Murder: No longer 2 for the price of 1

That was the headline I suggested for an upcoming Torch column on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act that was recently signed by President Bush. We went with something a little less edgy, but the act raises another question in my mind (besides the obvious ones about how this threatens abortion rights): is “unborn” really the right word to use here? I would think an unborn baby would be one that was born and then shoved back into the womb, like an undead person is one that died and became reanimated.

Unless they really are going for a zombie analogy, I think the prolifers are trying to indicate that fetuses are people, too. They just lack the benefit of having been born. I think the “pre-born” would be a more accurate name for the class; editor Brent came up with the “non-born.” Perhaps we should be politically correct and call them the “natally challenged.”

Or maybe we should just call a fetus a fetus.

Comments

  1. Zhubin says:

    “Or maybe we should just call a fetus a fetus.”

    That’s what we on the left have been trying to do for *years*! Wait until the evangelicals find out what you’ve just said, Grier. You just wait…

  2. Erin says:

    How is “unborn” any more assanine than “partially born?” Jacob, could you describe what process this aptly describes? Besides the distinction between a fetus and an infant is that, simply birth, and not life. All the terminology around this debate clouds the issue, which regardless of any ideas about “personhood,” is a question of respect for life–whatever it is, but something that is distinctly more alive than a lung or another part of somebody’s body because it has a functioning nervous system and is capable of independent action.

  3. Jacob Grier says:

    Hey Erin,

    From what I know of the procedure, I agree with you on the use of the words “partial birth.” I don’t have a strong opinion about whether it should be prohibited or not for late term abortions.

    One of my problems with the new law and the use of the word “unborn” (aside from the fact that it should really be “preborn” or “nonborn”) is that it makes no distinction between a fetus and an infant that has reached viability. This makes the fetus a person when a crime is committed against it, and a non-person when it is aborted or discarded in an IVF procedure.

    Obviously, Bush recognizes this inconsistency and sees this as a wedge into the Roe decision. It’s sheer hypocrisy for him to say the law has nothing to do with the abortion debate and also say things like, “With this action, we widen the circle of compassion and inclusion in our society, and we reaffirm that the United States of America is building a culture of life.” Like the use of “partial birth,” it’s a language game and he needs to be called on it.

    Hope you’re enjoying life in the District…

  4. Erin says:

    Point yielded. The bill was pushed by pro-lifers from the beginning. It has more to do with abortion than perhaps anything else.

    Hope you’re enjoying life in Tennessee . . . :)

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