Inconsistent Law on the Unborn

Author Alan Shlemon Published on 10/24/2012

Did you know it’s wrong to kill an unborn child according to California state law? You will be prosecuted for murder if you do (e.g. Scott Peterson). There’s only one exception: when a physician kills the child at the request of the mother.

Doesn’t that seem odd? An unborn child is protected under the law like you and me. She is granted full human value. But in a moment’s request by her mother, an unborn child is transformed from a valuable human being into a valueless blob of tissue. She can be killed with impunity.

This is bizarre, inconsistent, and sad.

Imagine a hypothetical situation where a woman is pregnant with identical twin girls. Now suppose one of the twins is prematurely delivered at around the 25th week of pregnancy (typical pregnancies around last 40 weeks). The born twin is automatically protected under the law. Her sister still inside the womb, however, can be killed at any time during the remainder of her gestation. Although both girls are the same developmental age, one twin is safely protected outside the womb, while her sister is vulnerable inside the womb.

The only difference between the twins is their location. Otherwise they are identical.  But, as Francis Beckwith aptly recognizes, “Where one is has no bearing on who one is.” Our laws should not exclude members of the human community from legal protection simply because of their location. But that’s what is happening.

I realize that some abortion-choice advocates argue that this inconsistency can be resolved by eliminating fetal homicide laws. But that’s the wrong solution because the science of embryology proves the unborn are human beings. Therefore, they should be protected.

The solution would be to eliminate abortion-choice laws. That would protect all human beings, even those inside the womb.