By Dave Andrusko
Kate Cohen describes she/her/hers as a “contributing columnist for The Washington Post. Writer, editor, parent, atheist, leftie (both kinds), obsessive cook, highly opinionated human.” So you’d expect her to answer the question “‘How would you feel if your mother had aborted you?’” with what she did: “Easy. I’d feel nothing.”
For Cohen, that question—“How would you feel if your mother had aborted you?”– is nothing more than a “pro-life riposte.” Her hostility to people of faith is palpable, but let’s examine her argument (such as it is).
It boils down to (you’d never guess) religion. “Religion gave us not just an afterlife, but a before life, too,” Cohen instructs us. “God creates people as souls first and then gives them physical shape.” That’s the be-all and end-all of the pro-life case for life.”
Of course that’s just a dodge, and a clumsy one at that. Plenty of people who are secular pro-lifers don’t believe in God. They would find Cohen’s argument beside the point. But their commitment to protecting unborn children is no less passionate because they base legal protection for unborn children on secular grounds.
For believers, God knows us as we are developing in the womb…and before. “Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” Jeremiah 1:4-5.
But Cohen’s real argument for answering the question “How would you feel if your mother had aborted you?’” with “Easy. I’d feel nothing” is that we are the product of sperm and ovum and, if aborted, would be…where? Presumably oblivion. And besides, you never have to say you’re sorry if we abort you since you really didn’t exist in the first place.
I wonder what her response would be to a 25 week abortion? A 30-week abortion? Would that baby “feel nothing”?
Irony #1 is that the ensoulment debate, which she throws in the mix to show her superiority and to distract us, is brought up almost exclusively by pro-abortionists to muddy the waters.
Irony#2 is her conclusion: “If I had to choose between my potential existence and my actual mother’s freedom? That’s easy. I’d choose my mother’s freedom every time.”
“Potential existence”? There is nothing besides a fruitless discussion of ensoulment and “potential existence”? How about an acknowledgement that it is virtually universally conceded that the life of every individual human being begins at conception?
As Monica Snyder, executive director of Secular Pro-Life, notes, “Philosophers may debate when a human life has moral value, but biologists aren’t debating when a human organism’s life begins.”
She also keenly observes
If it’s true that the question of when human life is morally valuable is merely a religious debate, then it’s also true that Roe promoted one “religious” view over others. Roe effectively enforces the view that human life isn’t valuable enough to merit legal protection until at least halfway through pregnancy (and possibly at no point during pregnancy, as some states have decided)
Abortion ends the life of a human in utero. This is not a religious view; it is a fact of biology. Whether it is immoral to take these lives is an open religious and philosophical question.