Saturday, December 26, 2009

Taking Pity

Yesterday, I watched The March of the Penguins on CBC. It is an award-winning documentary that depicts the life cycle of Emperor Penguins who live in the South Pole.

As you can imagine, life is very harsh in this frozen desert. Many penguins die of cold or starvation, including unborn chicks (a term that is used in the documentary.)

At one point, during a harsh winter storm, an egg escapes from under his father. It cracks open, and the baby freezes to death. It is a very poignant moment.

The fathers are all very hungry because they do not eat for four months straight in order to hatch the babies. They have one meal to give the baby while they wait for the mother to return to feed, and it's a milk-like substance they regurgitate.

The filmaker often tried to create a sense of pity for these penguins. The mothers are killed by sea leopards, condemning the baby to die (because it can't be fed). The babies try to follow the mommies as the latter march to get food (condemning them to die).

And so on.

It's only natural to feel sorry for these animals. Who wouldn't? Who wouldn't give the fathers a bucket of fish in the cold winter, if they had it?

I find it most interesting, because in my discussions on abortion, no one seems to take pity on the unborn child who is killed.

Now of course, penguins live in a harsh climate, and the high mortality rate is just the way things are. Penguins die from the cold and the hunt.

Taking pity could upset the balance of nature, some argue.

But aren't human beings called to rise above the harsh invisible hand of nature, that indifferently kills animals?

The big difference between animals and unborn children of course is that animals are TRYING to survive. Whereas humans kill their own unborn. No other category of higher animals are killed so indiscriminately. When it comes to cats and dogs, people will go to enormous lengths to find them new homes or help them medically. And when they do "terminate" them, it's usually because they're sick anyway.

Unborn children? They are killed with no questions asked.

I know that some animal rights types *do* feel some affinity for the unborn; feminists however, feel none. They simply do not care if the baby dies, and will never admit the slightest amount of pity for him. Because they know their movement rests on dehumanizing the unborn, guaranteeing the illusory autonomy they so ravenously crave.

I have noticed that feminists rarely challenge me on this point.