If anyone tells you the baby in the womb is not a baby, that person may as well tell you the earth is flat. Pro-lifers have heard the out-of-date, unscientific assertion "It's not a baby" for many years.
People who say this ought to be asked when they are going to catch up with the times. These are the days of fetoscopy and fetal surgery. Of course we know when life begins. And we know that the earth is not flat.
But now those who promote abortion say something even worse than "The earth is flat." They now essentially say, "The earth is flat if you think it's flat, and it's round if you think it's round. Decide for yourself."
Whether the baby in the womb is a baby or not really doesn't matter to them, because its fate will depend on the mother's choice. Period. If it's a baby, well, so what? The value that baby has depends on the value the mother decides to give him/her. If she decides to abort the child, that is fine. If she doesn't even consider it a child, that's her right too.
This is the mentality we are dealing with. It was clearly expressed to me one day when I was protesting abortion in a city in the South.
Among those holding their "Keep Abortion Legal" signs was a man with a sign that said, "Keep Baby-Killing Legal." He told me that he supports abortion and wants to be honest about what he is supporting. Abortion, he said, kills a baby, but that is no reason to stop it. The value of the baby depends on the mother's choice.
Pro-lifers need to understand that this is how a growing number of pro-abortion people think. How does one deal with this attitude? A few things must be pointed out to such people.
If the value of others' lives does depend on my choice, then all people are not equal. But our country was founded on the teaching that all people are equal, and that the weak should be protected from the strong.
If the value of a life depends on my choice, then so does the value of a lot of other things. If a mother can decide to kill her own child, then she can also decide to beat her own child, or cut off the child's hand, or torture the child.
"But those things are illegal," someone will say. So what? If the value of a life depends on my choice, so does the value of a law.
It should be clear from this line of reasoning that the pro-abortion mentality turns civilization upside down, and produces a chaos that the pro-abortion people themselves will not want.
Father Frank A. Pavone is the national director of Priests for Life, Staten Island, NY 10304