Abortion and the Perfect Life

James Gottry,

Abortion’s primary selling point has always been that it’s “a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have a child.”

The defense goes something like this: She might not be ready; she may have too many children already; having a child now might conflict with her priorities. 

Now, there’s another factor to consider. Medical advances and improved technology have expanded the possibilities for abortion. The unborn can be screened for genetic abnormalities or “defects.” In this brave new world, the abortion decision is no longer simply about whether a mother wants to keep her child. It is also about whether her child is good enough to keep.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, was National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The president’s proclamation stated that, on this day, “our Nation proudly and strongly reaffirms our commitment to protect the precious gift of life at every stage, from conception to natural death.” It adds that “[e]very person — the born and unborn, the poor, the downcast, the disabled, the infirm, and the elderly — has inherent value.”

Indeed, they do. But do we, as a society, acknowledge that value?

Today in the United States, nearly 70% of babies with Down syndrome are aborted. Many expectant mothers who receive a Down syndrome diagnosis are pressured to have an abortion. Some are urged to do so repeatedly.

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Because those children aren’t “perfect.” To some, they are defective…flawed…broken. It shocks my conscience to even write these vile – and untrue – words. But on the other hand, this viewpoint doesn’t surprise me. After all, once we introduced the “right” to abortion, we commodified children.

In a world of elective abortion, children are no longer a gift…the natural result of a loving act between a mother and a father. As the slogan goes, giving birth to your child is a choice. It’s an option, one to be exercised only when it makes sense, is convenient, and (above all) won’t hinder your goals.

Living within such a framework, why on earth would any mother (or father) want to have a child who wasn’t “perfect”? Why not ensure, through selective abortion, that you only give birth to a child who has no “defects.” And why stop with ruling out genetic abnormalities? Why stop at eliminating children with an extra chromosome? Why not also ensure that your child is the right sex (as they’ve been doing for years in China)? Why not guarantee that your offspring has the greatest possible athletic or academic potential?

Yes, this is crazy talk. And yet, it isn’t. Designer babies are the new frontier. What are we to do?

We can start by believing the words issued in the president’s proclamation. Every person has value, and our worth doesn’t come from our sex, height, skill, appearance, or number of chromosomes. It comes from our soul. The psalmist proclaims that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” knit together by our Creator in the womb.

Let me say it again – every life is valuable. We know this is true, but as a society we continue to deny it by our action, and our inaction. Multiple states have passed laws prohibiting abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis, but many of these laws are currently facing legal challenges. A group of U.S. senators introduced a similar bill, but no Democratic senator was willing to co-sponsor it.

We should be ashamed. Not as Democrats, or Republicans, or even as citizens of the United States. But as members of the human race.

By employing abortion as a high-tech eugenics device, we are exterminating the most vulnerable among us. And we are getting better at it every day. In celebration, we are shouting our abortions, defending our abortions, even giving thanks for our abortions.

We’ve embraced a lie, and we’ve repeated it so often that we’ve begun to believe it: Life matters when it is according to plan, without defect, and without inconvenience. In other words, when it is “perfect.”

Here’s the truth: It’s not every perfect life that matters. But it’s perfect when every life matters.

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