Imagine we are about to board a cruise ship. Sounds especially good this time of year, doesn't it? This luxury vessel is named Equal Right to Life of the Seas. No tickets are needed, per se. You only have to establish that you deserve the equal human right to life. So, who qualifies? You and I do, of course! But who else? Do elderly people get to board? If yes, what about poor people? Smart people? Transgender? What should be the boarding policy for people with disabilities? All skin colors? Toddlers? Should those with debilitating mental illnesses be able to board? And then we have the question about a hamster, a cat and a border collie whose owners want them to sail. Do they meet the standard for equal human right to life?
I think it's fair to assume we would agree that everyone regardless of age, religion, disability, sex, intelligence, gender identity, or ethnicity should be allowed to board. But what about the animals? Settle down animal lovers. I'm certain we all affirm that animals have some rights. But should they enjoy the equal human right to life? If not, why not? We instinctively know there is a difference don't we? For instance, if you ran over my dog with your car, that would be really bad. But if you ran over one of my children with your car, that would be unimaginably tragic. Again, what's the difference? Well, if we were to base our decision upon any present ability like consciousness, intelligence, the feeling of pain (sentience), or level of dependence/independence, we would have to exclude some of the humans that we already agreed to give admission to. We would also have to allow the animals to board. But there has to be an unchangeable common denominator that clearly marks those that should enjoy the equal human right to life from those that don't. There is. It's having a human nature. That's the litmus test. A cow will never give birth to a goldfish. A woman will never give birth to a giraffe (thankfully!). Humans give birth to humans. So anyone possessing a human nature, should be able to board our Equal Right to Life of the Seas, and that includes the unborn, who also have human natures.
This Saturday, January 22nd, will mark forty-nine years since the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision that has resulted in over 63 million babies being aborted in the United States. This makes abortion the most significant human rights issue of our lifetime. Similar to other large-scale, monumental injustices like that committed against the Jews during the Holocaust and to African-Americans through American slavery, this nearly 50-year, legalized, assault on the unborn is beyond tragic and is unconscionable.
"...abortion[is]the most significant human rights issue of our lifetime."
I would like to think that if I were alive in the 1850's that I would have been an outspoken abolitionist. I can envision myself joining-in on the activism of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass. Had I been alive in Germany in the 1940's would I have found a way to show some support for Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his assassination attempt of Adolph Hitler? Maybe the question to ask ourselves to determine if we would have stood up for others then, who were being dehumanized like African Americans and Jews would be to ask "are we speaking-up now against the dehumanization of the unborn?"
There are some critical reproductive truths we must affirm. Here's the first:
Critical Reproductive Truth #1-
The unborn are human persons who deserve an equal right to life.
On December 10, 1948 The United Nations published 30 articles of non-binding declarations called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 3 states, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and the security of person." This declaration, perhaps unintended, is in sync with the Scriptures declarations of the sanctity of human life.
'So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Genesis 1:27)
"What is man, that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made hime a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor." (Psalm 8:4-5)
One of the most popular objections to the pro-life position is that the unborn are not considered to be true persons. This is how the unborn have been dehumanized for nearly half a century in the USA. Some concede that embryos are biologically human, but contend that they are not true persons. This thinking fuels almost all human injustice. If we downgrade any human being to be something less than a person, we could justify any mistreatment, violence or even genocide.
If we downgrade any human being to be something less than a person, we could justify any mistreatment, violence or even genocide.
Did you ever read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a child? In chapter 32 Huck is mistaken to be Tom Sawyer by Aunt Sally. She presses him about why he is so late coming home and he makes up a story. The exchange goes like this:
Huck: "We blowed out a cylinder head on the steam boat."
Aunt Sally: "Good gracious! Anybody hurt?"
Huck: "No Maam, only killed a black man."
Aunt Sally: "Well it's lucky, because sometimes people do get hurt."
Notice the unbelievable assumption that the black man is something less than a person ("people") whose death isn't even mourned. Maybe more unbelievable is that I evidently wasn't troubled by this exchange as a kid. I just noticed it a few months ago. But that's kind of the point. A society gradually adopts an ideology that certain members of the human species are less than "people." And there comes a point when it no longer horrifies them. Worse, it becomes the collective assumption.
Or consider how that long before Jews were being gassed to death in gas chambers, on July 14, 1933, The German Reich (Nazi) government passed the "Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases." The clear goal of this legislation was the forced sterilization of those who were considered high risk of having "hereditary disease." The obvious assumption was that even a potentially diseased human was something less that a true person.
Naturally, we should be able to agree about the right to equality for all humans. And this a a critical reproductive truth that we all should also be able to acknowledge. The prenatal human possesses a human nature which qualifies them for an equal human right to life.
The prenatal human possesses a human nature which qualifies them for an equal human right to life.
But the real crisis if we do not acknowledge this first critical reproductive truth is that the unborn have no ability to vocalize their right to life. Abortion is a violent injustice to a human being prior to their birth that violates that prenatal person's equal right to life. The unborn haven't developed enough to speak out about their desire to enjoy a future like ours. The unborn can't tell anyone that they, too, would like to have fun as a toddler, learn to read, learn to ride a bike, play a sport, attend their senior prom, experience dating, get married, have children, or start a business. Who will speak up for the unborn so that their equal rights to life can be protected?
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.