The Dehumanization of the Unborn
Just a few generations ago, a child in the womb was correctly assumed to be fully human; however, within the last few decades, this has been brought into question. Doubts have come from all over the place, be it from evolutionary science or personal assumptions, and it has lead to the dehumanization of the unborn. Instead of being seen as beautiful persons created in the image of their creator, terms like “embryo” and “fetus” are used to distance us from the humanity of the child in the womb. These practices are not just ignoring the humanity of the child for convenience sake, but also to profit from the use of the aborted child’s body. In this, we see blatant human trafficking disguised as a mission of mercy, sacrificing the most innocent of us to benefit others. The terrible practices of abortion, the sale of fetal tissue, and the use of fetal cells in medicine is an abomination, leaving our culture seeped in the blood of billions of human sacrifices, all the while blinded to the tragedy of their actions.
I. The “Choicest” of arguments
The pro-abortion advocates, self identifying as “pro-choice,” have made numerous claims over the last few decades in their attempt to drive a wedge between the unborn and all other humans. While laden with scientific and illogical inaccuracies, their methods have been successful within a culture that has slipped into postmodernism and a post-absolute truth worldview. The following are some of the most common arguments and the counterarguments against them.
The assertion that is most frequently shouted at every available opportunity by the pro-choice group is the “my body my choice” argument. By this, they claim that the choice to end the life of the embryo rests solely on the decision of the mother because the embryo is within her, attached to her, and therefore simply another part of her. To take away the woman’s right to abortion is seen as the equivalent of removing the woman’s rights to her own body.
This argument is fundamentally flawed based upon two points: first, it assumes that the embryo is not a unique individual nor human; second, it alleges that the embryo is actually part of the mother’s body, giving her sole ownership of it. The humanity of the unborn cannot be scientifically nor logically denied. A simple DNA test would prove that the growing life within her is not part of her, but rather a unique combination of her and the father’s genomes. We can also point out that women do not naturally have two heads, four eyes, and eight limbs. That second set of parts is not part of the mother, but rather part of a completely unique individual that is hosted within the mother temporarily. Unless the pro-choice proponents can prove that the embryo is simply another part of the mother scientifically, they cannot assert a right to discard it. Even that, however, is dubious, since when someone wants to surgically remove one of their body parts simply because they do not want it, we question their sanity.
Another common argument is that abortion is necessary to protect women in dangerous medical situations. If the mother is at risk, they claim, she should have the priority over the child and be allowed to abort. The flaw is that the vast majority of abortions done today are not because the mother’s life is in danger. The overwhelming reasons behind the majority of abortions are either inadequate finances to raise a child or that the mother is not ready for the responsibility of that role. Abortions due to the life of the mother being seriously threatened are less than one percent of all abortions. In cases of ectopic pregnancy, where the zygote implants in the fallopian tube of the mother (which is not sustainable), we see that growth there would not only kill the embryo, but the mother as well. Other than this, there are practically no actual situations in which the mother actually needs to abort to save her life.
Yet, despite such statistics, no pro-choice person would claim that we should limit abortions to medical necessity alone. The opposite is actually the case we see with the legal system pushing further and further away from any sort of limitations on abortion. Recent legislation in places like New York have stripped an unborn fetus of all rights, even going as far as reducing the charges of murder to a lesser offense. Soon after the bill was enacted, a man murdered both his girlfriend and the five-month child in her womb. While he was charged with murder for the woman’s death, the new law significantly reduces the sentence for the purposeful killing of the unborn child. In such an instance, the true colors of the pro-choice movement are revealed. Instead of focusing on the health of the mother like they claimed, they passed legislation that removed the human rights of the unborn, doing so to thunderous applause. Abortion is not about the health of the mother; it is about the dehumanization of the unborn children.
