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By Jennifer Hartline

1/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

All that matters is the humanity of the child in the womb.

Pregnancy is no easy thing, period. There is no reason not to admit that pregnancy can be very, very hard on a woman. It can be every good and beautiful thing, and it can be some very difficult things, too. That's the truth,plain and simple. But here's the bottom line: it's irrelevant. All that matters is the humanity of the child in the womb.


By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (

1/31/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: abortion, Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court, women, pregnancy, childbirth, humanity, baby, Jennifer Hartline

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - The Supreme Court dodged a significant question when legalizing abortion because they didn't want to answer it. It was the only question that mattered; it was the only one that was relevant. It's the question, and the answer, upon which the whole thing hinges.
So let's answer it.

But first, let's have some very plain talk about pregnancy and women. I'm an expert on both subjects, since I'm a woman who has been pregnant 5 times and has given birth to four children. (My husband and I lost our first child in a miscarriage at 9 weeks.)

Pregnancy is unlike anything else even an extremely imaginative person could imagine. Pick a feeling, and it probably applies to pregnancy at some point. Joyful, scared, elated, nervous, sick, numb, sad, angry, happy, lonely, hungry, tired, energized, eager, dreading, grateful, you name it. It all fits.

Pregnancy is amazing. It's terrifying. It's life-altering. Seriously life-altering. And you can't even predict how it will alter your life or how it will make you feel or how you'll react. Nope, you're along for the ride, and it's wild and crazy sometimes.

Pregnancy is other-worldly. It is awesome in its power. What's going on inside your body is mind-blowing. But pregnancy is also downright exhausting, so you can't stay on the mountaintop of awe continually. You come down when your head is over the toilet.

Or when you're tossing and turning, unable to sleep with an aching back. Or when you can't tie your shoes because, hey, you can't even see your feet.

Pregnancy can be frightening, too. The weight of the burden (literally and figuratively speaking) can sneak up on you in weak or tired moments, and then all you can do is cry. It's overwhelming.

It's wonderful and it sucks. It's a dream-come-true and it's nightmarish. It's a lot of fun and it's a lot of work. It's exciting and it's monotonous. It's a miracle. But it doesn't always feel that way.

It's no easy thing, period. There is no reason not to admit that pregnancy can be very, very hard on a woman. It can be every good and beautiful thing, and it can be some very difficult things, too. That's the truth. Plain and simple.

But here's the bottom line: it's irrelevant.

Yep, you heard me.

Now calm down. Women's feelings, women's bodies, women's personal sufferings, women's private sacrifices, women's needs and wants are all very important and wholly relevant to the subject of women, and of marriage, and of health care.  

However, all those things I said about pregnancy and what a woman goes through are utterly and completely irrelevant-- when it comes to abortion. It doesn't matter a hill o' beans! (as my Dad would say.)

All that matters is the humanity of the child in the womb.

The morality, the ethicalness, and yes, the legality of abortion depends on only one question: Does abortion kill a human child, or not? Yes or no? It's not a complicated question, and it demands a simple yes or no answer.

If you answer No, then you must explain what exactly abortion does. Based on real science, mind you. "Terminating a pregnancy" is not a sufficient answer. Pregnant with what? (By the way, childbirth terminates a pregnancy.) Why is the pregnancy considered terminated? What has changed? The uterus is emptied? Emptied of what? What was there that required being "terminated"?

If not a human child, then what? A seahorse? A cucumber? No, silly, of course not. Okay, then what? A clump of cells? What kind of cells?Hamster? Whale? (Oh, if only whale! Then those precious cells would be safe!)  No, not animal. Okay, so they're human cells.

A human being, then? A "potential" human being?

Ah, yes... the "potential" human being. A darling phrase of the abortion advocates, or at least the keep-abortion-legal crowd. Many well-meaning folks cling to this idea that the child is merely a "potential" child, on its way to being human but not quite there yet. Development, size, age, etc., are not all aligned well enough to meet the fully-human criteria, so they feel more comfortable "terminating" this merely "potential" human being.

Alongside this reasoning is the deification of woman by many abortionists who claim that women can magically bestow humanity on their child if they decide they want to keep their child, and withhold humanity if they do not want their child. Women have god-like powers over the "products" of their wombs, and the child only becomes a "real person" if the mother chooses.  It's the stuff of fairytales!

The truth is actually quite simple. When sperm and ovum join, an entirely new human person comes into existence who never existed before. This new human person may be microscopic for a while, but is nevertheless, human. With a complete DNA blueprint that is unique, this human begins his or her life in the exact same manner that each of us did -- growing each day, changing each day, safely tucked away in the only space in the universe that can sustain him or her, by design.

Humanity is not a function of utility, or size, or development, or appearance, or wantedness. Humanity is not something any of us can bestow or withhold from another because it is not ours to give or take away. We do not grant it. We cannot conjure it up out of nothing. To pretend we can is delusional.

The only other answer to the question, then, is Yes, and if you are honest enough to answer Yes, then you must also be honest enough to say out loud that we are a nation that sanctions killing children.

That makes us barbarians. We have given legal protection to the most egregious, most horrifying, most evil action imaginable: killing our children. That is the reality of abortion. Sweep away all the political mumbo-jumbo and all the euphemistic crap. The truth is, we give legal protection to the crime of killing children. We have justified the unjustifiable. We've been falling all over ourselves ever since that terrible day 41 years ago in our attempts to hide it, disguise it, excuse it, redefine it, and when that wasn't enough, to begin celebrating it as a "good" and a "necessary" thing for women.

It's all crap. Every decent person knows it in the quiet of their own heart. Every honest person has to admit that we're not terminating a pregnancy, as if pregnancies happened apart from a baby. We're terminating our children.

Surely those nine Justices in 1973 knew this quite well. They had to have known it, but I guess they were not willing to seem unsympathetic to women and the growing cry for "equality."

So they reached for their "penumbra" and invented a mythical "right" to abortion, giving it the illusion of sound legal reasoning, when it was nothing more than a snooty euphemism covering up something unspeakable.

They opined about the beginning of life, and the unknowableness of this beginning, then excused themselves from responsibility by saying it didn't even matter that the Court could not say for certain when life begins. All that really mattered was that they had a "penumbra" and it allowed them to permit what no civilized society should ever permit.

Ever since, our babies have been sacrificed to their cowardice and our selfishness. There's no pretty wrapping for any of this. There's no plausible explanation or reasonable excuse. We have killed millions and millions of our own babies because we have consented to being barbarians in disguise. It happens in a nice clinical setting, far away from our eyes, and the victims are very, very small. So small they most often cannot be buried. They are hidden, and we gratefully take advantage of their obscurity. They are silent, and so we allow ourselves to keep silent as well.

And if they are small, but not so hidden anymore, then we defend our barbarism by blaming their "defects" and say it's "better this way." We shed dishonest tears of sorrow for deaths we commissioned, and assuage our consciences with the illusion of our nobility.

It's all just crap. We are a nation that sanctions killing children. If killing our children isn't wrong, then nothing is wrong. Nothing.


Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and mother of four children. She operates on a substantial amount of dark chocolate and coffee. Visit her online at Wake Up, Deborah!


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