Why Roe v Wade implies that parents have the authority to determine if their children’s lives have merit and value, and the power to abuse that authority if they so choose.
Are parents the final arbiters of whether their children’s lives have value or merit, or is there a higher authority than that? Institutions such as child protective services implies that parents do not have the right to abuse their children whenever they see fit. Legal systems are predicated on the notion that parents are not the highest authority over the lives and wellbeing of their children, and yet abortion implicitly contradicts this legal premise.
The argument is that a child is not human until they have been born, even if they have all of the features of a human and all of the signs of life. Some people on Twitter have even used the formula shortage as a justification for abortion based on the idea that it would be doing some kids a kindness if we just kill them now rather than letting them starve to death. Even the Washington Post implied that feeding babies is a complicated issue which could be solved by killing them before they need feeding. The presence of one does not automatically justify the other. That’s not how social welfare works.
This sort of solution to a social welfare issue is reminiscent of Nazi Germany and how they justified killing 300,000 disabled people by saying they were both a costly burden on society and also not even really human, so it was more of a “kindness” if they were systematically slaughtered.
Asides from the objective horror of such a mindset, a debate like this opens the way for further debates on whether children in general can be protected from abusive parents.
As a child I was told repeatedly by my mother that I was an unplanned pregnancy which she found to be a burden and a nuisance. I was blamed for “ruining” her life because she had to be such a martyr to raise children. My existence was a nuisance to her.
Like everyone else on the planet, I had not been given the option of whether I was born or not and as a child I used to wish that I didn’t exist. I struggled with suicidal ideation from about the age of 10 through almost two decades of my young life. It was difficult to feel like my life held any value when I was frequently told by a parent who should have loved me, that I was a waste of space.
In 2008 I had a plan for how I was going to end my life. I had decided to crash my car so that nobody would know what I had done and my family could get an insurance payout. I believed that the most I could contribute which other people might value, was compensation money. I thought I would be sparing other people the annoyance of having to put up with my existence.
Years later, when I was experiencing domestic violence in marriage, I vowed that whatever happened to me would not become the responsibility of any potential children. I would not blame them or punish them for how my life had turned out. No matter my own circumstances, it didn’t justify a child paying the ultimate price. As it turned out, I can’t have children.
The pro-choice advocates would probably say that I should have been spared the psychological torment of such an upbringing by being aborted. I have certainly been told, just last year on Facebook by a friend of a friend, that I should have been aborted.
What sort of message do we send to kids experiencing domestic abuse when we debate something like the “rights” of a parent to reject and kill their children? Roe v Wade implies that my mother’s assessment of my value as a human being is the correct assessment and there is no higher authority to appeal to.
Is my life worth living?
Over the years I have held on to the idea that some people do care if I live or die, but sometimes when I read the posts on social media from my cousins espousing the rights of a woman to choose if her child is a valuable human being or not, I wonder if I might be wrong about my persistence in continuing to live.
Is this what every victim of childhood neglect and abuse experiences when they see these debates? Does it put them right back in that dark place of hopelessness and despair, questioning why they’re alive?
Putting my faith in other people to validate my existence has been a futile effort fraught with danger. People can be evil, especially when they know you are at their mercy. They love wielding whatever power they have in cruel and destructive ways. I have often questioned whether human beings have any redeemable qualities whatsoever.
Thankfully, our merit and value is not subject to the fluctuating moods of human beings. Our earthly parents might be steaming piles of excrement, but we have a heavenly Father who’s authority is beyond theirs. He is the one we bear the image of and the one who claims us as His own.
A Father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound into prosperity; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land. – Psalm 68:5-6 (NKJV)
Jesus came to give us a glimpse of the Father, not just through telling us, but demonstrating the value that God has put on human life through His willingness to trade His life so that ours might be saved from destruction.
…we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. – 1 John 4:14-16 (NKJV)
Do any of us deserve love? Technically, no. We’re not “entitled” to love, but the absence of love is where evil takes place. Love is a gift that cannot be earned, it can only be gifted, so it depends on the giver. Our parents have the choice to love us or not. We cannot force them to love us or value our existence.
Earthly relationships can be very transactional. Some people think that love can be coerced or exploited. Some people believe that love is demonstrated by forcing someone to jump through hoops and perform for their amusement. Some people demand constant reassurance, faithfulness, attention, resources, or degradation of the other to placate them without any form of reciprocation.
Jesus acknowledged that this world run by human beings is a brutal place, but He also promised a day when this world would no longer exist and those who had refused to take part in the cycle of abuse would be given a new world free from suffering.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:3-10 (NKJV)
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”… – Revelation 21:1-5 (NKJV)
This is eternal hope rather than hope placed in things which are subject to the passage of time or can be withheld by manipulative humans. Each individual can have their own relationship with God through the person of Jesus. It doesn’t change the reality of the world we live in, but it does provide the sort of secure attachment we should have received from our parents, where we can go to Him with our problems and He promises to always listen.
Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7 (NKJV)