One of the most common arguments for abortion, however, tends to be some form of an argument of financial inability on the mother’s part. As the argument typically goes, abortion is needed because the mother is financially unable to provide for the child. It is assumed that poverty is one of the worst situations to bring a child into. Yes, it is a big worry, and yes, such situations are indeed difficult, but does that necessitate the death of the child? There is nothing but hypocrisy in the argument that claims poverty is bad for a child, yet is willing to kill the child. How can killing a child be better than a chance at life?
It is truly ignorant to assume that a child can never be happy if born into poverty. Being poor is in no way a guarantee of a terrible life. In fact, one could say that the poor children are most likely to strive for better. This can be seen when we survey some of the richest people in the world. Many of the top billionaires came from very humble beginnings. One in particular undermines this argument for abortion tremendously. Leonardo Del Vacchio was sent to an orphanage when his widowed mother couldn’t care for him anymore. After working in a factory for a few years, he eventually opened his own shop where he made glasses. He is now the owner of companies like Ray-Ban and Oakley, and has a net worth of 23.5 billion dollars. Clearly poverty and the inability of a mother to care for her child financially do not guarantee a dead end life unworthy of living. With life, there is hope for the child. With abortion, there is absolutely no chance of hope.
While “pro-choice” arguments are far more numerous than these presented, some of the most commonly used ones are revealed as shallow and unfounded. The child has been reduced to nothing but an inconvenience to be done away with on a whim, instead of the biological human with personhood and rights that it is. As we will see in the following sections, this practice is not only dehumanizing, but also quite barbaric in nature and practice.
II. Abortion Practices
Few people actually realize the horrors of the abortion procedures. An undisputable expert on these methods is Dr. Anthony Levatino, a board-certified OB-GYN with 40 years of experience, including over 1000 abortions that he personally performed.  He regrets his actions and has invested his efforts to showing people what abortion really is.
First trimester medical abortions are chemical abortions. The chemicals Mifepristone and Misoprostol are used to destabilize the lining of the uterus, which the fetus is attached to. This cuts off nourishment to the child, starving them to death. The other chemical causes heavy contractions and heavy bleeding to force the baby out. If this method does not work, suction is used to forcibly rip them out of the womb.6
This suction method, known as Suction D & C, is the most prevalent abortion method, and is most commonly done during the first trimester. The suction is so strong that it literally rips the embryo limb from limb, often ending in the crushing of the skull by the abortionist. Absolutely no method of torture ever created is as barbaric and effective at killing as this.
Second trimester abortions are no less barbaric. Dilation and Evacuation (D & E) abortions are one of the main methods. It is typically done as late as 24 weeks, even though our current medical technology has been able to save premature babies as early as 21 weeks. Suction machines are not strong enough to pull the embryo apart, so in its place, a sopher clamp is used to grab limbs of the baby and, piece by piece, dismember it while it is still alive. By this stage, the baby can obviously feel tremendous pain.
Third trimester abortions occur when the child is already within the window of viability with our current medical technology. Being fully formed and large, the baby cannot be easily removed by force. Instead, they are injected with digoxin, which can cause fatal cardiac arrest. They are injected in the heart or head, and the toxin kills the child. A few days later, the mother is induced into labor to deliver her dead child. If this does not work, it becomes another D & E abortion, removing the child piece by piece.
Dr. Maureen Condic, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah has suggested, contrary to the claims of the pro-abortion advocates, that the earliest stages of the fetal nervous system forms by 28 days. “The neural circuitry responsible for the most primitive response to pain, the spinal reflex, is in place by 8 weeks of development… This is the earliest point at which the fetus experiences pain in any capacity.” With this knowledge in mind, how can we say that abortion is anything but cruel? Far from being a clump of cells in the mother, we can clearly see a unique individual that is being killed in the most tortuous of ways. The only way that this can be seen as even remotely moral is if this fetus is not a human person. That said, such treatment of puppies and kittens would draw outrage, so the argument is hypocritical coming from pro-abortion advocates.
