Friday, August 14, 2015

A Question of Value

"[Love] does not dishonor others. It is not self seeking..."

    Why do you have value? What is your worth made of? Is it because you're beautiful? Is it because you're smart? Are you very successful at what you do? How much have you contributed to society? Do you have value because of something you did, some quality you possess? Do you have anything to offer me? Do I see you as inherently valuable or do I see you as a sum of parts I want for myself?
    I think a lot of the evil in this world comes from one person looking at another and determining his or her value by asking, "what can you do for me?" There are common groups that may come up short in answers to this question: those deemed too young, too old, those who are physically disabled, those who are mentally disabled, and those who are seen as being the wrong race or the wrong gender. In this case, the powerful preys upon the powerless. The powerful looks at those who don't have much to offer and either decides to tolerate them, eliminate them, or exploit them.
    I don't think one has to be Pro Life to find the recently released undercover videos of Planned Parenthood disturbing. In these videos, executives and doctors are filmed discussing the value of organs obtained from the cadavers of aborted fetuses if sold to organizations for medical research. They also discuss how one can perform an abortion in such a way that organs are left more intact and are therefore more valuable. One video shows a fetus being dissected for parts.
    It is debated whether these videos were heavily edited and illegally filmed. It is debated whether Planned Parenthood is actually trying to profit from the sale of these organs or whether they are just covering the cost of shipment to researchers. It is also said that since the abortion would have happened anyway, it's ok to use these parts for research. While these questions are important, even if it were found that these videos were done illegally and Planned Parenthood was not making a profit from these practices, these videos expose something far worse: a human life being completely objectified.
    In the question of value, the event of a pregnancy can produce two astonishingly different views. Is it a fetus? Is it an unborn child? Does the woman see herself as an expectant mother, or as a woman with a problem? I believe whatever view one takes, it is an unborn child, and that "fetus" is a word that it used to turn the unborn child into an object. On one hand, I can understand the difficulty in the early stages of pregnancy to see it as more than a fetus, and perhaps that is a legitimate debate. I can't understand, however, how an unborn child can be seen as only a fetus when his or her organs are so developed that they are valuable for research.
    With abortion, the sad thing is, the woman is essentially saying about the unborn child, "you are an inconvenience to me," "you have come at a time when I don't want you," "you have come between me and the rest of my plans," "you make my life hard." I feel bad for some of the situation that woman find themselves in when they discover they are pregnant when they didn't want to be, but because they don't see the unborn child as having inherent value, they determine his or her worth based on how that child affects themselves, and distant themselves by calling the child a fetus. I can't see how this isn't a selfish act. The powerful can look at the powerless and say they aren't worth the trouble. Once a woman objectifies an unborn child into a problem, other people can exploit that child to get what they can from him or her. Babies are seen as a sum of valuable parts rather than whole human beings with inherent value.
    Other people are not a means to our ends. Throughout history, people have been exploited because they were seen as subhuman and turned into objects. Saying that an unborn child is only a fetus so that we can feel free to say whether that child should exist and what we can get from him or her doesn't make it true.

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