Human Enough

“Throughout modern history society has been eaten away by a series of internal maladies, man turning against man and class against class: all societies have been characterized by the warfare of opposing interests, by competition, by the isolation and dereliction of each individual man.” Rod Dreher

Roland C. Warren sees a disturbing trend in the argument over human life. Early in the abortion discussion, advocates for abortion (and euthanasia) argued that there was “human life” (with regard to abortion: the mother; with regard to euthanasia: the healthy) and “not yet life” (the unborn), and even “no longer life” (the sick or infirm).

So we had life and non-life. And then ultrasound technology let us peer into the womb where we clearly see–life!

Now, advocates for “freedom of choice” are acknowledging that life is present–and even human. But there is a structure of hierarchy. Some lives supersede others.
Warren cites Mary Elizabeth Williams who penned an article titled “So What If Abortion Ends a Life?” Williams acknowledges that life begins at conception. And acknowledges that the admission can weaken her own argument.


“All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.”

Note that Williams defaults to the essential red herrings of the pro-choice set. “Her life” and “her health” as if her life is enhanced and her health restored because a baby she removed from her womb is dead. The hard cases–life, health, and rape/incest–add up to 1.23 percent of all abortions.

Sandwiched between life and health is “her circumstances”–the situations that motivate 98.7 percent of abortions in the US. Difficult circumstances mean the child–he or she–must step aside.

Take further note that the criterion for getting to decide is autonomy. The shift in thinking has taken us from thinking “It’s not a life” to “It’s a life–a child even–but a “non-autonomous” life. The ability to be independent determines the value of life.

Such a notion fuels the so-called “right to die” movement. In her article, Williams mentions “grandma” before she mentions “baby”. Grandma may herself decide to live no longer–or someone else may decide for her. Killing with consent leads quickly to killing without it.

It’s not a big step from Grandma is in pain to Grandma is a pain–and an expensive one at that. When we arrive at that determination, we have made Grandma subhuman. Then, every one of us becomes subject to the same devaluing. No one is exempt.

But Warren argues: that is not who we are.

He paints a hypothetical situation. You are crossing the street and you see two people carrying their groceries. One is a healthy 25-year-old man. The other is an 85-year-old woman. Both of them drop their groceries at the same time. Who do you help?

We help the woman. The one we perceive needs help more. “It’s wired into us,” Warren says. “It’s what makes us human–how we apportion compassion.” He adds that animals–creatures less than human–operate in the opposite manner. Strong animals eat weak ones.

Humans, at their best, help the weak. When we live otherwise, we live like animals. And then we have all become less.

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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26 Replies to “Human Enough”

  1. I love that you called out the red herring there! How easy it is to become confused in the wordiness of those trying to distract from the truth. I pray the Holy Spirit convicts us to know the truth and know lies when we hear them.

  2. Thanks for speaking out Nancy. “Humans, at their best, help the weak. When we live otherwise, we live like animals. And then we have all become less.”
    Did you know the movie Unplanned will be in theaters this weekend? It is the story of Abby Johnson who used to work for Planned Parenthood and is now a pro-life activist. In my area, multiple pro-life groups have come together to support the movie.

  3. “It’s wired into us,” is the reason so many abortive mothers live in guilt and shame the rest of their lives. They know the truth. May God open the eyes of our nation to the innocent blood we have shed.

  4. Yes, this is so interesting. It is true. Almost as if we are seeing a new hierarchy or caste system form before our own eyes as different values are placed on different stages of life.

  5. Great post, Nancy. All life, no matter the age or stage of development is worthy of equal opportunity to live. No one has the right to choose life or death for an individual. It saddens my heart that anyone would think a baby is less worthy of life just because he/she has no voice to say so.

  6. As an atheist and lover of science, I was pro-life. One cannot argue that human life does not exist from the moment of conception; every streams of DNA that makes us “us” exists from that moment on. How much more precious are those babies in the womb since surrendering my life to Christ! I do believe we must have compassion for all lives; Christians err when we punish young mothers who choose life by advocating for cuts to snap, tanf, Medicaid and the like.

    1. Your story sounds a bit like that of Bernard Nathanson. He had once been an abortion doctor. He was also an atheist. He became pro-life before he became a Christian. We need to love all involved. That’s what’s great about Abby Johnson’s ministry that helps people get out of the abortion industry. I’d like to see the Church become the main source of resources for those in poverty. We can lift people out of poverty more effectively than government can–and perhaps with less infighting over our resources. Government programs often have the effect of holding people back. For example, as a single mother, I wanted to go to college. The first thing I lost was my subsidized daycare. The Church stepped in and filled the gap for me. Where government would hold me back; the Church helped me move forward. Thanks for commenting and God bless!

  7. We’re definitely breaking all the rules that make us compassionate and caring human beings. If the same pro-abortion justifications of the mother’s supremacy as “the boss” were also applied to her supremacy after the birth, while raising a small child who is still dependent on her, just as he/she was dependent in the womb, it would be called child abuse and murder if she decided to kill the child. Nothing changed but time and the child’s place of residence. The infant outside the womb is the same person it was inside the womb.

  8. Oh, such a scary concept: “The shift in thinking has taken us from thinking ‘It’s not a life’ to ‘It’s a life–a child even–but a “non-autonomous’ life. The ability to be independent determines the value of life.” One day I think society will look back on all this and be horrified there was an era when people did the things that are currently legal.

  9. Your message comes at a vital time in our country, when debates are taking place about deciding if a newborn should be allowed to live. The challenge needs to be handled with the same level of compassion for the mother as we feel for her baby. This is where the Church has the greatest opportunity to save lives in both the physical and eternal sense. It’s part of the Christian walk.

    1. Yes, Barb, we must acknowledge that people facing such decisions are in a hard place. We must illustrate that life is a better place than death. Here we are in this place of opportunity. Thanks and God bless!

  10. Such great information! These words —”All life is not equal.” The slippery slope of the left. What passes the test today may or may not pass the test tomorrow. I’m so glad God’s love doesn’t discriminate. He loves everyone. He died for everyone. Every life is valuable and important to Him. Blessings!

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