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MTV’s Abortion Special Raises the Only Question Worth Debate

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Posted on December 29 2010 11:00 am
Walter Hudson is a political commentator and co-founder of Minnesota's North Star Tea Party Patriots, a statewide educational organization. He runs a blog entitled Fightin Words. He also contributes to True North, a hub of Minnesotan conservative commentary. Follow his work via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Late Tuesday night, MTV provided viewers with a candid look into the decision of a teenage mother to terminate the life of her unborn child.

No Easy Decision, MTV’s special spun off from 16 and Pregnant, followed Markai Durham as she came to the agonizing conclusion to have an abortion. With a frankness rarely seen anywhere on television, No Easy Decision presented a vivid, unsparing look at something that’s not just an “issue,” but a harrowing decision.

With that description, Entertainment Weekly perpetuates the view of abortion as a conscientious if tragic act which can be justified by circumstance.

It is enlightening to consider how we might regard a variation of Markai’s scenario. For instance, would we regard Markai’s deliberation as “a harrowing decision” if she considered killing a newborn? Of course we wouldn’t. Why? Because it is generally accepted that a newborn baby is a human being with an inherent right to life. Acknowledging this brings us to the only question of any real import in the abortion debate. Are the unborn human? Accounts of Durham’s struggle, as portrayed on MTV, highlight that question and why all of us have a vested interest in the answer.

… in social media postings, the 19-year-old Florida girl [prepared] fans for the intense drama.

“I get sad from time to time thinking about it but then everything happens for a reason,” she wrote. “God gave me 3 paths to take abortion, adoption, or raising this baby along with another.

“I chose this path and I think about how stressing things would have been if I haven’t made the one I’ve made.”

Again, let us consider how we would regard these statements if made in reference to the killing of a newborn. There is no change between pregnancy and birth that lessens the stresses and burden of parenthood. Yet, we would never abide the killing of a newborn or older child in order to relieve the parent of stress.

Markai and [boyfriend] James talked about struggles with providing a family with money and support. Economic factors played a big part in her decision. “We can’t take care of another baby. Abortion is the best choice for us.” The procedure was performed when Markai was six weeks pregnant.

I have a two-year old who remains an ever-present “economic factor” in my life. Would killing him be the best choice for me? Naturally, that is a detestable question. We do not measure the value of a child’s life based upon the convenience to the parent.

The only way we can regard Markai’s choice as “harrowing,” rather than sociopathic, is by regarding her unborn child as something less than human. Indeed, that is precisely what her abortion provider advised.

… at the clinic it was suggested that she “think of it as a little ball of cells.” But afterward, she became angry — at James, and at herself — and wracked with remorse. “Nothing but a bunch of cells can turn out to be her,” she says to James, pointing to [their one-year-old daughter] Za’karia.

Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, let us settle on this one incontestable point. The unjust taking of human life is wrong. Therefore, whether abortion is wrong depends only upon whether the unborn are human. This is affirmed by the “harrowing” nature of Markai’s choice, the advice of her abortion provider, and our own plain sense.

Assuming we can all agree to that point, let me leave you with this. On what possible basis might we conclude that the unborn are not human? This is the question which took me from a pro-life-leaning live-and-let-kill wienie to a die-hard advocate for the unborn. Allow me to cut to the chase. Every conceivable answer presents a case applicable after birth. If you say the unborn are not human because they are not self-sufficient, the same could be (and has been) said of children, the invalid, and the very elderly. If you say the unborn are not human because of their lack of development, the same could be (and has been) said of the mentally and physically retarded. If you say the unborn are not human because they do not look so, the same could be (and has been) said of people who look different than any political majority. In short, the arbitrary definition of life is a Pandora’s box which, once opened, threatens the life and liberty of all.

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