Too Young for Rights?

 

A rewritten version of this post has been published by Secular Pro-Life under their paid blogging program.

The below comments were comments on the original version. Since they are mostly still applicable to the linked-to revised version, I have not deleted them. But reading them, one should remember that they were not made in response to that linked-to version exactly.

 

You may leave a reply, if you wish, without giving your name or email address. If you do give your email address, it will not be published. Back up your work as you type, in case of accidents.

Some future posts:

Life Panels

A Trade-Off of a Sensitive Nature

Unborn Child-Protection Legislation, the Moral Health of Society, and the Role of the American Democratic Party

The Motivations of Aborting Parents

Why Remorse Comes Too Late

The Kitchen-Ingredients Week-After Pill

Unwanted Babies and Overpopulation

The Woman as Slave?

Abortion and the Map of the World

The Reasons Better Be Good

Despite the extreme vulnerability of unborn babies and the relative ease of killing them when technologically well-equipped adults make a choice to do so, occasionally an attempt to kill one fails. As Gianna Jessen says, “And to everyone’s great shock and surprise, I didn’t arrive dead, but alive . . . in a Los Angeles County abortion clinic.”

Gianna Jessen and Melissa Ohden are two women, now in their 30′s, who survived attempts to abort them. From the information I can gather, both of their stories are authentic (though really the point these two women make could stand even if their stories were just fictional). Shaped by their experiences, both became ardent pro-life advocates. Both also attribute their religious belief to their survival against steep odds and what they see as evil designs. Jessen’s public activities seem to be motivated as much by religious evangelism as by her pro-life convictions; this might make her less effective as a pro-life advocate than she might otherwise be, with some audiences.

I am not myself a Christian, and my purpose is not to weigh in one way or the other on the validity of Christian doctrine. I would like to point out, however, that pro-choice forces often try to dismiss the pro-life feeling of Christians by saying that their feelings derive only from an abstract and debatable religious doctrine. Yet in the cases of these two survivors of the front lines of the “silent holocaust” (Gianna Jessen’s phrase), the converse seems to have happened: these two seem to have been driven toward doctrine by their highly-understandable revulsion against abortion.

I recommend watching both the following videos (10 minutes and 8 minutes) in their entirety. Here are the links and a few words from each of the women:

Melissa Ohden: Aborted At Birth

“I couldn’t understand at the age of fourteen how any parent could make that decision — to end their child’s life. . . . I felt like I deserved to know — you know, why is it my life was just a choice for someone . . .”

Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor in Australia Part 1

(She is American, but speaking in Australia.)

“. . . if abortion is just about women’s rights, ladies and gentlemen, then what were mine? There was not a radical feminist standing up and yelling about how my rights were being violated that day, and in fact my life was being snuffed out in the name of women’s rights.”

The disproportionate importance of these rare cases is this: These cases, where the intended victim has grown up and become loud and visible, make most obvious what is always the simple truth — that even if you kill someone when they are quiet and invisible and preborn, you are killing a person.

What could any abortion-rights advocate say if face to face with such a survivor? To be consistent, they would have to say, “Your mother’s choice was not properly honored. Those bungling doctors let us all down. They should have upheld the Constitution of the United States (or wherever) and finished you off.” But would anyone have the guts to say that? No.

And what could any parent (barring those motivated to abort by the most extreme circumstances) say if they later came face to face with a child they had tried to kill? Could they say, “The abortion was a good idea in principle. And in the end they heard you cry and fished you out of that garbage pail. So everything worked out for the best” — ? They would not have the guts to say that. They would normally have to admit that they could have sacrificed a little more. And the fact that they would not have the guts shows that it was never a good idea in the first place. Yet somehow it takes rare cases such as this to reveal what a bad idea abortion so routinely is.

The potential value, for our social discourse, of such cases coming to light from time to time, is not to prove to anyone “I told you so” about the past. Their value lies in their potential impact on the minds of mothers and fathers and doctors contemplating abortion in the present. Any adult who contemplates aborting an unborn baby knows that the chances of ever having to actually face the grown-up target of their intentions, are extremely small. But if they have once or twice had a chance to meet an abortion survivor, as we all have had in the above videos, they will know that at any moment in their consciences, if not in external reality, they may be reminded of a fact — they may be reminded that the unborn baby whose life they took when it was tiny, helpless and perhaps shapeless, was a person destined one day not to be tiny, helpless and shapeless. They will know that in their consciences they will have to look that person in the eye one day and explain their reasons for what they did. And they will understand that their reasons had better be good.

Thus it would not matter if the stories of Melissa Ohden and Gianna Jessen were untrue. Their real value lies not in demonstrating a statistical possibility, but in their impact on our consciences and imaginations.

Anyone should be able to figure out that what is now small is in the process of growing up, and will do so if allowed to. But somehow we fail to see that except in those rare cases where our technology has failed us.

You may leave a reply, if you wish, without giving your name or email address. If you do give your email address, it will not be published.

Some future posts:

Life Panels

Evolution, and the Humanizing and Uplifting Effect on Society of a Commitment to the Unborn

A Trade-Off of a Sensitive Nature

Unborn Child-Protection Legislation, the Moral Health of Society, and the Role of the American Democratic Party

Abortion and Problem-Solving

The Motivations of Aborting Parents

Why Remorse Comes Too Late

The Kitchen-Ingredients Week-After Pill

Unwanted Babies and Overpopulation

The Woman as Slave?

Abortion and the Map of the World