In the wake of Steve Jobs’ death, people reflecting on his vast legacy have been pointing out that he was adopted. His biological father was a Syrian immigrant who met his mother when they were both students. She became pregnant out of wedlock, and he wanted them to get married and keep the child, but her parents didn’t want her to marry a Muslim. So they split up, she had the baby alone, and he was placed for adoption by prior agreement between both his biological parents.
Now at the time, abortion was illegal, so it was not comparable to a situation today, where it is the widely preferred option. Nevertheless, people have speculated about what could have been and about what would have been lost. We wouldn’t have i-anything. We might not even have laptops or mouses. Aren’t we glad Steve’s mother put him up for adoption?
Yes, we are. But I think we should be careful here. Because I see this argument a lot: Just think of all the diseases that might have been cured, or the new inventions made, or this or that, if all the babies aborted in the last 30 years had been allowed to live. And there is truth to that argument. But should it be the only or even the main reason why we oppose abortion?
I don’t think so. I think we should oppose abortion simply because every unborn child is intrinsically valuable. It shouldn’t matter whether they grow up and, in the words of Saving Private Ryan, “cure some disease, or invent a longer-lasting light bulb, or something…” or not. It doesn’t matter if they’re disabled or healthy, retarded or mentally sound. It doesn’t matter if they invent the ipod or spend the rest of their life in the care of their parents because they’re never able to feed and dress themselves.
It isn’t wrong to speculate about what good millions of aborted infants may have done for the world. But it is worth recognizing that the loss of their lives should be considered enough of a loss all by itself.