A longtime pro-life advocate, NFL great Benjamin Watson is continuing to speak out in support of preborn children. In a recent op-ed for USA Today, the former football star made the argument that a preborn child’s dignity and worth do not depend on whether or not they are “wanted.”
The problem here is that our country’s culture is built upon a pernicious lie about the preborn. In the fight over abortion, our culture suggests that the preborn have to prove to us why and when they deserve protection, care, and a chance to live. The preborn have to prove they won’t inconvenience us. If the preborn are deemed too burdensome, too genetically different, or just too untimely and unwelcome, they can be killed.
But this approach seriously misunderstands what it means to be a human being. Our dignity as humans – our fundamental worthiness to exist – doesn’t have to be proven; it is an endowment we receive at the moment of conception and keep forever until our natural death. Nobody should have to pass a test to deserve to exist.
Watson goes on to say that during his time as an NFL player, he was constantly judged on his performance and accomplishments. While that kind of scrutiny was part of his job description and is expected for a professional athlete, it does not stand to reason that a preborn child should be analyzed in the same way. He wrote:
Whenever you conceive a child, our pro-abortion culture wants you to put that child to the test. It wants you to scrutinize his or her stats. Does a baby fit your lifestyle? Is the baby the right gender? (Thirty-nine states let you abort a child specifically because of his or her gender.) Is the baby the right race? (Forty-six states let you abort a child specifically because of his or her race.) Does he or she have any medical conditions or disabilities? Does the baby have Down Syndrome? Do you have just the right amount of money – or what you think is the right amount of money – for the child? Is he or she coming at an opportune time?
While his statement focused primarily on preborn babies, he also wrote about how societal views on life extend to the elderly and vulnerable, saying, “[…] this same mindset affects all aspects of our culture. It affects the way we treat vulnerable adult human life, too; how many of us simply discount the struggles and suffering of the poor, refugees or the oppressed? How many of us resent how much time and compassion elderly people need?”
Watson is no stranger to the pro-life movement. He’s long been vocal about his pro-life stance; he’s spoken at the March for Life, discussed the racist underpinnings of abortion, and created a documentary called, “Divided Hearts of America,” which explores the topic of abortion. He and his family have also acted on their views, generously donating equipment like 3D ultrasound machines to pregnancy resource centers.
Watson ended his editorial with a call to action for the culture to change its mindset. “If we could see the inherent worth of every human life,” he wrote, “something as devastating and harmful as abortion would not simply be unwelcome or undesirable; it would be unthinkable too.”
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