The New Ethic Yes It's A Life ...BUT!
I was surprised to see my article in last months Valley Patriot (The Science President?) counterpointed by another writer. But, I welcome the conversation, especially on a topic so crucial and so silenced by political correctness. Why does abortion incite such passion? Because it is one of two things: a womans right to her own body or the killing of an innocent human being.
Our contemporary abortion culture with its 60 million abortions since Roe v. Wade has inaugurated either a new era of freedom or a new culture of death. Pro-choicers see legalized abortion as upholding a way of life they hold dear.
Prolifers see every day as a 9/11, with all the anguish that goes with it; for a true prolifer continuously mourns the 4400 preborn human beings killed by abortion each day in this country. In my column last month I stated John Kerrys claim that human life begins at conception, and that this concurs with science.
I pointed to the moral inconsistency of one who would claim this while condoning legalized abortion. But I failed to mention something very ominous and important, that the pro-choice argument has essentially changed in the past decade. The mistake that many people of goodwill made was to assume that if people knew the preborn (embryos and fetuses) were real, living humans, abortion would end. Not so. Technology such as the ultrasound machine has prompted pro-choicers to alter their argument from "its a blob of tissue" to claiming that the mother's right to choose abortion is greater than the childs right to live.
This new ethic, that the innocent may be intentionally killed, strikes at the heart of civilization and all that is good. The right to live is the bedrock bottom-line principle on which all other principles rest; for without life you cant have liberty nor pursue happiness. In his counterpoint, Dr. Ormsby specifically brings up viability, that a fetus (which means young one in Latin, by the way) may be aborted or used and discarded for stem cell research up until that point (when able to survive outside their mothers womb). Out of respect for Dr. Ormsby I will not refer to anything specific he wrote since I dont want to misrepresent his position in any way. But I will speak to the issue of viability. There are only two possible premises that could accompany the abortion until viability position:
1) Human life begins at viability, or 2) Humanlife begins at conception but has a right to live only from the point of viability. Since John Kerry and most people today realize that we human beings do begin at conception, we are left with the proposition that human beings can be intentionally killed until they are viable. This brings up two inevitable points, one minor and one major: 1. (minor) With technology, the point of viability gets younger and younger.
Viability for the fetus is younger today than it was ten years ago and will be younger ten years from now. So, is actual viability or potential viability the cut-off point? If the latter, it could only be a wild guess, for no one knows how future technology will help underdeveloped children outside their mothers wombs. 2. (major) Why is viability even an issue? Is a human beings life less important when he or she depends on its mother for survival?
A child does have a right to her mothers body, as well as her fathers body in other ways of support. To summarize, modern technology has forced abortion-rights supporters to revise their argument to: the preborn are human beings but may still be killed by abortion. Included within this new position is the viability argument that, in effect, claims that humans at their most vulnerable and dependant stage may be abandoned or used for research. But we do have a claim on each other when survival is at stake, as an emergency room has when its doctors are tired and want to go home. Whether male or female, handicapped or healthy, born or unborn, viable or non-viable - the greater the need, the greater the moral claim we have on each other.
There is no greater need in this universe than the need of a preborn child for its mother. And one final thought. We were all previablefetuses. Each one of us reading this. It is a stage of life. If we consider our lives to be sacred, wouldnt it be the height of selfishness to claim the lives of those living that stage now to be any less? And since next month is a presidential election: If human life begins at conception (as Kerry claims and science confirms) and 4400 hundred of us are legally killed each day before birth in this country, is there any other issue that could possibly take precedence in the voting booth?
Paul Murano is a professor of philosophy and religion, and works part time on television and in radio. E-mail Paul at Profmur@aol.com
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