“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776
This past weekend I had the opportunity to see and meet Dr. Ron Paul, Congressmen from Texas and 2012 Presidential candidate. He came in second at the GOP Straw Poll by only 152 votes, and while virtually ignored by most media outlets, I was interested in finding out more about him. I like the fact that unlike many politicians, he always voted by the Constitutional principal of liberty, regardless of whether it was popular or expedient. Some may not agree with a few of things he touts, however, when he makes a decision he always errs on the side of freedom for the people, instead of more state control of the people.
What I did not expect was a new angle on what it means to be pro-life. While Dr. Paul is a Christian, instead of using a biblical reason to outlaw abortion, he used a Constitutional one. He believes that when the Declaration of Independence refers to a “right to life” it was referring to the basic right to live, not just for those born, but also for unborn. He believes that children in the womb have a just as much right to liberty and a future as the mother who carries them. This reasoning may just completely turn the pro-abortion faction’s argument on it head. No longer is faith alone standing up justify the life of the unborn, but the Constitution as well.
In 1972, as a result of Roe v. Wade, the lives of future children were forever bound by the decisions made by their mothers. However, a lot has changed for women since then. No longer is there a stigma to be pregnant before marriage. No longer are there few resources or opportunities for an unwed mother. No longer is a baby just a mass of tissue in the womb until it is born. Science has shown us the little ones’ heartbeat as early as 6 weeks, revealed that they can feel pain as early as 5 weeks, and can be sucking their thumbs at 17 weeks. Forty years have not only removed both the social and financial barriers to an unintended pregnancy, but scientific advancement has removed our ignorance as to what is growing inside the womb. So, all that truly remains for Roe v. Wade to answer is this: do we value the life of a child or not?
Science has given us the ability to heroically save the life of premature babies, even as early as 4 months. We all have shared the anguish of the parents as they tearfully wait by a bedside as their premature child struggles to survive. Yet at the very same time, in some states we can legally abort children as late as the 9th month of pregnancy. Doesn’t that strike you as a bit schizophrenic, even a bit psychotic? Are we really saying that a child is only a child as long as its mother says it is? And if so, why do we limit that right to the birth canal?
The fact is, sometimes we don’t. Many states and politicians support the right of abortion clinics to refuse medical treatment to babies that survive an abortion, including President Obama. And that is the problem: when we allow the state, instead of the Creator, to define the rights and liberties of its citizens – the lines tend to get blurred. In 1973 we could easily claim scientific ignorance and social inequity regarding pregnancy; we can do that no longer. There is no Constitutional reason why the life and liberty of an unborn child should be secondary to the life and liberty of the mother, unless her own personal physical health is at stake. And, at the risk of being radical, I also believe the same in the rare case a pregnancy results from a rape or incest. I see this particular unborn child as the 2nd victim of the attack; it is not their fault any more than it was the woman who was raped or molested. Why should their right to life be destroyed because of the violent act of another? As a society we should help the mother work through the emotional and physical consequences of the rape or molestation, not hustle her off to have an abortion to be violated again. Ministering to broken people is hard and emotionally draining; unborn children should not be sacrificed just because society wants the mother to take what they see is the easier route.
I don’t deny that pregnancy can be difficult, whether the child is wanted or not. However, inconvenience and difficulty seems to be the only excuses left to those that are pro-abortion. Women today can be pregnant, hold down a job (or be on welfare), and be unmarried with little social consequence. Science has even be able to show mothers the faces of their children in utero to such a level of detail that they can see the familial similarities as early as 26 weeks. So, this brings me back to my original question: do we value the life of a child or not?