We hear about them quite often in the news – the mothers who sacrificed themselves for their child. The women who put their own well-being aside and do whatever it took to save their child. For example: A mother who drown after saving her three young children from a river. The mother who protected her son with her life in an earthquake by using her body as a shield. The mother who threw herself in front of an oncoming car to save her child and lost her own life. And the mother who gave her life to cancer rather than subject her unborn daughter to harmful medications. We call these women brave. We call them selfless. We call them heroines. We say they know the true meaning of motherhood.
So what do we say than of mothers like Mary Elizabeth Williams who believe that fetuses are living human beings, that the fetuses they have carried or will carry are their living babies, but in the same breath announce that those children’s lives are not as valuable as their own? Are they brave? Are they selfless? Do they know the true meaning of motherhood? Williams, in a piece for Salon writes:
I know that throughout my own pregnancies, I never wavered for a moment in the belief that I was carrying a human life inside of me. I believe that’s what a fetus is: a human life. And that doesn’t make me one iota less solidly pro-choice.
If life indeed begins at conception and that is no longer the argument surrounding abortion, then does the argument become: When does love begin? Does love begin with that first positive pregnancy test? Does love begin only when a pregnancy is planned? Does love begin when the child is born? Or does love begin when the child is able to return a smile? When do we love someone enough to give value to their lives, value above our own?
Or is the argument now: When do our lives gain value? Are we of value when our mother sees us on the ultrasound image of the first time? Are we of value when we first smile? First speak? Graduate from high school? Earn a master’s degree? Or maybe when someone wants to marry us? And at one point is our life valuable enough to someone that we are deemed worthy of life?
All life is not equal. […] a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.
First of all, that “entity” is her own child. And because her child is still in her womb and is therefore at her mercy, should a woman have the right to kill that child? Could the same apply to a newborn who is at the complete mercy of her mother? Or a young child who lives in a coma after an accident? Does the parent, or anyone, have the right to end a life because of autonomy or lack thereof? If your grown child could no longer physically care for herself, would you kill her?
Williams writes that we make choices about life all the time. We decide if a criminal should live or die. We remove people from life support. She reminds us that we are often at war. These are true. But that doesn’t make them right. For the truly pro-life, the death penalty is just as wrong as abortion. And for the truly pro-life, starving an ill person such as Terri Schiavo to death is murder. And for the truly pro-life, war is not the answer. Abortion isn’t the only focus of truly pro-life people. Just because a person, such as a prisoner, or a person in a coma, or an unborn child is not in control of their own lives does not mean we are therefore allowed to treat them however we want. We are not able to abuse them by taking drugs while pregnant or starving a prisoner or by chaining up a person who has suffered brain damage. So why are we able to kill them? If it is wrong to abuse them, why is it not wrong to kill them?
Williams goes on to write this gem:
If by some random fluke I learned today I was pregnant, you bet your ass I’d have an abortion. I’d have the World’s Greatest Abortion.
Just let it sink in: The World’s Greatest Abortion. I can only imagine what that would entail: extra suction to make sure the baby is totally dismembered and in the most pain possible? Two needles into the belly to make certain that the baby’s heart stops super-fast? Twice as much saline to burn that baby beyond recognition? An explosion of confetti when the technician has accounted for all ten fingers and ten toes?
Everything that Williams says is heartbreakingly shocking to me as a mother and as a pro-life human being. She finishes up her post with this:
[Abortion] saves lives not just in the most medically literal way, but in the roads that women who have choice then get to go down, in the possibilities for them and for their families. And I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.
Do you agree? If indeed we can all agree that fetuses are human life, are we prepared to say that certain lives are worth sacrificing for our own personal benefit? Are we prepared to say as a country, that our freedoms don’t apply to all people, only a select few?
Are we prepared to allow pro-choice businesses and activists, struggling after two years of abortion restricting laws, to erase the exact reasons the United States of America was even created in the first place? Are we prepared to once again legalize slavery? Are we prepared to legalize human sacrifices? Because if you believe that a certain single human life is worth killing for any reason, than you believe all human life is worth killing – yours, your child’s, your grandchild’s. For any reason. At any time.