“Muddled” morality and “wanted” versus “unwanted” children

By Dave Andrusko

Unborn baby shown grimacing in womb as mother smokes.

Unborn baby shown grimacing in womb as mother smokes.

I must have been about the 3,000th person to mention (albeit in passing) the bizarre appearance of an article in Cosmopolitan magazine that examined a study that inquired into how unborn babies respond when their mothers smoked (Hint: badly). Why bizarre? Because it would difficult to exaggerate how thoroughly the magazine has thrown itself into abortion advocacy.

Just look at the headline: “Disturbing Ultrasounds Show How Unborn Babies React When Their Mothers Smoke.”

“Unborn babies….”

Tess Koman writes, ”The higher-than-normal mouth movements of the babies who inhaled smoke (resembling what the Telegraph calls ‘grimacing’) is further confirmation that nicotine is terrible for unborn children.”

“Unborn children…”

And if that weren’t enough, Koman quotes the study’s co-author, Professor Brian Francis, who said, “Technology means we can now see what was previously hidden, revealing how smoking affects the development of the fetus in ways we did not realize. This is yet further evidence of the negative effects of smoking in pregnancy.”

“What was previously hidden…”

But it wasn’t until this morning when a friend forwarded me a commentary written by Trevin Max that I realized how schizophrenic Cosmopolitan could be. In that same March 25 issue, Cosmopolitan ran a piece entitled “This Is What It’s Like to Be a Latina Reproductive Rights Activist.”

Max takes a turn at that addressing “our society’s inconsistency in the ongoing debate over abortion,” illustrated by the juxtaposition of the two articles. That “we only affirm the humanity of the unborn if the child is ‘wanted.’”

For pro-abortionists, that would be close to the ultimate “duh” statement, an imaginary “problem” (or inconsistency). The child, in both a symbolic and perhaps a real sense, does not actually “exist” until and unless he or she is wanted–or, as they like to say, “accepted”–by their mother.

Humanity schumanity. That’s for dopes who think that just because a human life begins at conception it makes a difference. Granted, you don’t want the central nervous system of a “wanted” child to be affected by nicotine, but who cares about a [fill in the derogatory label]?

Max comes at this from a variety of angles. For example, he uses the recent tragedy in Colorado where a mother of two [!] lured a pregnant woman into her house, attacked her with a knife and glass, and then cut the woman’s baby out of her. Oughtn’t the woman be charged with murder, since the baby died? For a variety of complex reasons (including the absence of a state fetal homicide law), she won’t be.

He talks of our “muddled” morality on abortion– “because we are inconsistent in our view of human life in the womb.” Which brings him back to the illustration provided by recent issue of Cosmo. Max observes

Cosmo readers are supposed to react with horror to the harm smoking may cause a prenatal child, while rallying to support a woman’s right to a procedure that, in the second and third trimesters, would tear the same child limb by limb.

Yet “muddled” morality notwithstanding, Max concludes on a note of encouragement:

Technology is playing a larger role in these discussions. High-quality ultrasounds offer us unprecedented pictures inside the womb. Millennial parents who put together scrapbooks for their children begin with sonograms, not newborn photos.

And so, as technology advances, our society is put in the increasingly uncomfortable position of both affirming and denying the humanity of the unborn

No one, including I’m sure Trevin Max, would argue that the familiarization provided by sonograms will carry the day, in and of itself. But the once-upon-a-time invisible unborn child is now, courtesy of ultrasounds and movies and commercials and Facebook and You Tube videos, a near constant companion.

Will that change all hearts and all minds? No. But what it does accomplish is more than merely putting the pro-abortion crowd perpetually on the defensive, as important as that is.

This familiarity challenges both the cause and effect of much of the anti-life ethos: ignorance. We didn’t know because we didn’t see.

More than once I have written about an unforgettably powerful scene from the movie Amazing Grace where members of the prim and proper aristocracy unsuspectingly come face to face with slavery. Who knows if their eyes were opened, but they could no longer say they didn’t know or hadn’t seen.

Women rushing to “end a problem”–a crisis pregnancy–will do so most often utterly unaware of the humanity they share with their unborn child. An opportunity to see that the little one is just like us, only smaller and more defenseless, can make all the difference in the world.