Were you able to watch "The Abortion Debate?" If not, I highly recommend that you take some time and do so. You can find the recording online. Fair warning: there are some graphic images towards the beginning. So, be ready to minimize your screen if they upset you (I know they upset me!). There is a warning right before and they play music throughout so it should be easy to avoid.
I took a lot of notes during the debate and there are several things I could touch on. It would be fun to pick the whole thing apart, discuss the different arguments, and talk about the good and bad arguments each of the gentlemen used.
As I have thought and prayed about this, though, I decided instead to focus on one issue. Personhood. Dr. Willie Parker (although personally, I think abortionists shouldn't be permitted to use the honorific "Dr.") asserted that while he has killed tens of thousands of human beings, he hasn't killed any "people."
Dr. Parker, how is that possible? Aren't all human beings people? You might think so, but, according to Willie Parker you would be wrong.
Parker insists that personhood doesn't begin until birth. Well, more accurately, he claims that it's impossible to know exactly when someone becomes a person. For ease of discernment I suppose birth works for him. He states quite clearly that unborn children are human beings, after all we know that women don't give birth to puppies, but that until birth they aren't really "people." Logically, if they aren't people, it's acceptable to kill them at will.
Further, he asserts that by giving an unborn child the rights of a person we would be harming the mother's rights as a person. Therefore, if someone has to lose it should be the child. Not the mother.
This argument isn't new. In fact, the "unborn children aren't people" argument is so common (and so ridiculous) that Choice42 made a video about it.
What's the problem with the, "you have to be born to be a person" argument?
There are a few things.
First, birth is not a developmentally significant event. The unborn baby inside the uterus is not any different from the baby outside of the uterus. Here's a fun anecdote. My friend Renee and I were due the same day with her third son (Simon) and my fourth son (Jonah). We found out we were "pregnancy buddies" early on and had great fun swapping stories, complaining to each other, and tracking our progress. For various reasons, Simon was born three weeks early and Jonah was born five days late. Because of that, two tiny male humans who are exactly the same age (technically) have birth dates one month apart. After they were born we didn't stop communicating, and the babies continued to hit the same milestones at almost exactly the same time (especially at the beginning). In fact, the most memorable is that their first smiles were on the same day.
Why does that matter? Well, really, it doesn't. It doesn't matter because both Renee and I were convinced of our children's humanity. Legally, though, my son didn't "become" a person until four weeks after her son. Same age, same gender, same development. The only difference was the day they exited the womb and took their first breaths.
Second, when we can assign personhood to one human being and not to another it becomes a serious problem. If persons are deserving of protection and non-persons aren't, they who is next? The elderly? People with disabilities? Women? Men? People with certain skin color or other ethnic markers? Truly, if some human beings can be denied personhood then why can't others? This type of philosophy puts all of us at risk - especially the most vulnerable. The more powerful can simply say, "well, sorry, you're no longer a person," and dispose of others at will.
So, where is this coming from? Is this some cockamamey idea dreamed up by pro-aborts to get their way? Not really. Or, at least, not recently.
Our Constitution protects "persons." The 14th amendment states, in section one, "... nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..." Then, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton come along and SCOTUS decides that the unborn child is not a legal "person." Therefore, abortion became a privacy issue. If the unborn child isn't a legal person then they don't have any rights to protection under the law.
Stripping someone of their personhood isn't a new idea. In 1787 the Constitutional Convention reached a compromise known as "The Three Fifths Compromise." What does that mean? Essentially, under the law a slave was only counted as 3/5s of a person. The reasoning was that slave states shouldn't have more representation than free states because many of the human beings (i.e., slaves) in their states weren't really "people."
Another well-known example from history is found in Nazi Germany just before the Holocaust. The Nazi party embarked on a program to dehumanize the Jews. They declared them to be "sub human." Or, as we would say today, nonpersons.
There are many, many more examples of this but I will limit myself to just one more. This one is slightly less well known and a little further back in history. In the 1800s, the Irish were considered "nonpersons" by their English rulers. Because of this, it wasn't an offense to kill an Irish person. Many now consider this to be "The Irish Holocaust."
I believe that all human beings are equal persons and deserve equal protection under the law. Unfortunately, today, that belief is almost radical. I know, and history backs me up, that any other belief system puts the most vulnerable among us at risk. We're facing our own holocaust. The holocaust of the unborn children of our nation.
They can't speak for themselves, they're smaller than we are, and they're very weak. They can't defend themselves. It is our job, our duty, to defend and protect them. Even from their own mothers.
Today is not a day to be silent. We can't allow the Willie Parkers of this world to prevail. Would it be easier to stand by and silently lend our agreement to the belief that the unborn aren't really humans? Yes, it would be. We could go about our days and turn a deaf ear to the cries of the unborn. They aren't our babies, after all. Is it even our business?
That attitude, the attitude of willful ignorance, is what has allowed countless millions to be murdered over the last 40 plus years of almost unfettered abortion. Will you stand by and allow the holocaust of abortion to continue? Or will you decide to stand up and make a difference?
The choice is yours. The consequences of your choices, however, are theirs.