The debate between pro-life and pro-choice has been a hot topic for years now. Should women be able to have an abortion? Are we killing innocent children? Is it up to the government to decide? The real question is, what really matters most? Although this debate expands to include the rights of women, the role of the government, the quality of life, and utilitarian arguments, I feel the nature of the preborn life or the concept of whether a fetus is alive or not is most important to this argument.
Pro-Life believers think that any person has the right to live and the government is obligated to help preserve all instances of human life even in the event of ill intent, viability, or the quality of life of the parent or child. Pro-Life believes the following:
“The preborn child has a heartbeat by the end of the third week. When surgical abortions are performed in the mid to late first trimester, the baby has arms, legs, feet, hands, etc. Embryology textbooks and even pro-choice advocates concede that human life begins when the egg and sperm unite. The point at which rights of personhood should be granted is not something we know or don’t know. It’s something we decide. We grant rights to people we value and deny them to people we don’t. Such qualities develop over time. A newborn is smaller, less developed, less aware, and more dependent than a young adult, but that doesn’t make him less of a person.” (A.A.A.A., 2017)
On the other side of the spectrum is Pro-Choice. Pro-Choice believers think that every single person should have the right to determine what happens to their bodies, in particular, their reproductive systems and organs, as long as they do not harm the choices of another person. People who are passionate about this belief say:
“It’s just a blob of tissue, not a baby. We don’t know when life begins. Even though biological life begins at conception, we don’t know when personhood begins. The preborn child doesn’t have enough size, ability to feel pain, viability, self-awareness, etc. to be granted rights of personhood.” (A.A.A.A., 2017)
Now, let me ask this question… Would you bury or cremate something that is not alive? No, we wouldn’t. Burial and cremation are for the people, and sometimes animals, we care about to honor them leaving this world. My state of Texas just issued this in July of 2016 about abortions:
“Texas Department of State Health Services proposes rules requiring those providing abortion services or miscarriage treatment to bury or cremate the fetal tissue, regardless of a woman’s wishes; supporters say the regulation ensures that fetal tissue is treated with dignity.” (Vaida, 2017)
So who is right? The problem here has nothing to do with pregnancy and babies. This issue goes much deeper. The real questions we are trying to answer are so much more complicated than that. What defines us as alive? When are we really people and not just tissue and bone? What makes us human? But, above all, who are we decide what life really is? In all honesty, this debate is not about killing babies although that is important and should be addressed. This debate is really about humanity choosing what counts as living and dead. It's about being human.