Recently, the Pro Life Campaign, a non-sectarian pro-life group in Ireland, produced this short video:
I can already hear the objection from the pro-choicers who will view this: “Or maybe that fetus you aborted would have become a 21st-century Hitler! Maybe you did the world a favor!”
The idea behind this video, and other campaigns like it, is to try to make the Future Like Ours argument easier for the masses to digest. That argument, in a nutshell, is that the moral wrongness of murder arises from the fact that the murder victim is deprived of his or her future experiences. (Whether the victim is actually aware of that loss is irrelevant; consider, for example, someone who is killed instantly while in their sleep.) Since the same is true of abortion, abortion is similarly prima facie wrong.
The problem arises when pro-lifers, in an attempt to distill this argument into a sound bite, illustrate with the great aborted lives of the person who would have found the cure for cancer, etc. I think that undermines our message, because the pro-life position is that you don’t have to be great to be deserving of life. The right to life isn’t earned by contributing to society; it is an inherent right.
So the Pro Life Campaign’s focus on “everyday people” is a laudable step in the right direction. But what of the future criminal, the pro-choice counterpoint?
Trying to judge whether a person’s life will be “worth living” before that person is even born is frankly ridiculous. Besides, this is real life, not Minority Report. Our system of justice presumes people innocent until proven guilty. The pro-life view is that everyone should be given the chance to live life outside the womb; what they will make of those lives is up to each individual. Some people will make lousy decisions, even criminal decisions. But this does not cause them to forfeit their right to life. (As an aside, I’m especially bemused when the person crying “That fetus could have grown up to be a serial killer!” also claims to be opposed to the death penalty… but only after the kid has been born, grown up, and committed serial murder.)
I propose that someone in the pro-life movement create a video about the most uninspiring aborted life ever. Joe Schmo is a drug addict who’s never worked a day in his life, despite being physically able. He steals, lies, and takes advantage of his family and his few friends. He’s in and out of prison. He’s never fallen in love, never fathered a child, and has no accomplishments to speak of whatsoever. But none of that happened, because Joe Schmo was aborted.
And that is a tragedy.