A Nomination for 'National Human'


The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the court case that legalized abortion—brought back to my mind a decision I had made while working on an article for the Cape May County Herald back in the 1990s. Looking back, I think I made the wrong choice.

I had occasion to interview a zoologist who headed up a program that looked after injured turtle eggs. Specifically, it was those eggs that were damaged by passing automobiles that had hit female turtles as they crossed a south Jersey highway to reach their nesting spot.

He described how the interns that participated in this program were literally—literally—in tears as they picked up the injured eggs and brought them back to the facility where they were nursed back to health so they could hatch.

At the time, I was tempted to ask what I thought was a very obvious question, but my journalist’s objectivity prohibited me from taking the interview in a direction that was never intended. In hindsight, I now wish I had taken that path, because it would have made for a far more interesting and illuminating article, albeit one that would have no doubt annoyed my editor.

The question I wanted to ask the zoologist was, “These interns seem very respectful of life in general, would you say they are the type of young adults that one would find tearfully protesting in front of abortion clinics?”

My expected reaction would have been a terse and emphatic, “Oh no!” followed by the obligatory, “They would likely see that as a woman’s decision.”

But it never got to that juncture. I bit my tongue and carried on the interview as though I actually cared about foraged turtle eggs and the valiant attempt to save unborn reptiles.

I recently was shown a poster that stated the fine for destroying an eagle’s egg is a quarter of a million dollars or up to two years in prison. Seems fair. After all, it’s our national bird, whereas the country really doesn’t have a national human.

At any rate, that’s where this culture stands, or so it appears—careful with those bird and reptile eggs; we could be losing hundreds, even thousands every year. The eggs inside a human? In the US alone, there are more than 3,000 abortions a day.

But here’s a curious fact: In most states, if a pregnant woman is murdered, the assailant is charged with two counts of homicide: one for the killing of the mother, and one for killing of the unborn child. Amazing how the crime turns—not on the life of the innocent victim—but on the identity of the person deciding that a life should end. Even an innocent one.


(Excerpted from Good Writer's Block)

 

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