The worth of a person
Updated: Jun 17, 2020
“The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
~ Hubert Humphrey
Before you carry on reading, let me point you to a previous post I wrote about my stance towards women who have had or are under pressure to have abortions. This is not a post against women but a defence for those without a voice, those who are seen as less than human.
Abortion is currently seen as a human right and a basic part of health care. Just listen to any abortion ad and listen to the phrases of 'abortion care' and 'abortion treatment'. The freedom to abort is seen as the emblem of civilised society and those countries with strict abortion laws are the enemy. They must be taught the modern morality even if it means hiding it in other bills.
I am the father of a child who has a severe disability that stops her from being able to walk or talk. The trend towards late term abortions, the relaxing of abortion laws and the 'research' behind these trends are concerning. Actually that is an understatement, they make me angry. I feel it is necessary to write and speak out because my daughter can't. Because of her inability to communicate verbally, some think it would be ethically right to euthanize her. Those at the helm of pregnancy services such as BPAS lap it up and outright defend it.
There are very few medical professionals or biologists who would deny that abortion kills a human life, even at conception. The argument is no longer about human life (see image above - though to state sperm or an egg is human life is nonsense) but about when a human becomes a person. The implication being that killing a human is not synonymous with killing a person. A person has moral worth. A human might not. This is currently in law, a human in the womb, even at 26 weeks, is not seen as a person with human rights.
Two questions remain unanswered by those making the law and by those lobbying for relaxing the law. When does a human become a person and who has the right to make that decision? The most common answer is that it is the mother's right to choose what happens to her body. The child in the womb has become nothing more than a 'pregnancy' that can be "removed vaginally by an experienced doctor using a gentle suction method.” Just to emphasise - abortion services don't acknowledge a human life being ended. It is just a "pregnancy" that is sucked out.
The issue with the choice response is that pregnancy involves a human life from conception. Science shows that even a zygote is a new life with new chromosomes, new DNA, made up of half of the dad's and half of the mum's genetic code. It literally is a new body, not the mother's. Even when they don't look human (see quotes by Gunter) they are still human and they are still alive. Should we discriminate based on stage of development?
We have dehumanised life before birth to the extent we pretend it doesn't exist. We can advertise when a woman decides she just isn't ready to be pregnant and so chooses abortion. Rather than talking about contraception, we advertise termination like there is no ethical dilemma. No wonder then when a "pregnancy" has an extra chromosome or a rare condition that might make life less comfortable it is easy to recommend "termination".
Rett Syndrome will soon be able to be screened and is already available to those like us with a child who has Rett Syndrome. It has already been insinuated by medical staff to us, what that screening can be used for. If current trends towards abortion are to be believed, children like Rosalie will be less likely to survive birth simply because adults are deciding for them that their life isn't worth living.
What doesn't seem to be acknowledged is that dehumanising disability in the womb dehumanises disability after birth.
If we can decide that those who can't walk or talk or struggle to access what 'healthy' or 'normal' people can access should be aborted, then the arbitrary line of personhood is drawn when someone is injured severely or simply gets old. Euthanasia and "assisted dying" are for those who have become a burden on society. On that note, the most common reasons for assisted dying are not the illness or pain but the loss of ability to participate, autonomy, and dignity. Rather than investing in and providing palliative care that supports those afraid of losing these things, we continue to promote the idea that to lose your autonomy is to lose your personhood. Your worth and identity is your ability to contribute and participate. We’ve made comfort and choice our gods and we are willing to sacrifice human life to them.
We, as a society, need to realise that separating personhood from humanity is an illogical and nonsensical view of the human life. It leads to eugenics and a view that life is only worth living when all parts of the body are functioning and a human can 'contribute' to society. It has lead to a language and mentality that ignores the humanity of a child in the womb and a promotion of aborting the disabled over their right to life. We need to regain a view that life, even in suffering, is worth living, and the most vulnerable often contribute far more than we realise.