In the past five months, I have occasionally considered the fact that there are people in the world who probably believe that because my daughter did not breathe outside my womb, she did not actually live nor was she actually a person, full-term or not. I try not to dwell on it because I’ve never actually met anyone who has admitted to believing something so extreme, so I’m sure these people are few and far between. Right?
Then there was that stupid Doritos commercial.
I was only half-watching the Superbowl anyway, so I heard the commercial start before I even saw it. It started with the sound of the heartbeat monitor, and it was like being stabbed in the gut. The very sound I was praying to hear when they were searching for Eleanor’s heartbeat five months ago, and here it was in my very own living room, only it wasn’t my daughter’s. But I suffered through the commercial because that’s all it was – a stupid commercial - and I’m not the type to expect the world to stop for me, nor am I about to petition for “trigger warnings” before every commercial with an ultrasound or newborn baby in it just because it makes me sad. The commercial ended and that was that. Life moved on, and so did I.
And then the NARAL – a massive pro-abortion organization – decided that the commercial was offensive because it “humanized the fetus.” Oh, NARAL…I say this with the deepest sincerity I can muster: Go to hell.
First of all, in the commercial, the ultrasound technician herself said, “Any day now,” implying that the mother was full-term, just as I was. That means that the baby had the ability to survive outside the womb. I disagree with abortion at any stage (though I offer grace and compassion to anyone who has had one), but my opinion aside – this isn’t some under-24-weeker that is still “legally” allowed to be terminated. This is a full-term baby due any moment. The NARAL tweeting that “humanizing” a FULL-TERM fetus is offensive just shows how extreme their position is – that baby isn’t human until it’s born.
So what was my daughter, then, NARAL? I know what you’ll probably say: “Oh, well, you WANTED her so of course she was a baby!” I’m fairly confident the parents in the commercial wanted the baby, yet you’re upset it was “humanized.” But regardless, the mere act of wanting or not wanting something does not negate biology. An unwanted child is no different biologically or physiologically than a wanted child. Unique human DNA is present from the moment of conception. Not cat DNA, not dog DNA, not carrot DNA – human. You talk about boycotting Doritos (who I sincerely doubt was trying to take any stand in the abortion debate and was instead just trying to make a dang commercial), but your real boycott should be against science, with all its damn chromosomes and whatnot.
Or maybe you stand by the notion that it’s just a clump of cells until it’s born, which is a fairly extreme belief to hold on to for all 40 weeks of gestation. But here’s another scientific fact for you – the vagina is not some magical portal that transforms some vague collection of cells into a perfectly formed human being as it passes through the canal like it's a baby Play Doh Fun Factory. The vagina is pretty powerful, but it’s not THAT powerful. A baby three seconds on this side of the womb is the same baby that it was when it was tucked away inside its mother just a moment earlier. The only difference is location, not genetic make-up.
And remember – my daughter died before she was born. If she wasn’t a living person, then how could she have died? Being born should have given her life, going by the logic that passing through the vaginal canal is what magically makes you a living person.
Here’s the thing – I say all this as a mother of a stillborn *full-term* baby. What about the mothers who had stillborn babies who weren’t full-term? Were their children less human than mine? What about miscarried babies? Is that why so many mothers who lose children to miscarriage or even early stillbirths sometimes feel as though they shouldn’t mourn their loss as much? Is that why others don’t understand their grief and feel that they should just “move on?” Because, hey – it’s just a clump of cells, right? What’s so sad about losing that? But here’s the thing – that line drawn marking when life begins is largely arbitrary. And the burden of proof isn’t on those who believe that life begins once unique human DNA is formed at conception; it’s on those who think life starts only when they want it to start. Sure, the law dictates that the line is at 24 weeks in most cases. But the law also once dictated that certain people only counted as 3/5 of a person. So I think we can both agree that the law isn’t always based on facts or morality.
So no, NARAL, Doritos didn’t “humanize the fetus.” Human DNA did that, and you’re just hell bent on dehumanizing it.
And Eleanor, my beautiful daughter, was a person whether she breathed a single breath or none at all. She should be five months old today, and while she is not here with us, I will still stand up in her memory to remind the world that she existed, she mattered, and she lived.