Personhood Rights for Needy Chimps But Not Baby Humans

By Michael Brown Published on March 13, 2017

Isn’t it ironic that the very people who would oppose the pro-life, Personhood Bill, which provides “that human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization,” are the same ones who would advocate for the “personhood” rights of animals?

I was reminded of this today while reading a column in the Daily Mail that announced that animal rights lawyer Steve Wise “will argue chimpanzees should have personhood rights in front of Manhattan appellate division of New York’s Supreme Court.”

How is it that people who are so moved to compassion when it comes to our furry friends can be so hard-hearted when it comes to their tiny, precious, still-in-the-womb, fellow-humans?

According to Wise, “A ‘person’ is the law’s way of saying that entity has the capacity for rights. A ‘thing,’ which chimpanzees are now, don’t have capacity for any kind of rights. To treat them as things destroys them.”

Now, I don’t know anything about Wise or the advocacy group he founded (it’s called the Nonhuman Rights Project), but if my past experience is correct here, Wise would not likely be a supporter of the Republican-sponsored Personhood Bill, since, as a general rule, the more staunchly someone supports animal rights, the more likely they are to be pro-abortion.

Compassion for Furry Creatures

How can this be? And how is it that people who are so moved to compassion when it comes to our furry friends can be so hard-hearted when it comes to their tiny, precious, still-in-the-womb, fellow-humans? And why is this often the case with radical environmentalists as well? Why are tree-huggers so often baby-aborters? (In the words of Kirk Walden’s October 14, 2016, op-ed piece on LifeSite News, “Radical Environmentalists: Save the Earth, Abort Babies.”)

Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education on March 13, 2016, Sherry F. Colb and Michael C. Dorf, both law professors asked, “How can someone who condemns animal farming, hunting, and experimentation favor a right to abortion?”

Conversely, they wondered how pro-lifers could “eat and use the flesh, skin, and secretions of feeling creatures like cows, pigs, and chickens whose lives were filled with unspeakable suffering, ended only by horrific deaths?”

For Colb and Dorf, abortion is justified while meat-eating is not, because the baby in the womb is not sentient whereas animals are sentient, and anything that causes unnecessary pain for an animal is not justifiable. (Their article was released in conjunction with their book, Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights.)

Ligia De Jesus Castaldi responded to Colb and Dorf on November 29, 2016, noting that their book, “ends by applauding the extravagant proposal that domestic animals should be granted citizenship rights (with some limitations) and other animals be granted an alternative legal status, including territorial sovereignty for wild animals.”

And she notes that,

Ultimately, the authors do not make any new arguments for abortion rights, and they fail to make a logical or persuasive case for the compatibility of animal rights and abortion rights advocacy. What the book mostly does is expose the inherent contradictions of the pro-choice animal rights position. Sadly, the book also illustrates the extent to which abortion rights dogma can obscure human reason and harden the human heart to the point that the same person who feels empathy and sensitivity for animal suffering can utterly lack compassion for the lethal violence and excruciating pain that unborn children experience when their lives are ended in the womb.

Rejection of a Creator God

And what is the root cause of this confusion? It is, in short, the rejection of a Creator God, because of which human beings are not recognized as being created in His image — and therefore of intrinsic value, no matter how small or weak or handicapped or aged — and animals and the earth are not recognized as having been created by God for human beings.

Of course, one can worship the Creator and be pro-life as well as oppose animal cruelty and be an ardent environmentalist, since there is no contradiction between those positions. In fact, it makes sense that these positions would go hand in hand, since the principles of kindness, compassion, and good stewardship are some of the essential characteristics that define our God-given humanity. (By opposing animal cruelty and being an ardent environmentalist, however, I don’t mean embracing the extreme positions of those respective groups.)

But when God is left out of the picture, “compassion” can take the form of euthanizing a depressed adult or of terminating an unwanted pregnancy just as easily as it can take the form of opposing the consumption of meat or fighting against chopping down a tree. And since human beings are just another evolved species, just as a badly injured horse is put down, a handicapped fetus can be put down. Why not?

I asked on Twitter, “Can someone tell me why the most radical animal rights activists are often militantly pro-abortion?”

One of my Twitter followers named Royce responded, “I think that was probably a rhetorical question but the answer is clearly worshipping the Creature rather than the Creator.”

Precisely so.

A few decades ago, some representatives for the radical-left Greenpeace organization came through the neighborhood of one of my good Christian friends, asking him if he would like to donate money to have save the baby whales.

He replied that he was much more interested in saving the baby humans, and the Greenpeace rep turned away instantly and left in a huff.

Is anyone surprised?

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