Science Over Subjectivity in the Abortion Debate
I shudder when I see what a tumble down the cliff we have taken in no longer protecting one of our most elemental rights since 1973 with the Supreme Court’s finding of the “right” to abortion existing in our Constitution, via their landmark Roe v. Wade decision.
The right to life is the sine qua non of all human rights; that is to say that without the existence of this right, there can be no others.
Now the pro-life versus pro-abortion divide is not over whether government should prevent the killing of innocent human life. I think it is safe to say that nearly all Americans agree that innocent human life absolutely must be protected. The divide exists over how to define human life; or more specifically, how government should define that human life which deserves the protection of the law against its intentional destruction. In other words the debate regarding abortion typically comes down to when life begins. The question at hand is at what point of development of the fetus does abortion actually constitute the killing of a human life?
Many pro-abortion advocates argue that most pro-lifers are strongly guided or at least influenced by religious faith and subjective opinions instead of science with their unwavering stances against abortion. They decry that pro-life advocates want to remove the choice of a woman to abort her unborn child, and thus remove her right to control over her own body. The argument is that we don’t know at what point a life is truly its own, so rather than succumb to religion and superstition, we should not infringe upon a woman’s choice in what to do with her own body, accordingly.
I would argue that precisely the opposite is true. It is the pro-abortion advocate that is ignoring science and using subjectivity and human opinion in their determination of when human life begins in the womb.
Most pro-life advocates support the concept that life absolutely begins at conception. This position seems far more rooted in science and objectivity than does the pro-abortion stance. Indeed, at the very moment of conception there is the creation of a life that is genetically complete and distinct that comes into existence. The gender and most all physiological traits of that human are in place at that moment of conception. Before conception, there was not a separate and distinct life; after conception, there is objectively and scientifically a unique human life that will continue to develop and change incrementally until his or her death.
Indeed, after conception all further change will be incremental. There will be a moment before the first fetal heart beat and the moment after it. There will be the moment that a newborn will take its first breath of air and the moment immediately after it. There will be the first moment a middle aged lady finds a gray hair and the first moment afterwards. Each moment in development, maturation -- in life-- will be just one more incremental step before and after each subjective moment in a timeline.
Trying to determine at which other point beyond conception in that incremental growth timeline of a person that human life actually begins is purely subjective, no matter what government, advocates, judges, pregnant women, or even doctors opine on the topic. And indeed, they are all nothing but subjective opinions based on human determined criteria. Conception is absolutely and unequivocally the most scientifically verifiable and defensible position for when life begins. It is, therefore, at that moment of conception that life, HUMAN life, should and indeed must be afforded the protections that God has granted and our government was founded to defend. After conception, the choosing of a point to allow the abortion of a human life is relegated to personal opinion and is simply an elevation of that subjective opinion above that of objective science.
When subjective opinion and ideology are the factors that comprise the rationale for government’s actions in their not exercising of a paramount responsibility, then all of rational government is jeopardized.
Now it may not seem intuitive or obvious to equate a newly conceived zygote with a twenty year old man, but from an objective scientific perspective, both are unique and individual creations of life. If left to take their natural courses, both will continue to mature, learn, love, and have the opportunities to reach their potentials for good or ill that they so desire. Aborting that unborn child, that zygote, is every bit the same as killing that twenty year old man in the fact that both lives are taken and prevented from ever further reaching that potential for which those lives were intended. Making a decision to abort that child based on some nuanced idea of viability or other subjective factor is absolutely wrong. I would far rather trust my stance on the abortion debate to be based on intellectually defensible science, accordingly.
(You can read T. Paine daily at Saving Common Sense)