When a parent sees that her daughter is pregnant, they might start to panic. Unwed pregnancy can often lead to poverty, as the child has to forego an education and work a minimum wage job to feed the baby. If a teenager is pregnant, she will have to make sacrifices that will very much impact the rest of her life. When she tells her life story, it will begin with a teenaged pregnancy. So, in all of her wisdom, her mother might suggest that the teenager simply avert these sacrifices by making another: her child. Parents will allow, encourage, or pressure their child to get an abortion. But suppose the teenaged daughter ignores her mothers advice and has the baby. What sort of relationship will she have with her mother? How will that baby relate to its grandmother? Are there any tips on developing a strong family bond when granny wants you dead?
This is not to make light of the legitimate struggles of the pregnant woman. Pro-life apologetics and pro-abortion rhetoric tend to overlook the central arguments that their opponents will raise. A pro-choice apologist might understand and even empathize with the points that the pro-lifer is making, but he prioritizes choice. So the arguments for the life of the fetus are really not his concern. Similarly, the pro-life apologist will focus on the life and humanity of the fetus, but the concerns about the struggle of the mother might not be her main priority. Life is more important than choice. Let me state at the outset that there are no conditions under which it would be appropriate for a mother to kill her young. But that reality should not cause us to downplay the legitimate struggles of the mother. Nonetheless, there is a sense in which preventing the slaughter of another human being should take priority, especially if that human being is a family member. How will the grandmother and grandchild see one another throughout the course of their lives?
You Were Still “You,” Even In The Womb
If I were to ask you to define yourself, you might list a few of your hobbies, your personal and career history and tell me some of the things that make you a unique and separate individual. You might list a few cliches or one-liners that provide a glimpse into who you are. But while those things certainly define your personality, you would still be “you” without them. If you did not grow up in your small town, if you were adopted, if you were overweight, you would still be the same essential person. If I were to point to a picture of you when you were a teenager and asked, “Who is that?” you would reply, “It’s me.” If I asked the same of a picture of you when you were a child or an infant, you would inevitably tell me, “It’s me.” If I were to point to an ultrasound of you in your mother’s womb, and asked, “Who is that?” what would you say?
It would seem difficult to say that it was somebody else. Could you say, “That’s my mother” because you are dependent upon her body? For birth to define the “youness” of you would seem a little arbitrary. Imagine a possible world in which science has advanced so far that the fetus could survive outside of the womb at the moment of conception. If I pointed to a picture of that fetus outside of the womb and asked, “Who is that?” you would rightly be able to say “It is me.” Similarly, imagine that I have a picture of an ultrasound that was taken two weeks before you were born. I ask, “Who is that?” Yet imagine a possible world in which you were born two weeks early. I point to a picture of you right after you were born and ask, “Who is that?” and you reply, “It is me.” All of this is to say that there is some possible world in which your “youness” persists from conception to birth. With an embryo that can survive outside of the womb, you could rightly say that it is you.
But if the embryo would be you outside of the womb, then it would also be you inside of the womb. This is known as the law of identity. The law of identity states that A is always equal to A. If you can identify the embryo as you instantly after conception in any possible world, then it will follow that in fact, the embryo is you in every possible world. Therefore, if your grandmother encouraged your mother to have an abortion, you would be correct in saying, “Granny tried to kill me.” Building off that premise, we may begin to explore what kind of relationship can emerge when granny tries to kill her grandchild.
Is The Sperm Cell “You?” – Anticipated Objection
I anticipate that some may raise the objection, “Was the sperm cell ‘you’?” in an attempt to reduce this argument to absurdity. But the answer is no. A sperm cell is not a biological human being, while an unborn embryo is. As the former President of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Alan Guttmacher wrote in his 1933 publication Life in the Making, of the zygote being the beginning of human life, “This all seems so simple and evident that it is difficult to picture a time when it wasn’t part of the common knowledge.” The biological debate has been over for a very, very long time. The only legitimate debate that persists is whether it is appropriate to take the life of a biological human being. In summary, the sperm is not “you.” The unborn fetus is.
“Mommy, Is Granny Still Going To Try To Kill Me?”
There are some abortionists who repudiate the label “pro-abortion” and argue that while they personally oppose abortion, they think that it should be legal. (I wrote a refutation of this position.) However, there are others who would say that abortion is morally neutral. It is not a necessary evil because it is not an evil at all. With this sort of person, there should be no reason that they cannot tell their child about the virtues of abortion or even that they once considered having one. However, the young mind may struggle to grasp the pro-choice rhetoric and be afraid for her life. She may ask, “Is granny still going to try to kill me?”
