By Maggie DeWitte
“The personhood claim is rhetorical, not factual. We can live by our own belief systems, within reason. We are not free to impose them on others.” REKHA BASU, Des Moines Register, December 11, 2018
Rekha Basu distilled the debate on the dignity of human life into a concise, well-written paragraph which I quote above.
She expresses a belief system held by many. Her system is animated by political, philosophical, and even religious elements. Let’s examine her claims more closely.
A debating ploy?
Regarding the idea of personhood, she suggests that pro-life advocates invoke the term as some sort of debating ploy, grounded in cynical grandiloquence rather than reality.
And yet science clearly establishes humanity as fact at fertilization, as The Family Leader’s Drew Zahn pointed out in his rebuttal to Ms. Basu.
The deliberate killing of innocent human beings is immoral
Since the deliberate killing of innocent human beings is immoral and subject to legal penalty, abortion rights proponents suggest that humanity and personhood are two different issues, a distinction that didn’t exist prior to the Roe v Wade decision in 1973.
And even Roe v Wade didn’t specifically define personhood. Harry Blackmun, author of the Roe decision, admitted that:
“If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case, of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment.”
Is there really a difference?
So the reasonable follow up question is, what is the difference between a human being and a person?
Abortion advocates suggest that an unborn human being doesn’t become a person until he or she reaches viability, that point when they can survive on their own outside of the womb. But there’s no logic to this belief.
The age of viability keeps changing
Think about it. The age of viability keeps changing thanks to medical advances. When Roe was decided, the age of viability was 28 weeks; today, it is 24 and in some cases, the markers have been moved to 21 weeks.
Is there really any distinction between a 24 week old human being in 2018 compared to one in 1973? No, there’s not. It takes a leap of faith to think otherwise, but that is the leap of faith abortion advocates make.
If you think about it, a human being is not viable for a number of years after birth. They will die of hunger or exposure without the intervention of their mother and father.
By the same token, human beings in a coma or afflicted by dementia or other ailments are not viable without intervention.
Viability is a false marker
Viability is demonstrably no indication of personhood.
What we’re faced with is a capricious standard on what exactly comprises personhood in the eyes of the powerful special interests who support human abortion. As Russell Neglia points out at the PRO LIFE, PRO LOGIC blogsite,
“If personhood is a moving target how can anyone say with certainty that their beginning point has any universal credibility? This argument is purely a metaphysical one, unsupported by facts or science.”
Rhetoric vs. reality
So to return to Ms. Basu’s quote above, it is she who is being ‘rhetorical’ and not factual by holding to a sliding scale as to what defines personhood.
Even more, it is she and fellow supporters of human abortion who wish to impose their own belief system on others by aborting human beings who don’t live up to their own belief system.
As Mr. Neglia states above, the arguments for abortion have a metaphysical component. After all, abortion isn’t just bad for the human being who is aborted, it poses risks to the mother.
As you can see at about the 5:20 mark in the Live Action video above, a former abortionist points out the health risk to abortive women. These risks include the potential for:
- injury to uterus or cervix
- maternal death.
In light of this, it takes some sort of leap of faith to think abortion is good. There is no sound medical reason for a healthy woman to abort her healthy baby. If you walked into a doctor and asked him to amputate your perfectly-functioning right arm, he’d say no.
The disconnect runs deeper when you hear abortion proponents embracing the “Shout your abortion” movement, a movement animated by evangelical fervor that sounds suspiciously like a religion.
In passing the Heartbeat Bill, Ms. Basu said the Iowa legislature “thumbed their noses at rulings and constitutions and established science. They imposed their religious positions on a secular state.”
If anyone is thumbing their noses at science, it is abortion advocates. And if anyone is trying to impose their godless religious beliefs on our state, it is they.