Opinion: Life and choice
Ralph K. Ginorio
| May 17, 2022 10:15 AM
"My body, my choice" is the rallying cry for pro-abortion activists. This asserts that the only human life in play where abortion is concerned is that of the potential mother.
As a fetus gestates, this claim becomes progressively less defensible. Contemporary medical science allows us a window into the womb where we in the outer world can bear witness to a child's development of each human quality.
Our babies are no longer strangers to us before birth. Today, both fathers and mothers can become acquainted with the distinctness of each child.
If a fetus is an independent life, a discrete person, then "it" is most certainly not "your body." "It" is a fellow human being, with its own body and its own human worth. He or she is not an "it" at all.
The earliest known codes of laws, Hammurabi's Code and the Ten Commandments, made the taking of human life a monopoly of the state. "Thou shalt not kill" always permitted the government to execute capital criminals and to wage war.
The option of ending a fellow human being's life was taken away from the individual. Only in rare cases, such as in instances of self-defense or of medical triage, was an individual permitted to end another's life.
By this standard, abortion is within the pale of our Western traditions of inalienable human rights if it is performed to save the life of the mother. Arguably, to prevent the perpetuation of a woman's victimization as a result of a pregnancy caused by incest or rape, abortion could also be defined as a valid form of self-defense.
What it never should be is a form of birth control. Yet, this is what the most ardent of pro-abortion advocates claim. They assert an unlimited right for the potential mother to commit what may be infanticide for any reason, or for none.
No civilization within the Western tradition can allow individual citizens the scope to freely deal death to one another with impunity. While frontiers like the "Wild West" had murderous anarchy, this chaos was a result of insufficient resources to enforce the law. It was never a product of deliberative choice to place citizens at existential risk from one another's capacity for homicide.
Future generations may look back in horror at our parsing of definitions of when human life begins. The U.S. Constitution once defined slaves as 3/5 of a man, perpetuating their bondage. Anti-Semitic Nazis once called Jews subhuman before exterminating them. Whenever any person for any reason is dehumanized, we are all imperiled.
Each of us was probably unwanted at some time by our parents. We are fortunate to have survived that particular gauntlet.
Most of the rest of the Western world has safe and legal access to abortion under certain restricted circumstances and for a limited time; usually within the first trimester. So should we.
Abortion involves the snuffing out of a potential human life. Does not the baby deserve the sympathy and protection of society, along with the mother?! A society that permits the unfettered victimization of human beings within the womb by those outside of the womb will likely stop protecting anyone's human rights.
This issue cannot help but be tragic. It is of the gravest intimacy. No one should be blithe in considering it. There are no easy answers. The ways in which we are permitted by law and tradition to take human life must remain all of our business. The alternative is the devaluation of every single human life.
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In Maine and then Idaho, Ralph K. Ginorio has taught the history of Western civilization to high school students for nearly a quarter century. He is an “out-of-the-closet” Conservative educator with experience in special education, public schools and charter schools, grades 6-12. He has lived in Coeur d’Alene since 2014. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org