Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Pro-life image of the day

I've seen this image in pro-life circles and found it on Wikimedia Commons:

The photographer is drsuparna. Wikimedia Commons says:

44-years old gravid female with previous 6 children was diagnosed with carcinoma in situ of cervix (early stage cancer of womb). So total removal of uterus (womb) with fetus in situ was considered to be inevitable for future health of the lady. The fetus is still alive. The author of this image states that it shows a fetus at 10 weeks gestation (i.e. from LMP), instead of 10 weeks from fertilisation.

I publish this because one of the things that frustrates me about fetus and abortion-related pictures is that we do not know the details concerning the picture. We don't usually know who the photographer is. We don't know who the mother is. We don't know the name of the fetus (if he or she had one). We don't know if the baby was miscarried, or if the picture was taken in the womb.

I think the anonymity of these pictures mitigates against the cause of the unborn. Because as long as the unborn are nameless, unconnected "fetuses" i.e. non-persons, their claim to humanity is less compelling. They're merely "specimens". When you know the mom, and the fetus' name, and the photographer, and the circumstances surrounding the photo, the fetus' insertion into our social web of connections seems a little more real, not just theory or abstract principle. Sure, the aborted fetus photo is shocking, but there are still people who don't think much of the being whose life was lost to abortion. Without a name, without a relation, without the sense that this being was special in some way, he's still a blob of tissue to a lot of people, in spite of the visible resemblance to infants and adults.

And before I get skeptical comments about aborted fetuses being "special"-- some women do think of their aborted babies as babies. Some do name them.   I don't think too many women will take pictures of their own aborted fetuses, but it's quite possible for this to happen to late-term babies, and I've seen at least one example of this.

That connection will help create the fetus' identity. Because like it or not, we're working in an age of identity politics. The fact that the fetus lacks an identity is a huge strike against him.