This post was first published January 16th, 2015 on my original blog, Principium et Finis.
“We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins.” Thus spake Justice Blackmun, writing for the majority in the U.S, Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision in January, 1973. And so the era of virtually unlimited abortion in the United States burst upon the nation in a flurry of obfuscation and falsehood. There never was, in fact, any question of when “life begins”, certainly not on scientific grounds (I defy you to find a biology text that does not agree that life begins at conception): the only question was whether all human life was deserving of protection, or only certain lives. For more than four decades now, the abortion industry and its apologists have relied on verbal smokescreens like Justice Blackmun’s to provide just enough cover that Americans can avoid the ugly truth about abortion.
It’s getting harder all the time to keep the charade going. When Blackmun wrote his decision in 1973, ultrasound was not yet commonly used by obstetricians in the United States, and so for the vast majority of Americans unborn babies remained invisible, out-of-sight . . . and therefore fairly easy to dismiss. Not anymore. Virtually all expectant mothers have pictures of their babies in the womb long before the birth, pictures that have become increasingly clearer and more life-like, especially with the advent of 3-d ultrasound (see photo below). If it looks like a baby, squirms like a baby, gives a “thumbs up” like a baby (see photo above), well, what can one conclude? Of course, women who go to abortion clinics are unlikely to be offered such pictures, even if an ultrasound is performed, because women who see an ultrasound of their unborn baby are much less likely to abort (see here).
Howard Slugh, an attorney, addresses the ultrasound issue in an article [here] in National Review Online called “The Life-Affirming Power of Ultrasound”. He discusses in particular the growing number of state laws in the U.S. that require the abortionist to perform an ultrasound and to show the images to the mother of the unborn baby. There are some interesting features to the legal battles over these laws. First of all, even though abortionists fervently deny that ultrasounds change minds, they “in fact have conceded the point in lawsuits challenging mandatory ultrasound laws”, which they have been fighting tooth-and-nail to stop. Why bother, if they don’t give women reason to reconsider their choice to abort?
That’s not the only revealing thing about the abortionists’ legal arguments. “No one”, according to Slugh, “asserts that the images are misleading or that the laws require additional pro-life commentary.” The abortion providers can only argue that simply requiring them to show clear, unaltered pictures of what (or really, as the images show, who) is being aborted will dissuade some of their customers. A federal court, in striking down one of these laws in North Carolina, said in its decision that the law “explicitly promotes a pro-life message by demanding the provision of facts that all fall on one side of the abortion debate.” Notice that the law does not require the suppression of “facts” that fall on the other side of the debate: it simply requires that the mother know all the facts before undergoing abortion, and the facts happen to be pro-life. And so the abortionists are reduced to asking the court to help them hide the truth. As Slugh notes:
All these sources agree that the more a mother knows about her child, the less likely she is to abort him. This is not because ultrasound images are misleading or politicized; it is because they supply a mother with truthful information necessary for making an informed choice.
It’s good to bear this in mind as we work to protect life: truth is our ally. We should continue to publicize the truth by educating and informing our fellow citizems, by participating in pro-life events, and by supporting pro-life laws such as the ones mentioned above that give women more access to full and accurate information. But more than that, we should also be sure to pray to the Lord of Truth, that He continue to open our eyes and hearts, and those of our fellow people, to the Truth of the humanity of the unborn, and to the sanctity of all human life.