Persons, places and things: Unborn life is not a thing


By Barb Arland-Fye

Above a Quad-City Times editorial advocating taxpayer-paid abortions for Iowa victims of rape or incest, is a quote from Carl Sandburg:  “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

If the Times’ editors intended that quote to be ironic, the point is made!

Whatever the reason for that juxtaposition, I am saddened by a viewpoint that seems to take a callous approach to the subject of life in the womb.

The March 20 editorial criticizes pro-life House Republicans who “insist the next Iowa human services budget contain a provision outlawing public payment for aborting pregnancies caused by rape or incest.”


No one on earth wants any woman to suffer the abuse of a rapist, whether or not a pregnancy occurs as a result of that crime. But if pregnancy were to occur, the Times editorial treats the unborn child not as an innocent life, a victim in its own right, but as a despicable thing:

“If a rapist is hell-bent on impregnating his victim … he can do it.  As horrible, if some twisted father impregnates his daughter, she’s stuck with bearing his decision.”

But the Times also reports that during committee debate about the abortion provision, Rep. Linda Miller, R-Bettendorf, said she was told there weren’t any Medicaid-paid abortions due to rape or incest.

The Times also made reference to a Des Moines Register report that Iowa Medicaid in the last year paid for 27 abortions — five to save the life of the mother and 22 that “met the criteria for a deformed fetus.”

What constitutes a deformed fetus? One who has Down’s syndrome?  An estimated 84-91 percent of unborn children who would be born with Down’s syndrome are aborted, according to various news sources. What about an unborn child who might suffer from Spina Bifida, cerebral palsy, a missing limb or heart defect?

 The Iowa Catholic Conference, in a statement released last week, said:

“We seek the protection of the unborn. Victims of abortion, especially those who are sick or disabled, are the most defenseless members of the human family.

“Unfortunately, during the past few years, Iowa has become an abortion-friendly state to the point that we are the first place in the country to have a program of conducting abortions over a videoconference. How did this happen? We’re losing the equivalent of a small kindergarten class every day in Iowa.

“A strong majority of Americans reject abortion on demand and support limits to the unfettered destruction of unborn human life.

“House File 5, which prohibits abortions after 20 weeks, would change the status quo. Currently the Iowa Code allows all abortions during the entire pregnancy that ‘preserve the life or health of the mother.’ In practice, ‘health’ can be defined as anything. The exception has swallowed the rule.

The principles of our nation’s founding documents and the anchor of our faith keep insisting: It is not just the act of choosing, but also what is chosen, that counts for moral life …”

A reader who e-mailed me about a column I’d written recently about loving our enemies, shared that “It may be difficult to imagine feeling an emotional attachment toward those in our world who appear the most capable of great evil, especially someone who commits that evil against us or our family. But love is sacrificial, it is giving to others, and that is a choice we make. Jesus showed us how to love and we can see the beauty of that love every time we reflect on the crucifix.”

Indeed, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”


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