As prickly a subject as it is, the idea of abortion becomes more logical – if we can say that – when it’s considered from the evolutionary point of view. Under this view, described in Part 1, human life couldn’t possibly have any intrinsic value.
To state the full argument: If human beings came about by random, unannounced biologic processes and then developed slowly over time without planning or direction, there is obviously no “sense” to why we exist – we just are. And if we just are, then our norms and values and our view of human life are subject to our personal whims, with no root in any moral standard. Thus freed of any moral constraints, abortion simply becomes either a way to exercise lifestyle choices or, more sinister, a way of molding society.
This sounds like an atheist’s daydream, but human evolution is accepted as fact in our society. The linking of abortion with this is simply an attempt to complete the logical circle: if one believes humans evolved completely by chance from apes via one-celled organisms, then what pro-abortion advocates say is true: it is all about the woman’s body, and the “fetus” within is simply extraneous tissue to be disposed of after the mother has exercised her will, and right, to direct her life. From this standpoint, there is no cognitive dissonance when it comes to abortion.
What is cognitive dissonance? For our purposes, it is the mental anxiety resulting from someone holding contradictory views on a subject. P.J. O’Rourke said in Give War A Chance: “A callous pragmatist might favor abortion and capital punishment. A devout Christian would sanction neither. But it takes years of therapy to arrive at the liberal view [emphasis mine]. The “liberal view” here is an example of cognitive dissonance.
Unfortunately for millions of people, it was also this thinking that drove the growth of Eugenics in America for the first 60-plus years of the last century. Eugenics’ adherents believed that human beings inherited traits and practices like laziness, prostitution, poverty, petty crime, “feeblemindedness,” and even a lack of education. Anyone these so-called “scientists” saw as “defective” and sub-par – which was virtually anyone who was in prison, reformatories, asylums, houses of charity, or orphanages – should be deemed “unfit” and sterilized, or worse (I encourage you to read the entire horrific story of America’s Eugenics program).
Although today we’ve passed laws against forced sterilization and involuntary commitment based on a whim, the practice and ardent defense of abortion is our direct link to these earlier practices. We don’t have esteemed doctors in clinics funded by the wealthy’s charities sterilizing uneducated, orphaned, or “feebleminded” young women in order to promote a “better society.” Yet a century later we do have clinics where women are told they can have an abortion simply because the baby is unwanted, with the same result: human beings are devalued and destroyed by order of the more powerful.
Abby Johnson was the director of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Texas who later became a pro-life advocate. In her book “Unplanned” she recounts the attitudes she encountered towards abortion: Once, when she was about to have an abortion herself (prior to working for Planned Parenthood), Abby was directed to a video explaining the process: “… when [the video] ended, the clinician laughed and said, ‘Oh, don’t be worried, girls.’ She waved away the video as if it were of no consequence …‘I’ve had, like, nine abortions. Really, this will be over before you know it. It’s no big deal.’” (p. 24).
Another time, while working at the clinic Ms. Johnson counseled a young woman: “‘I’d like to schedule an abortion, please.’ …Her tone of voice was as nonchalant as if she’d just ordered a Big Mac…I explained to her that abortion [at 24 weeks] was not an option for her at Planned Parenthood. She would not be thwarted in her goal. ‘Then where can I get this thing taken out of me?’” (pp. 96-97).
This is why the recent hullabaloo over the recent anti-abortion undercover video is a non sequitur. The group originating it missed the point: why should we be “shocked” at someone sipping wine while discussing aborted fetal tissue? They work in the industry; they see the “products of conception.” If you truly believe in human evolution, and you participate in abortions, it would be a leap of logic to be shocked when discussing it. Why should you feel anything if you believe human life is random? Most people could have wine with their dinner while they discuss the euthanizing of stray cats; why not this?
The most poignant example of evolutionary logic in action, however, is probably Dr. George Tiller, who performed late-term abortions in Kansas. While she was working for Planned Parenthood, Ms. Johnson had had several conversations with him and says she “found him to be a warm, caring man. Very Friendly. I had a number of conversations with him and truly enjoyed his company. At [National Abortion Federation] conventions I’d see him give friends great big bear hugs, listen to others intently, and offer encouragement and support…I remember watching him interact with others at a conference one time, and wondering how such a kind man, such a good man, could kill a twenty-four-week-old baby. He was a grandfather. How could he stand the ugliness of the procedure, and how did he justify it to himself?” (p. 98).
It’s a good question, but Ms. Johnson’s wonderment masked her own (eventually acknowledged) mental jujitsu. Far from being an anti-religious proponent of evolutionary randomness, Ms. Johnson was a practicing Christian. Yet, interestingly, the cognitive dissonance that evolutionists don’t have but which allowed her, Dr. Tiller (a practicing Lutheran), and other Christians to advocate for “safe, legal” abortions still highlights how evolutionary logic infuses the very fabric of any pro-abortion view.
If a person sees abortion as murder yet wishes to legalize it to keep mothers safe, what is at stake here is life – either that of the mother or that of the fetus. But when the mother dies, who sees it? Her death becomes news because she died performing an illegal abortion. However, when the fetus dies, it is simply a “fact of life,” performed out of view, in private. So, when two acknowledged lives are in the balance, one must take precedence. Here, it’s the mother’s life. Why? What makes her life more valuable than the fetus’s? I submit that it is simply because she, a healthy adult, is more visible and more powerful. The fetus, by contrast, has nothing to recommend it: it is silent, invisible to the world, and powerless. And if one is unwilling to make the connection between a 1-year-old who is, say, smothered by its mother because it is “unwanted” (which no one would advocate) and a 21-week-old who is sucked out of its mother’s womb because it is “unwanted” and yet we want the mother to be safe, the logical conclusion is an evolutionary one: human life really is not sacred and its demise or survival is dependent solely upon “extenuating circumstances” like age or “worth to society.”
Thus goes the thinking in a world that derisively shows religion the door and promotes theory as scientific fact: the promotion of a world of randomness, without purpose – but still with a very sinister logic behind it. Fortunately, there’s a way out, but it requires nothing less than a wholesale revision of one’s belief system. But given our record as humans, I think it’s worth the gamble.
Categories: Life's Like That