The viability myth

By Tom Quiner

I have never met a single, viable person in my life.

Another word for viable is survivable. It’s a word worth dwelling on.

Some advocates of human abortion maintain that the preborn are not entitled to human rights until they are viable, which they reach at about their 23rd week of human life in their mother’s womb.

Everyone I’ve ever met started their human life in their mother’s womb, and weren’t “viable” for a number of weeks. They are the same person now as then, only at a different stage in their development.

Every person I’ve ever known is not viable without food. The only difference between them now and when they were in their mother’s womb was the delivery method for their nourishment.

I know diabetics who are not viable without their insulin.

My friend, Bob, has diseased kidneys. He is not viable without dialysis.

Each of us shares something in common: human dignity. We do not lose that dignity simply because we require nourishment through an umbilical cord, just as a person in a coma doesn’t lose hers because she’s on a feeding tube.

Our fellow human beings who are dependent on others for their survival are not any less human. In fact, it is their very need that allows each of us to be more human, more fully alive, by giving of ourselves sacrificially in service to our fellow man.

The baby in the womb is a human being with unique DNA. He or she is one-of-kind. He or she is not part of the mother’s body, they simply dwell there for a number of months. As philosopher Dr. Peter Kreeft explains:

“if the fetus is a part of the mother, then the parts of the fetus must be parts of the mother. But in that case, every pregnant woman has four eyes and four feet, and half of all pregnant women have penises!”

Don’t buy into the viability myth. Human dignity is at stake.

You have an opportunity to hear a first hand, riveting story of a war on human dignity that took place in Florida. A woman was denied her right to life because she was no longer viable. Her name was Terry Schiavo. Her brother, Bobby Schindler, will be in Des Moines in two weeks to tell her story.

If you are anywhere near Des Moines, make it a point to come out and hear Bobby Schindler talk about the cause of Life at the Iowans for LIFE dinner on July 27th. Register online at by July 22nd. Questions?  Call 515-255-4113.

Your dignity does not depend on viability.


  1. Parody on July 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    I support the majority of your argument, but I am a bit at a loss for the connection you make at the end of it. I am not familiar with the Terry Schiavo case, and couldn’t get a full understanding of it from the article you linked to. What I could glean from it was that she was in a coma for 15-years before the plug was pulled. If this was determined to be a coma from which she could not recover (that part was not made completely clear) then I think that the family has every right to “pull the plug”.

    “Living” in a coma is not living at all. Without the interaction of the brain, there is no true life of which to speak. Having been in a coma before, I know firsthand that there was absolutely no living whatsoever for me in that 17-day period. Had that been determined an unrecoverable state for me, I hope that my family would have the courage to “pull the plug” and move on, because I would not have ever really been alive, and they would have only been causing themselves undue greif and hardship by clinging on to something that was no longer there.

    • lburleso on July 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      No one is arguing that one cannot be _allowed_ to die. Tom is simply saying that it is morally unacceptable to perform euthanasia. Palliative and/or reasonable care over-zealous care.

  2. Alan Sexton on July 13, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Viability is an extremely good point Tom, and you provide excellent examples. Having previously been a funeral director for many years, I can verify that your parallels are quite legitimate. Additionally, I believe abortion is an ultimate violation of the non-aggression principle, as it destroys the most vulnerable people.

    • Shawn Pavlik on July 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      It also seems to be antithetical to the doctor’s creed of “Do no harm!”

      • quinersdiner on July 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

        I think that phrase has been jettisoned.

  3. josephrathjen on July 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    For years I was a fence-sitter on the issue of abortion. But recently I read an article on the medical procedure used to perform late-term abortions. I was shocked and disgusted to say the least. It’s given me a whole new perspective on abortion itself and the issue of pro-choice. How anyone or any group can condone LTA and use it for a rally cry of personal freedom is unfathomable. It looks like nothing more than a “wanton act of murder!”

  4. lburleso on July 13, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Glitch… Palliative and/or reasonable care does not equal over-zealous care.

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