Birth of Twins Highlights Evil of Abortion

In what has become an annual ritual on January 1, the mainstream media shared the unique story of twins born on different days and different years. This year, ABC News highlighted Lorraine and Brandon Begazo who were born in Washington, D.C., three minutes apart, but in different years. A rare occurrence and feel-good story, it will eventually become a neat bit of trivia that at the very least serves as an icebreaker in social settings.

But might the rare event of twins being born on different days provide more than just trivia?

Consider Maria Jones Elliot who, pregnant with twins in 2012, went into preterm labor and gave birth to her daughter, Amy, 23 weeks into pregnancy. Amy was a tiny 1 pound 3 ounces and was immediately whisked off to NICU in order to save her life. Unexpectedly, contractions stopped and Amy’s twin sister, Katie, decided she wasn’t ready to be born! While tiny Amy fought to survive, her twin sister was doing very well in Maria’s womb where she continued to mature and grow. Eighty-seven days later Katie was born with a clean bill of health! These beautiful twin sisters are recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as twins with the most days between births.

Putting aside the feel-good elements of the story, consider for a moment the status of these sisters under the law in America. While Amy was recognized as a human being whose life was protected and worth fighting for, in most states her twin sister would be considered a mere fetus with no rights—a potential victim of abortion.

Here we see plainly the ruthless arbitrariness of abortion: one twin could legally be killed but the other is protected by law. Is location so determinative? This common-sense example is indicative of how laws that leave any unborn child unprotected are discriminatory and assume a fanciful and contrived essential difference between living human beings.

The science, after all, could not be clearer; the union of two human gametes brings into existence a whole and unique member of the human species who is undergoing organized and self-directed development and growth. So the question then becomes, does this human being possess rights as do all other human beings? And what do we owe this human being? Is it even remotely sensible that one twin is protected by her mother, the law, and by the wider human community while the other twin is left unprotected?

When the scientific facts are acknowledged, and when the right questions are asked, the answer seems plain. All human beings are and should be treated as the bearers of rights, deserve a “fair shake,” and ought to be protected by society and her laws. This is the intrinsic duty of individuals and of society—to protect the innocent and to cultivate justice. What kind of society is it that can confront both the impersonal science and the very real unborn twin in the face, and say, “Yes, she is a female human being but we don’t have to treat her justly; this one has no rights and does not deserve protection under the law.” If the right questions are asked and honest answers given, the matter is shown to be clear as day. Perhaps this is why the modus operandi of abortion-rights activists is to focus on difficult cases that pull at the heart strings all within the context of an imaginary “war on women.”

The common objection tends to arise: “But a woman has a right to do with her body as she wishes.” Yes, a woman—and in this she is no different from a man—has freedom and the ability to do what she wishes with her body. But this freedom and right is not absolute, and is rather a limited freedom or a conditional right. The just limits of that right include not causing harm to another innocent human being when exercising one’s bodily freedom. So while a woman can do with her body as she sees fit, she cannot do whatever she wants to another human being’s body without his or her free consent. Since the embryonic or fetal human being is a member of the human species, she cannot justly cause harm to that child. As the popular retort to this objection goes, “Her rights end where another person’s body begins.” Ultimately this objection is both a red herring and non sequitur.

The reasoned and honest answers to the most appropriate questions make the abortion advocate appear monstrous. And history has always judged, as monstrous, the caprice and arbitrariness of a society that demands some human beings have rights and others can simply be thrown away.

Such a society is being judged even now by Pope Francis’ oft-used description of ours as “a throw away culture.” As he recently lamented, “Unfortunately, what is thrown away is … often human beings themselves, who are discarded as ‘unnecessary’ … It is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day.”

The refusal of our laws to acknowledge modern science and honor the basic ethical demand to recognize the rights of every human being, and the stubborn refusal to answer the right questions honestly has created countless victims “who will never see the light of day.” Shouldn’t both twins and every human being be treated equally under the law? That they are not is a radical inequality, a grave offense, and a tragic poverty.

Arland K. Nichols


Arland K. Nichols is the founding President of the John Paul II Foundation for Life and Family.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    This argument is very much a two-edged sword.

