The question has got to be answered; Is the principle problem facing the pro-life movement one of an unconvinced public or one of the hardened hearts of a troubled culture?
In my mind, the best way to consider this is to look first at those who are convinced of the humanity of the unborn and see if their treatment of the pro-life cause is measurably different from those who are either unconvinced or even pro-choice. Do those who call themselves “pro-life” in general act like people who are convinced that 3,500 or so innocent human beings are being unnecessarily killed everyday in the United States with the permission and legal protection of the government?
The question can fairly be asked, “What is the appropriate response to that belief?” My honest answer is that I do not have the foggiest idea, but I assume it will look somewhat different for all of us. I can draw a parallel here to a Christian walk with God. I do not know what the Christian Jay is fully supposed to look like. I know that I am supposed to represent Christ, but I learn more about what that means every day. What I do know for certain is that the imperfect Christian Jay ought to look different than the non-Christian Jay. Accepting the truth of Christ must produce change in my life that we can look at it and say that something changed on that day.
Lets look at the lives of pro-lifers in the United States and ask the same question. How does the knowledge of the humanity of the unborn change our life? It is a more troubling realization than most are comfortable acknowledging, though. I live in a world where we kill people everyday on a massive scale for elective reasons.
If you want to test it, lets change a variable in this situation and see what happens. I know Scott and Greg love to trot out the toddler, but I want to go a little older. There are qualities that we say do not impact how we value a human being. Age and development both fall into those categories. That means that pro-lifers are saying that we do not recognize any difference in the value of a human life based on numerical age and developmental differences. A 10-week gestation fetus is of the same inherent value and has the same humanity as a 10-year-old child.
Now say that it was 10-year-old children being killed everyday in facilities all over the United States. Every other data factor stays the same, but we change a couple of variables that we argue do not matter. Would we be reacting in the same manner? The American people know that 10-year-old children are being killed because their parents do not feel like they can afford a teenager, or the child had a disease or a handicap that will be difficult to deal with as they hit puberty, or the mother is single and knows that a teenager is much more difficult to raise and can not possibly handle this on her own. How would they react to that? Would the reaction be the same for the average person who declares themselves pro-life? We say that we see no moral difference in these scenarios, but would we have a different moral outrage and response at functionally the same moral offense?
I am asking the question and that will be the focus of some coming posts. Have we convinced the world of our arguments? Are we convinced ourselves? And how do we simultaneously champion the moral argument of the unborn while awakening the outrage of those who already identify themselves as pro-life? It will do little good to convince the world that the unborn are human beings if the resulting moral response is so muted as to not make a difference.