Pro-Life, Sometimes

For many women and their partners, the decision to terminate a pregnancy after a prenatal diagnosis of a serious genetic defect can be harrowing, often coming after a painful assessment of their own emotional and financial resources.

And there is widespread support for such an option: 70 percent of Americans said they believe that women should be able to obtain a legal abortion if there is a strong chance of a serious defect in the baby, according to a 2006 poll conducted by the National Opinion Research Center. MORE

I can believe this. While other polls show most Americans call themselves pro-life, few have really thought it through and adopted a consistent view on the value of life.

Let's re-phrase what the 70% referenced above are saying.

"We believe life begins at conception, and all life must be protected - except for those lives that in our opinion may have a defect that could make life unpleasant. Such unborn life can be killed at the mother's discretion. However the mother's discretion ends when the defective baby is born. After then this life, while still unpleasant, must be protected."

If this seems to you like a pretty incoherent position, you can go to the head of the class. Once we start down the road of saying that some lives are worthy and others are not, it is very hard to know where to stop. How serious does the defect need to be before we are willing to execute the baby? Who decides? Why not wait until the baby is born so you can be sure what is wrong, and then kill it?

Life is life. If you believe it begins at conception, you have to protect it from that point forward. Otherwise you will slide down a slippery slope that ends in death - not yours, maybe, but the death of a human being. The victim won't even get the "due process" we give to condemned murderers.

If you're in the 70%, think about it. Think hard.

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