Rob Schwarzwalder over at Life News wrote back on May 6 about how our media can’t help but to refer to unborn children as, well, unborn children. He writes,
Here are some things in life you just can’t avoid: Death and taxes come to mind, of course, and the seeming inevitability of the Cubs’ ultimate collapse. There are others. One of them is the inescapable reality that abortion involves not a collation of tissue but the destruction of a person, a human being.
This is not just a theological assertion or philosophical rumination: We know from medical science that from conception, the unborn child has the entire DNA of a fully mature adult. What changes at time of birth is not the humanness of the child but his or her place of residence: For nine months, the womb was home; for the remainder of a person’s life, it is the world around us.
Even the mass media cannot help itself. In ordinary stories, the personhood of the child pops up in the simple reportage of stories of the day. However much the pro-abortion movement has sought to shape the language of popular culture and public education, the fact that the little ones in the womb are, in fact, people, keeps intruding itself into public discourse.
He then goes on to give examples where the media refers to the fetus (I use the word “fetus” in the proper sense, to refer to “a little one” and do not use it as a way to rob the humanity from the unborn) as an “unborn child” rather than “mass of tissues.” By calling the fetus “unborn child” they recognize the humanity involved in pregnancy.
He’s right too, that we just can’t help ourselves. Our society is suffering from a major case of cognitive dissonance between what we innately know to be true – that it’s wrong to wantonly take the life of the unborn – and what we want to be true, but can’t prove – that the life of the unborn isn’t human life.
But if I’m right that we’re just lying to ourselves about the abortion issue and surrounding it with the false veil of “women’s rights” or fudging the science to say a fetus isn’t human in order to make abortion more palatable, then the defense of abortion is emotional and not rational. As we know, anything that is irrationally, but emotionally defended is going to be met with harsh criticism. The harsher the critique or action against the irrational belief, the more obstinate a person becomes in defending it.
I think back to William Wilberforce and how he approached the slave trade when he began to make a push against it. For a while, he was the lone member of the British Parliament who spoke out against the slave trade. He attempted to pass legislation against it, but was essentially laughed out of the chamber. The harder he tried, however, the meaner the opposition became, almost the point of accusing him of sedition. When he started slavery was an established part of the society and the economy and no one really believed it would ever end. By the time of his death in 1833 (in fact, just a few weeks after his death), the practice of slavery was abolished through the British Empire. How did he do it?
Wilberforce, along with many other abolitionist supporters, took to the streets and educated the people on the horrors of slavery. They made sure that people understood that the slaves were human persons. He also went person-to-person with the other members of Parliament to show them what the cost of slavery really was. The public, however, one supportive to apathetic concerning slavery slowly began to become irate about it. So powerful was public opinion that even MPs who supported slavery and were backed by the endless riches of the slave-trading companies (or companies reliant upon free labor) were forced to vote against the slave trade and eventually the practice of slavery.
When we look to the United States in the present day, we see that the abortion issue is very similar to the slave trade. Both those who supported slavery and those who support abortion do so on irrational grounds and, just as bad, unscientific grounds. When attacked, proponents of both have become emotionally unstable and making arguments that make no rational sense. So one would think that using the same approach Wilberforce used would be just as efficient.
However, we have no way of really knowing because no one has attempted what Wilberforce did. Instead, those in the pro-life crowd have kept their debates about abortion regulated to the academic arena and the specialized field of bioethics. When it has trickled down to the masses, it’s usually been to people who already believe in the pro-life position. In short, there hasn’t been a real effort to educate the populace on the truth concerning abortion and the science behind it. Even now, some who are pro-choice might say, “But science proves a fetus isn’t a human being!” But when pressed for evidence, they wouldn’t be able to supply any, because the rhetoric says science supports the abortionist position, but the facts are vastly different.
Unfortunately, we are left with Republicans attempting defund Planned Parenthood in order to strike a blow to abortion. While I fully support this measure – even if 3% of the received funds goes to abortion, that’s 3% too much – it’s ultimately pointless unless there is a change in public opinion. Unless a vast majority of Americans, specifically those of the younger generation, believe that abortion is morally reprehensible, worthy of being outlawed, any legislative gains face an inevitable end in just a few short years. Not to mention that if the populace is educated about how morally reprehensible abortion is they would be less likely to seek out an illegal abortion should abortion ever be made illegal.
So those who support the pro-life cause must realize that the rallies, the academic books, the protests, and so on may have some benefit (though I would contend the rallies and protests have very little benefit), until we begin to calmly, rationally, and lovingly present the facts to the populace, nothing will change. We could purchase airtime and put together a short video explaining the science behind fetal development, all of which would show that the unborn child is in fact a human being. We could produce a quality documentary. But all of this requires people to put their talents and funds to use. But I promise you this; if we continue to think how we vote will end abortion we will never see an end to legalized abortion.