Danny Burk shared a story about an encounter he had while doing sidewalk counseling outside of an abortion clinic in his community. While this is anecdotal, and not universally representative of every person who favors abortion rights, it does demonstrate the passion and irrationality that many in this camp have in terms of their position.
She (an escort for the abortion clinic) asked me why I was there “harassing” the women trying to get an abortion. I explained to her that “harassment” was not our goal, but giving these women a life-saving choice was. This still did not allay her concerns, so she asked why I even cared. I replied, “Because these children are created in the image of God, and unborn babies are no less valuable and worthy of life than those that are already born.”
She objected arguing that the unborn babies are not persons (are not “ensouled”) until they take their first breath and are no longer connected to their mother. This caught my attention. She argued that as long as a baby is physically connected and thus dependent upon his mother for life, the baby can be aborted. So I asked her to play that principle out in some hypothetical scenarios.
I asked, “What if the entire baby has been delivered except for its head? Should a woman have a right to kill the baby then?”
She replied, “Yes” (indicating her support for partial birth abortion).
I pressed further, “What if the baby has been delivered completely but is still connected to the mother by the umbilical cord. Should a woman have a right to kill the baby then?”
She replied, “Yes.”
I pressed still further, “What if the baby has been delivered completely, is still connected to the mother by the umbilical cord, and remains outside the womb for an hour while still connected? Should a woman have a right to kill the baby then?”
She replied, “Yes. If it’s still connected to the mother, it’s still a part of her body, and she has a right to abort it.”
I was astonished and informed her, “That’s infanticide, and that’s illegal.”
It was at that point that I realized that this conversation wasn’t about logic. It wasn’t about what was reasonable or right. This was just blind passion, and this woman had no ears to hear the cold inhumanity of her own position.
The encounter brought home again how indefensible the pro-choice position is. There is no morally significant difference between a person inside the birth canal and one outside. One is here, and one is there. But there’s no basis for arguing that one is human outside but not human while only inches away inside the birth canal (or for that matter in the womb). The pro-choice position is indeed ethically bankrupt.
The right to privacy doesn’t matter. Connectivity to the mother isn’t the issue at hand. The developmental stage of the child doesn’t matter. All of the objections that those who favor abortion are nothing but distractions. The ultimate question is “when does life begin?” This woman didn’t think life began until after the umbilical cord was cut, so she took that believe to its logical, albeit disturbing, conclusion.
If we are wrong and life doesn’t begin until after the cord is cut, then we don’t have much of an argument. If life does begin at conception, however, there is no argument that can justify abortion.