BY COLLIN SCESKI
Life matters. Reminiscent of a tautology, this statement is boringly obvious. Anything unaware of this truth is most certainly inanimate, and conversely everything that is animate is aware that life matters, whether consciously or otherwise. Each of the scientific characteristics of life are evidence of life's almost singular goal to keep living and to constantly live better.
On the human level this idea of "life matters" is advocated for by an astonishing amount of examples. Every time a person plants a garden, reads a book, falls in love, and -- relevant to today -- mentions human rights, that person is acknowledging that life matters. Every civil rights movement is, unbeknownst or not, based on the simple premise that life is so fundamentally important to everything alive that it demands the greatest respect possible.
If we look closely we can see that every civil rights movement -- perhaps every heartfelt cry for justice, historically labeled as a movement or not -- has several purposes: promotion of a better life for oneself, and promotion of a better life for people who are unaware that such a life is possible. Thus MLK dreamed about all of America, not just himself.
The pro-life movement is built of "dreamers" too. It's not enough that we have rights to live/eat/grow/play/laugh/cry/feel/love/read/play sports/go to college/encounter God/voice opinions/make mistakes/try to pat our head while rubbing our belly/basically everything else. No. To the pro-lifer, every human should be offered these rights also, whether they are aware of them or not.
I recently started working at retirement home as a nurse aide. I am a resident advocate. Not just me personally, but the role of "nurse aide." This means that if a resident is unaware that their life could be greatly improved by knee therapy, then it is my responsibility to encourage him to go. Unawareness doesn't justify a refusal to advocate -- not for Joe Shmo's grandpa and not for the unborn, either.
In my opinion, the opposite of a "life matters" mindset is a "commodities matter" mindset. When I'm rich one day (cross your fingers for me) and I buy the most amazing grill imaginable, I will have bought a commodity. I earned that steak-maker-from-heaven-itself (AKA commodity!) from years of hard work, but simply put: commodities don't matter. The things that matter don't need to be earned; they are inherent. Denying voting rights to a black man turns voting into a commodity and tells that man that his race is keeping him from earning it. Denying property to women turns that right into a commodity and tells a woman that her femininity is keeping her from earning it. Rights are not commodities and they require nothing to be earned; we all know this.
The #abortionmatters movement is raising the pitchfork and torch for something they believe is a right -- abortion on demand -- but in the process they are commodifying (yes, commodifying is a thing) the rights of the unborn. This cry sounds a little something like, "Go ahead, puny pre-born human-being -- earn your right to life! *maniacal laugh*." Or, more accurate (but, admittedly, less theatrically entertaining): "I decide what rights you will be given because I predate you," or "I can withhold your rights because you depend on me for survival." If we're playing the justification game, these statements don't sound too crazy, but frankly this ignores something rather important: if a thing is inherent then it needs no justifications. Zero. An inherent truth stands alone. So either the right to life is a commodity earned for the unborn by the whims of its parents, or it is an inherent characteristic of a human being that no one can take away. I think a world devoted to the latter of the two descriptions sounds like a much better place to live.
Just to over-simplify, for everyone who said "tl;dr":
(A) The right to life is inherent (and thus not a commodity) to every human being.
(B) A pre-born child is a human being.
(C) Therefore: the right to life is inherent (and thus not a commodity) to a pre-born child.
Expect a post to describe (B) in detail really soon.
A version of this post can also be found on Collin's blog.