Within an Inch of Their Lives

In Manchester, England lives a seven-year-old schoolboy, and he is not so different from other children...except that this child survived three attempts on his life before he took his first breath.

In 2002, as a 24-week-old fetus, he was unsuccessfully purged from his mother's body in second-term abortion attempts. After the mother witnessed the movements of the child, she decided to save him from certain death by delivering him to the world. He lived as a result of her choice.

And just this past week in Italy, a 22-week-old fetus managed to survive an abortion. Thought to be dead, he sustained life without the apparatuses of the womb for nearly two days. But ultimately, he succumbed to the conditions outside his mother's natural sanctuary. And he is dead today as a result of her choice.

Though these are very different stories with very different results, such events raise important ethical questions about the practice of abortion in Western culture and our evaluation of the "choices" we make.  

The pro-abortion argument is largely predicated upon two "truths": First, that without the ready access to facilities where abortions can be properly performed, women who desire abortions will find themselves in back allies being probed and prodded with unsanitary and dangerous utensils, thereby unnecessarily endangering their own lives. 

But most critical, the second part of this argument is that the fetus is not a human life, and its destruction does not constitute a moral qualm because there is no certainty where "life" begins after conception. It is necessary for the pro-choice lobby to keep the public's perception of a fetus ambiguous -- somewhere between a human being and a rock. After all, if a fetus is indeed a life, then wouldn't it raise further ethical issues about true "choice," in that the mother has a choice in the matter, but the life inside of her is denied one?

It is tragic and wicked that such tactics are employed in the abortion debate. Given the two previously cited examples, where unsuccessfully aborted fetuses showed the resilience of the human spirit and a struggle for life, how can we possibly believe the pro-abortion advocates when they try to convince us that it's not ending a life, but simply a woman's choice?

A fetus at 24 weeks is able to sleep, urinate, defecate, has the nervous development to feel pain, and will turn away at the presence of a bright light. And apparently, a fetus can withstand three attempts at abortion and survive for days on its own after being left for dead. Is there truly any question about whether or not it is a living thing worthy of life?

The rational answer is that nearly all scientific evidence indicates that the fetus is a living entity. But pro-choice advocates do not want to the public to focus on such facts. They would rather have the public believe that the pro-life agenda is a concoction of the religious right, and any attempt to stifle abortion is the result of archaic bigots who like to spout moral accusations in order to take away a woman's right to choose.

But religion, in this issue, is immaterial. We can cast religion aside entirely because it takes only logic and a loose grasp on humanity to see that abortion is, in its best form, morally questionable. And in its worst, it is morally reprehensible.

And the vilest of all abortive practice is that of third-trimester abortions. It is a travesty that our president opposes legislation to ban them. The use of this measure has rightfully been referred to as infanticide. There is little that separates this act from the murder of a child immediately after birth.

Inside a mother's womb in the third trimester of a pregnancy lies a developed human being nearing the completion of his first journey in life. He can survive nearly as well as a full-term baby, though he will need assistance, just as all babies do.

We must ask ourselves how, as a society, we can even try to justify the abortion of this child in the later stages of development. We must examine why we choose to call the act a "partial-birth abortion" or a "termination" rather than correctly labeling it a "murder." After all, the only thing separating an eight-month-old fetus and a baby in his mother's arms is the inch of flesh separating the fetus from the world.

So when we choose to have debates on abortion in the future, let's be honest with one another so that we can come closer to an acceptable solution for our culture, rather than diverting the argument by trying to justify the nonsensical claim that "a fetus is not a life anyway." 

Because I think there's a little boy in England who would disagree with that suggestion.

William Sullivan blogs at politicalpalaverblog.blogspot.com.