Arts and Culture

For Baby or For Me?

Author Greg Koukl Published on 03/06/2013

Euphemisms and verbal tricks aside, a woman’s question, “Do I choose for a baby or for me?” boils down to choosing between the child she already has and the life she wants to have instead. Is the quality of a woman’s life more important than the baby’s life?

A recent article in the newspaper had this headline: “Do I Choose for a Baby or for Me?” Three things stood out for me in this article that are worthy of note.

First, the article starts with the statement, “Abortion is not a frivolous choice.” This is a new tactic being used vigorously by the pro-abortion side lately. Much is made of the fact that women who choose abortion have labored over their choice. They’ve struggled with it. It was a choice that wasn’t made easily. Later the article reads, “Life calls for all sorts of difficult choices and 43% of American women have made an abortion one of theirs. ’It was a hard choice,’ Julie said, ‘and we are at peace with it.’”

This approach is quite different from the way pro-abortionists argued early on, soon after Roe v. Wade. Their attitude then was, “We have the liberty to choose whatever we want, and we’re going to get an abortion and celebrate that liberty.” Now the emphasis is not on the expression of personal liberty, but on the difficulty of the choice.

The implication is that if one labors over the decision, that somehow renders the decision morally acceptable. However, the amount one emotionally struggles over a decision has nothing to do with whether the decision is moral or not. Killing a child is either moral or immoral. Whether you struggle over it or not may say something about the sensitivity of your conscience, but it doesn’t say anything about the morality of the choice itself.

I’d say that someone who struggles over killing her unborn child probably has more moral common sense than someone who does it frivolously. But it doesn’t make the choice for abortion the right choice simply because it was labored over.

The second thing that stood out was in the next sentence: “No woman sets out to create potential life and then destroy it.” Of course, this is a clever rhetorical trick—introduced early in the article—to refer to an unborn child as a “potential life.” I call it a trick because there is no such thing as creating a “potential life.”

Think about it. First, you could potentially create life, that is, create a potential for life. When a man and a woman get married and have sex there’s potential in their conduct for life to be created. Second, you could create a life with potential, one that has the possibility of developing into something good or noble. But that’s the end of your options. You either potentially create a life or you create a life with potential. You never create a potential life.

It’s like saying, “I just had a potential thought.” What could that possibly mean, you just had a potential thought? You either had a thought or you didn’t. And your thought has some potential for the future or it doesn’t. But you never have a potential thought.

In the same way, pregnancy doesn’t create a potential life. If so, then the problem of that potential life could be solved simply by having a potential abortion. Since a real abortion is needed to end pregnancy and not a potential one, I real life must be involved, not a potential one.

Same way here. There’s no such thing as creating a potential life. Indeed, when the article goes on to describe the life in question, it’s clear it’s not talking about creating a potential life. How do I know that? Because the title of the article is, “Do I Choose for a Baby, or for Me?” They didn’t say, “Do I Choose for a Potential Baby or for Me?” The “baby” is in existence in the same way “me” is in existence. They’re both there, so to speak. You either act to benefit the one or you act to benefit the other. It is not a potential life. It is a life itself.

The third thing that struck me was the unmistakable ethic being embraced here: A mother has the moral liberty to choose for the life of the child she already has—the baby inside her—or to choose for the quality of life she wants to have for herself. In this case, the woman essentially says, “I chose for the life I want to have in the future, so I killed my baby today.”

Pretty tragic, huh? Tell me what’s different between this attitude and Susan Smith? Susan Smith already had two children. She saw a future life she wanted to have that did not include those two children. So she strapped their seat belts around them and pushed the car into the river. “I choose for me and not my children” is Susan Smith morality.

One last reference here, supporting the comment I just made: “Ending her pregnancy provided a sense of relief because her life plans could proceed.” By the way, notice how the author used the phrase “ending her pregnancy,” euphemistic for having an abortion? The word “abortion” isn’t used much anymore. Have you noticed that? It’s avoided.

This woman wasn’t just “ending her pregnancy.” She was killing a baby. And killing the baby provided a sense of relief because now her life could proceed according to plan. How nice.

That should be on the epitaph of Susan Smith’s tombstone, whenever it’s erected: “For Baby or for Me? I chose for me. It was a hard choice, but I’m at peace with it.”