    In his Rethinking Life and Death, Princeton bioethicist, Peter Singer famously argued “[The argument that a fetus is not alive] is a resort to a convenient fiction that turns an evidently living being into one that legally is not alive. Instead of accepting such fictions, we should recognise that the fact that a being is human, and alive, does not in itself tell us whether it is wrong to take that being’s life” and goes on to justify both abortion and infanticide.

    In 2012 a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics, “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, expressed similar views.

    In France, the first article of the Veil Law ((Law No. 75-17 of January 1975, concerning the Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy) declares, “The law guarantees respect for every human being from the outset of life. There shall be no derogation from this principle except in cases of necessity and under the conditions laid down by this Law.” If derogation from the right to life is permitted, there seems no logical reason why this should not apply after birth, as well as before it.

    • Objectivetruth

      From what I recall, Michael I believe the Giubilini paper was almost a “tongue in cheek” rebuttal to the logic posed by pro abortion/infanticide proponents such as Singer. I could be wrong, though. Luckily however, Princeton has Robert George on their payroll also. It would be interesting to see if there are Princeton undergrads that have taken both Singer and George’s classes, and how they compare. One would think that Dr. George’s natural law arguments would win the day.

      As far as the Holy Father’s comments concerning our “throw away culture”, no greater example of that is the IVF industry and marketplace. When an IVF lab produces anywhere from 5-30 humans in a Petri dish for the sake of bringing one child (or “product”, if you will) to term, one can see how the demonic works in the quiet, in the shadows. IVF is the most chilling and horrific example of our culture of death.

    • DD

      How is that two edged?

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        To argue that abortion is tantamount to infanticide invites the retort that the arguments that justify the one also justify the other, which is Singer’s position.

        As I said “If derogation from the right to life is permitted,” and that is the view enshrined in the Veil Law, “there seems no logical reason why this should not apply after birth, as well as before it.”

        • DD

          But, killing a child is killing a child. What is the difference?

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            None at all. As Singer says, “the fact that a being is human, and alive, does not in itself tell us whether it is wrong to take that being’s life” He says in terms, “”killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.”

            What we have to explain is why killing a child is wrong. It is not self-evident.

            • TheAbaum

              killing a “misanthropic professor” is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.”

            • DD

              It is self evident. That some are demented is another matter. There is no explanation that one will accept when one is closed to reason.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                As Miss Anscombe put it in “Modern Moral Philosophy,” “In present-day philosophy an explanation is required how an unjust man is a bad man, or an unjust action a bad one; to give such an explanation belongs to ethics; but it cannot even be begun until we are equipped with a sound philosophy of psychology. For the proof that an unjust man is a bad man would require a positive account of justice as a “virtue.” This part of the subject-matter of ethics, is however, completely closed to us until we have an account of what type of characteristic a virtue is”

                • DD

                  Yes, as I said the demented and those with deformed consciences are not open to the truth no matter how you classify subjects or whichever taxonomy you like.

                  • Michael Paterson-Seymour


                    Once we have established that ethical conceptions are different, the next inevitable question is the following: do we have available to us a rational criterion, one that is valid for all, according to which we can decide which ethics is best in that it is rationally founded?

                    • DD

                      We have always had it. The natural moral law has always existed. People still reject it because they do not want to stop doing what they are doing or for some other reason.

            • msmischief

              Cool. Let’s go kill Singer in his sleep, because he doesn’t want to go on living — or anything else — then.

              • TheAbaum

                Nah.. it’s better that he would be judged a public menace and sentenced to a long period of swinging picks and hammers at intransigent stones.

            • Slainte

              But if one could prove that the embryo or the infant/toddler could reason and thus “know”, professor Singer and his colleagues might recognize a utility in the child which might justify his/her continued existence?
              Descartes’ “Cogito Ergo Sum” re-interpreted for a new era?

            • Gilbert Jacobi

              Singer’s argument rests on the secular rejection of the created sacredness of the human. Behind the smokescreen of evaluating the child’s will to live, is the cold-blooded assessment of an infant’s economic value. Since it has none, it may legally be disposed of. Think of livestock. A suckling lamb or pig has no notion of a desire to live, only to keep eating. Yet it has economic value; therefore, to kill it wold be classified as a prosecutable property crime.

