A Child Dies - A Look at the Dehumanization of Life in AbortionRev. Robert Fleischmann, Christian Life Resources National Director
Clearly Caring Magazine-Home Edition, 1st Quarter 2011, Vol. 31, No. 1
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the movement to legalize abortion focused on two primary arguments:
1. No agreement could be reached on when life begins;
2. Women should have “control” over their own bodies.
The movement’s first argument was particularly troubling as it noted no historical consistency of agreement from the medical or religious community about when life begins.
Years later, the abortion-rights community went to great lengths to dehumanize what a woman carried in her womb during a pregnancy. The terms to describe a human being were replaced with such words as:
1. Products of conception;
3. Inanimate mass of material;
4. Part of the woman’s body;
5. Blob of tissue.
Along with such dehumanizing phrases the abortion community turned to Latin or medical terminology to describe what happens in the womb. They never spoke of a “baby” in the womb but rather a blastocyst, embryo and fetus.
The late Dr. Bernard Nathanson (d. February 21, 2011), an instrumental player in the early movement to legalize abortion and an abortionist who said he presided over 75,000 abortions, later became a converted pro-life advocate. He indicated when abortion advocates first strategized on a way to make abortion more acceptable to society, they agreed to avoid the use of the word “abortion.” Marketing experts suggested a focus on “choice,” a term accepted by and still associated with the abortion movement today.
When challenged about the “life of the child” in 1974 hearings before a committee of the House of Representatives on a proposed Human Life Amendment to the Constitution, abortion-rights leaders argued again that no universal acceptance could be reached about the beginning of the “life of the child” in the womb. The impression clearly left in the hearings was that, if an agreement could have been reached, they would have accepted that the life of the child should be given protection.
A lot has changed since then. Consider the following:
Feminist and abortion-rights advocate, Naomi Wolf 1, wrote the following:
“Clinging to a rhetoric about abortion in which there is no life and no death, we entangle our beliefs in a series of self-delusions, fibs and evasions. And we risk becoming precisely what our critics charge us with being: callous, selfish and casually destructive men and women who share a cheapened view of human life… What McCorvey and other Americans want and deserve is an abortion-rights movement willing publicly to mourn the evil – necessary evil though it may be – that is abortion… the pro-lifeslogan, ‘Abortion stops a beating heart,’ is incontrovertibly true.” 2
The issue surfaced again in 2008 when abortion-rights supporter Camille Paglia 3 wrote the following:
“I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue.” 4
Most recently, the reality of death through abortion came from Francis Kissling, the head of the unfortunately-named Catholics for Choice:
“We can no longer pretend the fetus is invisible. We can no longer seek to banish the state from our lives, but rather need to engage its power to improve women’s lives. We must end the fiction that an abortion at 26 weeks is no different from one at six weeks… The fetus is more visible than ever before, and the abortion-rights movement needs to accept its existence and its value. It may not have a right to life, and its value may not be equal to that of the pregnantwoman, but ending the life of a fetus is not a morally insignificant event.” 5
Scripture never entitles another individual to terminate a human life – born or unborn – without God’s permission. In abortion it is not the removal of tissue or the jettisoning of an indistinct organic mass of material; in abortion, a baby dies. It is a biological fact. It is a medical fact. It is a Scriptural fact. The fact that history seems fuzzy is a testimony of the depravity of the human race that wants to supplant God’s authority over life and death with the murky concept of personal autonomy.
1 Naomi Wolf is an author who has served as a political consultant for the Bill Clinton 1996 reelection campaign and the Al Gore 2000 election campaign for president.
2 Rethinking Pro-Choice Rhetoric. Our Bodies, Our Souls. Wolf, Naomi: The New Republic. October 16, 1995.
3 Camille Paglia is an author, feminist and abortion-rights advocate.
4 Fresh blood for the vampire. Paglia, Naomi. The Salon. September 10, 2008.
5 Abortion rights are under attack, and pro-choice advocates are caught in a time warp. Kissling, Francis. The Washington Post. February 18, 2011.
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