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Life Created by Feelings? So Says the Latest Modern Heresy

August 3, AD2013 6 Comments

\"Jennifer

MSNBC\’s Melissa Harris-Perry has a wacky theory for us that she believes should be the determining criteria for human life. Life itself, it\’s very beginnings, depends on the feelings of another person (whose life, I assume, depends upon the feelings of another person, and so on, and so on…). Life cannot be said to exist based on science or logic or genuine knowledge or even common sense, but on feelings.

As the world celebrates the birth of the new prince in England, it is ironic to reflect on how the headlines and all the press around the world have always referred to the Duchess\’s baby as just that, a baby. Not a fetus, never an embryo, never a clump of cells taking up residence in her uterus, certainly never an intruder. The world has correctly identified the baby as a baby and granted the baby the respect and humanity he has always deserved. Why? Because the parents are royalty? Because they\’re wealthy? Because they\’re stylish and beautiful? Maybe. Those are lousy reasons to recognize the obvious, but reasons still.

Harris-Perry has taken the occasion to point out to us the illogic and the hypocrisy of our own reactions and our society\’s treatment of the child in the womb, though that isn\’t what she meant to do. She\’s making her case for the necessity and validity of abortion, but she actually does a good job of exposing how empty, selfish, and absurd is the entire premise.

She starts by contrasting the fairytale experience of William and Kate with other, more problematic experiences, and opines that, \”When a pregnancy is wanted, by the mother and father, their family, their community, even their country, it is easy to think of the bump as a baby. But not every pregnancy is a fairytale. There are other stories. An ultrasound reveals serious birth defects; a child is raped and becomes pregnant; another baby would jeopardize a mother\’s ability to feed her living children; a woman decides she does not want a child at all; these are different pregnancies.\”

“They are reminders that an unwanted pregnancy can be biologically the same as a wanted one. But the experience can be entirely different.\”

She goes on, “Eggs are fertilized. Embryos implant. Cells divide and multiply. Fetuses grow. But when does life begin? I submit the answer depends an awful lot on the feeling of the parents. A powerful feeling – but not science.\”

(Before I continue, it must be said: 1. Yes, it\’s quite easy to think of the bump as a baby because it is, in fact, a baby. 2. Birth defects, even serious ones, do not justify ripping a baby to pieces. 3. The child in the womb is also a mother\’s living child.)

Pregnancy is not a condition that happens apart from a baby. That seems so obvious as to be dopey to even say, yet Harris-Perry repeats the idea — indeed the theme the abortion industry loves — that it\’s the experience of pregnancy that matters, and whether it\’s good or bad determines the value of the \”bump\”.

Hogwash. The condition of pregnancy is a gigantic smörgåsbord of possible experiences, good, bad, and ugly, but that doesn\’t mean diddley in relation to the inherent value of the baby. I\’ve had four children so I speak with great authority and depth of experience. I know very well that pregnancy is not all roses and lollipops.

Here comes the most politically-incorrect thing you\’ll ever hear: How a woman feels about pregnancy is utterly and totally irrelevant to the fact that there is a baby in her womb. Her feelings matter very much indeed, because she matters, but her feelings have nothing whatsoever to do with the humanity of the child in her womb. She cannot feel the baby into life or into nothingness.

She does not determine the child\’s worth or value based on her feelings. Her feelings do not grant humanity to a \”clump of cells.\” Her feelings, whether negative or positive, do not affect the personhood of the child one iota. The child IS a human being, period. Feelings have nothing to do with it.

Harris-Perry\’s entire argument is the absurd idea that if a woman has a good experience of pregnancy and wants her child, then because she feels happy about it, her \”bump\” is indeed a baby. If her experience is not good and she feels negatively about it, then her \”bump\” is not a baby. More than that, life has not actually begun because her feelings have not granted it.

First, it strikes me as incredibly insulting because it just plays into the old sexist stereotype that everything women do is based on feelings, and women are incapable of thinking rationally and employing logic and sound reasoning. So much for using our heads, girls. And forget about science, right? Women just react emotionally to everything!

Second, speaking of science, I thought it was Christians who were supposedly anti-science! Forget human biology — in Harris-Perry\’s magical and incoherent world, women just feel life into existence and presto! — bumps become babies!! Wow! Again, it\’s insulting to tell women that things aren\’t real if they don\’t want them to be real. Facts are not obliterated by feelings. And the power to grant and create life is thankfully not at the whim of women\’s emotions.

Harris-Perry really held up the mirror, though, and her crazy, narcissistic remarks are an accurate reflection of our depraved times. We really do gush over the desired child of royalty in one breath and scream for the \”termination\” of the unwanted-es in the next breath. We feel totally justified in demanding the \’right\” to choose whether this child lives or that one dies. We actually do believe that our feelings grant life and that our choice is what makes a baby a baby versus \”insentient tissue\”. The child in the womb has no intrinsic value to us, only subjective value determined by exterior circumstances and desires, and the ultimate barometer, our feelings.

