I have a friend who, whenever she finds a bug in the house, takes it outside instead of killing it. Caterpillars, spiders, and roaches — no wild creature meets the thwack of a flyswatter or the pounding of a newspaper in her home. All God's creatures get to live the life they deserve, albeit outside.
I understand her logic and even admire her philosophy: Every life, however great or small, is precious. I get it. What I don't get is how this same woman is adamantly pro-choice. She stridently supports a woman's "right to choose." But what if I don't choose to have a spider crawling up my arm? Do I have the right to kill it? No, says my friend. You take it outside. It's strange. Somehow a spider's life is non-negotiable, but a baby's life is negotiable. In fact, in her mind, it's not even really a baby and any scientific evidence to the contrary is something she doesn't want to hear lest it conflicts with the ever-sacred "right to choose." Hmm.
I try not to get into political discussions with friends that I know won't end well. But the general philosophy that life is so precious that it should be protected at all costs is something I not only agree with, I consider it to be a basic standard of civility.
For years, I've wrestled with these questions on the Right, where the most strident pro-lifers are also the most eager for America to go to war. One need not be a pacifist to be pro-life, but you would think that the decision to go to war should meet a pretty high threshold for pro-lifers. Yet I know pro-lifers who still think the Iraq War — arguably the most needless war in American history — was a good idea. If I mentioned, for instance, that an American predator drone killed a dozen innocent children in Pakistan, many pro-lifers might dismiss it by saying, "Well, that's just war." OK, so how about a 15-year-old girl getting pregnant and then having an abortion — is this "just being a teenager?" Absolutely not, say pro-lifers.
When it comes to the Left, vegans really take the cake (well, at least cake made with non-dairy, egg-free products). Most of the people I know who are vegetarian or vegan are liberal and pro-choice. As a matter of common sense, I hold human life higher than any other, but for the sake of argument, let's pretend that vegans are essentially right, that all life is equally precious — a spider, a baby, an oyster, what have you. Not all vegans believe this, but I've met many who do.
What is it that is so precious about milk that it should be respected, but a fetus is something we can dispose of? What is it that is so sacred about cheese, but is nonexistent when it comes to the value of a human life? I simply do not get it. When the primary guiding philosophy behind your diet is a respect for life, it seems perverse to put human beings at the bottom of the food chain.
When it comes to the division that split America, social issues are some of the most divisive. But it is on these issues that the rising generation is more practical than many of their elders. For example, most young Americans don't believe that we should prevent same-sex couples from marrying. I fall into this camp. Compared to a $15 trillion national debt, gay marriage is fairly irrelevant. But when it comes to the sanctity of life, dismissing pro-life arguments isn't as fashionable as it used to be. Most of this has to do with technology, where sonograms and other hospital procedures now show "viable" children at much earlier stages. It's hard to post Facebook photos of little Johnny while also arguing that you have the right to end little Johnny. The "right to choose" has always been more attractive in the abstract.
The primary inspiration for this column was a series of texts my brother sent me of his unborn child. He used a smart phone app called 3-D Baby that shows the fetus as it develops. His wife is 13-weeks pregnant, just one week beyond the first trimester. In South Carolina, abortion is legal through the first trimester. My brother has been sending these texts since about week five. When I look at these pictures, I'm not looking at a "choice."
Jack Hunter assisted Sen. Jim DeMint with his latest book, Now or Never: Saving America From Economic Collapse. He is also the official campaign blogger for GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, and he co-wrote Rand Paul's The Tea Party Goes to Washington. You can hear Southern Avenger commentaries on The Morning Buzz on 1250 WTMA.