The Only Way to Guard Against Infanticide is Protecting Life From Conception
Gauging human value based on the ability to communicate opens quite the can of worms.
You may have heard about the student at the University of Tennessee who approved killing children up to age two. Why? Because he can’t communicate with two-year-olds.
“The fact of the matter is without communication, we have no way of knowing of you are sentient or not,” the student said, his disturbing thought process captured on video. “It’s no different than this tree. It’s alive, but is it sentient? I don’t know. I cannot communicate with it.”
“Can the two year old talk to me?” he continued. In some cases yes, “but generally speaking the child still has the inability to communicate. And until we determine that as such at what point does sentience become an issue.”
This student’s opinion is vile. But it’s not that far-fetched — if you accept abortion as moral. Because the next logical step after abortion is infanticide.
Yes, Babies Can Communicate
First, let’s help this student out with a few facts. He claims two-year-olds can’t communicate. Anyone who’s known a toddler knows that they communicate quite well.
And communication is possible at far earlier ages. Babies as young as six months old can begin learning basic sign language. Even though they haven’t developed the ability to speak yet, simple signs can give babies the ability to convey needs and desires.
This student says he doesn’t know if the children are sentient. Let’s remind him that babies can feel pain as early as 20 weeks gestational age — unlike the trees he compares them to.
Obviously, a baby or a toddler think differently than an adult or even an older child. Does that mean they have no value?
Of course not. And that’s what’s wrong with his argument. Gauging human value based on the ability to communicate or be completely conscious opens quite the can of worms.
Basing Human Value on Communication and Sentience
Let’s say the cut-off age for this so-called “after birth abortion” is two. By the time they turn two, most toddlers can say simple words expressing needs or desires. “Dada.” “Mama.” “Bite.” “No!” As the months go by, they learn more words and start speaking in complete sentences.
Many may not be able to enter into complex conversations with you, even by the age of three or four. Sure, they can tell you that their tummy hurts. But can they explain why? Is it a sharp pain? A dull pain? Do they feel gassy? Are they constipated? Do they feel like they are about to throw up? They don’t know. So you could argue that by simply whining, “Mommy, my tummy hurts,” they aren’t really communicating.
In fact, depending on where you set the bar for “communicate,” they might not be able to “communicate” with you for several years to come. At what age do you consider their conversational abilities adequate enough for them to earn the title of human being with value?
And what of sentience? The three-year-old who whimpers “my tummy hurts” may have no real awareness of anything besides her present discomfort. Another three-year-old, however, may be quite aware herself in relation to the world she knows. Who gets to decide what level of sentience warrants continued existence?
And what about people with mental disabilities? Adults unable to communicate? Has their life no worth?
Of course it has. And this is the problem with abortion. It ignores the science of when life begins and therefore has value. It lets others determine when a life has value, based on arbitrary factors such as “sentience,” convenience, health and whether the parents want that life.
From the moment of conception, human beings constantly change. But the fact that we are human never changes. From conception to deathbed, we’re living human beings.
Many abortion advocates tell us a baby isn’t really a baby until she’s met some criterion besides being human. That she’s made it out of the womb, for example. Life doesn’t really begin until it’s no longer housed inside a mother’s body.
If you start coming up with arbitrary rules about when life begins or when it matters, eventually you’ll start sliding the bar, so that fewer and fewer people will have a right to live. You’ll say that aborting a baby who could survive outside the womb is okay. You’ll argue that killing the baby after it’s born is okay.
The only safe, right way to value human life is to value it at all stages in all forms, starting at conception. Otherwise, we start down a slippery slope to a brutal world of euthanasia, eugenics and the selfish taking of innocent life. In fact, we’re basically there.