              • Gilbert Jacobi

                Actually, an even more horrible thought just occurred to me: the unborn child or neonate does have economic value – its organs and stem cells.

                But have I stumbled upon a possible avenue of defense? Can we say that, whatever may be the will of the child, he possesses, in his body, a property of evident value? And that this must be accorded the same protections as any other property?

            • Caritas06

              How can Dr. Singer argue from the mere fact that a baby cannot produced a well reasoned three page paper on why it wants to go on living to the fact that it does not ,or is a least “neutral” on the topic and therefore not presumptively worthy of life? A newborn instinctively seeks sustenance (the breast) , avoids painful stimuli and does its best to summon help by crying. To me that says it wants to go on living, and its higher faculties will develop. Many seriously injured persons who are quite viable do the same thing after an accident, even though they not be able to speak at that moment. Dr. singer has set up an arbitrary and not scientifically supportable definition of personhood to support his preferred conclusion.
              I have long thought Dr. Singer is an example of what my late father used to call “a person who has been educated beyond his intelligence or common sense”.

              • Michael Paterson-Seymour


                Remember Dr Singer is a great supporter of animal rights (at least, the higher animals – I doubt even he could defend the rights of the starfish or the Sea Anemone) Hence, his moral criterion is not “personhood,” a very slippery concept, but preferences. Animals display satisfaction when a “preference” is satisfied and frustration, when it is not.

                He would argue that a “preference” or desire for food, does not necessarily indicate a desire to “go on living.”

                I think all this can be traced back to Hume – “It is obvious, that when we have the prospect of pain or pleasure from any object, we feel a consequent emotion of aversion or propensity, and are carryed [sic] to avoid or embrace what will give us this uneasiness [sic] or satisfaction… But it is evident in this case that the impulse arises not from reason, but is only directed by it. It is from the prospect of pain or pleasure that the aversion or propensity arises towards any object: And these emotions extend themselves to the causes and effects of that object, as they are pointed out to us by reason and experience… Since reason alone can never produce any action, or give rise to volition, [This is from Aristotle – Λόγοσ ούδέν κινεί – Reason moves nothing] I infer, that the same faculty is as incapable of preventing volition, or of disputing the preference with any passion or emotion… Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” (Treatise on Human Nature III)

                In other words, Hume confounds a practical judgment with a “passion” or emotion abd so, apparently, does Singer.

                To refute Singer’s position, we need to go back, behind his ethics, to his philosophy of psychology; that is a question of the analysis of concepts.

    • Rock St. Elvis

      You aren’t actually pointing out two edges to one sword. You are pointing out that there is no principled limit to intrinsic evil once allowances are made for bits of it here and there. And of course,that it true. The allowance for contraception has finally led to the normalization of sodomy, to give another example.

      • TheAbaum

        “The allowance for contraception has finally led to the normalization of sodomy.”

        The law of unintended consequences is being given free reign.

        And Luther’s summary delegation of marriage to the state has had similar consequences unintended by the architect, that is state sanction of sodomy.

        • Rock St. Elvis

          Luther’s “summary delegation” would not by itself lead to the state sanction of sodomy. That could not happen without the predicate compromises on intrinsic evils like contraception and abortion.

    • TheAbaum

      He wonders why babies should live and I wonder why he should…

      • DD

        And the “professa” is seen as part of the Academy. What stupidity passes for erudition these days.

        • TheAbaum

          The academy is a parasitic echo chamber for lunatics and maniacs.

  • uncle max

    If it’s growing – it’s alive.

    Ergo …..

    • Arland Nichols

      It’s not quite as simple as that. Cancer grows, for example. The hallmark is self directed, organized growth toward maturity of body as is exhibited by the zygotic human being immediately following fertilization. This kind of growth is characteristic of a particular kind of organism – a member of the human species.

  • publiusnj

    MPS’s reference to Singer reminds me that we can all look at the issue coldly. When I look at the issue coldly I see the following.

