What is the value of a life? A human life? A dog’s life? A potted plant?
I have shared in the past that I am pro-life and told my story publicly. I believe that all life comes from God, that He made man in His image, and that human life is therefore of inestimable value. As such, it follows that I hold the lives of humans as being of greater value than other forms of life.
Don’t get me wrong – I believe in caring for all of creation. At home, I have a little white furry Chihuahua with medical needs, coincidentally much like my own. We have sought veterinary help for him and he’s on the appropriate medications. I care lovingly for my office plants, though they never fare as well as Hugo the Chihuahua. A girl can try.
In Canada, when it comes to the value of the life of the unborn child, our country’s policies and laws express that it is of no value. In the courts, it has been made clear again and again that the unborn child, the fetus, has no status of personhood. The child’s life can be ended up to the ninth month of pregnancy (really, it’s true).
This occurred not because we expressly stated, as a nation, that we believed that an unborn child should have no legal standing. Rather, it is because an imperfect access-to-abortion law was challenged many years ago by Henry Morgentaler. The Supreme Court of Canada found it imperfect enough to strike it down and left it to Parliament to redraft another law. No government has had the sufficient desire, courage or concern to do so. And while public opinion is far from settled on the matter, wild shrieking can be heard up and down Wellington Street each time a Member of Parliament even mutters a comment on the topic of abortion.
Further, western society feels a growing need to make light of the life of the aborted child and seek additional protections for other life forms.
We have BUMP+ in which ‘fictional reality’ characters give the decision to abort or not to the audience. As stated on their website “the choice is (really) up to you.”
In February, Angie Jackson live tweeted her RU-486 abortion. Initially started to casually demystify and chronicle the “4 hour bleed out” abortion, it led to a days-long painful process during which she suffered many of the known adverse reactions. Planned Parenthood had unfortunately failed to share with her the comments made by RU-486’s inventor, Dr. Baulieu, who has stated that it’s “insulting to women to say that abortion now will be as easy as taking aspirins. It is always difficult, psychologically and physically, sometimes tragic.”
While the unborn child has no rights, the Swiss government in particular is considering two right protection moves. Recently a national referendum was held to determine whether animals have the right to legal counsel.
Ethicists in that country are also pondering “plant rights”. Experts are taking the time to “debate the finer points of plant dignity with university ethicists.” And while an important consideration undergirds the debate, that of genetic modification, one must stop and consider where we’ve come – in one Western nation, there is a treaty which states that arbitrary “decapitation of wildflowers at the roadside” is immoral and another that ignores the plight of the unborn. Let’s not forget that decapitation of a child occurs in certain abortion procedures.
The life of the unborn child matters. It has value. However, the lives of the woman and man who turn to abortion as a solution for an unwanted pregnancy are also of inestimable worth. They too were created in God’s image. They are deserving of dignity, love and respect. I believe that loving and respecting women such as Ms. Jackson would be fully sharing with her the facts of abortion, the known short-term and long-term side effects, and offering to provide support to her and her child.
Abortion does not implicate the health and value of one life. It implies the value of three, and its effects ripple out to our society as a whole.