What caused CNN’s Erin Burnett to declare on national television that an unborn child is a person? It was the story of Brady Surovik—an unborn baby killed in his mother’s womb by a drunk driver just two days before he was to be born. This happened in Colorado where state law prevents authorities from charging the drunk driver with the death of the baby. After reporting this story, Burnett says this:
Without getting into the whole nitty-gritty of the abortion debate. I mean, to me, if the child — that baby when he died was 8 pounds 2 ounces, he was going to be born in a couple days. How can you not define that as a person? He was a viable life. [see video below]
Of course Burnett is correct. That baby should be defined as a person in our laws, and his death should be treated as a homicide. Unfortunately, many states do not define such deaths as a homicide, in large part because of the politics of abortion.
Currently there are about 38 states that have fetal homicide laws on the books. In 23 of these states, such protections apply to the earliest stages of pregnancy. Pro-choicers know that the existence of these laws expose the moral bankruptcy of pro-abortion logic. They know that such laws will cause many people to come to the same conclusion the Erin Burnett did in this report. And that is why they oppose these laws. They won’t countenance any measure that might curtail a woman’s right to kill her unborn child at any stage of pregnancy for any reason.
Here’s the basic inconsistency that pro-choicers don’t want you to think about. In 38 states it’s illegal to kill an unborn child if the mother wants the child to live. Nevertheless, it remains legal in those very same states to kill the child through abortion if the mother wants the child to die. One child is treated as a person, and the other is not. And it all comes down to what the mother decides. These laws show that ultimately the will of the strong determines whether or not a whole class of human beings will be treated as persons.
John Piper has exposed the terrifying implications of this inconsistency more clearly than anyone I’ve ever heard. He writes:
We have some laws that condemn the killing of a fetus as murder, and we have some laws that condone the killing of a fetus as abortion.
Why is this? What is the basis for the difference? Usually the proposed basis for the difference is simply this: It is illegal to take the life of the unborn if the mother chooses that it not be taken, but it is legal to take the life of the unborn if the mother chooses that it be taken. In first case the law treats the fetus as a human with rights; in the second case the law treats the fetus as non-human with no rights.
Do you see what this means? It means that according to our laws in Minnesota (as well as other states), the humanness of the unborn is determined from case to case not on the basis of its intrinsic qualities, but on the basis of someone else’s choice. If the one who has the power says it is right for the unborn to be killed, it is right; but if the one with the power says it is wrong for the unborn to be killed, it is wrong. There is a name for this state of affairs. We call it anarchy: Each one who has the power defines what is “right” on the basis of what he or she wants to be right…
When human justice is disconnected from a person’s intrinsic humanity and made to depend simply on the choice of the strong, no one is safe from being arbitrarily defined out of personhood – whether it is a Jew in Nazi Germany or Black Slave in South Carolina or an unborn infant in the womb. If the right to life and liberty hangs merely on the will of the strong, there is no justice.
I’m sure she didn’t mean it to be, but Erin Burnett’s admission is a broadside against pro-choice dogma. And I wonder if she’s considered the full implications of her admission. I can imagine that abortion supporters are probably pretty upset with what she said. In any case, I’m glad she did the report, and I’m grateful for the definitive word in favor of the humanity of the unborn. Americans by and large close their eyes to the flimsy moral basis for abortion rights in our country. Stories like this one could change that.