Article claiming “fetuses aren’t people” reveals pro-choice denial and poor reasoning

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A recent RH Reality Check article by Amy Littlefield titled, “The Day I Learned Aborted Fetuses Aren’t People,” offers insight into the perpetuation of human denial, blind allegiance to dogma, and the poor reasoning used by pro-choicers.

On October 20, Live Action writer Calvin Freiburger wrote an excellent article addressing Littlefield’s claims, noting that nowhere in the article does Littlefield give any evidence from a scientific or philosophical standpoint to support her views that aborted babies are not people. Further showing how many pro-abortion activists don’t use reasoning, logic, or science to determine whether a preborn baby is a person, lets look at a link from paragraph six of the article.

Carefully reading Littlefield’s article, I noticed that the words “fetuses are not people” in the sixth, short paragraph contain a link to another web page. I thought to myself, this link must be to a page that gives the evidence that’s lacking in Littlefield’s article. There must be philosophical and scientific arguments about the personhood of babies. I expected to see a detailed essay attempting to back up Littlefield’s beliefs.  Instead, when I followed the link, I got this, below (which is the entire content of the web page):


I can’t imagine anything illustrating Freiburger’s point better.

But to move on, I also noticed that Littlefield says:

In my former work as a counselor at abortion clinics, I often avoided seeing what we called the products of conception—the tissue that results from the union of egg and sperm. For me, the embryo—or fetus, in later stages of pregnancy—was irrelevant…. Still, in the clinics where I worked, I tended to avoid seeing the medical waste. I avoided it because it was irrelevant to my work. But I think part of me also avoided it because I thought seeing fetal tissue might diminish my allegiance to my patients.

In other words, I didn’t want to see the bloody remains of the babies I help kill because I was afraid it might shake my pro-choice beliefs. Seeing those bodies might make me think about the baby, which is the last thing I want to think about. I would rather focus on just the woman and ignore the baby. If I have to deal with the reality of babies being killed, I might have to change my beliefs, admit I was wrong, and leave my job. And that would be inconvenient and uncomfortable.

Of course, when Littlefield does see an aborted baby, she’s able to rationalize it. But her reluctance to face reality is not unique among abortion clinic workers.

Clinic worker Carlene Tucker told author Cynthia Gorney that when she was assisting in late-term abortions, she never looked at the bloody body parts being extracted:

Never. I would never look down. Some of the nurses watched as he removed the tissue, but I never looked. If I looked, I would never be able to work there [the clinic] again.

By refusing to see the body parts of the baby, Tucker is able to perpetuate her belief that the baby is just “tissue.” It is her way of not having to face reality. I suspect that something similar is at work in Littlefield’s article.

Wendy Simonds interviewed clinic workers for her book Abortion at Work: Ideology and Practice in a Feminist Clinic and wrote that although some clinic workers showed emotional distress over seeing aborted babies, all of the clinic workers were able to handle and piece them together. They were able to tolerate seeing all parts of the baby, with one exception – none of the workers could look at the babies’ faces.

Ultimately, Littlefield made a choice to believe that the “fetal tissue” she admits was “was shaped like a baby” was not a baby, only medical waste. She offers no evidence at all to support this claim. The baby has human DNA, a human shape, and was born from two human parents. Five minutes before the abortion he or she was a fully functioning, complete human organism. The baby, who was aborted at 22 weeks, had every body part and every organ system he or she would have after birth. In fact, some babies who are born at 22 weeks survive. One wonders if Littlefield could look down at a sleeping 22 week preemie in a bassinet and judge her to be “not a person.” Since Littlefield has no criteria other than her own opinion as to whether someone is a person, why not?

The problem is, anyone can have an opinion. Science teaches that life begins at conception and that preborn babies are human. Two cats will not give birth to a dog, they will give birth to a baby cat, a kitten. Two dogs will not give birth to a cat, but a baby dog, a puppy. And two humans will always give birth to a baby human. There has never been a case in nature where two parents of one species created offspring of another species. Those who support evolution believe that minute changes in animal characteristics over millions of years eventually give rise to animals that can be classified as belonging to a different species. But this is not the same as two animals suddenly giving birth to a completely different type of animal. No human being will ever give birth to a rabbit. And of course, you can point to the fact that human babies have human DNA. If the baby is human and alive (and she must be alive, or she would not be growing and developing), he or she is human life.

And if she is a human life, she is a person. And there is nothing in Littlefield’s article that refutes any of this.

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