As Simone Biles was clinching yet another gold medal in Rio, people on both sides of the abortion debate were pointing to her achievements and background as a justification for their position.
But both miss out on a very important fact: Simone Biles has value not because she is a young woman inspiring the world or because she is a world champion gymnast who was adopted as a child. Simone has value simply because she is Simone.
As with virtually every other public organization, Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the U.S., tried to tie themselves with successful Olympic athletes.
— Planned Parenthood (@PPact) August 11, 2016
That tweet linked to a story focused on female American athletes who looked to capture medals and attention at the Rio 2016 games, including Biles and her women’s gymnastic teammates.
But the unfortunate reality is that the situation of Simone Biles’ birth mother is exactly the type that causes many women to go to Planned Parenthood and seek an abortion.
From a Texas Monthly profile on her:
Biles was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1997 to drug-addicted parents who struggled to care for their children. Biles and her three siblings were shuffled back and forth between their mother’s house and a foster home. (Biles’s father had abandoned her mother and was never present in his daughter’s life.) When I asked her what memories she has from those days, Biles recalled that one of the foster homes had a trampoline that she and her siblings weren’t allowed to play on.
While Planned Parenthood may celebrate her as a role model for American women now, it is undeniable that had her biological mother walked into a clinic pregnant with Simone the workers would have advised her to abort the baby.
It is not fair to say, as some pro-life individuals did, “if Planned Parenthood had their way Simone Biles would have never made it to Rio.”
While the abortion provider has a clear profit motivation to encourage women entering their clinics to pursue abortion (and their founder has a troubling history concerning race), Planned Parenthood is not patrolling the streets rounding up pregnant women who they can force into abortions.
No amounts of tweets or praise can change the fact, however, that the young woman Americans have fallen in love with on their television screens would not be here if her mother had chosen abortion.
That’s the thought abortion supporters never want to ponder … What if? Because if we allow the human life to continue to grow inside the womb, that life will develop and become someone we cannot so easily dismiss.
What if we didn’t chose abortion? Who would that baby have become?
I have no idea what Simone Biles personal opinions on abortion are, but I feel certain that she is thankful to be alive. Most people are, even if they aren’t winning gold medals in the Olympics.
In fact, when someone says they wish they had never been born, we believe that person is someone who needs help and should be reminded they have worth.
But the whole conception of abortion centers on the fact that those of us who are allowed to enjoy life have the right to decide another human life will not be worth living. How arrogant is that?
Your parents are in a difficult place right now and your life would probably be difficult, so we think it would be best if you were never born. And no, you don’t get a say in it.
But, perhaps surprisingly, I saw many pro-life individuals make an argument that devalues Simone Biles almost as much.
As the nation (and the world) began discussing the awe-inspiring greatness of Simone Biles, pro-life groups and individuals began to share memes like this on social media.
I understand the argument, but I think there is a subtle, but significant point we need to make clear.
Simone Biles doesn’t have worth because she is “the best gymnast in the world.” She doesn’t have value because she won gold medals. She has worth and value simply because she is a human being created in God’s image.
While I’m sure the vast majority of people who shared that meme would agree with that point, we should be careful in how we make the pro-life case.
What if at the bottom of the meme it instead said “would later become an excellent high school student in Ohio”? What if it even said “would later become a drug addict”? Would she still have value and worth? Absolutely.
She would have just as much intrinsic value and worth if she was a normal teenage girl. If you had never heard the name “Simone Biles,” her Creator and Father would still know her name and love her.
There is danger for pro-lifers in attempting to capitalize on someone who came from a difficult birth situation and achieved greatness. We can make it seem as if the important part is their achieving greatness and not simply the fact that they are someone.
Simone Biles should celebrate her achievements and we should enjoy seeing her do amazing gymnastic feats. But she has value far apart from that—even if we forget it sometimes.