Presidential candidate Rand Paul made headlines last week by turning the rhetorical tables on Progressives on the issue of abortion. When pressed by the media to articulate specifically his position on abortion, Paul responded, "Why don't we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a seven-pound baby in the uterus? You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she's OK with killing a seven-pound baby that is not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when it's okay to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, get back to me."
Paul's point is well made. For years, Conservatives have been made to play defense on the issue of abortion while pro-choice Progressives wear the white hats. The venerated "right to choose" has become so deeply ingrained into the cultural milieu that Progressives long ago abandoned any serious attempt to justify their position on abortion. The media has happily fostered this trend and continues to do so. You can bet that Hillary Clinton won't be pressed to flesh out the details of her position on abortion – when, if ever, she considers the life of an unborn child as equal to or more important than the "choice rights" of its mother. She will be allowed, as Debbie Wasserman Schultz was, to don her anti-government-interference hat (without a trace of irony, mind you) and consign the fate of the unborn, no matter their weight or gestational age, to the irreproachable relationship of that between a woman and her doctor. She will retain her mantle as a women in ideological step with Progressive-minded, liberated women everywhere. The base will be appeased and the media will be free to continue caricaturing pro-lifers as misogynistic knuckle-draggers whose vision for America would have women perpetually barefoot and pregnant and in the home where they belong.
At a recent summit hosted by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, Paul doubled-down on his pro-life position and his challenge to Democrats:
"We should ask the other side, do you think there's nothing special about life? Do you think there are no rights involved in a seven- and eight- and nine-pound baby? . . . We do have a debate: Where does life begin? . . . Shouldn't the other side have to justify why this baby doesn't have any rights? . . . One of the main roles the government has is to [prevent] you from harming another individual, which gets us back to the original debate: where life begins. You can't have liberty if you don't protect where your liberty originates from and that is a right to life."
Kudos to Rand Paul for pressing the American people to consider this issue in a different light, and for reminding Americans that beyond the rhetoric and political intimidation there is a serious ethical debate to be had on the question of abortion. Indeed, the need for this debate is more urgent than ever, for the pro-choice side has only become more emboldened in their claims with each passing year. In the abhorrent tradition of Peter Singer, some bioethicists have begun to embrace infanticide as a perfectly reasonable solution to the hardship and inconvenience sometimes imposed by the birth of a child.
The basic argument being advanced is that a human being is only fully human when they possess the intellectual faculties necessary to appreciate the fact of their own existence and to desire their continued existence. Since a baby lacks this kind of self-awareness, so the argument goes, it's not really a human being yet and thus has no more rights than it did when it was a fetus in utero. If it's legal to kill a fetus then, it should be legal to kill an infant. There is no moral difference.
It is difficult to fully appreciate the level of depravity, the chilling inhumanity, of such logic. One has to wonder if these so-called bioethical "experts" are themselves parents, and if so, how they justify this abhorrent philosophy to their children. "Be grateful you weren't a social, economic, or psychological burden to your mother and me, Junior, or it might have been an after-birth abortion for you."
That this proposition is even embraced as a legitimate contribution to the field of bioethics is indicative of what happens when a society defines itself by it's unwillingness to recognize and adhere to fixed, universal limits. Reject traditional morality, cast off the bounds of religion, place the individual at the center of the moral universe and you have the perfect recipe for a culture in which virtually everything is permissible. This is the conversation we need to be having. Democratic candidates for office need to be made to answer for their ideological position on this issue – made to answer whether or not they believe an infant is a human being with rights and inherent value, and made to answer whether their vision of a just society is one in which a person's right to life is left to the semantic manipulations of bioethicists and politicians.
Democrats should be made to answer these questions, for this is where the disposable man mentality of their beloved Roe v. Wade takes us. When you adopt flawed premises at the beginning, disorder and perversion follows. The Roe v. Wade decision was premised on the fact that an unborn baby is not a person. Never mind that it may have 10 fingers and toes, a unique genetic code, the capacity to feel pain or even the ability to survive independently outside the mother's body. The venerable men in black issued their edict from on high that none of this matters in light of a women's inviolable "right to choose" which emanates from the penumbra of their "right to privacy." Somewhere along the way we lost sight of the subject of this "choice" and as a result nearly 60 million babies have paid with their lives.
Ideas have consequences, and humanity is reaping the tragic consequences of some very bad ideas. Progressives – as they like to call themselves – believe that mankind is on a steady and inevitable march towards utopia and it is only by eliminating our dependence on the "God of the gaps" and learning to place faith in ourselves that we can achieve true actualization as a species. This philosophy has yielded a society in which pro-choice candidates are given a free pass on the abortion question and proponents of infanticide are accepted as legitimate participants in the public conversation. Here's hoping Candidate Paul and his fellow Republicans press to change the terms of the debate and that they are successful in reminding the American people of what's truly at stake when we talk about a woman's right to choose.