A Child Is Not Chattel

notchattelmainOne of the common hopes and repeated phrases around the pro-life movement is that "abortion will become as unthinkable as slavery." I long for such a day.

The only problem is that the elements that made slavery possible are still thinkable now. We see it in how people behave toward children, particularly unborn children.

Consider the legal issues around Baby S., the little girl who God miraculously placed into a loving Christian family after her disabilities were discovered during a surrogate pregnancy for parents who decided they didn't want her.

When her surrogate mother could not be bullied into an abortion, a lawyer for the genetic father reminded her that she had signed a contract. The lawyer made clear what that meant:

"You are obligated to terminate this pregnancy immediately," wrote Douglas Fishman, an attorney in West Hartford, Connecticut...

Fishman reminded Kelley that she'd signed a contract, agreeing to "abortion in case of severe fetus abnormality." The contract did not define what constituted such an abnormality.

Kelley was in breach of contract, he wrote, and if she did not abort, the parents would sue her to get back the fees they'd already paid her -- around $8,000 -- plus all of the medical expenses and legal fees. (Elizabeth Cohen, Surrogate Offered $10,000 to Abort Baby, March 6, 2013)

In essence, this lawyer was arguing that the couple paying for the pregnancy could legally coerce the surrogate to abort that child because of a contract. If she refused, monetary damages would be sought. The unborn child had no rights at all.

[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]