Opinion

Back to the basics: What does abortion do?

Preborn human at about 16 weeks - estimated time of the attempted abortion of Elisa.

Every once in a while when you’re looking into an issue that seems complex, it’s good to take a step back and look at the big picture.  It brings clarity.  Getting lost in the details, forgetting the thrust of the debate, and losing the purpose of a discussion are the dangers of becoming too fixated on one aspect of a story.

The recent Planned Parenthood videos give us an excellent opportunity to take a step back from the crossfire and look at abortion from a broad perspective.  What does abortion do?

The basics of abortion are very simple, but it’s inexcusable and harmful to forget the facts.  It can be handy when someone describes the key components of a thing.

It is so straightforward it may even sound comical, but the beginning facts preceding an abortion are these: when a man and woman come together, they make a living human baby.  This is true of every normal pregnancy, and it’s inescapable.

You can draw several key facts from that beginning.  The baby is living, is human, and is in the right environment to grow up healthy.  These are not debate points, but an explanation of the way it is.  This is not new, but like many truths, the important thing is remembering it.

The baby is living, otherwise there’d be no demand for the abortion.  Nobody chooses to argue against this because it’s obviously utterly true.  If you need help seeing life, look at the fact that the baby is growing and developing (two more basic facts).  It’s much more common to see people avoid the next part of the truth.

The baby is human.  What else can two humans make?  This is the only option.  The resulting baby is always human, never something else.  Dad is never hoping for a puppy.  Pregnancy is exciting for new couples, but not THAT exciting.  If it’s not a human in there, you’ve got bigger problems.  Before you start thinking about your peers’ lessons on identity, personhood, and the many varieties of human expression,* notice that humanity is the prerequisite for any of those.  Biologically, every human infant is human.  Given time, the baby will grow to be your age.  The only difference between you and the baby is time.

Those two facts together mean that every pregnancy involves a very young living human, and every abortion kills one.

There’s no way to honestly claim a baby is merely a clump of cells.  Next time you see a post about the Planned Parenthood mess, remember the basics.  Regardless of any choice the parent makes, the baby inside is both human and alive, like the rest of us.

*Also, think about whether any of those really even matter or exist in the way you think they do.  I’m inclined to hesitate before suggesting that our generation has singlehandedly discovered categories that bestow rights nobody else ever knew about.  Perhaps “invented” is a better term than “discovered.”  This is worth mentioning because newly claimed rights are part of the reason it has become so easy for some parents to justify killing their baby.

Ben Kauffman is a Michigan resident and Hillsdale College alumnus.  His four years at Hillsdale helped foster his interest in the pro-life cause, but he is most of all thankful to his parents for their care and thoughtfulness in teaching him.  He led two buses packed with Hillsdale students to the March for Life in 2014.

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