Imagine the scene: a courtroom. Five children are lined up in front of the judge, fidgeting. The youngest is a newborn, the oldest might be about eight.
Judge: “Ok, Jacob Smith. Your father has been convicted of embezzelment of $8 million from the bank he ran. He has been sentenced to ten years in prison. Since we can’t find him, you will serve his term.”
Child is escorted out in handcuffs.
Judge: “Next. Anne Johnson. Your father has been convicted of attempted murder. His sentence is twenty years, with possibility of parole, so you’re lucky. He has fled the country, so you will serve his sentence.”
Child is escorted out in handcuffs.
Judge: “And… let’s see… oh, yes. Ava and Jayden James and John Thompson. Your fathers held up a convenience store and killed three bystanders and a police officer. They have been sentenced to death. We have been unable to apprehend them, so you are scheduled to be executed next month.”
The three children are escorted out in handcuffs.
The point? Well, the point is that we don’t do this. We don’t sell children into slavery to pay their parents’ debts as the ancients did. We don’t even assume that an innocent child is completely doomed by their genetics to follow a criminal parent’s footsteps like the Victorians did. We don’t imprison and starve parents of adult couples trying to evade the One Child policy like China does. In modern jurisprudence, family members are not held accountable for the behavior of their parents, siblings, adult children, etc.
Except that there is one case where most people in this country would not just put up with but actively advocate for executing the child for the sins of the father: rape.
Campaign ads (and a number of commentators who apparently liked the soundbite) in Florida accused a candidate for Congress of “forcing rape victims to bear the rapist’s child.” Two problems here: 1) No, the rapist forced her to bear the child (and we have laws and punishments associated with that), and 2) we’ve gotten past medieval embryology, people; we all know now that the child is a combination of DNA from both parents, not just the man’s “seed” implanted into the womb, so it’s the rape victim’s child, too.
The person arguing the pro-life position is simply saying that the child is innocent and doesn’t deserve to die for what his or her father did. While we’re at it, as a person, the child should be protected under the law, just like everyone else, including from unjust deprivation of life.
On The O’Reilly Factor tonight, liberal commentator Alan Colmes trotted out the usual, tired, cop-out argument: “That’s a religious decision. You can’t prove when life begins!”
Really? All these decades after Roe v. Wade and that’s still the best you can come up with? A variant on “My body, my choice”, as if it’s just a personal moral conviction whether or not some people are really people? Do we owe slave owners and genocidal regimes an apology for having been so condemnatory? Wasn’t it just their own personal views that those people weren’t people? As Justice Ginsburg put it, they built their lives around the assumption of having this [abortion, slavery, genocide] available, so how can we make it illegal?
Ok, then I declare it’s my religious belief that people with glasses (like you, Mr. Colmes) are less than human, and, thus, not covered by the nation’s murder laws. Are you ok with that? (I’m guessing “no.”) Would you like to explain to me what it is that makes you human that doesn’t apply to the embryo? Is it because you’re smarter (arguable), older, larger, more self-sufficient, or just because you happen not to be located inside a womb anymore?
It seems compassionate, to allow for abortion in cases of rape and incest, but those who say that are arguing that murder will erase the pain of the rape (it doesn’t; plenty of women have testified to that). Or that the pro-abortion shills are fundamentally right, if a little too lenient: really, really, really not wanting the child makes it not human, even if you still call yourself “pro-life” and say that only two really’s wouldn’t be enough reason to get an abortion.
All it takes is time and care to turn the embryo into a baby; there are no new infusions of DNA or something between conception and birth… just as all it takes is time and care to keep the baby healthy enough to grow into a misguided TV pundit. And if that is a baby, then no circumstance justifies its- sorry- his or her execution, not age, nor size, nor disability, nor wantedness. And certainly not the sins of his or her father.
We used to teach logic in schools.
Now, we teach contraception.