On a rare occasion I read or hear something so shocking to my sensibilities and soul, that I have to experience it a second time just to verify the reality of it. Three weeks ago I read an op-ed piece on Salon.com (yes I read other sources than Fox News) titled, “So what if abortion ends life?” The title took me by surprise. Because it was so alarming and insensitive I assumed it must have been a satire piece. It wasn’t. The thesis of the article was a resounding call to quit dancing around the issue of when life begins, to accept that it begins at conception, and proclaim proudly and boldly: Who cares?
The op-ed author, Mary Elizabeth Williams, bases her doctrine on the core belief that there is a “complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal.” She argues that we should call a fetus what it is: a baby, but that baby does not possess equal value or rights as her mother. If the inconvenience of pregnancy is deemed too inconvenient, that baby is quote “A life worth sacrificing.” It would be easy to assume I’m mischaracterizing an article that surely is written about abortion intended to save the life of a mother, but I’m not. Miss Williams clearly states that she is in support of “unrestricted reproductive freedom”. She goes on to say,
“a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.” (emphasis mine)
Speaking of the health of the mother – less that 1% of abortions are related to rape, incest and the health of the mother. Less than 1%. It is a straw man argument meant to engage the emotions sans the intellect.
To support the doctrine of ‘all life is not equal’ she draws on four inane examples intended to demonstrate that this belief is already accepted in our culture. Her four examples are: the accidental killing of civilians in tactical military strikes on terrorist groups, convicted murderers facing the death penalty, terminally ill patients whose quality of life has permanently ended, and accident victims with terminal injuries being taken off life-support. It’s hard to argue her point with these rock solid apples to apples comparisons, but I digress.
After reading this I article I was so dumbfounded at its callous lack of empathy that I found it difficult to articulate an immediate response. It’s hard to explain how incensed I was at what is to me an obvious betrayal of justice. It is equally hard to understand the flamboyant and flippant point of view that produces the sentiment: So what if abortion ends life? So what? Are you kidding me, so what?
From my point of view, here is the what: Life is precious and valuable. Human life is extraordinarily precious and valuable. How do I know this? Reflect on just two of the most prominent news stories of 2012: The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Our nation was and is in a rage over these heinous criminal acts. These travesties captured our attention and inflamed us with anger towards the perpetrators of these crimes. Why? Why the rage and call to action? Why the disgust and anger?
Because it was the lives of children who were at stake. Little boys and girls whose purity and innocence were assaulted. Helpless small children were murdered. It is in our very basic nature to protect the life and innocence of our children. Why? Because their lives are extraordinarily valuable and important. When a college coach sodomizes a young boy, who can say “So what? The thought of such insolence is beyond imagination. Yes, children can be an inconvenience. Yes, my life is strained economically and practically in significant ways. However, the worst 15 minutes of my life were when her heart rate dropped during birth. I was traumatized. Why? Because I valued her unborn life, inconvenience and all, even more than my own.
If the rank obsession with individualism and self-centered thinking of our time has pushed us to a state of callous existence and thinking, that normalizes a “so what” approach to the value of human life I must push back. For the sake of justice for those who cannot fight for themselves, I must speak out.
Actually, I must do more than speak out. I must do something. People often ask why my wife and I are adopting. Most of the time it is a polite way of asking if we’re having fertility issues. We’re not. We know God has asked us to be a picture of his glorious Gospel. The good news that Jesus loves and paid for the adoption of sinful men and women, including those who’ve had abortions. I pray that we would come to love like Jesus – loving others more than ourselves. I pray that instead of seeing an unborn child as a “life worth sacrificing” we would see them as a life worth saving. I pray that we would love like the Dennehy family: