Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow could have just stuck to being a decent football player, but instead he decided to put his medical, legal, and moral ignorance on display by sharing a pro-abortion post on Instagram.
“I’m not pro-murdering babies,” the post begins before listing several scenarios that are either irrelevant red herrings or are, in fact, situations in which Burrow would support murdering babies.
The first hypothetical the post mentions is “Becky,” whose unborn child “had developed without life sustaining organs.” Such a scenario would likely lead to miscarriage without a doctor inducing abortion, but as Catholic writer Will Wright points out, “How should Becky’s baby enter the world and be laid to rest? Should a doctor kill her baby and suck the baby out with a machine after dismemberment? Or should labor be induced once the baby inevitably dies, allowing the parents to hold their baby, bury their baby, and grieve?” Even if the baby is unable to survive after birth, as long as he or she is alive in the womb, abortion still kills the child in what is almost surely a painful and grisly death.
Burrow’s post also lists examples of pregnancy due to rape, sexual abuse of a minor, or intercourse with an abusive husband. All are tragic scenarios in which each victim should be surrounded by support and compassion. But none justifies the additional violence of killing the innocent baby who has perpetrated no abuse.
Other examples include “Melissa,” who “has to choose between bringing another child into poverty or feeding the children she already has,” and “Brittany,” who “is in no way financially, emotionally, or physically able to raise a child.” There are wide nets of support for such women, from federal assistance to support from churches, communities, and crisis pregnancy clinics. If Melissa and Brittany truly feel so desperate they refuse to raise their children, there are countless loving parents who would love to adopt their babies — surely a better recourse than killing them! Neither mother’s circumstances justify the brutal death of her innocent child.
Nor do “Lindsay’s,” after she made the decision to engage in intercourse as a high school sophomore. Lindsay’s baby should not receive a death sentence as punishment for her decision.
The post mentions “Vanessa,” who heard “silence where there should be a heartbeat.” The very inclusion of this example admits that it’s heartbreaking to lose an unborn child — exactly the outcome of the brutal act of abortion. But it also ignores the obvious fact that aborting a live baby and taking medicine to safely pass a deceased baby’s body are not the same, morally or legally. State laws banning abortion do not ban miscarriages, as many pro-abortionists disingenuously argue.
Those state laws also provide exceptions when a mother’s life is at risk, as is the case for “Courtney” in one example. Further, as Wright notes, “The course of treatment [for Courtney] would likely be a partial tubal ligation. … The medical procedure has the primary intention of removing the fallopian tube to preempt the very serious rupture and internal bleeding. The secondary, foreseen but unintended effect, is the death of the baby. This is tragic, but it is not an abortion.”
The appropriate course of action for a placental abruption like “Theresa’s” (in another example) is subject to a wide variety of factors that we aren’t told, such as whether the baby is viable enough for early delivery. Still, in the worst of scenarios, no state law allows a mother to be prosecuted for a procedure that is necessary to save her life.
As for “Emily,” who had six eggs implanted in her uterus through in vitro fertilization (IVF), her situation was problematic long before all six babies were viably implanted. To knowingly implant more fertilized eggs than you would allow to live inside your womb is to condemn the “extra” babies to death already, something the pro-life movement could not in good faith support. That “Emily” could be put in such a position highlights the concerns raised by many IVF procedures from the perspective that life is precious from the moment of conception.
Burrow’s uncritical parroting of such bad-faith talking points with no medical, legal, or moral foundation shows he’s unprepared for an honest discourse on abortion. He hasn’t even put in enough research to know he’s peddling bad information, and his fame as an athlete lends him exactly zero clout on political and legal issues. If he wants to educate himself enough to engage in a conversation about whether state legislatures should be allowed to ban murdering babies, he’s welcome to do so as a concerned citizen. Otherwise, he should stick to football.
Elle Reynolds is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.