Abortion is non-environmentally-friendly
If you were suddenly transported out of earth’s atmosphere and onto the surface of the moon in only your birthday suit, how long do you think you’d survive? Not very, I think it’s safe to say. There’s no air on the moon and our bodies need air to survive and have lungs designed to take in that air which will not function without it. So you are nonviable outside of the environment to which your body is adapted, as is every other human being. Does this fact have any bearing on your status as a person with inalienable rights?
Frank* Beckwith proposes this hypothetical situation in Chapter 6 of his book (1) about arguments for abortion rights in response to one of the Arguments from Decisive Moments. Many abortion-rights advocates maintain that the unborn are not full persons with a right to life until they are able to survive outside of the womb. Viability, they say, is that determining factor or decisive moment. But how does viability transform a “non-person” human into a human person?
A premature “viable” child still needs life support from medical professionals and technology in order to survive, and the point of viability recedes with medical advances. So, as Beckwith says, “viability is a measure of the sophistication of our neonatal life-support systems. Humanity remains the same, but viability changes. Viability measures medical technology, not one’s humanity.”
The unborn child will in most cases survive very well in the womb without any medical technology at all, because that is the environment her body is adapted for. And if protected from interference, she eventually develops the capacity to adapt to the environment outside the womb. That is a truly amazing and awe-inspiring reality that the abortion rights supporter fails to recognize in declaring the “nonviable” child as less than a person because her body has not yet adapted to a new environment. But just as our naked nonviability on the moon would not change our status as human persons, neither should nonviability determine non-personhood for the very youngest of humans.
I challenge every abortion-rights supporter who believes it’s morally permissible to kill and remove an unborn child from the environment he is thriving in because he is not yet developed enough to survive in a different one, to watch the whole 28-minute-long documentary I included in my last post. You’ll see a child at only 12 weeks gestation become extremely active when his environment is invaded by an abortionist’s suction in a hopeless attempt to avoid the danger he senses. And then there is no more movement of legs and arms because they have been pulled off of him until only his bodiless head remains…which will be grabbed with forceps and crushed so that it too can be removed.
Maybe you think this child is no more valuable than a bug because even a bug recoils and scurries from perceived danger. Or maybe it’s more valuable than a bug but not as valuable as a born baby. But why? It’s as tiny as a bug in its earliest stages, and at 12 weeks still very small but would be a very big bug. But it’s still a human being, and there is no legitimate distinction between a human being and a human person. Size doesn’t matter, and neither does viability. If you think otherwise, watch the video and then give your defense.
*Yes, I’ve been in his book for so long now I feel like I know him well enough to call him Frank instead of Francis.
(1) Francis J. Beckwith, Politically Correct Death: Answering Arguments for Abortion Rights (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1993)
I love your opening analogy, Caroline — excellent logic to refute the non-viable argument. Praying that many will take you up on your challenge.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks, David. It is a good one, and I wish I had thought of it. 🙂
Someday, God willing, we’ll have the capability to see the unborn in the womb “live” with a clarity that will certainly change a lot of minds and hearts. For those who will look, anyway.
That’s the unfortunate qualifier, isn’t it? “For those who will look, anyway.” It’s been my experience that you lead a human to knowledge, but you can’t make them think.
LikeLiked by 1 person
David, somehow I accidentally deleted your last comment. Thank you for the kudos, and I know Klusendorf is a great defender of life but don’t think I’ve ever read any of his stuff. I bookmarked that article because I do like the way he expressed those truths that Beckwith has also addressed.