Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Pro-Life Messages in Fantasy and Science Fiction

As you probably know, Monday brought bad news from the Supreme Court in June Medical v. Russo. Last week, I wrote that a decision against Louisiana's admitting privileges law "would mean that at least one of the Justices believed to be an anti-abortion vote is not, and that pro-life groups have received little in return for their decades of putting up with the Republican Party. If this happens, expect absolute chaos to ensue." I stand by that statement, and by this one too. I know some of you are eager for a more thorough analysis of the Court's opinion, and my predictions about the chaos to come, but I'm really not up to it right now. I'm only human and I need an emotional break. Maybe next week. Please forgive me.

For a happier note, I turn it over to guest author Sophie Trist.

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In addition to being proudly and unapologetically pro-life from fertilized egg to fertilizer, I'm also a ridiculously huge bookworm. Occasionally, I come across a quote that perfectly encapsulates the pro-life message, even if that wasn't necessarily the author's intention. There's the iconic "A person's a person, no matter how small" from Dr. Seuss's classic kids' book Horton Hears a Who, often cited as pro-lifers' favorite quote. This blog post will focus on lesser-known quotes from more modern novels, particularly those in the sci-fi or fantasy genres.

1. "Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving."

This quote hails from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and it's one of my favorites. Rowling may not have meant the preborn to be part of "every human life", but for me, this quote has always summed up the core of what it means to be pro-life.
A bookshelf and reading chair
2. "Ours is a world where the notion that some people are more important than others has been allowed to take root until it buckles and cracks the foundation of our humanity."

My favorite pro-life quote of all time comes from AMAZING black fantasy author and activist N.K. Jemisin, in her short story "The Ones Who Stay and Fight" which appears in her book How Long Till Black Future Month. While this quote does not directly reference pregnancy or abortion, it beautifully illustrates the dehumanization that allows abortion to occur.

3. "We could've done so many things. We could've brought a life into this world of wonders, and that life could've changed us both, made us better, fixed the broken clocks inside our brains that wouldn't let us be happy when happiness was within reach. It wasn't just a who inside her. It was a where, a place where both of us could've finally been free of the people we never meant to become, because that's the magic trick of creating life—it takes every bad decision you've ever made and makes them necessary footsteps on the treacherous path that brought you home. For just a moment, I had a home. It was the size of one cell, but that was enough to fit in all I ever wanted."

This beautiful passage comes from Canadian author Elan Mastai's 2017 science fiction novel All Our Wrong Todays and is the most poignant description of lost fatherhood I've ever read. A woman becomes pregnant the day before a critical time travel mission, and, with the prospect of her career coming to an end, she takes her own life. The novel's protagonist reflects in this passage moments after her death and that of their unborn child. There is also a wonderful description of fertilization and the formation of a human zygote a few pages before this passage.

4. "A tiny heart begins to beat. It is a secret, fluttering hummingbird beat, four weeks in the making... The whole thing, too young yet to call a fetus, has grown to the size of a pea. A face is beginning to surface from the tissue of the head, the earliest components of eyes. Those eyes: they will show her everything she will ever see. Passages are forming which will one day become the inner ear. Those ears will deliver every voice, every note of music, every drop of rain, she will ever hear in her life. Already, an opening is forming which will later become the mouth, the same mouth that, if mother and child survive, might ask, someday, what God is and why we need the wind, or where she was, anyway, before she was inside her mother's belly."

This quote originates in Karen Thompson Walker's 2019 novel The Dreamers, about a mysterious sleeping sickness sweeping through a small college town. It is noteworthy that the author was pregnant when she wrote The Dreamers, and in interviews, she discusses how this experience influenced her description of preborn life.

5. "If you throw away another's life as if it has no meaning, how then will your own life be measured?"

In Mark Lawrence's fabulous 2020 fantasy novel The Girl in the Stars, disabled and unwanted children are thrown into a pit to live the rest of their lives underground. This book affirms the innate value of every child's life, whether they are unwanted, broken, or able-bodied.

All of these quotes humanize the preborn and affirm the inherent value of every human life. Have more pro-life quotes from books? Feel free to leave them in the comments. Science is critical to the pro-life cause, but so too are words, stories, and imagination.

Photo credit: Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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