    Most politicians look at this issue differently than moralists do. Many politicians ask: If a woman wants to kill the child in her womb and it doesn’t cost the State anything: why not if it wil produce more votes? The State is controlled by politicians (not philosophers) and their highest calling is to their own reelection and consequent retention of power (which means high living and the like). While they recognize that babies have their advocates, those advocates can be ignored to the extent the politicians can blunt their influence by sounding somewhat compassionate when they raise flack about “a woman’s right to choose.” Because that can be said with a well-developed line of patter, many women will agree. That may seem callous, but as the politicians will remind us: Politics ain’t beanbag.

    • DD

      Yes, that is called relativism and is a tyranny.

  • lifeknight

    The “root” of this evil is contraception. Until the idea that children are to be prevented (contraception) is extinguished, then the evil of abortion will continue…as well as arguments regarding IVF, which is an extension of the autonomy argument. BUT remember! We aren’t to “obsess” on these ideas! (I am still unable to stomach that one!)

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      You have said exactly what I wanted to say about this. Thank you.

    • Arland Nichols

      Indeed. John Paul identified the contraceptive mentality as one of the roots of the culture of death.

    • TheAbaum

      Don’t you know, children aren’t gifts from God, with all the hairs on their head counted by him, they are toys, to be trotted out as trophies when one is feeling prideful, to be stowed with others when they are inconvenient, to be complained about when they err-and those who do so, were never children themselves. And like most gifts, we’ll quietly destroy it if it isn’t exactly what we want.

      We need to get it through people’s heads the neo-Malthusian fascists that are counted amply among the Angelo Codevilla’s “ruling class” elites. They aren’t offering you independence, but stealing your legacy.

  • Vinnie

    It’s always bothered me that, supposedly, great minds can come-up with the idea that; simply because someone exists, legally enables them to prevent the continued existence of another.

  • FrJD

    In what year were they born? The article says 2013 and the picture says 2012??

  • John200

    Consider more direct language:

    1. “The reasoned and honest answers… make the abortion advocate appear monstrous.”

    Appear? Abortion advocates ARE advocating monstrous actions. Another useful adjective, if you need it, is “revolting.”

    2. “And history has always judged, as monstrous, the caprice and arbitrariness of a society that demands some human beings have rights and others can simply be thrown away.”

    These characteristics ARE objectively proper to monsters, with little judgment required to make the determination.

  • TheAbaum

    You have to have a monstrously deformed soul to want to kill the likes of those two little ones in the picture.

    • Objectivetruth

      Agreed. The percentage of woman that don’t go forward with an abortion after seeing an ultrasound of their baby is over 90%. Ironically, science will win the day on this. The clarity and sharpness of the ultrasound picture is only going to continue to Improve in the future. Imagine if it reaches the point where the expectant mother sees pics from the womb with the same clarity as those two cuties smiling at ya. That percentage will hit 100%. In fact, maybe the day will come where self service ultrasounds will be available in malls, grocery stores. The expectant mother considering abortion and curious about the “fetus” growing in her womb can pop in to the ultrasound machine, and see her little baby looking back at her.

    • Art Deco

      There are lots of such people in the world in which we live.

  • kcthomas

    We all agree that life is sacred, life is a gift of God, we have no power to destroy life. This great message, this great teaching of Christ and his Church has to be passed on to our children.
    Modern youngsters have different ideas about marriage, about sex, about children . So our duty is to teach them through our life,our spiritual life, by our fidelity to our Church,and by impressing them about the perishableness of modern pleasure culture.

  • Proteios

    This story prompts a thought as disconcerting as the idea of a baby not being given the dignity he/she deserves from conception. And that is, at what point will our government permit insurance companies to drop NICU required services to same a preemies life. Worse yet. Will they make it illegal to save the babies life if born prematurely? I may be overreaching, but the more I here form abortion promoters, the scarier this discussion gets.

  • Savonarola

    This is empty rhetoric until you’re willing to take positive steps to alleviate the conditions that lead to abortion. And contraception isn’t one of them. But of course once children are born, your group is content enough to see enough of them destitute, hungry, without access to healthcare or education. I suppose once they are born they catch a case of original sin. Your single-mindedness and arbitrary lack of compassion sickens me.

    • DD

      Abortion is the result of someone deciding to kill a baby. Which conditions cause one to murder?

