Before “My body, my choice” there was “every child a wanted child.” Where the first phrase is meant to appeal to personal autonomy and American individualism, the second appeals to the fact that everyone wants to be wanted. We want to be loved, and we want others to be loved. Humans are made to love and be loved, because we’re created in the image of a loving God.
So of course every child should be wanted, should be loved. Who would ever disagree with that? More importantly, how did anyone ever use such a phrase to justify abortion?
For any political movement, having a slogan that implicitly makes a compelling argument is important. It has to be something that people agree with. On that level, “Every Child a Wanted Child” is a good slogan. But as a justification for abortion? It’s pretty chilling.
The phrase probably originated with Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, and it is the title of a biography of Sanger published in the 1990s. However, that is one of the last times that this phrase was used in context with Planned Parenthood’s founder and its aims.
Why? Because the phrase, quite properly humanizes children in the womb. The implication in the phrase is that some children are unwanted and something should be done about it. And that something is abortion--but abortion afer recognizing the humanity of the “child” in the womb. Fortunately, this is not something even most pro-abortion Americans are willing to stomach. In fact, the denial of humanity to children in the womb is now the central tenet of the pro-abortion movement, hence their focus in latter days on “my body, my choice.”
As others have pointed out, every child is in fact a wanted child. God, the creator of all, knits each child together in the mother’s womb, and we are fearfully and wonderfully made, bearing His divine image in our flawed humanity. (Ps. 139:13-14, Gen. 1:26-27). God wants that child. So too, in a different sense, do the thousands of couples who for various reasons are looking to adopt a child, in this country and in others. Even closer to home, a study of mothers who were denied abortion showed that on the whole they did not regret having their children instead of aborting them. Thus, even most mothers who have every reason not to love and bond with their children do so.
Conversely, the idea of making sure all children are wanted by killing a child who has already been conceived is morally abhorrent. This, perhaps, is one reason why Planned Parenthood no longer uses this slogan. Now, their language is all about the woman seeking an abortion, conveniently ignoring the child whose life would be ended by it.
Not “My child, my choice”--that would be grotesque. “My body, my choice.” This erases the very existence of the child. It isn’t a developing human being, it’s merely a “clump of cells.”
The point of this article is that this is a bad argument, and in the long term, bad arguments lose.
Because the humanity of the unborn child cannot be denied forever. With unique human DNA from the moment of fertilization and a unique human heartbeat from six weeks gestation, the fact that children in the womb have the same real moral value as any humans will eventually burst out into the light.
When that happens, abortion will not only be made illegal, it will be made unthinkable. When that happens, we win.