Years ago, my seventh grade science class attempted to determine the characteristics that all living things share. Science identifies several features to qualify something as living, including having DNA, cells, responding to change, using energy, reproducing and development. Unfortunately, some people still find these scientific facts difficult to accept, especially when recognizing human life.
The scientific criteria for life are clearly present at conception, proving the presence of a new human being. How, then, can some still question when life begins or when an unborn child becomes a “person”? Some say these questions are unanswerable, thereby justifying abortion in the earliest stages of pregnancy. Yet it seems more likely that these precarious justifications simply veil the depraved convictions of a confused generation. Surely, people are not so uneducated or dull they cannot understand scientific facts or recognize from a 3-D ultrasound the existence of human life. Rather, people so often find it difficult to acknowledge unborn children as humans is because of the general inconvenience this causes.
Inconvenience is unacceptable in our society due to our entitlement mentality. Most of us would take the easy way around a situation instead of facing the challenge head on with all its consequences. This is no different when considering abortion.
A woman once “corrected” me by asserting that an unborn child was not a baby. “It’s a fetus!” she insisted. She used this medical term for her own purpose—to avoid the inconvenience of attributing humanity to the unborn. Perhaps she realized that if she acknowledged the humanity of an unborn baby, she would also have to acknowledge abortion as murder. “Murder” is such a nasty word. Our society believes it can avoid committing murder by simply refusing to accept that an unborn child is a person. By calling an unborn baby a “mass of tissues,” “product of conception,” “embryo” or “fetus,” one can effectively dehumanize the child. Abortion then begins to sound more palatable. No longer is it taking human life, but merely removing excess cells. In this way, inconvenience is successfully sidestepped due to linguistic manipulation.
One of the most deceitful ways our society projects its obsession with convenience is by disguising it with a gentler word: “compassion.” Compassion is a mixture of sorrow, mercy and love. We are bombarded with the message that abortion is the compassionate course of action when rape or birth defects are involved, as if no alternative existed. It is possible to grieve with a rape victim over their hurt and show them mercy and love without advocating abortion. Abortion is neither merciful nor loving to the unborn child, who should also be considered when compassion is shown to the mother. Of course, our society only extends compassion to those living outside the womb, but killing someone because another believes they do not deserve to live is never compassionate. This is, in effect, the message conveyed by those who support abortion in the case of birth defects in our physically and mentally challenged communities. Instead of encouraging women to show true compassion by mercifully giving their helpless, unborn children a chance at life, our society encourages them to do what is most convenient.
Sadly, this convenience mentality culminates with those who see ultrasounds or hear heartbeats of their unborn babies, and yet choose abortion. If obvious marks of humanity such as the heartbeat or tiny shape of a person cannot change someone’s mind about abortion, nothing short of divine intervention will. This is how firm the grasp of depravity is on our society; one clearly sees the truth before them of human life, yet they turn away in denial of its existence.
As disheartening as this is, we should never express anger or resentment towards people who turn a blind eye to the truth. Fury or violence from the pro-life community directed towards those who support abortion never changed anyone’s mind. These inappropriate actions may even drive some further from the truth. While it is certainly frustrating that some could so easily disregard life, we should never chastise the blind for stepping on our toes. Instead, we must choose compassion.
Kathryn Steveline, 27, is a 2008 graduate of Miami University who works in Columbus, Ohio.