III. Sale of Human Fetal Tissues
If the practice of abortion is not terrible enough, evidence has come to light that abortion provider Planned Parenthood has been profiting from the sales of human fetal tissues. An organization called the Center for Medical Progress began an undercover investigation onto this suspected tissue sales. David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt went undercover starting in 2013, running through the release of the first of their incriminating videos in 2015. Planned Parenthood’s top executives were caught discussing their sales of these fetal tissues, such as baby hearts, lungs, livers, and brains, but their legal teams are incredibly influential and many lawmakers, including the California judge who presided over the case against the journalists are financially supported by the abortion giant.
The first round of lawsuits fell in Planned Parenthoods favor, as the journalists were the ones punished. Planned Parenthood was found innocent of charges; however, the legal battles are not over yet.
Two of Planned Parenthood’s business partners, DaVinci biosciences and DV Biologics have admitted guilt in a $7.8 million settlement with the Orange County District Attorney for selling aborted baby body parts from Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties for profit in violation of federal and California law.
On top of that bombshell, Texas fifth circuit court vindicated the journalists against the most common arguments against them. Instead of the footage being edited to make them look bad, the video footage that had been used to uncover the Planned Parenthood scandal was not heavily edited or doctored. This means that what was said on the videos was not taken out of context. The Texas court ruled that Texas may strip Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies.
At this point, it can be said with confidence that the evidence points towards the abortion industry profiting from the deaths of human babies. The legal system is slowly catching up, but abortion is still a heated battle with one side fighting to save the unborn, and the other fighting to further dehumanize them.
IV. Stem Cell Research
Unbeknownst to many, abortion is not the only field that takes advantage of the helpless human embryo. The use of embryonic stem cells in medicine has quite often promised incredible breakthroughs and nearly miraculous cures of numerous diseases like diabetes, MS, and many others. The industry has drawn billions of dollars in support of this research with the hopes of one day solving a myriad of diseases. Such a tremendous flow of funding makes this avenue of research incredibly lucrative. It isn’t difficult to see why many companies would push for their staff to work with these lines of stem cells. The problem comes with the weight of significant moral baggage.
Stem cells were an incredible discovery. These cells are quite special due to their ability to differentiate into other types of cells. As is quite obvious from even such a basic description, the possibilities of healing injures or curing diseases seems without limit.
Embryonic stem cells are considered pluripotent. This means they have the capabilities to transform into any type of tissue. These types of cells quite literally have the capacity to become any tissue in the human body. The mystery that researchers are trying to crack is, of course, the methods of how to control the transformations. You wouldn’t want a stomach cell to form where you are trying to produce neurons or, even worse, accidentally causing a cell to keep dividing unchecked as a cancerous growth. Still, if such manipulations of these cells become feasible, there are indeed great possibilities for medical breakthroughs.
Stem cells have also been discovered within the bodies of adults. These stem cells, however, lack the naturally occurring full pluripotency of the embryonic cells. These cells typically only differentiate into cells from the tissue it was found in. For example, stem cells found in the liver are limited to becoming part of the liver. This limited diversification is known as multipotency. For this reason, many have passed over these stem cells as a viable option, choosing instead to chase after the possibilities in the pluripotent embryonic stem cells.
While there seems to be so much hope tied to embryonic stem cell research, it is bogged down with tremendous ethical baggage. Due to the cultural shift in the views on the value of a human zygote or fetus, few are conflicted on taking embryonic stem cells even with the knowledge that it unavoidably destroys the zygote. This begs the question: is a zygote a human person?
One must also wonder of the effectiveness of this treatment thus far. As we typically have seen in the research, there have been too many hurdles to the control of embryonic stem cells. To date, embryonic stem cells have not been able to cure anything. With over 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars poured into research, we have little to show for it; however, adult stem cells have not only overcome many of these shortcomings, but have already successfully cured many people of an impressive range of disorders.
