Abortion is any act or procedure performed with the willful intent to cause the death of an unborn child which is between conception and birth. As such, abortion is a grave act of injustice toward the unborn child and a clear violation of the child’s natural, unalienable right to life and his/her legal right not to be deprived of life without due cause. RLM, therefore, is unalterably opposed to abortion.
This position does not oppose medical treatment to save the life of the mother. Treatments may, in rare circumstances, result in the unintended death of her child. The unintended death of the child is not to be construed as abortion. When the life of the mother is judged by competent medical personnel to be in danger, a doctor can and should treat both the mother and her unborn child, striving to save the lives of both. With medical advances, it is rare that the child’s life cannot also be saved. Before the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decisions legalizing all abortions, the Michigan statutes governing abortion provided an exception for the life of the mother. RLM accepts the intent of those statutes.
RLM is opposed to aborting unborn human individuals conceived through acts of rape and incest. RLM abhors the violence and violation of rape and incest. Our organization encourages public and private support for the victims of sexual assault as well as prosecution of the perpetrators of the crime. No matter how a child is conceived, abortion remains an act of injustice toward that child, a human being truly present and living within the womb. The injustice done to the woman cannot be undone and is compounded by an injustice toward her innocent child who is conceived from the assault. The advocates of abortion in cases of sexual assault imply that pregnancies resulting from such acts are common. In fact, conception from rape is known to be very rare.
RLM’s primary opposition to abortion is grounded in reasoned reflection on the scientific facts about the being who is present in the womb or the petri dish: that being is, from the moment of conception, an indisputably living, human individual. There is no point during the continuum of fetal development, from conception to birth, where one could, without arbitrariness, identify a break in that continuum, a point before which that living human individual could be said to be nonliving, nonhuman, not an individual being. We further observe that any criterion that could be applied to question or deny the full humanity of the unborn child could also be applied, with equal arbitrariness, to many other living human individuals who all people understand to be fully human; i.e., the comatose, the physically disabled, the mentally impaired, the infant.
What advocates of abortion seem unable to grasp or unwilling to concede are the obvious: that the unborn, particularly in the early states of development, look like what living human individuals look like at that point in their lives.
RLM rejects as specious and arbitrary the assertion that, while the unborn child may be a living human individual, it is not a person and therefore need not be accorded legal rights, such as the right not to be killed without due process. Before it is a legal right, the right not to be killed without justification is a natural, unalienable human right possessed by all living human individuals. To say that it is unalienable means that it is not a right that is granted or bestowed by society or by the state. It is a right possessed by nature, by what a human being is. The right to life became a legal right because it was recognized to be a basic natural right that the state was obligated to protect; That right to life may be acknowledged by the state. It may be ignored by the state, but it is not dependent for its existence on the state.
For that reason, Right to Life of Michigan rejects the assertion that the unborn child may be aborted because it is unwanted. Being wanted tells us about the attitude of the outsider toward the unborn child; it does not tell us anything about the nature of the child. The natural right to life of any living human individual is not dependent upon and, therefore, cannot be negated by the desires or attitudes of others. No living human individual can be someone else’s property or an object of property rights or claims of disposition, as the “unwantedness” argument implies. Moreover, we know from the long lists of people waiting to adopt that, in fact, there is no unborn child who is not wanted by someone.
(April 10, 1996)