Whirlwinds of ignorance have circled the South Dakota decision to stop abortions like a prairie tornado. The criticism I’ve read has centered on the insensitivity of the South Dakotan legislature and governor to the plight of women who don’t want the babies they’ve conceived. These children will enter the world unwanted and throw the women’s lives into irrecoverable disarray. Therefore, the logic goes, they should be executed before they can cause such havoc.
I know a lot of women with unplanned children who look back at those children as the best things that have ever happened to them. However bleak the outlook is when they are born they are not necessarily the harbingers of personal disaster for their moms.
On the other hand, I know a lot of women whose lives are complicated, overwhelmed, and completely disrupted by their aging parents. This inconvenience is in addition to the outrageous cost of care for their parents. Medical care available to the seniors can prolong their lives in a highly dependent state for years.
By the same logic as I hear opposing the South Dakota decision, a woman ought to be able to kill her parents so as not to have her life thrown into chaos by their ill health. Surely the government would support her right to live the kind of right she chooses without regard to her parents.
Now, that would never happen – at least we’d like to think it wouldn’t. Why not? What makes parents less dispensable than unborn children? I think it all rests on the pre-ultrasound belief that an unborn child is not really a person when the invalid parent is. If the child who, when wanted, is called a baby from the day of the first pregnancy test is a person, then South Dakota has done the right thing.