Erring on the Side of Life


It is time that our laws catch up with science and err on the side of life.

House Republicans’ successful efforts to pass tax relief might have included a definition of the unborn child into the U.S. tax code. This would have been only the second time that our laws recognized the unborn child. But some, like Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), leader of the House pro-abortion caucus, ranted in a statement that “(t)he tax code is no place to define what constitutes an ‘unborn child.’” (The same Rep. DeGette, I am sure, has had no problem with the fact that the U.S. tax code has compensated for the unborn child’s destruction.)

Politicians were not all who were panicked. Pro-abortion advocates NARAL argued how “(t)he conversation about when life begins belongs with our scientists, our clergy, and our families. The last place it belongs is in our tax code.”  These are the same radicals who complained about a 2016 Doritos Super Bowl ad that featured a baby during an ultrasound amounted to “humanizing fetuses.” God forbid!

But when human life begins is not a subject that should be up for debate. Why then, do our laws seem to struggle to recognize what basic science would conclude: “that human embryos from the one-cell stage forward are indeed living individuals of the human species; i.e., human beings.”

The foundations of our democracy as well as science teach us the inherent worth and equal dignity of every human being. Whatever attacks human beings, attacks democracy as well. This was best articulated in President Ronald Reagan’s final March for Life address on January 22, 1988:

America was founded on a moral proposition that human life—all human life—is sacred. And this proposition is the bedrock of our national life, the foundation of our laws. It’s the wellspring of our Constitution. Courts may ignore it, and they have. They cannot—and I should add—have not denied it. When reverence for life can have no boundaries, when we begin to take some life casually, we threaten all life. . . .All human beings share an equal right to life simply by virtue of their humanity.

Isn’t there enough evidence for even skeptics to admit that those who assert the personhood of the fetus may be right? And if we are to err, shouldn’t it be on the side of life? I believe it’s time the law caught up with science.

Since 1988 we have seen incredible advances in pre-natal science. From 4-D ultrasounds that show incredible pictures (one might say life-like!) of the child to the ability of doctors to perform surgery on unborn children. When one of my nieces was born premature in the early 2000’s she weighed barely more than a pound. Her parents were told by her doctors that if she had been under a pound they would have been able to do nothing to help her. Today, a mere sixteen years later, doctors now can save children who weigh as little as 9 ounces! Everyday science shows that every child, born and unborn, is worth the effort to save.

In 2015 undercover videos revealed to the nation what groups like Planned Parenthood think of the unborn – that they are only worth the body parts that can be harvested from them. To Planned Parenthood and to other abortion advocates, it is better to dismember unborn children before they can be counted. But the life of every human being is an intrinsic good, not something whose value is conditional upon its usefulness to others or to the state. Those who support abortion are incensed by the insertion of a simple scientific definition in our tax code. Perhaps they understand that such recognition would be the beginning of the end in the struggle to restore respect for the dignity of every human life.

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