors which change how you should do this are: if the person is very short or a child (get on your knees), if the person is taller than you (get them to go down on their knees), or the person is obese or pregnant. In this last instance what you are supposed to do is do chest compressions, but what if the person has an open wound on their chest and it is impossible to do chest compressions? The instructor gently put it that, “without the mom there can be no baby” or rather that the child cannot survive if the mother does not survive. We would just have to do the best we could. The pregnant situation came up a few other times in CPR as well as in using the defibrillator. Ever time without fail someone would ask questions about the unborn child: if the treatment would hurt the baby, where should we compress so as not to hurt the child, etc… The instructor had an alternative places where we could do compressions or place the pads of the deliberator, but she would also reiterate the phrase, “no mom, no baby.”
I completely agree with what the instructor had to say; it is true that in situations like these we should do our best. I am also happy that those in my class were so concerned about these hypothetical babies. What did get me thinking is: would their points of view change if they knew that this hypothetical mother got into her accident on her way to an abortion clinic?
What makes some babies worth worrying for and others not? Is it just that some are wanted versus others that are not? Or that we are not sure that they are wanted? Or that we are afraid to get sued if we save the mom and kill the baby…?
My CPR class made me frustrated in this regard because to me in seems so illogical that many can care about saving these hypothetical babies and yet in reality these same people support the “freedom of choice” enabling mothers to terminate their children.
A couple, friends of my family, are expecting their first child. With excitement, I have been shown ultrasound photos and told about the baby kicking and moving. At one of their first ultrasound appointments, the technician explained that the baby was sleeping. What a human characteristic! How incredible, that while still in the protection of the mother’s womb, a tiny life is able to move, to kick, to sleep, to dream, to listen. Yet despite all of these amazing, miraculous things that an unborn baby is able to do, Canadian law does not outline any restrictions for abortion. Abortion is legal during all nine months of pregnancy for any and every reason.
But, tell me, what is the difference between a sleeping child who lies inside his or her mother and one who lies in his or her mother’s cradling arms? Tell me, what is the difference between a baby who listens to sounds and murmurs of his or her parents’ voices while cocooned inside the womb and one who hears the sweet lullaby of his or her mother while lying in a crib? The difference is that one baby is “inside” and the other is “out”.
However, I would like to make the bold claim that in either case that human life is indeed a person. We have posted arguments that personhood should not be based on 1) size 2) level of development 3) environment and 4) degree dependency . Rights and liberties must be granted for all human beings regardless of the factors outlined above and any infringement of these rights is a heinous injustice.
We at uOttawa Students for Life fight against these violations and work to bring an end to abortion.