Carroll County Times

Letter: Human rights begin at conception

While I have not been a fan of the progress that the legalization of gay marriage has made recently, it is amazing to ponder the speed at which it took place.

In 40 years our nation went from seeing gay marriage as unthinkable and gay sex as illegal to embracing the idea of normalizing gay marriage. A tipping point seems to have been reached, and the rate of acceleration toward that tipping point was phenomenal in the last five years. This reflects a radical shift in the views of the population, and it had surprising impact on the legal system.

While I will not discourage those who try to slow or reverse the trend, I think that for now further change and consolidation of the legalization of gay marriage likely will take place.

This rapid change in one arena gives me hope for rapid change in another arena. Why couldn't the same rapid shift toward a tipping point happen in regard to abortion? Just as for the case of gay marriage, once a large number of people began to embrace it as an issue of basic human rights, the supporting legal structure changed. Why couldn't a large number of people recognize human rights for the pre-born? Couldn't that change the entire legal structure in a very short period of time? Certainly, a right to choose is trumped by a right to exist, isn't it?

North Dakota and Kansas recently passed bills declaring that life begins at conception. While these bills may not survive legal challenges, they indicate a willingness in some parts of the country to change the legal structure to support what many see as basic human rights. What will it take for that kind of willingness to prevail throughout the country?

The answer is not clear. But we have seen how sharp sonograms of the pre-born have become compared to how they used to be even 15 years ago, enabling prospective parents and everyone else to see physical features remarkably clearly. I suspect that science helping us see the pre-born as humans is one important avenue. Time for this reality to soak in is another.

Legalization of gay marriage has had an unexpected impact on someone like me who opposed it. It has caused me to be optimistic for the future of another issue that I am deeply concerned about: legalizing basic human rights for pre-borns.

Tim Thomas