Media Outrage Over Protection for Smaller Human Beings
by Jonathon Van Maren
It would appear from the recent media coverage of the abortion debate that in spite of the overwhelming amount of books, websites, and academic papers produced by the pro-life movement over the last several decades, the pro-abortion movement and the media are still not quite aware of our position. “Push to Declare a Human Egg a ‘Person’ Offers New Tack on Abortion Debate!” howled FOX News. “The next front in the abortion wars: Birth control,” Salon.com intoned. “Push for ‘Personhood’ Amendment Represents New Tack in Abortion Fight,” The New York Times warned.
The consensus in the pro-life movement is a very simple, philosophically and biologically consistent view of human life and human rights. If we as a society are to value human life at all, then we must value human life from its very beginning. If we do not, we will value life based on subjective and arbitrary criteria. The scientific consensus is that a unique human individual begins at fertilization. This is not the opinion of the pro-life movement, but an established fact.
“When fertilization is complete, a unique genetic human entity exists.” --C. Christopher Hook, M.D., Oncologist, Mayo Clinic, Director of Ethics Education, Mayo Graduate School of Medicine.
“It is incorrect to say that biological data cannot be decisive...It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception.” –Professor Micheline Matthews-Roth, Harvard University Medical School.
“I have learned from my earliest medical education that human life begins at the time of conception.”—Dr. Alfred M. Bongioanni, Professor Pediatrics and Obstetrics, University of Pennsylvania.
“After fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being. [It] is no longer a matter of taste or opinion...it is plain experimental evidence. Each individual has a very neat beginning, at conception.”—Dr. Jerome LeJeune, Professor of Genetics, University of Descartes.
“By all the criteria of modern molecular biology, life is present from the moment of conception.”—Professor Hymie Gordon, Mayo Clinic.
And so on. The media does not seem to realize that using intentionally misleading labels such as “fertilized egg” does not suddenly negate the fact that scientifically, fertilization results in a unique human individual. When someone murders a child they don’t report “Developed Embryo strangled!” or “Matured Clump of Cells Kidnapped!” Of course, these headlines would not be necessarily inaccurate, as we are all both developed embryos and maturing “clumps” of cells. However, since there is no ideological agenda at play when kidnapping or murder stories are being reported, the media refers to them as what they are: people.
The idea that the smaller the human being, the less worried we should be about their existence is becoming the pro-abortion fallback position. As new technology continues to allow us visual access into the womb, abortion advocates and pro-abortion commentators are continually forced to defend their position with marked discomfort. Consider this exchange on HBO’s Realtime with Bill Maher:
Bill Maher: “You don’t have to be religious to be against abortion. I mean, you see the little picture of the kid in there and at some point, you know, it’s kind of wrong to kill it. (His guests frown. He hurriedly continues.) I mean, at a certain point when it’s sucking its thumb it just seems a little...(the female guest, shocked into speechlessness, stutters and tries to interrupt.) When it’s just a speck of goo on a petri dish I can get it, you know...”
Over 90% of abortions are first trimester abortions. Where public opinion is concerned, we have already won the argument that late-term abortion is cruel and barbaric. However, the new tack of many commentators when arguing for abortifacient forms of “birth control” and very early abortions seems to be “Come on, she’s so small you can barely see her. It can’t be THAT big of a deal.”
While the media and abortion advocates may continue to trot out headlines gasping at our attempt to give “fertilized eggs personhood rights” while avoiding analogous headlines such as “Former Fetus Murdered in Post-Birth Abortion,” the pro-life movement should be careful that we do not throw any human beings under the bus, not even those who are far smaller than we are. The abortion movement has successfully convinced society to judge human beings based on size. Let us be sure that we do not do the same.
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