How to Make Abortion Palatable

In the debate over abortion, sadly the one consistent fact that appears is the pro-abortion side is rarely honest. Whether this is by ignorance or by design, the fact is women who seek counseling on abortion from abortion clinics often do not receive the truth. Consider the show MTV aired called “No Easy Decision,” where the woman being counseled is told that the baby is just “pregnancy tissue.” She is told the human life within her is just a “clump of cells.”

Both claims are highly disingenuous and most abortion doctors should know this. They should know, for instance, that an embryo has a unique genetic structure, differentiated from the mother and the father, and therefore is far more than “tissue.” Likewise, in the most basic meaning an embryo is a “clump of cells.” But if we want to be correct, we must also say that a 1 month old is a clump of cells, a 10 year old is a clump of cells, or that you are just a clump of cells. Thus, if “clump of cells” is code-word for non-human or carries the connotation of “no moral value” then everyone falls under this category. After all, there isn’t a threshold for number of cells one has to have before one is considered human (such a threshold would be arbitrary, after all, what is the difference between 2 cells and 2,000 cells?).

I would such actions Orwellian, renaming an unpalatable action under a new name to make it more palatable, but Orwell didn’t invent this method. This method was invented long before Orwell. Tyrants who desired to rule their people in a despotic fashion have always reworded despotic actions. Hitler did it when redefining what it means to be human, and thus removed the moral value from those who did not fall under the definition. Technically speaking, a Nazi guard at a concentration camp never truly thought he was killing a fellow human being, but just performing a necessary function in order to better society; the problem for the Nazi guard that the abortionist does not need to face is the guard had to look his victims in their eyes and the victims could talk back. But it is not juts the Nazis, but the government of Mao, of Stalin, of Castro, and the list goes on. In all of these governments, violent actions were justified by renaming them or by ascribing different motives. For Stalin death camps and imprisonment were the end result of attempting to create a Utopia. For Castro and Guevera, murder was acceptable because it was done out of love. In both instance, tyranny was justified because of a misguided understanding and relabeling of a concept.

The abortion debate is no different and let us make no mistake, abortion is a tyrannical act. That we must rename what the embryo is (or fetus, or baby, or whatever term we choose to use) in order to devalue her life only solidifies the fact that abortion is not just a precursor to tyranny, but is itself a tyrannical act. For when arbitrary standards are introduced in order to devalue one human life, no other life is safe or sacred. Before long, the old and useless become a burden on society and to themselves, so we declare them no longer human and in compassion to those who have burdened themselves with dealing with the infirmed we snuff out the lives of the infirmed. But then we notice that a particular minority group isn’t advancing or making it in society. We conclude that such a minority group must not be human, and so we treat them as less than human.

Some may raise objections, but I beg them to show me the difference in logic between an abortionist, a Nazi propagandist, or a Klan member. All three use the same types of arguments: “It doesn’t look human,” “It doesn’t appear to be human,” “It doesn’t act like a human,” and the list goes on. The arguments are always the same across all three; the only difference is the target.

What differentiates abortion from the genocide of the Nazis and the racism of the Klan, however, is they murder innocent humans under the guise of compassion, compassion for the young female who feels she has no other choice in life. But where is the compassion for Andrea Yates or Saiqa Akhter? Andrea Yates, as is well known, killed her children most likely due to a mental illness, but one that was exacerbated by having rambunctious children. For those who feel no compassion for Yates, what about Akhter who killed her children because they were autistic? She had not been told her children were autistic before she had them, but after living with them she learned they were an undue burden, both physically and mentally.

Now, some might say, “Well they could have adopted their children out,” but adoption takes quite a bit of time. You’re asking too much of the mother to put up with children while she waits for the adoption. And if she turned them over to social services she could risk getting arrested for neglect. Why should she put herself at risk?

Ah, but then we say, “But these children were human beings! They should have been allowed to live, no matter what the mother’s duress was!” At this point, I agree, but then ask how it is any different for a fetus, who scientifically (biologically) is no different from these murdered children. Philosophically the fetus has no less rights than a 5 year old, or even the capacity for rights that an adult has.

The above illustrates the danger in arbitrary standards and in rewording actions to make them palatable. We say the fetus isn’t a human person because if we admitted the fetus was a human person and went the way of Judith Jarvis Thompson, few women (if any) would get an abortion.

The life within a woman is a human life, and as such has the right to be alive. No rewording or reclassifying this life changes this fact; it only makes our actions that more immoral.