Monday, December 27, 2004


I just found Rich Lowry's column in Friday's Washington Times, and he brings up a point that has been frustrating me for years: the sudden transformation from 'fetus' to 'baby' at the moment of birth.

His catalyst is news coverage of the recent baby-snatching murder case:

During the coverage of the crime, the status of the Bobbie Jo Stinnett's unborn girl steadily changed. All at once on AOL News during the weekend, there were headlines tracking events in the case: "Woman Slain, Fetus Stolen"; "Woman Arrested, Baby Returned in Bizarre Murder"; "Infant in Good Health."

Note how a "fetus" — something for which American law and culture has very little respect — was somehow instantly transformed into a "baby" and "infant" — for which we have the highest respect. By what strange alchemy does that happen?

He goes on to identify the political cause:

Pro-choicers realize that recognizing the legal status of a fetus in any way undermines a crucial philosophical support of the pro-choice position — that a baby in the womb has no rights that we are bound to respect.

And to point out the illogic of the abortion advocates' position:

[T]here is a continuity between the "fetus" and "baby."
Otherwise, why do we rejoice over ultrasound images of the unborn? Why do we give them names? Why do we pray for their health and happiness? Why are we so quick to go from calling them fetuses to babies?

Changing minds is tough when it comes to abortion, but recognizing that an unborn baby is just as human as you or me or Teri Schiavo is one thing that can make people rethink their position.

Killing is easy when it's a fetus. Not so much when it's a baby.

(hat tip RealClearPolitics)