For now, a last ethical dilemma is the necessity of human cloning for the use of embryonic stem cells. While often called “somatic nuclear transfer,” the process is quite literally the same as cloning. It removes the nucleus of an ovum cell, replacing it with the nucleus of another cell, and causing it to begin embryonic development using DNA from some other original host. This is quite bluntly human cloning, which is banned around the world. Not only are researchers destroying fully functional and developing embryos, they are crossing the line with cloning, which in itself has its own debate on how such individuals would be seen as lesser humans.
V. Other Medical Uses
Stem cell research is not the end of the use of the fetus in medical research. Some find it shocking to hear that tissues from aborted fetuses are regularly used in the production of vaccinations. “Human cells from the tissue of aborted fetuses have been used in vaccines since the 1960s, and currently they are used in 11 vaccines. Aborted human fetal cell cultures are used for growing viruses, which are then used in the preparation of inactivated and live virus vaccines.“ Why is this necessary? Viruses require host cells to multiply, and vaccines need to be grown for use in both live and inactivated viral vaccinations.
For decades, tissues have been used that originated from a cell line created long ago. Many argue that the passing of time that distances us from the original abortions makes this acceptable due to it going to a supposedly good cause; however, does time make the destruction of human life any less immoral? Clearly it does not. These cell lines are tissues stolen by deadly force from the bodies of innocent humans. Just like with embryonic stem cell research, people have dehumanized the fetus, yet this time it is far later than the first few days of development. Here, they are taking tissues from livers, skin, heart, lungs and brains and other organs. It only takes one look and knowledge of scientific terminology to see this on the Center for Disease Control’s own database. We see “human-diploid fibroblast cells,” known as strain WI-38; Strain MRC-5 was derived from lung tissues from a 14 week old aborted caucasian male fetus that was aborted from a 27 year old woman who’s life was not in any physical danger. In this, we see a new branch of human trafficking.
According to Dr. Stanley Plotkin, a vaccine developer considered to be the leader in the field, numerous aborted fetuses are used in many studies. One study alone used seventy-six fetuses, all aborted at three months or older and developing normally, which were later used in his experiments to create the strains that could be used in vaccine production.  Dr. Plotkin was well aware of the religious objections to the use of aborted fetuses, but in his atheism, he saw no issues. Of course, this man also admits in the same testimony to experimenting new vaccines on orphan children and that it was not unusual to do the same on the mentally handicapped, having done so on mentally retarded children himself.20 The human rights abuses are clear, yet to Dr. Plotkin and many of his colleagues, these acts of dehumanization are normal procedures. They use the tissues of aborted children to make vaccines, and then further dehumanize those they deem less valuable, like orphans and the handicapped. What greater example of dehumanization is there? This is a giant leap closer to the dehumanization on the level of Josef Mengele in Nazi Germany.
VI. Humanity of the Unborn
When all is said and done, all arguments for abortion and the exploitation of the fetus must assume one thing: the fetus is not a human person. If the fetus is not equal to all other humans, we can abort them for nearly any reason, be it physical, emotional, psychological health, or even just because they don’t want it. Such flippant destruction of life would cause uproar if it were done to puppies or kittens, but not to the human fetus. As previously noted in the “my body my choice” argument, it must be assumed that the fetus is not human. This point is not only illogical, but also unscientific.
Biologically, it is untenable to argue that the fetus is simply another part of the mother simply because it is inside her and gleaning resources from her. By that logic, the bacterial fauna of the intestines would also be a part of the mother, not separate organisms living in mutualistic symbiosis. On top of that, from the moment of conception, the fetus has a unique genome created by a recombination of both the mother and father’s DNA. Its blood type and gender are frequently different from the mother, both of which are also decided at conception. Within mere days, the embryo has its own heartbeat, its own nervous system, and long before the mother can feel it, the embryo is capable of moving arms and legs. Nobody could ever scientifically show that a woman has two heads, two pairs of arms and legs, and two blood types at once. No, physically, this embryo is fully human.
