Last Tuesday, Comets for the Preborn, a campus organization, displayed graphic photos of aborted preborn children outside the Student Union. Our signs bore genuine pictures — neither staged nor photoshopped — of babies aborted within the first six to 20 weeks of life.
The accuracy and authenticity of each photo were personally verified by both the photographer and Anthony Levatino, a New Mexico physician who has performed over 1,000 abortions. Anyone in doubt can easily search online for a diagram of fetal development or common abortion methods.
It is hard to deny that our pictures were painful to look at. The sight of severed heads, arms and legs may rankle the consciences of those who support abortion and sadden the hearts of those who do not. But since these pictures were real, the moral vexation which they created was not misplaced.
We had a hard time looking at the images, too. But we stood by them because they are the truth. They are the reality behind euphemisms like “choice,” “termination” and “reproductive rights.” They are the genuine face of abortion.
We feel it is our duty as fellow human beings to reveal that face, and so we stand next to these victims of injustice. We stand to expose what a barbaric — yet regretfully legal — practice has done to them. Many have called our signs disgusting, and we agree; we take no pleasure in seeing them. However, we must solemnly honor the thousands of babies slaughtered every day in this country. To those who may criticize our method, we say it is much worse to support abortion than to show pictures of it.
Because it is always wrong to intentionally take an innocent human life, there are really only three questions worth asking: Are the preborn human? Are they alive? And are they innocent?
We know from the science of embryology that the preborn are indeed human beings. Every cell in a baby’s body, from conception, is a human cell, stamped with her own unique DNA. Every thought a baby thinks, however primitive, is a human thought. A preborn child is not merely part of her mother’s body. She has her own brain, her own heart, her own eyes and fingers and toes.
The preborn are indeed living. A child in the womb grows — rapidly and beautifully. At three weeks, her heart starts beating. At five weeks, on average, her facial features begin to form. At six weeks, she has delicate arms, legs, hands and feet. All of these qualities are present before most abortions occur.
Since the preborn are distinct, living humans, the only possible justification left for abortion is that they are not innocent. But what crime are these tiny children guilty of? Merely existing? A preborn baby’s dependence upon her mother for survival does not make her an intruder. After all, she did not come into existence of her own will. She depends on her mother’s womb as a newborn depends on her mother’s breast. This state of weakness shared by young children, if anything, gives us more of a responsibility to protect them, not less.
We call ourselves pro-life because we believe that all innocent human lives — inside the womb and out –— are worthy of protection. Sadly, in our society, the lives of the preborn are aggressively devalued. Their violent deaths, numbering nearly a million a year, go unmourned. This state of injustice will continue until the public recognizes the humanity of the preborn. That is why we sought to raise awareness of their plight on Tuesday and why we will continue to do so in the future.
Michael Lockwood is a mathematics freshman from Ohio.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its publication.