Katie Roiphe, writing in Slate, states:

I don’t actually think it is in the interests of feminism or the pro-choice movement to cling so rigidly to outdated notions of “life.” It no longer helps our cause to try to argue that the fetus is not “life.” The reason for this, as people have noted,  is that technological advances, like sonograms, where you can see feet on a fetus in the first trimester, have made those claims clearly and patently hollow to even ardently pro-choice people who have seen the black and white staticky fuzziness take shape into human form. How can we possibly claim that the moving creature, with feet and toes that we can see, is not “life”?

It seems to me that the pro-choice movement doesn’t need to cling to these ideas, or this rigid ’70s-era idiom, to make its central argument acceptable to the larger public. The idea that a woman should control her reproductive choices is still a vivid and moral one even to a population that understands full well that a fetus is a baby-in-progress.

Can we admit that a woman has the right to choose, while also acknowledging what we see on sonograms? Can we say “embryos” and “fetuses” do represent some form of “life” without conceding a woman’s absolute control over the womb that bears them? A person who has had an abortion knows, and in fact has always known, and experienced very intimately this charged ambiguity: An unborn fetus that is wanted is a “baby,” and an unborn fetus that is not wanted is a “fetus.”

What is most revealing in this defense of the pro-abortion position is that technology has revealed one of the great lies they offered to us for a long time: that the unborn is part of a woman’s body. The defense corners these pro-abortion advocates into a desperate position, that of acknowledging a life because science tells us there is a lie while denying rights to that life based on a philosophical theory, that human worth and personhood is attached at will to a person by other people. If we want these other people they are persons but if we do not want them, they are not!

What is exactly the difference between that position and Nazi ideology? Moreover, the question, “Can we admit that a woman has the right to choose, while also acknowledging what we see on sonograms?” hammers another nail into the heart of the abortionist ideology. The question can be redrawn thus, “Can we continue to fight for our cause even if our very eyes clearly tell us we are wrong?”

If human worth is a social construct, what can escape from our power to hammer our ideology into the reality of existence? What can prevent us from becoming “gods” who need not to reason cogently but instead be ruled by the power of the will?

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