The Redefinition of the Unborn Child

Recently, Ben Shapiro gave a controversial speech at the University of Berkeley that revolved around a defense of the recognition of the value of an unborn child as equally human as the rest of us. This and other variations of the same theme of the recognition of an unborn child as fully human are a mainstay of pro-life groups and have been for many years and can be said to be effective in changing individuals’ opinions about abortion. Nonetheless, the reality is the most important abortionist groups are not ideologically tied to ignoring that a human being is just as valid at conception as he/she is at birth, nor have they ever been. On the contrary these same abortionist groups promote abortion as a type of legal homicide in countries where abortion is still illegal and as a consequence there is no battle or even argument from abortionists when life begins. How could this be possible?

Latin America is part of a 2000 year Catholic tradition of recognizing abortion as homicide. Latin America governments inherited the judicial tradition of using Catholic doctrine in place of promulgated laws that dates back to Roman times. In fact the concept of “separation of church and state” came about in Europe at a time when countries were rejecting their centuries long close relations with the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, Catholic countries that never abandoned close formal relations with the Vatican have preserved certain traditions to the present day, one of which is the legal recognition that abortion is homicide. This tradition remained in spite of the temporary animation period, which was all but rejected by Catholic kingdoms as witnessed by the prosecutions of abortion as homicide throughout the period when the animation theory was relevant.

Therefore, given the long tradition of Catholic countries legally recognizing abortion as homicide as well as mandating state supported Christian education and the result is a very well informed population about not only does not question what science says about when life begins but also understandably overwhelmingly opposes abortion. As a consequence of such a well informed population foreign abortionists groups have abandoned any attempts to confuse the local populations but rather have openly embraced that a fully human child is at stake during an abortion, but that the mother rights supersede that of her child. This is a clear case of “justifiable homicide”.

This evidence of the completely opposite approaches of the promotion of legal abortion by the same abortionists groups reveals that their only ideology is legal abortion. This strategy is nothing new but has in fact been a mainstay of the abortionist movement for close to a century.

Early abortionists wanted to approve legal abortion in order to ethnically cleanse the world’s populations because they believed that each of the “races” developed independently from the apes and that “remnant” traits from the apes were still apparent in each of the world’s populations, whether it be Russia or West Africa. Nonetheless, the fact that the Catholic Church had so much influence on European laws for so many centuries meant that abortion was considered a homicide, so this proved a difficult task. In response, abortionists would place less emphasis on legal abortion as a method of racial cleansing and instead start a campaign to “moralize” abortion. For example, therapeutic abortion would be promoted in order to save women’s lives. Also, in order to create the necessary moral impetus unrealistically high maternal mortality rates attributed to illegal abortion were fabricated. Inflated illegal abortion rates were proposed as well to further the cause. This also enabled abortionists to broach the topic of legal abortion, which was shunned at the time due to the clear understanding it was homicide. Naturally, as legislators, professionals and the public became more accustomed to the open discussion of abortion on demand abortion would be promoted instead of just therapeutic abortion. This same strategy is used today by the very same eugenist groups (Planned Parenthood and the Guttmacher Iinstitute) to promote abortion where it is still illegal today. It is clear abortionists were and still are deceptive in furthering their cause.

However, as previously noted, the fact that abortion was still considered a homicide would deem to be a significant roadblock for abortionists like Margaret Sanger. While some would question how abortion was perceived before its widespread legalization in the latter 20th century, especially due to the absence of specific abortion laws in some countries at the onset of the 19th century, the discussions during this time period demonstrate that by far a majority of persons deemed abortion as murder, just like we see in Latin America today. The reason that some countries did not have specific laws (common or otherwise) about abortion, or obscure ones that distinguished between a “quickened” and “non-quickened” fetus should not be taken as evidence that abortion was a common practice, on the contrary, significant abortion before the Industrial Revolution was not possible due to the very high fertility rates at the time. The fact that abortion was practiced so sporadically was due to the Catholic tradition of treating abortion as homicide, with Catholic countries prosecuting abortions as homicide due to the very little separation of church and state. Even after the Reformation the perception did not change regarding abortion. Therefore, because of the widespread view that abortion was homicide eugenists realized something would have to change in order for abortion to be legalized: a new strategy would be needed to “de-humanize” the unborn child.

As it turns out Margaret Sanger had an ally in her fight to racially cleanse the world of “inferior” humans in the chief of the US Vital Statistics, Halbert Dunn. Dunn was by all accounts a eugenist given that he presented illegal abortion estimates at a conference held by a eugenist organization, the National Committee on Maternal Health (which would eventually be the predecessor of the Population Council). Only a couple of years after this conference the US Vital Statistics under Halbery Dunn changed the term of “abortion” to “stillbirth”. This redefinition was the start to exclusively associate abortion as a women’s issue, thus moralizing abortion. Also, the methodology used to quantify abortion was changed as well, thus isolating abortion from other social indicators and preventing its comparison with other social indicators, like homicide.

In retrospect changing how abortion was officially recorded should be seen as the first step in taking way the inherent right of an unborn child to be recognized as fully human as opposed to an extension of a women’s body. Also, recognizing that that Halbert Dunn rubbed shoulders with the biggest eugenists at the time and presented a paper at a eugenist conference and we should also conclude that the way in which abortions were reclassified was purposely done by Dunn to lay the groundwork for abortion to be eventually legalized. It also seems apparent that the redefinition of status of the unborn child as fully human was justified by eugenists because abortion would be targeted towards blacks and other people of color, who eugenists always considered as less human than whites. In summary, the change in status of aborted persons by the official US agency charged with statistics under the leadership of a eugenist should be seen as the product of clearly racial motives, with the clear intent being to call into question the fully human status of the unborn child, something that would prove to be essential to the justification for the Roe v. Wade decision.

It is clear abortionists have only one ideology regarding abortion – it should be legal at all costs, including the truth. Furthermore, taking into account the very poor scholarship apparent in the Roe v. Wade decision and the fact that abortionists promote abortion as a justifiable homicide in Latin American and it seems apparent abortionists would like to have legal on demand abortion approved in a Catholic country, thus establishing legal precedence in the event the fragile Roe v. Wade decision is challenged. As such the pro-life community should take note not only of this potential threat to any Human Life legislation but also of Latin America’s almost unique position and use it to demonstrate to the American public the complete lack of sincerity of the abortionist movement.