Commentary: It’s time to stop making excuses and fight for life

Scott Sommerdorf | The Salt Lake Tribune Marchers in the March 4 Life Utah, organized by Pro Life Utah, gather at the City and County Building, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, for their march to the state Capitol.

A recent op-ed written by Teneille Brown criticized the bill introduced by Rep. Cheryl Acton, R-West Jordan, that would ban abortion after 15 weeks. It is important to consider the ramifications of the ideas Brown presents.

Assuming we have a basic enough understanding of reproduction to assume that human fetuses are, in fact, human, as opposed to plant, animal or inorganic matter, then we must examine the implications of ending the life of a human on the basis of it being incapable of feeling the pain of that death. Imagine if killing humans outside the womb were legalized in cases where the victim were anesthetized, unconscious or living with CIPA, a rare genetic disorder that makes a person unable to feel pain.

Several more issues arise from Brown’s statement, “Just because a 10-week fetus withdraws her finger when poked, this does not mean we can prove she is experiencing pain.”

She not only acknowledges the humanity of the fetus by using the pronoun “her,” but also concedes to her human form by mentioning her finger. Is it not enough that the fetus has fingers (developed at week 10), let alone a heart, brain, spine, taste buds and reproductive organs, to justify a law that makes ripping those fingers and the accompanying arms from its body illegal? Does it require a certain religion or a belief in God to find this practice of dismemberment “barbaric”?

As we make justification after justification, a never-ending trail of excuses from the possibility of death shortly after birth, to a supposed burden on physicians, to the cost of moving the bill through the courts, it’s important to stop and ask yourself a few simple questions. Are you comfortable with the arms, legs and head being ripped from a living human because, in Brown’s words, this disabled “child” might die at a later time?

Are you comfortable with the arms, legs and head being ripped from a living human because that is what the physician wants to do? Or because the alternative is too expensive? Can you say this out loud in a sentence? Can you call it like it is without feeling the need to mask what you’re actually talking about with other words like “termination” or “reproductive health”? If you cannot, then you support this bill. If you can, it is because you don’t have to watch it happen. And, most important, it is because it is not happening to you.

Is it too much to ask that we live in a state where we drop our jaws in horror at the thought of living humans being dismembered or poisoned? Is it too much to ask that even the possibility of pain and the certainty of death are enough to make us pause? That we react to this more strongly than we would watching a plastic bottle being thrown in a lake, or a dog confined to a shelter? Is it too much to ask that we live in a state where we spend a little more time volunteering to give women real care in our local pregnancy resource centers? It is too much to ask that we stop making excuses for why it’s OK for us to kill the innocent?

And let’s be clear that this is not Cheryl Acton’s “personal view.” This is the view of the hundreds of thousands who gathered to March for Life in Washington, D.C., just weeks ago. This is the view of the over a thousand Utahns who gathered at the March for Life last week. And this is the view of the majority of Utahns who, like Acton, are willing to march in the name of life, to spend on the side of life and to fight on the side of life, until the day that life wins. And it will. May Utah be the state brave enough to make it happen.

Danielle Divis is a Christian, mother, wife, educator, student and activist. She lives in Lehi with her husband and 2-year-old son. She is the event coordinator for Pro-Life Utah and is pursuing a Ph.D. in education from Utah State University.