The child in the womb of a Duchess is celebrated and protected and called a baby. The child in the womb of a college student is called a threat to her future and killed. The child in the womb of an unwilling mother is called an unwelcome intruder and a parasite and killed. The child in the womb of a poor minority mother is considered a thief stealing food and resources from the family and killed. The child conceived in rape couldn\’t possibly be considered anything but vulgar and is killed.

In every case, the child is the same — a human person. Circumstances and feelings are irrelevant to that fact. The difference is our response. We can\’t have it both ways. If Kate\’s baby has always been a baby, then so is every baby in every mother\’s womb.

I realize that for centuries the birth of a royal baby has been met with lavish celebration while the birth of a poor child, a sick child, an \”imperfect\” child born to a less-than-picturesque family is either ignored or met with open disdain. God Himself came to this world a poor child, born among livestock because no one would give His mother a room. This foolish world continues to miss the miracle unless it comes wrapped in style and beauty.

The current mixed conduct toward expectant mothers and their babies is not a new phenomenon. Even our disregard for the child in the womb is nothing new in human history. Abortion is not a modern invention. It\’s an old, old evil. Living in a society where it is legal and sanctioned by the positive law of the land, however, is what makes our time so barbaric and grotesque.

That we have elevated abortion to the status of a \”right\” and tried to confer on it moral credibility is what makes us so-called civilized and enlightened people so depraved. And in our technologically-advanced world, with our knowledge of the human body and the window we have into the womb, we have absolutely no excuse for our selfish and hideous insistence that the child is not fully human, not a person, not a baby.

If we ever hope to achieve a nation where the children of poor families are given the same consideration as those of the rich; where babies of every race are treated with equal respect; where mothers, in every circumstance, are given the help, support, and protection they need and deserve, then we must start at square one. And square one is this: It is not a choice, but a child, and the child in the womb is a human person who has the right to live and be born. Period.

Only when that is settled and non-negotiable can we finally put all our energy where it belongs, and then the frightened young mother, or the overwhelmed mother, or the distraught mother, or the poor mother will not feel they\’re left to their own devices without support.

Yes, the experience of pregnancy can be anything from joyful to terrifying and everything in between. It can be a dizzying mix of emotions and physical challenges. But whatever the experience, the humanity of the child in the womb is an unchanging fact. Whether that makes anyone feel glad, sad or mad is simply immaterial.

© 2013. Jennifer Hartline. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author:

Jennifer Hartline is grateful to be Catholic, and becoming more grateful by the day. She's a proud Army wife and homeschooling mother of three children. #4 coming soon! She runs on dark chocolate and mochas (better yet, dark chocolate mochas), loves to bake, and remains fairly stunned that she gets to write for awesome Catholic websites like Catholic Online and Catholic Stand. Only by the grace of God! She is a present-day abolitionist, praying (and writing loudly) for the day when we will abolish the evil of abortion in our nation and protect the child in the womb. She knows that the only thing that will save Western civilization from utter implosion is the Catholic Church. She and her husband and crew make their home wherever the Army sends them. You can visit Jennifer at her blog, Wake Up, Deborah! Now, go get some chocolate.

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  • Phil Dzialo

    My comment has nothing to do with abortion, personhood or ensoulment. It is only when life within the womb is as protected as life outside the womb will our society and our religions have substance and meaning. We, also, need to protect life of the born to equality, to social justice, to economic sustainability, to freedom from classism, ableism, sexism, etc., to freedom from coercion and discrimination. When those guarantees to the potentialities of a full life are available to all born will the yet to be born be truly safe.

  • cminca

    “Hogwash. The condition of pregnancy is a gigantic smörgåsbord of possible experiences, good, bad, and ugly, but that doesn’t mean diddley in relation to the inherent value of the baby ”
    You know–you pro-lifers are really only doing half the job.
    The fact is that a woman may go months without knowing she’s pregnant–and yet may be doing all sorts of things that are a danger to the child–smoking, drinking, drugs…In fact–in the cases of those women who may have risky pregnancies they shouldn’t even be on their feet.
    Clearly, woman cannot be left to their own devises because they may be harming potential children due to their own ignorance of their own bodies and the fact that their civil right and freedoms “doesn’t mean diddly in relation to the inherent value of the baby.”
    So you need to acknowledge that you view a woman in her breeding years is nothing but a vessel for potential children. That she cannot be considered smart enough to take care of that potential child. That we need LAWS to make certain that a woman that has the capacity to be impregnated (married of course) cannot be let out into the world because she may be harming her husband’s potential property (child and wife).
    Gee–it is beginning to sound a lot like Saudi Arabia…..

    • JoAnna Wahlund

      Try reading the post next time, okay?

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  • Steven Carr

    I wonder why Catholics like Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor claimed that atheists were not fully human.

    Doesn’t he know that an atheist is just as fully human as any 1 day old fetus?