Of course, some abortion advocates would grant the humanity of the fetus, but they attack its personhood. Arguments range all over the place, but frequently it is claimed that they are not a person at conception, so even though they are human, they are not of equal value to human persons, making abortion acceptable. The problem is their utter failure to accurately define when an embryo becomes that person.
Some say that it is only a person after birth, yet how can this be logically defended? The timing of birth varies tremendously. While nine months is the average time for fetal development in humans, we often see children born at many different times. Some are born later than average, while many could come prematurely. As previously mentioned, our medical technology makes it feasible to keep babies alive if born even at 21 weeks! Is this child more or less a human person due to its early arrival? Clearly there is no way to suggest that.
Is the child then magically granted personhood upon exiting the birth canal? Does the birthing process instill it with special value? If so, are children born by cesarean section less human than those birthed vaginally? It is ludicrous to even claim such things since they have no basis in observation nor rationality.
One of the more prevalent arguments however, is not the timing of the birth, but the mental capacity of the baby. Some say that self-awareness or self-sufficiency is needed for personhood. Logically, this must also apply to all other humans equally. Are comatose hospital patients any less a person due to their lack of consciousness? What about self-sufficiency? Is a physically feeble 90 year-old less human due to their inability to cook, clean, work, and sometimes even feed themselves? What about when a healthy adult is asleep? Are they truly conscious or self-aware then? We get into dangerous eugenic territory when we take this argument to its logical conclusions. There is no place that the abortion advocate can point to as being logically better than conception as the point of personhood’s origin. As ethicist Scott Rae says,
…if I am hunting with a friend who enters the woods and I then hear what sounds like the rustling of a deer at the same spot where my friend entered, I had better not shoot. After all, I cannot be sure whether the rustling sound was made by my friend or the deer. If in doubt, I should not shoot into the trees. Likewise, if in doubt about the personhood of the fetus, one should not risk the life of the fetus, since it may be a person whose life is being ended by abortion. Uncertainty about the status of the fetus justifies caution, not abortion.
Rae hits the issue very clearly: if there is any doubt on when the fetus is human, it is only logical to err to the side of caution in case one ends up killing a human person. If you do not know when the embryo is a human person, it is unethical to assume that gives the rights to kill it at any point. The only defensible origin of the human person is at conception.
Society has become calloused to the flippant destruction of innocent human life. Excuses are a dime a dozen, yet logical arguments are few and far between. Using logic and science alone, one can fairly succinctly dismantle pro-abortion arguments; but is that enough to change hearts and minds? Sometimes, but the heart issue goes much deeper. We base our conclusions to such arguments as this on our underlying worldviews.
Evolutionary worldviews tend to bring humanity down to the level of the animals. If we have come from animals through a process of errors, death and struggle, something like abortion could make sense. Yet the evolutionary argument is falling on hard times today with the rise of Intelligent Design. Such arguments not only dismantle the capabilities of natural mechanisms, but also point positively towards a designer. The Christian could easily combine such research with the historical evidence of their faith to show that humans are quite exceptional.
The scriptures tell us that humans are not mere animals. Mankind was created in the image of God. As such, we are the image bearers of the divine, and an attack like abortion desecrates the image of God. We have traded in our reality as sons and daughters of the creator of the universe for the convenience and selfishness of abortion. As the Psalmist said in praise to God, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Who are we to tear down what God has made so wonderfully?
How can be so brash as to claim superior value to that of our children? The dehumanization of the unborn must stop, but laws and arguments rarely sway hearts. Instead of putting legal Band-Aids on the surface, we must seek to change the hearts of our culture from the ground up. Abortion has grown to such epidemic proportions due to the failure to build up the current generations with knowledge of human exceptionalism and immense value. As is this author’s goal, education both in school and church must not ever waver in its defense of scientific, logical, and scriptural defenses of human value, especially for those that cannot speak for themselves like the unborn.
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