Thursday, July 16, 2015

A baby by any other name would still have rights


A recent series of exchanges prompted by the revelation that Planned Parenthood is generating income by selling aborted baby parts reminded me of a line from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:

"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

Juliet delivered the line. She was saying that who Romeo was, the essence of this young man with whom she was falling in love, would remain no matter what name he had.

The exchange that reminded me of the line was a pro-choice woman's refusal to refer to the unborn child targeted for abortion as either a child or a baby. She stuck to "fetus."

Now we could compromise. According to Webster's Dictionary, a fetus is human being, so we could just refer to these targets of abortion as human beings. Abortion would then be the killing of a human being.

She avoided dealing with that description. Nor would the other prochoicers with whom I've debated.

That's dangerous territory for them, because it would be an admission about what abortion really is.

As part of my argument I pointed out that there is historical precedent for refusing to call certain groups of people "human beings."

Slave traders, for example, referred to slaves by such euphemisms as "merchandise" or "cargo" or "goods." To admit that slaves were human beings would have caused problems.

During the Rwandan massacre, the members of the targeted tribe were called "cockroaches."

I once read an account of a U.S. Army officer whose troops slaughtered Native American women and children. When asked why he killed the children, he reportedly responded, "Nits become lice."

During various U.S. wars, troops have come up with alternative names for the enemy - Krauts, Nips, Gooks, Towel Heads, and so on.

All of these euphemisms help to make the targeted groups seem less human. In the case of war, it's a bit more understandable. It's hard to kill someone whom we recognize as a fellow human being. I am not a fan of war, but it does make sense why they feel the need to do this.

But we are not at war with unborn children.

Even if prochoicers want to call them "fetuses" or "products of conception" or whatever distancing terms they want to come up with, those children remain human beings. That is their essence. That's what their DNA says. That's what common sense says they are.

That's why parents-to-be refer to child in the woman's womb as their baby. That's why when a woman suffers a miscarriage she will say she lost her baby.

A baby by any other name is still a living human being, with the natural rights due to the him or her as a human being.

Pax et bonum

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