Lucy Letby as an Abortionist

Are you familiar with the case of Lucy Letby? Her story is front-page news in the UK, but this gruesome serial killer gets less attention here.

Lucy Letby, a maternity nurse in the employ of the British Health Service has been sentenced to life without parole for murdering seven babies and attempting to kill six others in the hospital where she worked. Her modus operandi was to either poison the babies or force air down their feeding tubes.

Many of these babies were premature, that is to say, they were at the stage of development that an abortionist would otherwise be allowed to put them to death. In other words, the nature of this vile serial killer’s behavior is different from a doctor practicing abortion due primarily to just two changed facts: 1) birth and 2) the mother didn’t want the child killed.

Those two facts are non sequitur to any valid justification for killing a child. Therefore, this moral contradiction of condemning Ledby while holding up abortion as an honorable profession is what prevents me from supporting a right to abortion.

I have always been open-minded about arguments against culturally conservative issues. For example, in 2004, I had the philosophical fortitude to realize what a mistake it would be to deny the equal protection of conjugal law to gay couples. So I voted no on that year’s Measure 36. That vote just required thinking the issue of gay marriage through, from basic policy principles to an interpretation of the Constitution that does justice to the original public meaning of the 14th Amendment. I have given pro-choice arguments an equally open mind, yet I still see them fail to overcome the fact that abortion entails killing an innocent human being.

I know this is not the majority position in Oregon or even Ohio. However, keep in mind that I was in the minority on marriage equality in 2004. Measure 36 passed and gay marriage was banned in the Beaver State until this provision in our state constitution was overturned by Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. Since that time, more people have thought that issue through. Perhaps, over time, more people will think carefully about how similar abortion is to infanticide.

Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is the author of We were winning when I was there.