You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

C. S. Lewis, in The Screwtape Letters, discussed how people can be tricked into holding very conflicting ideas without seeing the inconsistency or faulty logic in their thinking. This same idea is true today and especially can be seen in American culture. We Americans, as a group, like to think we have good moral values. We also like the lifestyle of convenience: convenience not just of dinner meals and faster e-mail, but love, marriage, and even children. This craving for the convenient was a major factor in abortion legislation. It is much more convenient to view the life of a fetus as "nonhuman" so that the rights of the woman will not be taxed. In the same way, if we just put aside all this speculation about the humanness of the embryo, we can get on expediently with stem cell research, in-vitro fertilization, and termination of unwanted pregnancy without any problems.

There is another side of us Americans, though. We are incensed at the drunk driver who kills both a woman and her unborn child. We feel that this crime is not against one but two. When a woman abuses drugs while pregnant, we worry about the unborn child, not the rights of the woman.

So, here we are carrying around in our heads two completely opposite thoughts: the unborn child is somehow less than human and does not have the same rights as humans, and the unborn child is human and has the same rights. In fact, because the unborn child is so vulnerable, we need to take care to assure his or her protection; hence legislation.

It would again be convenient to say there was some cutoff point, or distinct part of development where one could say, "before this point, you are not human, but afterwards, you are." Even to propose such a statement looks patently false in the writing. No, if you are considered human yet unborn, you must be human from the very start.

Judge Lawrence's decision of wrongful death in the case of a discarded embryo is profound.1 Our legal system has been bent and distorted by our quest for convenience, but Judge Lawrence took the higher road. If we have no evidence of life beginning at some point other than conception, and if we truly want to be moral and protect the unborn from harm; Judge Lawrence's ruling drives home the point that we are human, made in God's image from the moment of conception. This is truth. Truth must supersede convenience. Once we know the truth, we may be tricked, but not deceived.


1 Associated Press, "Judge OKs Discarded Embryo Lawsuit," CNN February 5, 2005 http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/02/05/frozen.embryo.lawsuit.ap/ (accessed February 23, 2005).