From the Eyes of the Unborn: A Discourse on Abortion and Life


What if all the aborted children in the world, lived? As a “what if” question, this cannot be answered definitively - in fact, this cannot be answered at all. One can never reach an answer to a query that is never meant to be satisfied. At the same time, it is this insatiability that allows for a simultaneously inexhaustible avenue of thought. Life is an all-encompassing reality, such that it cannot possibly be apprehended even by the best of efforts. The difficulty resides in attempting to understand it in all of its complexity at the present; to speak of it, therefore, in a hypothetical reality can be deemed as an impossible task. Yet, the current understanding of the present reality of life should suffice, at least in its own current framework, in substantiating a hypothetical illustration of an alternate version. In a word, to determine how the unborn would live their lives is impossible, but to speculate on that matter would provide insights into life today.

How can one speak about that which is not and can no longer be? When one talks about a possible solution to a problem, what is not being searched for is a single response but the widest possible horizon of possibilities, such that if one is exhausted, another can be entertained. Yet, in the case of abortion, such multifariousness is absent. There can be only two choices: to let the child live or to terminate it. Such a decision is delicate too: once one is exhausted, the other is no longer possible. Termination, by the nature of its etymology, signifies a total end of possibilities, at least for the child. Of course, as indicated in the beginning, this does bring fruit to the other choice, the reality where the child is allowed to live. Though limited is the choice set in such a situation, it nevertheless serves as a reminder of the delicateness of life, beginning from its birth. Discourses of death often speak of the most common causes: car accidents, plane crashes, being shot by a mugger, severe head percussion, and so on. Yet, such deaths occur in a life thriving outside the womb. Speaking about deaths from inside the womb is unconventional at best and perceived as grotesque at worst.

What is the significance of thinking about that which can no longer be? Determining the value of what is now no longer possible is itself impossible, as value implies benefit, be it practical or theoretical. In the case of a lost life, practicality is unattainable: nothing can be put into practice with an aborted child. Theoretics, too, cannot suffice, even slightly. Theory requires an expansion upon something that is conceivable, but the unborn cannot be expanded upon. They are no more and no less than the unborn, and their lives are not much to speak of. Just as the aborted did not see the light outside the womb, the living can only see darkness; they are completely unsure of what the unborn would have been capable of. Yet, not all things are discovered in the light, as darkness holds its own merits. Ignorance marks the meaning behind darkness - to admit that darkness cannot be captured is humility. Even more important than humility, however, is the realization that this darkness is an eternal void of a life that could have been. The value of life is found not in action or identity - the value of life is inherent, regardless if it is realized or not. That an aborted child could have been the one to find the cure to cancer is not significant, because it entails purpose rather than the true value of life: the right to existence - that an aborted child could have been at all.

How can one speak for the unborn? The most difficult and sensitive aspect of the topic at hand touches upon how to give justice to those who can no longer be. To represent those alive is already itself a great difficulty. Done wrong - and often, this becomes the case - the represented becomes misconstrued and misunderstood. In the worst case scenario, the truth of the represented is unheard and alienated to those who listened, even more so to those who spoke for them. The spokespersons, therefore, are entrusted with the highest responsibility to ensure the most proper representation and protection of the represented - its magnitude heightening greatly in the case of the aborted. Never born, they could never speak for themselves; they could not even think. Many of those who proclaim that it is possible to speak for the aborted are prone to arrogance, under the pretension of empathy. The living can exercise empathy with the living and the dead, but never with those who never lived - at least not in full confidence or in full knowledge. To ask someone about how they would feel if they were the ones who were aborted is nonsense; the basis for responding to such a question is based on their present lives being absent when the aborted were never present at all. 

This is the most crucial component in the endeavor of speaking against abortion, defined by sensitivity and delicateness. One would not be so far off to say that such an endeavor is impossible if empathy with the unborn is unattainable. Yet, it is precisely such sensitivity and delicateness that makes the endeavor even more so significant. The unborn cannot be spoken for. Whatever is said in their defense does not benefit them, for they cannot be reborn. The beneficiaries - in fact, the ones being spoken for - are the living themselves. Learning upon the unborn, what is realized is the value of life, one that is brittle yet significant. Delicate is existence; life proliferates, but life abounds alone, and the unborn are the prime evidence of these precepts. What the unborn could have been will never be known; what the living could be is known, precisely because they live - a bewildering turning point: it is the unborn who speaks for the living.

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