Somebody had to say it.
I'm not speaking of religious tenets about the status of human life; what I'm talking about is policy. There are no leaders anywhere (well, except just maybe Bhutan) who put human life first when making the rules. Life wasn't sacred when we invaded Iraq. It wasn't sacred when we decided that it's worthwhile to have all these death machines on our streets, either - cars kill 67 people each week in the UK, and 825 each week in the USA. Life isn't sacred when we talk about climate change - zillions of reports on the human cost of the crisis resulted in mere hand-wringing, while the Stern report on the economic cost of inaction was what made climate change a political priority. When the hell do we ever talk about the importance of human life when we're deciding on policy?
Oh. Yeah. Here. (a link I totally stole from here). Why is that, I wonder?
Honestly, there's no need to invoke conspiracy theories there - it just looks like a vicious cycle of silence. Because human life is sacred, celebrating the economic and social boon of free, legal abortion is a supposedly icky thing to do. (All the while, we're meant to cheer on those lovely liberated Iraqi statue-squishers while a million of their compatriots lie dead at their feet. I'm just saying.) Maybe this silence stops people from seeing it in the same way they do road deaths. Or maybe it's because the benefits are bound to the 'ending' of life in a way that's more obvious than - no, no, wait, it's pretty bloody obvious in the case of that stupid war. Or maybe these losses are seen as preventable by other means - which often isn't true. (More to the point, why were you even driving that car? Why didn't you take the goddamn train?)
So as a political position, it's very hard to consistently defend the right-to-life. As a religious view, that's your call, but it's not mine - I don't think life is simply created and destroyed, I don't see human life as being intrinsically above other forms, and I think personhood is of far greater importance than life. (By 'personhood' I really mean presence in the world, physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually; being part of a great structure of things that touch you and relate to you. Everyone engages at their own level, but that of a 24-week fetus is negligible - certainly when compared to that of a newborn baby, in my totally uninformed and liberally-biased view.) Were I to become troubled about the needless killing of persons, abortion would be a long way down the agenda.