Let’s put aside for a moment the question of whether this conversation would actually happen, because I am sure that there are some intellectuals out there who might want to remind me of how impractical and implausible that would be. While the conversation itself may be impractical, the conditions for that conversation seem to be present. All of the reasons that granny wanted to murder her grandchild are still there. They may even be magnified as the child gets older. The mother is struggling. She will have to make sacrifices. She may be threatened with a life of poverty. She has no help with her child. These are precisely the reasons that granny wanted to kill her in the first place. Nothing has really changed. The only difference is that now, granny is (hopefully) more compelled by the case for life because she can actually see the child. When the child is inside the mother, all that she can see is a lump in the stomach. There just does not seem to be any rule of logic that would make granny’s concerns applicable before birth and inapplicable after birth.
In fact, we may even posit that the child will realize that. She may be a bright five-year-old and hear her mother and grandmother talking about the decision to have the baby as opposed to getting an abortion. If she understood what an abortion is and understood her mother’s reasons for getting it, I do not see any reason to think that she might come out and ask if granny is still going to try to kill her. Just imagine a little girl emptying her piggy bank onto the kitchen table. Her mother asks, “What are you doing?” The girl replies, “I thought that if I gave you my money, you wouldn’t still want to have an abortion.”
Hated From Conception
Essential to pro-abortion rhetoric is the idea that pregnancy is a threat or a burden. It is something to be feared. It is not a gift. Think for a moment about what that mentality does to a child. Throughout her entire life, she is a burden and something that needs to be managed. She is a stress-factor and another mouth to feed. She did not ask to be conceived, and yet from the moment of her conception, her grandmother was plotting her death, talking about all of the problems that she is going to bring into their lives. She is the bane of her family. Hated from conception, having to earn the love of her own mother and grandmother.
What Is Granny’s View of Human Value?
It can be difficult to develop a relationship with somebody when they have deplorable values. It can be difficult to be friends with a White Supremacist (though notably, as Christians, we are called to preach the gospel to all people, knowing that we would be them without grace). But what about somebody who has such a low view of human life that human beings are just means to another end? This is essentially what abortionist philosophy reduces mankind to. Human beings can be killed if the circumstances are correct. There are some circumstances in which human beings do not have any value. This is known as extrinsic value. Extrinsic value is the relative value given by other people. Cash has extrinsic, relative value. It is really just paper, but not intrinsically worth anything. On abortionist philosophy, human beings are like that. (It is important to note that this is essentially how abortionist philosophy is ultimately self-defeating. If women have the right to choose, that assumes that human beings have intrinsic value. But if they can kill their young, that assumes that human beings have extrinsic value. It is internally inconsistent and self-defeating.)
If granny has such a low view of human beings that she is willing to kill her own grandchild, what sort of person is she? Could you have a relationship with her beyond the one that you would have with a slave-trader? You might be able to befriend a slave-trader and try to persuade him to change his ways. But I do not know that it would be a deep, unconditional friendship. An unconditional friendship is one in which you accept your friend for whom he is no matter her choices. In your friendship with the slave-trader, it could really only go so far and have a certain depth. How close can you really be? If you knew that your slave-trading friend would never abandon his beliefs and behavior, that friendship might fall apart. Similarly, if granny tried to kill you and still openly has this low view of human beings, there would always be that barrier there. You would always think, “Granny tried to kill me and she would again today, if she could make the decision over again.”
Developing A Strong Family Bond When Granny Wants You Dead
Perhaps it could be argued that granny is not the type of person who should have children. Perhaps those who allow, encourage or pressure their children to have an abortion should have their children taken away from them. There will always be a fractured relationship between parents and child when the parent tried to take her life – at least until repentance. If you are going to glean anything from this article, keep in mind the following truths:
• You were still “you” in the womb
• Therefore, if granny wanted your mother to have an abortion, then granny tried to kill you
• The reasons for wanting to kill your young still persist when she is outside of the womb
• A smart child might pick up on that and come to fear her grandmother
• The child is hated from conception, always a burden to others
• Abortionist philosophy has a low view of human value
• Abortionist philosophy requires a high view of human value and is therefore self-defeating
• It is difficult to develop a strong bond with someone who wanted to kill you
• It is difficult to develop a strong bond with someone who treats human beings as means to an end
Is The Unborn A Biological Human Being?
How Our View of Sexuality Creates An Abortion Culture