I love clarity.
For a Catholic and a pro-lifer, the issues of humanity vs. "personhood" are clear: All human beings are persons. No exceptions.
|This is a human person.|
However, on the pro-"choice" side, the determination of which human beings merit "personhood" is fuzzy, adjustable, arbitrary, relative, and even emotion-based.
I've always wondered: Why would someone go that shadowy route when we are talking about life and death?
Then a few days ago, I read a comment on Jill Stanek's blog that shocked me with its clarity. A pro-lifer named Lauren stated the obvious:
"It is so clear that someone only questions the personhood of a human she wishes to harm."
That stopped me in my tracks. It's been right there in front of my face all along, but I never really noticed it. Read that sentence again:
It is so clear that someone only questions the personhood of a human she wishes to harm.
So many times I've asked the question of abortion advocates: "If you can't know with absolute certainty when 'personhood' begins, shouldn't you always err on the side of life?" No one has ever answered: "You know, that's a good point! Yes, we must always err on the side of life." It frustrates me.
But of course Lauren's comment makes it clear why I never get that answer. Abortion advocates will not err on the side of life, for one reason: Arguing on the murky, indistinct basis of "personhood" is the only way to justify the killing of a fellow human. There is simply no other reason one would argue it.
Try to think of a time when human beings' "personhood" was questioned for a motive other than using, harming, or killing them. Wasn't it a loose and subjective view of "personhood" that justified slavery? Or the Nazi Holocaust? Or even the killing of Terri Schiavo and others like her?
In fact, the whole point of questioning the "personhood" of others is to deny them human rights. It's a rhetorical technique used to exclude, not include.
It's like a sliding scale.
Here's how it works:
If I want to be able to kill the small human early on, like some readers, then I slide the "personhood" marker to the first trimester or so.
If I want to be able to kill the small human up until the last toe exits the birth canal, like some feminist U.S. Senators, then I slide the "personhood" marker to birth.
If I want to be able to kill the small human in infancy, like some esteemed professors who occupy Ivy League bioethics chairs, then I slide the "personhood" marker to weeks or months after birth.
See how that works? It's easy. License to kill on a sliding scale, depending on my comfort zone. That's the core of the "personhood" debate.
Pro-lifers, please don't be fooled or intimidated. The abortion advocates' "complex, philosophical" discussion of "personhood" is not some high-minded, noble, nuanced, or inscrutable search for what is True about the human person. It's simply a way for one group of humans to dehumanize, oppress and kill another group. These advocates presuppose the good and necessity of abortion, and then they use language manipulation to justify it and cleanse their own consciences.
Pro-"choicers", if what I've written is inaccurate, please show me how. If I'm wrong, then tell me: Why do you debate the "personhood" of unborn humans, if not to have legal permission to kill them?
There may be a reason that I haven't heard yet. I'm listening.