Who Gets To Decide What a Life is Worth?

Here at ProLife Doc, we are opposed to abortion because we don’t just believe, but we know, without question or doubt, that abortion is the taking of human life. 

And here’s a secret: most pro-abortion advocates also know this. They just believe that a life that they do not personally value is one that they can dispense with. But this attitude about life does not just stop at unwanted pregnancies.

The pro-abortion mentality is not about a principled concept of human rights or freedoms. When any one person can decide, unilaterally, the value of another person’s life, then it takes one small step further to rationalize the murder of anyone else or even to rationalize mass extermination for any reason. It is a philosophy that can extend beyond one individual’s decision to a particular group or the state itself. And it has been extended that far numerous times.

The mentality has justified slavery, the Holocaust, the Soviet gulags, Pol Pot’s Cambodian genocide, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, the Rwandan genocide, and numerous other atrocities. It is a mindset that creates a hierarchy of lives that have meaning, denying the principle that all human beings have an inherent worth, a belief at the foundation of Christian and Jewish tradition: that all people are “made in the image and likeness of God.”

At its most basic, the rejection of this core idea is why many of the same people who support abortion also have no problem with all other eugenics. It is not that they don’t care about life at all – they do. But there is a somewhat fluid hierarchy of “worthiness” to life in which, predictably, its proponents always somehow end up at the top. It seemingly never occurs to them that they could ever find themselves at the mercy of people who may one day deem them “unworthy” of life. And the difference is not a political one; it is a philosophical one. The white supremacist who is happy that black babies are being aborted is no different than the progressive activist glad to see a policeman gunned down. They both subscribe to a perverted morality that couches itself as being principled or even ethical but which, in reality, asserts that power is all that matters. Whoever has power can decide whose lives matter.

When you are able, through mental conditioning, to dehumanize another group of people under some rationalization, there is no end to what evil can be wrought. Denying another person’s humanity can always be done by redefining and reducing human lives to labels. Thus, a pre-born baby becomes “a blob of tissue” or “a clump of cells.” People are boxed into narrow meaningless categories like “Jew” or “Tutsi.” And destruction follows.

In England, Wales, and Scotland, Not All Lives Are Equal

This mentality – that not all human life has inherent and equal value – has become prevalent. It is evident in the existence of abortion itself. But it is also behind all of the eugenics. This view is taking an even stronger hold in our society through a system of laws in which some lives are deemed to have more worth than others. One recent example came to light in the United Kingdom in a law that, not unironically, discriminates between which babies can be aborted.

In the UK, abortion is generally banned after 24 weeks. This gestational age limitation is one of the most permissive in Europe. But there is an important exception to this ban: the limit does not apply if there is “a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.” This law is problematic from the get-go, but its barbarity was made especially stark in a recent lawsuit.

Per UK law, this exception includes children with Down’s Syndrome (DS), a genetic anomaly in which the child carries an extra chromosome. To those not in the know, while individuals with DS can suffer from physical and mental handicaps not common among those without DS, most individuals with DS live very satisfying, productive, and fulfilling lives with friends, family, jobs, relationships, and a normal lifespan. In survey after survey, results show that individuals with DS are not different from the rest of the population when it comes to being satisfied with their lives.

Recently, a young woman with Down’s Syndrome challenged this UK law on the grounds that it discriminated against children with disabilities. She was joined in the suit by the mother of a young boy who also has DS. Their attorney explained:

Its effect is to stereotype life as a disabled or seriously handicapped person as not worth living and certainly as having less value than life as an able-bodied person, thereby impacting the feelings of self-worth and self-confidence of disabled persons.

Notwithstanding this sensible argument, the court upheld the law, stating that a remedy was not to be found in the courts, but in the legislature. In other words, the only way to fight this sort of discrimination and prejudice is to convince Parliament that the life of those with DS is as meaningful and valuable as the life of anyone else. This proposition should be beyond debate. But, in the UK, it clearly isn’t.

The UK’s official position ought to give everyone pause. What other ways can the government designate a hierarchy of which lives are worth living? Whom else can the state jettison from our individual or collective responsibility to nurture and support because they are “not our kind”? The weak? The elderly? The sick and frail? 

Does this sound familiar?

There was a time when people of decency and conscience looked with horror upon intentionally victimizing those less able to cope on their own, whether orphans, widows, the poor, the weak, the ill, or the disabled. But today, our legislatures do not hesitate to take a cold utilitarian view of human life, in which they can say, without irony, to people who lead happy, loving, and productive lives: “No, seriously, in reality, no matter what you say or think or feel, you actually ‘suffer from such . . . abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.’ Therefore, our laws to protect pre-born babies do not apply to you.”

God help us.

Learn more information about Dr. William Lile and his ministry to uphold the dignity of human life and the rights of the preborn. To donate to ProLife Doc, attend one of his speeches, or invite ProLife Doc to speak for your group, contact us today.

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