      • M Green

        Selfishness, of course, and a lack of knowledge.

    • M Green

      This is more empty rhetoric from the pro-abortion group. Who’s REALLY washing their hands of these women? The pro-choice who really only offer a ride to the abortion clinic so they can be done with the woman and her baby, after they told her that if she uses birth control she’ll probably be okay?

      OR the pro-life group that not only warns women that they CAN get pregnant EVEN WITH birth control, but also runs the clinics that offer her ACTUAL CHOICE that exceeds abortion? What do we pro-life groups help with? Financial aid for medical care during AND AFTER pregnancy for mom AND baby. Emotional support and counseling for those who choose to keep their babies AND those who aborted their babies and are having a hard time with it. Financial aid to RAISE the baby–to include help in securing benefits, jobs, going back to school, and the like. Adoption referals if the mother REALLY doesn’t want to raise her baby. SUPPORT for adoption decisions. Often, we even try to raise enough money for a baby shower, food, and money for as long as we can. Can we help them all? No, and we hate that. But we try and we do what we can. Can ANY pro-abort say they do all this?

      Who’s REALLY single minded here? Who’s REALLY interested in punishing women for sin?

      You pro-aborts complete lack of support for women and their babies after you get them into this trouble is disgusting. WE PRO-LIFERS are the ones cleaning up your messes. It’s time YOU take a good long, hard look in the mirror AND THEN actually investigate the services you claim we don’t offer WHILE TRYING TO SHUT DOWN ALL THE CLINICS THAT ACTUALLY OFFER EVERYTHING YOU ARE TRYING TO CLAIM WE DON’T.

    • ProgBuster

      Thou dost project too much. And I mean project. I do agree your argument is empty rhetoric.

    • Objectivetruth

      What are the “conditions” that need to be alleviated that lead to abortion? In a 2004 study done by Wm. Johnstone, 93% of all abortions were done for socio economic (or “convenience”) reasons. And yes, contraception is a big one. 49% of all abortions in the study where done because contraception failed.

    • Objectivetruth

      “your group is content enough to see enough of them destitute, hungry, without access to healthcare or education.”

      This is the classic liberal/pro-abortion/planned parenthood straw man argument. See my other post replying to you concerning socio-economic concerns. Outside of the cornucopia of free federal and state aid available for the pregnant woman, they can (and do) indisputably receive much aid and care from the Catholic Church. But all planned parenthood wants to do with a pregnancy is kill the baby, because it is highly profitable and fits in to their eugenics ideology.

  • leogirl87

    Pregnancy is only temporary. The woman can place her baby for adoption and be on her merry way if she decides she isn’t ready to be a mother. And that twin born at only 23 weeks survived! As medicine advances, women will be able to give birth earlier and earlier. Zero excuses for abortion other than selfishness. If I’m not ready to be a mother, then nobody can parent my child (despite thousands of married couples on waiting lists to adopt infants) and my child deserves to die.

    • Gilbert Jacobi

      A very powerful way of putting it! The excuse these women use is exactly that of the child who takes his ball or his game console and goes home because no one lets him play. For all the thought I’ve given this, I never saw this similarity until you pointed it out. Good work!

    • Jordan

      I certainly agree that adoption is a wonderful thing, but I think saying the only reason women get abortions is due to selfishness is oversimplifying and villifying JUST the woman who undergoes the procedure. The choice is wrong, however, often she is helped, guided, pressured, even coerced by others into making it, only to be left alone and abandoned afterwards by those who share the responsibility for the evil because she is the only one visibly responsible, while the rest can hide (in this life, anyway).

      • Guest

        That is one way to view things, but when I read that line of reasoning I must ask why this one type of killing gets this pass? Why the onus is always away from the mother and on to others? This is not to lessen other actors guilt in the evil act but to ask why the mother gets off so lightly in your calculus?

        Can we use that reasoning for other killings too?

