Reflections on a 20-Week Ultrasound

In January I viewed my son through a 20-week ultrasound. Two days later, the Senate killed a 20-week abortion ban. Here are a few reflections:

1. Empty Slogans

"My body, my choice!" That slogan never sounded so lame. The beautiful, delicate foot which I saw on the ultrasound screen was most obviously not a piece of my wife's body. I was looking at the body of my son. It is the body of the child, not the body of the mother, which is dismembered in the abortion procedure. The use of such feeble slogans by the pro-choice movement is a mark of intellectual dishonesty. It represents a refusal to engage seriously with the very real ethical issues at stake in the abortion debate.

2. Deceptive Numbers

Only about 1.5% of abortions in America are performed at 20 weeks or later. Sounds rather insignificant, right? What pro-choice advocates often fail to mention, however, is that there are over one million abortions per year in America. One and a half percent of one million is fifteen thousand.

3. Arbitrary Outrage

Nothing in our society is considered as egregious as the murder of an infant. And yet, four months prior to birth, the dismemberment of that same infant is permitted. Furthermore, those who object are labeled extremists or theocratic fascists.

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4. Shabby Excuses

Pro-choice advocates often argue that late-term abortion should be completely unrestricted because, in some exceedingly rare and overwhelmingly tragic circumstances, a life-threatening medical complication may make the procedure necessary. But this is rather like arguing that society should abolish all speed limits because someone in route to the hospital might need to exceed them. I cannot believe that the government which created the sprawling American bureaucracy is unable to craft abortion legislation which would include a loop-hole for genuine medical emergencies.

5. Regressive Ideology

I love my son. I love to feel him kick, and I can't wait to cuddle him in June. It is not, however, my love for Luke that gives him the right to life. It is the fact that Luke is a human being (i.e. a member of the species Homo sapiens). The modern human rights revolution hangs on the presupposition that human beings have intrinsic rights. In other words, the modern human rights revolution hangs on the presupposition that human beings have rights because they are human, not because someone in power has decided to grant them legal status. The left claims the label "progressive," but the pro-choice argument rejects the presupposition which is responsible for the progress of the modern era.