What if you knew the baby would be born with a horrible disease or handicap? Would it not be more compassionate to abort the baby? I will answer this question along with a couple more that really fall into the same category: quality of life. I am also often asked the “what if” scenario about babies who might be born into extreme poverty or abuse. These all really come under one answer.
The problem with these scenarios are that they force the person deciding whether or not to end a human life to judge some one else’s potential quality of life. These are what I call “rabbit trail” arguments made by abortion supporters to play off the emotions and look at what could be instead of what is. The truth is that these children, no matter what their circumstances are or could be, are still human persons.
Let me give you a scenario and you tell me whether you think this person should have been aborted:
It’s 1967 and a young woman finds herself pregnant out of wedlock; her family is devastated and wants her to have an abortion. She is unable to get an abortion and is sent off to another city to have the baby because of her family’s shame.
As an infant that child is diagnosed with Spinal Meningitis and is kept in barrels of ice to keep his temperature down. The infant is pronounced dead but brought back to life shortly afterwards. The parents are told this child is brain damaged and could be retarded.
The child’s parents marry and then divorce right away. The child is adopted by his new stepfather at age 2 and is raised for several years by his mother and new adopted father. This child has many problems and is put on medication as a young age for severe ADHD.
In the 6th grade this child is put into special education at a school with all the kids in his own neighborhood; he is picked on a lot. This child wins three blue ribbons in the special olympics in the 6th grade.
Soon after this child’s parents split again, he begins to get abused and is molested by his uncle. At age 11 he is stealing cigarettes and beer and in total rebellion.
At age 12 he is sent to live with his real father and his pattern of abuse and being picked on grows. In Jr High he is put into half special ed and half regular classes in the same school; he is beat up so badly on a daily basis that he is let out of school 5 minutes before anyone else so he can make it home safely. He is tortured in school and on one occasion made to eat human excrement.
By the age of 16 he has run away several times, lived on the streets, prostituted himself for food and shelter and spent 10 weeks locked in a mental hospital his father put him in.
At the age of 18 he is saved from a failed suicide attempt and ends up on the streets again.
By age 20 he overdoses on so many drugs in one day he ends up in an emergency room, having charcoal water poured down his throat as he is locked to a wheelchair. He has already been arrested many times and come close to death a few times. He has committed crimes that would make most of you squirm.
So here is my question: do you think that this person’s mother should have been able to abort this child so he did not have to go through this hellish life? Would this person be better off never having been born?
I am sure you have guessed that this is a real person: it is a real story about someone’s life and you’re right.
His name is Bryan Kemper. He is me.
This is a nutshell version of the life I lived growing up, with some of the more horrific things left out.
The fact is that no one had a right to decide that I should die because of what I might go through. No one had the right to decide my quality of life was not worth allowing me to live.
I am now married to the most amazing woman on the face of the earth and have been blessed with 6 beautiful children. I have traveled the world lecturing at universities like Harvard, Princeton, Queens University in Belfast, Cardiff University in Whales, Notre Dame and many more. I have been in three documentary movies and appeared as a regular guest on a television show.
I also now have a wonderful relationship with my father and have been able to forgive all of my family and others who ever did anything to wrong or abuse me.
I can actually give you dozens of stories like this of amazing people who have overcome great diversity and hellish upbringings – people who have changed the world. Oprah Winfrey, Harriet Tubman and so many more had horrific childhoods also and look what they have accomplished.
The one thing we all have in common that really is the answer to this question is that we are all human persons and have been human persons from the moment of fertilization. You can add in any factor and change any part of the story, but you cannot change the fact that we are all human persons from the beginning.
While the emotional strings may be tugged by these kinds of arguments, we must keep our emotions in check with truth. The truth being that it is wrong to take the life of an innocent human person, no matter what age or stage of life; to do so is an act of homicide.
For Christ I stand,