        • Jordan

          Killing never gets a pass, I stated that the mother shares responsibility, but just because she is the only one who can be easily identified does not mean that we should then treat her as if she is always solely responsible for the evil (that may be the case with some women, but not all, by any means) and proceed to throw the burdens of the sins of her accomplices onto her shoulders because we want someone punished and we don’t want her to “get off so lightly”. Believe me, I’m a mother, and when I read stories about abortion I do have a visceral reaction, a wish to see evil punished, but those who commit sin are human, and are still themselves not worth throwing away (no one is). The goal is to correct others so that they see their sin for what it is, an evil action alien to their true being as a child of God, not to make sure they pay because someone has to, and if you’re the only one we can catch, woman, you’re gonna get it.

          • Jordan

            Few people are so easy to point to and say “You did evil on purpose just to do it”.

            • DD

              No, that is not the issue at all. It is that too many say evil was done but it was all the fault of the abortionist or some other person. In some way we have made the sin and crime of baby killing simply the fault of the abortion industry and that takes away too much personal responsibility and frankly makes the women seem inferior and incapable of acting morally.

              • Jordan

                I think you may be reading me wrong. I don’t wholly disagree with you, and I’ve said more than once that the mother does at least always share responsibility, and in some cases probably is acting on her own desires, with no outside pressure. However, I disagree that abortion is “mostly seen as someone’s fault other than the mother” and that many people say it was *completely* someone else’s fault. I don’t see it being phrased that way at all (perhaps you frequently encounter people who say that, but I never have). Even when people seem to be making excuses for the woman, the social stigma often remains on her, and often on her alone. My point is simply that I don’t find that an acceptable substitute in those cases (few or many) where she was not the only person responsible simply because we cannot know by looking at anyone else if they were involved or not.

          • DD

            No one said anything about throwing anyone away. It is not about punishment for punishment sake but it is about justice.

            Abortion is mostly seen as someone’s fault other than the mother. The mother is always portrayed as the victim as if she always has a gun to her head. Sure woman are forced but many are not. That is why abortion is about convenience mostly.

  • Jacqueline Foster O’Dell

    My child was born in 1968 at 6 months, 3 months too soon. I was 22yrs old and my baby was due the first of Feb. my daughter came in November. My daughter is 46 years old now and is as normal as any adult. I wished she had been full term as any mother would wish. Premature babies need alot more attention than one born at 9 months. Being sicker is a given when born premature. I personally do not believe in abortion, there are so many ways available to advoid getting pregnant. If a young girl/or adult woman gets pregnant, it’s their responsibility to have their baby. If not finacially able to take care of the baby, there are many couples that want a child. Give their babies a chance to survive and be loved. Don’t kill these babies knowing you are responsible and they deserve the chance to have a life. Young boys keep your pants zipped and young ladies keep your legs crossed. Be responsible enough to not bring a child into the world knowing you can’t take care of it. Abortion is not an option or excuse to kill a unborn child. Maybe i’m old fashioned, we all make mistakes in our lives, how can an unborn child be a mistake…

  • Education-Knocking

    The difference between the two is one is that abortion is terminating a pregnancy and killing a baby in its final months of development. One is killing something that wasn’t alive and the other is killing something that was alive. The legal definition is An individual, who has sustained irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including
    the brainstem, is dead. To be alive you must have a functioning brain. The fetus dose not have brain emissions until the 12th week; three months in. Most abortions must take place before the 3 month mark to take place at all. Other wise the child is considered alive and has the rights of its out-of-womb counterpart.

    • toast

      Note the “legal definition.” If you were to ask a biologist about life, that person would say the smallest unit of life is the cell. Because we, humans, are multicellular, we need to continually replenish cells as cells die off. We know we are alive because our cells are able to continue to divide. A biologist would also say that a new, unique human being is formed when two gametes unite. Pre-3 months, that fetus is biologically alive and a unique human being.

  • Musicon HaidaGwaii

    How about the evil of preventing women from accessing birth control? Abortion would be a universal right if men got pregnant.

  • MamaYen

    This is an article that strikes me especially close to home. With so many loved ones that have had abortions, I’ve always struggled with my inner conflict between love of them and the horror I feel towards this terrible act. There is no resolution of the two. But Pope Francis himself said to “love the person, not the act.” And honestly, this has been a guiding principle for me ever since. We can only hope that in time, the people that commit abortions and their families will find healing and resolution even as they recognize the beauty of life in all of its unique stages.