In the weeks leading up to the election, a classmate told me that she was voting for the candidate who would give her the “right to control her own body.” Her statement left me wondering: Why do we use that phrase to describe abortion?
The Baby’s Blood
By equating abortion with the “right to control your body,” the argument assumes that a developing baby is part of the woman, like a hand or a kidney. Since a woman has the right to approve an amputation or donate an organ, she should have the right to remove her developing infant. (I won’t use the term “fetus,” because there’s no material difference: “Fetus” is just the Latin word for baby.)
The problem is that a baby is not a hand, but a separate organism. It has its own genome, its own blood type (which can be different from the mother’s) – in short, it is its own being. Even identical twins have different fingerprints. As discrete entities, independent lifeforms, babies deserve the same protections afforded to the rest of humanity.
The Eagle’s Egg
Even the most rabid pro-abortion advocate recognizes this, at least where other species are concerned. In 1940, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act made it a federal crime to “take, possession, sale, purchase, barter, offer to sell, purchase or barter, transport, export or import, of any bald or golden eagle, alive or dead, including any part, nest, or egg, unless allowed by permit” (emphasis added). First-time offenders faced fines and up to one year in prison; punishments for a second offense doubled.
Now, if we count an eagle egg as a potential eagle, why do we deny a pre-natal infant the status of a potential human, with all the protections that implies? Notice that the law penalizes dismantling an eagle’s nest, just like statutes that treat striking a pregnant woman in the stomach as attempted murder. In both cases, the potential being suffers an attack against its sanctuary that threatens its future. The only difference is that abortion laws make an exception for human mothers.
The Mother’s Misstep
Abortion advocates cloak this inconsistency by describing unborn babies with dehumanizing language, like “blobs of cells” and “parasites.” They compare babies to diseased organs or gangrenous limbs: By posing a risk to their mothers’ emotional health, they deserve removal.
The irony is that denying the babies’ humanity undercuts the abortion advocate’s argument, because the people who make these arguments were themselves once pre-natal infants. Let’s say the baby is a foreign entity, an unwanted intruder in the woman’s body, like a cancer or tumor. At what point does the child move from being a tumor to a person? By seeking to dehumanize the life within her, thereby giving her grounds for its murder, the pro-abortion mother dehumanizes herself as well. If the infant is not considered human, why then should she be?
The Serpent’s Curse
Despite the inherent flaws, many people still find my classmate’s position compelling. Why is that? I suspect it is our age-old problem: Humans seek to exalt ourselves instead of God. Since Adam and Eve succumbed to the serpent’s temptation, we have wanted to “become like God,” including His sovereignty over creation. By killing her developing baby, a mother asserts “a right over the clay” (Romans 9) that should belong to only God the potter.
Our government’s proper role is to safeguard and protect already-existing natural rights given to us by God, not authorize criminal acts. Women’s right to control their bodies should not extend to aborting their unborn children. A baby exists within his mother’s body, but is not part of it, any more than the chick is part of the eggshell. By denying the right to exist to the weakest among us, America has jeopardized the security and sanctity of life for all citizens.