Jonathan Swift had proposed nearly three hundred years ago that the Irish eat their own children as a way to avoid the expense of raising them. The purpose of Mr. Swift’s essay was to move the English people to do something to end the terrible burden of poverty the Irish people labored under, not, of course, to promote the “solution” advanced in his essay. Swift wanted to shame those who claimed to value human life into doing something to dignify that belief rather than simply giving it lip service.
Many who claim to value human life in this country seem oblivious as to what is necessary to sustain and enjoy life. They seek to ennoble life at its dimmest points, in its rudimentary beginnings and in its declining end. Life in its fully ripe, fully sensate, fully blossomed glory doesn’t seem to interest them at all. Hence, it is murder to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting, and also murder to remove a feeding tube from a vegetative patient, but not murder to kill a thinking, feeling, moving person as long as it occurs in an act of war, for instance. Indeed, calling murder war makes it murder no more, a title of another essay of mine.
Beyond advocating the slaughter of the born in the commission of war (and the glorification of soldiers as heroes), pro-lifers are remarkably callous to the fate of the tens of millions of unborn that are spontaneously slaughtered in the womb every year. So callous that I’m afraid someone must step up to the plate and bat for these anonymous unfortunates lest their “silent screams” never enter the consciousness of those who pretend to be their advocates.
How to prevent the holocaust of these little ones? Pro-life religionists will commonly tell you it is man’s sinfulness that is responsible for the evil of death, not anything the Good Lord has done, and that God does in fact highly value the unborn during all their stages, having endowed even the lowly fertilized egg with a soul. Why does God allow the slaughter of so many, possibly most of these vulnerable entities before they’ve even had a chance to taste life in its simplest manner by becoming merely sensate? We shall no doubt never know. That said, since God directs us, again according to the religionists that represent most of the pro-life movement, to prevent the death of the born and extend their lives, shall we not do the same for the unborn?
Here’s my modest proposal. We must transform the human womb into a proper breeding ground for the unborn and end its status as a slaughterhouse of fledgling humans. We can pursue this goal by doing the following:
1. Declare the womb the house of the unborn and insist that the house be maintained properly. Adopt housing standards that effectively protect the unborn by requiring that a woman maintain her body, especially her uterus, cervix, and vagina in good working order. Since her reproductive organs function as the unborn infant’s domicile and passageway into life, she should be subject to the same regulations as any other landlord. If any of her organs are defective in any manner, she shall be issued a warning to fix the deficiency. Failure to undergo repairs shall be subject to a penalty determined by the federal legislature.
2. It is not enough that the unborn infant’s house be maintained properly. Such an infant may suffer from inborn disorders that have nothing to do with its mother’s provision of a hospitable domicile. Just as born children sometimes require medical care their parents are obligated to provide, the unborn infant may require medical care as well. If the unborn infant is indeed as human as a born one, it deserves the equal protection of the law, including equal access to taxpayer-funded medical care and research funds. Hundreds of millions of dollars should be allocated for the study and repair of defects and deficiencies that cause embryonic and fetal death, disease, and injury. Fetal surgery, and even embryonic surgery, should be mandatory if medically necessary to save or repair the unborn. Such surgery should not require the consent of a woman, since if an unborn human is a person with rights, such a fundamental right to life takes priority over a woman’s right to be safe and secure in her own body.
3. If the unborn entity is a fully protected person from the moment of conception, then its death should be recorded just like the death of a born entity, and its remains properly handled. In order to certify an unborn human’s death and enforce its proper disposal, its existence must be established by law. I suggest that birth certificates be replaced with conception certificates, made possible by requiring that all women register their pregnancies. Such pregnancies can then be tracked by the state. If a woman miscarries, she shall be required by law to report the miscarriage and properly dispose of this “person” regardless of the stage of its development.
I think all would agree that the above are indeed necessary if we, as a people, are serious about saving the lives of all of the unborn and not merely those that a woman might destroy to preserve her life, health, liberty, or independence. If in fact those who clamor for laws against abortion under the banner of the “sanctity of life” do not agree with such a modest proposal, I’d be interested in knowing why.
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