The only question that matters

ultrasound, Vermont

The results of the Mississippi election are rolling in and sadly, it looks like the movement to define Personhood from the moment of fertilization is headed for defeat. To which we all frown briefly and return to fighting joyfully.

There lives a reality that needs facing. The reality is that yes, pro-life laws are an absolute violation of a woman’s right to privacy, yes, women should be trusted to make their own decision regarding abortion, yes, abortion is necessary, yes, every argument that the pro-choice movement makes is absolutely valid, if…if what?

If a human fetus is not a person.

If a human fetus is not a person, the phrase “If you don’t like abortion don’t have one!” is a statement of absolute sensibility. If the fetus is a person, such a phrase exists on the same moral footing as that old argument, “If you don’t agree with slavery, don’t own slaves!” that is to say, very shaky moral footing.

If a human is not a person, the demand that women be allowed to make their own choices regarding abortion is absolutely justified. It would be a grave injustice for any other interfere with that choice. If the fetus is a person, the demand for choice is tantamount to a demand for the ‘choice’ in any other crime against a person. “Do not interfere with a man’s choice to enslave others!” would be a similar rallying cry.

Fetus at 16 weeks

The entire pro-life position hinges on the understanding that the fetus is a person. Surely the pro-choice movement realizes this? All they would have to do is show that the fetus is not a human person, and they’ve won the field. The pro-life movement crumbles.

It is interesting to note, then, that this is the question least mentioned within the pro-choice movement. There are acres upon acres of articles discussing women’s rights, the benefit of abortion to society, the safety of abortion, the sanctity of choice, the necessity of abortion, the evils of the pro-life movement, etcetera, etcetera ad infinitum. But all such material is worthless without the fundamental proof that the fetus is not a human being. If there existed the same amount of literature on the benefits of toddler-eradication, what with its aid to society and its necessary existence, no one would ignore the fundamental question: Is the toddler a person?

But since the fetus has no voice, the question is easily ignored. As a pro-life movement, we need to bring that question – the only question that matters – to the forefront of the abortion debate. Bring every argument back to that discussion. If you are told that you’ve no right to interfere in the personal decisions of women, admit it. “Yes. Unless the fetus is a person. If the fetus is a person, than I have as much right to interfere with another’s personal decisions as I would to interfere with a murderer’s personal decision to murder you.”

That’s what we’ve learned from Mississippi. We’ve learned that America has been so caught up in desperately proving the evil of abortion – in its effects on women, in its obvious violence, in its physical gruesomeness –  that we’ve forgotten to tackle the fundamental question: Is the fetus a person? Only once that truth has been established will abortion fall. Here’s the best part. The fetus is a person, and we are the defenders of the defenseless.

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