Si­lence as­sents to evil of ‘af­ter-birth abor­tion’

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - RE­BECCA HAGELIN

Decades ago, when Roe v. Wade was de­cided, con­ser­va­tives and many re­li­gious folks pre­dicted the coun­try had be­gun an in­evitable slide to­ward a mur­der­ous fu­ture: a time when cer­tain peo­ple — in ad­di­tion to un­pro­tected pre­born chil­dren — would be de­clared less valu­able than oth­ers, their killing jus­ti­fied.

Back then, lib­eral voices jeered at the warn­ings of the slip­pery slope ahead. But those fears have be­come real. Med­i­cally sanc­tioned star­va­tion and death-in­duc­ing de­hy­dra­tion are passed off as a “peace­ful death” for the ter­mi­nally ill or el­derly. Our own pres­i­dent could not bring him­self to vote, as an Illi­nois state se­na­tor, to pro­tect in­fants born alive af­ter an abor­tion. (They were sim­ply left to die — which was what their moth­ers wanted, af­ter all.)

And now, the ad­vo­cates of death have stepped up the tempo. A new gen­er­a­tion of ethi­cists has be­gun mak­ing the case in fa­vor of so-called “af­ter-birth abor­tion.” Like Prince­ton Univer­sity’s Peter Singer, they be­lieve in­fants are not “per­sons” en­ti­tled to the right to life. Why? Be­cause in­fants, while hu­man, are not “self-aware.” These ethi­cists as­sert that hu­man be­ings who lack self­aware­ness are not “per­sons” and, if they are not per­sons, they have no in­de­pen­dent moral sta­tus, no au­to­matic right to life and no claim to the pro­tec­tions of law.

The ques­tion of whether a new­born child would be al­lowed to live or die, the “ethi­cists” ar­gue, would de­pend solely on the wishes of his or her par­ents. The same rea­sons that might “jus­tify” an abor­tion at three months’ ges­ta­tion would jus­tify an “af­ter-birth abor­tion” — i.e., the par­ents can kill a child who is in­con­ve­nient, dis­abled, the “wrong” gen­der or sim­ply un­wanted.

This new think­ing shreds the qual­ity-of-life fa­cade that’s of­ten used to jus­tify the abor­tion of a hand­i­capped child: The only “qual­ity of life” that mat­ters here is that of the par­ents. If a child’s life por­tends fi­nan­cial bur­den or stress for the par­ents — or cost to the state — that would be rea­son enough for par­ents to snuff the life out of their own off­spring.

This is our fu­ture: An in­fant’s claim on life will be no greater than that of a pre­born child — nonex­is­tent.

More pre­cisely, this is our fu­ture un­less we fight back — loudly.

I wrote re­cently about the im­por­tance of elect­ing a can­di­date who un­der­stands that cul­tural is­sues — the plight of our frac­tured fam­i­lies — un­der­lie many of our na­tion’s prob­lems. And that’s true. Elect­ing a pres­i­dent who will value the lives of all Amer­i­cans — born, pre­born, dis­abled, el­derly or marginal­ized — is hugely im­por­tant.

At the same time, how­ever, our per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity runs deeper than cast­ing a vote: No mat­ter which can­di­date we sup­port, each one of us must act within our own spheres of in­flu­ence to af­firm the value of all life. We must speak up bluntly to un­mask this “eth­i­cal” pro­posal for what it is: pure evil.

This evil of “af­ter-birth abor­tion” serves up the op­por­tu­nity to open con­ver­sa­tions with your friends and fam­ily who are ad­vo­cates of a woman’s “right to choose.” Where does that “right” log­i­cally end? Only at ar­bi­trary junc­tures. What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween a baby one hour be­fore birth and one hour af­ter?

Chal­lenge oth­ers to rec­og­nize abor­tion’s slip­pery slope. Raise the is­sue with those who think “di­vi­sive is­sues” such as abor­tion are best un­men­tioned. Who can re­main silent in the face of such out­ra­geous views, ped­dled as eth­i­cal de­ci­sion­mak­ing? Make no mis­take — re­main­ing silent will bring de­feat, be­cause our si­lence in the face of such an abom­inable pro­posal cloaks it with re­spectabil­ity.

Have a con­ver­sa­tion over din­ner tonight with your chil­dren about the right to life. Do they un­der­stand that all life — sim­ply be­cause it is hu­man life — de­serves to be pro­tected? Have they ab­sorbed the util­i­tar­ian mes­sages of our cul­ture that mea­sures the value of hu­man life by what it pro­duces or ex­pe­ri­ences or even by the bur­dens it cre­ates for oth­ers? Do they rec­og­nize that evil ad­vances when we, as a peo­ple, shrink from un­com­fort­able dis­cus­sions?

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