Ken Connor

The casualties of abortion are truly immeasurable, yet the debate is trivialized by framing it in the abstract and by shrouding it in the rhetoric of rights and choice. But the morality of a choice cannot be divorced from the object being chosen, no matter how loudly the champions of "choice" protest to the contrary or what excuses we offer to justify our actions. An abortion ends a human life – a defenseless, vulnerable, utterly innocent human life. How has our culture has gotten to the point where the tragedy of this fact is lost on so many, when in all other ways we view ourselves as more civilized and humane than at any point in human history? Our hearts bleed for the melting ice caps, exploited natural resources, vanquished species, economic injustice, racial inequality, gender discrimination... you name it and there's a group dedicated to raising awareness for it. Why on earth this same righteous sense of justice isn't felt for the plight of the unborn is beyond me. Just think of the hand-wringing that goes on over the issue of capital punishment – whether or not it is moral to take the life of a human being who has committed terrible crimes against his fellow man. There was a time when parents would take their children to view gruesome public executions. To view the ending of a human life as a form of entertainment is obviously a barbaric practice, and it’s good that this tradition has been discarded. Today, opponents of capital punishment argue that it is cruel and unusual to execute even the worst criminal, no matter how "humane" the means of execution. Capital punishment, they argue, is not only a crime against that individual but an affront to our very humanity. Often, however, these very same people will insist without a trace of irony that abortion is not only a necessity but a positive good.

Perhaps it's because as we've become more socially and environmentally conscious, we've also become more self-centered and detached. We're willing to throw money at abstract problems, but we're not willing to truly give of ourselves. As every parent knows, raising a child requires a level of selflessness and sacrifice that few other endeavors can match. We might be up to the challenge of saving the whales and stopping global warming, but we are unable to muster the character necessary to protect and care for most vulnerable among us even when they are our own flesh and blood.

The child in Texas who is suing her parents over the life of her unborn child might be a lot of things – she is probably a little immature, and most certainly underestimates the enormity of the challenges that lie ahead for her new family. But more than many adults around her, she clearly recognizes that the life inside her deserves to live, and that is a noble thing.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.