I don’t intend to get into a full fledge discussion on this topic. I simply want to present a thought that I came across a few months ago that speaks, in one way or another, to the article that went live across the internet last week.
The suggestion from the authors of the paper (Giubilini and Minerva) is, of course, that given that there is no moral difference between an unborn and born child, then the termination of a new born’s life is a rational and logically justified move. Further the reasons that hold for the abortion of an unborn child’s life (financial burden, quality of life due to illness, burden on the family due to illness) still hold for the termination of the new born’s.
It is interesting to note that the words that aren’t used and how they are replaced. ‘Infanticide’ is replaced with ‘after-birth abortion’ and well the word ‘killing’ is forgotten altogether (because legally speaking that is what infanticide is).
At this point I want to feature this video from which my thought has arisen. The video is of Christian ethicist Stanley Hauerwas (he is brilliant!) speaking on the use of words and the worlds they create in regards abortion
What kind of practices of a people sustain the language of abortion? What kind of people do you need to be to call the interruption of a pregnancy, abortion?
Add to that “what kind of people do you need to be to call the interruption of newly born life ‘after birth abortion’?” “What kind of people do you need to be to make differences between potential life and realised life?”
Where has our moral language went on holiday when we go out of our way to not use the words ‘killing’ or ‘infanticide’?
The very idea that you have a descriptor like [abortion or after-birth abortion etc.] already makes a different world.
This is where, I think, we need to go. This is what needs to talk about – what is going on that we use those words!?
The risk for Christians is that we balk at the very thought of these things and begin to use our own words and phrases and verses (Image of God and Ps. 139:13) and create our own disengaged, obnoxious world that expects more from the society around us than it is capable of giving.
Abortion happens and it is not likely to stop happening. No, I don’t think it should but it does and I don’t think saying “oh, it’s despicable that people do that!” will help.
We need conversations that ask and challenge all of us “what kind of world are we all living in when we speak of living, breathing human beings with these kinds of abstract and scientific descriptors and carry out (or think about carrying out) these particular acts?”
We also need, particularly as Christians, to learn to speak in thoughtful ways with our theologically loaded (and useful) words. It will not do to use words that lampoon abortion when all around us there are people who carry the emotional, physical and psychological cost of those procedures, as well as those who spend their time dealing with the familial, financial and physical realities that require them to look to those procedures for help. How do we sound when we broadcast our words and the world they create? Are people encountering the world of new life and new creation that God’s grace and love pushes upon us here on earth and the lives of those in it, regardless of where and how we are and the shit we’ve been up to? Because neither naive denial or self-righteous outrage does that.