“The sophistry is overwhelming: If I choose and desire my child, then ipso facto I have granted it the right to live, and it will live. But the inverse is equally the case, by means of nothing more or less than my choice: Caesar’s thumb is up, or Caesar’s thumb is down.”
– Lord Nicholas Windsor, Caesar’s Thumb, First Things, December 1, 2010
Please picture in your mind, if you will, two murder victims, both females, who are both exactly the same age. Let’s assume that all the evidence is clear—in fact, the murderers admit to intentionally killing each victim—and let’s name one murder victim ‘A’ and the second murder victim ‘B’.
Imagine that A is murdered in a building on the north side of Main Street, and a B is murdered in a building on the south side of Main Street. A’s murder on the north side is investigated, prosecuted and the murderer is sent to jail because it is considered illegal, but B’s murder on the south side is held to be completely legal, merely because it occurred in that location, and is not prosecuted.
Imagine that A and B are killed by their mothers, but B’s murder takes place two weeks earlier than A’s murder. B’s murder is legal simply because it occurred at a different time than A’s killing, which is investigated and prosecuted.
Finally, ponder another scenario in which A is killed by her father and B is killed by her mother. The father is prosecuted and imprisoned according to the law, but the mother is never prosecuted because her killing of her daughter is held to be completely legal.
Ridiculous and arbitrary, wouldn’t you think? Why would one victim’s murder be illegal, and the other completely legal merely based upon factors of time, place and assailant? How is a killing not a killing?
Both A and B are “unborn members of the species homo sapiens.”
Under the Ohio Revised Code (as in most states), Section 2903.01 states that:
No person shall purposely, and with prior calculation and design, cause the death of another or the unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy. (A) “Unlawful termination of another’s pregnancy” means causing the death of an unborn member of the species homo sapiens, who is or was carried in the womb of another, as a result of injuries inflicted during the period that begins with fertilization and that continues unless and until live birth occurs. (B) “Another’s unborn” or “such other person’s unborn” means a member of the species homo sapiens, who is or was carried in the womb of another, during a period that begins with fertilization and that continues unless and until live birth occurs.
Note the mother need not die, only the fetus. If the fetus were not considered a life, Section 2903.01, an aggravated murder statute could not exist. Under Ohio law, an unborn member of our human species is considered worthy of protection, except when it is not. When the place is an abortion clinic, when the time is anytime before birth and the mother is the murderer’s accomplice, the victim is deemed not worthy of legal protection.
When slavery was abolished by law by the 13th amendment, it was thought to be the end of our arbitrary determination that some humans were citizens worthy of legal protection and some were not. The infamous 3/5ths compromise resulted from the conflict between southerners’ abhorrence to view slaves as citizens for purposes of legal protection versus their desire to count them as such for purposes of congressional seats. Common during that time as well were northerners who claimed that while they could never themselves keep slaves, they felt that it was not their business to tell southerners how to run their plantations. Abraham Lincoln challenged their hypocrisy in a speech made in 1860 in New York:
“You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong? Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other?”
It has been commonly claimed that more access to chemical birth control will cause a decline in the abortion rate. Not true. The rate of abortion has stayed essentially the same since 2008: approximately 20 per 1000 women and 54% of women who obtained abortions in the past year were using birth control during the month they became pregnant.
Chemical birth control has not prevented abortion, and abortion has not become “rare.”Rather it has it encouraged all of us to play Caesar, it has allowed us to be “not willing to deal with as a wrong” the murder of unborn children, and it has denigrated all of us. Each of us can legally and arbitrarily decide if a “member of the species homo sapiens” deserves to live or deserves to die.
Truly, we are no better than slave owners.
“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” (Abraham Lincoln, 1865). Just as all who promoted slavery were free; all who promote abortion are already living.
As history teaches us, whenever we are legally able to determine that one class of persons can live or die, all of us are at risk to be subject to the arbitrary turn of Caesar’s thumb.
About the Author: Cynthia Millen
After marrying her husband, Jim Roberts, in 1980, Cynthia Millen graduated from law school and practiced in Ohio for a short while. Excited about having a large family, Jim and Cindy were blessed more quickly than expected with the birth of five children in four years (two set of twins). Her love for reading and writing grew into the publication of several children’s books (under the name C. M. Millen), poems and short stories (including a 2014 Tuscany prize winner). Millen earned her Masters in Literature from Trinity College, Dublin, and relishes the teaching (and learning) of reading, writing, and grammar with middle school students at Christ the King School in Toledo, Ohio. Most of all, she treasures attending Mass there with wonderful parishioners and truly marvelous priests.