A former evangelical psychologist claims in a piece for the leftist AlterNet site that unborn babies facing abortion are like “zombies.”
Valerie Tarico says they are no more human that the undead in science fiction shows and movies.
“Religious opposition to abortion is based on a kind of magical thinking much like that in zombie stories,” she wrote in a piece headlined “What the Unborn and the Undead Have in Common.” She writes that babies and zombies “look like people even though they aren’t.”
“Sometimes stories and movies explore personhood by drawing us into the lived experience of mythical creatures who don’t look like humans but who share our capacity to think and feel, suffer and love, and cherish conscious life,” she wrote. “Zombie stories do the opposite – they take us into a world of creatures that look like us but who lack the qualities of personhood.”
After all, Tarico postulates, zombies die by the score in TV shows and “we don’t really care about how many zombies die.”
“In the beginning stages of gestation, a human embryo or fetus has no more qualities of personhood than a zombie – far fewer, in fact, than your average cat or dog,” she argued. “The qualities that make a person a person come into existence gradually at the beginnings of life, and sometimes they fade away long before a heart stops beating.”
To Tarico, what makes a “person a person” is “having a mind.”
One needs to have a brain, “which is a lot more complicated to develop and harder to sustain than a mere biological pump made out of cell matrix.”
“A religious person who hates abortion might be appalled by my comparing a zombie and a human fetus, because the emotions the two arouse are so very different,” she wrote. “Ironically, though, religious opposition to abortion is based on a kind of magical thinking much like that in zombie stories – the idea that human bodies can be animated by some supernatural force. In the stories that religions tell, this magical force is a soul put into the body by a deity.”
Tarico, who grew up in a fundamentalist Christian home and has hundreds of articles published by far left-leaning websites such as Huffington Post, Jezebel and Salon, also wrote the 2010 book, “Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light.” She graduated from Wheaton College, Billy Graham’s alma mater, before getting her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Iowa. She is the former director of the Children’s Behavior and Learning Clinic in Bellevue and served on staff at the Seattle Children’s Hospital.