A professor in a world-acclaimed medical school once posed this medical situation – and ethical problem – to his students. “Here’s the family history – the father has syphilis. The mother has TB. They already have had four children. The first is blind. The second had died. The third is deaf. The fourth has TB. Now the mother is pregnant again. The parents come to you for advice. They are willing to have an abortion, if you say they should. What do you say?”
The students gave various individual opinions, and then the professor asked them to break into small groups for “consultation.” All of the groups came back to report that they would recommend an abortion.
“Congratulations,” the professor said. “You just took the life of Beethoven!”
Nothing is so polarizing as the subject of abortion. I know several well-meaning people who say, “I’m personally pro-life, but I don’t think we should tell a woman what she has to do with her own baby.” Translation – “I’m pro-choice.”
Others say, “I’m a libertarian. I don’t believe we should tell others what to do with their own bodies.” I always respond with, “Then why do you support mandatory seat belt laws for cars and helmet laws for motorcycles?”
I want to be pro-choice. It sounds inclusive, politically correct, and sensitive. There’s just one problem. The thing that is being aborted is not a thing, but a person. He or she has a heartbeat, two hands, ten fingers, and ten toes.
I know that for many women, following through with giving birth, in response to what was almost always consensual sex, can be inconvenient. But for the aborted baby, that procedure is really inconvenient. I kind of think that if we could ask all the unborn babies of the world to weigh in on their preferences, of the 15 million babies aborted in America since 1973, not one would have chosen that fate had they had a choice.
No, abortion is not the right choice – ever. Just ask Mr. Beethoven.