When the media reports on the abortion issue, they treat abortion as an essential component of women’s health. They implicitly and explicitly make the claim that people who want to make abortion illegal and harder to access are immoral, anti-woman, anti-health, religious bigots who want to force their subjective views and personal preferences on others. They tell us that if we don’t like abortion, don’t get one; but don’t tell others what they can and cannot do.

Vox recently featured a story about trying to obtain an abortion in Louisiana, which is characterized as the most pro-life state in America. Anna North, the author, makes no effort to consider the other side. The reader is left with the impression that this state and its policies are making it difficult, emotionally challenging, and almost economically impossible to gain access to a basic form of healthcare women desperately need.

If abortion is just a basic healthcare need women require, then making legislation against it and trying to make it harder for women to get an abortion makes no sense. The problem is that abortion is not a basic healthcare need. Abortion, in contrast with healthcare as properly understood, is the killing of an innocent and defenseless human life.

The purpose of healthcare is to heal and help people who are sick. Real healthcare does not violate human rights and kill an innocent human being. As one of my co-workers has pointed out, “Unjustly taking the life of another human being can’t be properly called healthcare, even if it indirectly leads to a significant improvement in one’s health.” We would not allow a woman to kill her two year old child to improve her health and mental well being, but we allow her to kill her unborn child for the same reason.

The dangerous assumption that keeps being raised is that unborn human beings are not human in the same way other people are. They don’t deserve the same rights. They are not equal to other human beings. Killing them is just a matter of personal preference and choice.

The dominant voices in the media and many abortion advocates conflate preference claims with objective moral claims. When someone who is pro-life speaks out against abortion or supports legislation that makes it more difficult to obtain an abortion, they are not making a subjective claim about preferences. They are making an objective moral claim about what is right and wrong regardless of how people feel. Pro-life advocates don’t want to meddle in other people’s lives. We want to foster a culture that respects human life and protects them no matter where they happen to be.

To help clarify a lot of the confusion surrounding the abortion issue, consider this: What if these same voices in the media reported on the practice of killing infants parents no longer wanted in the same way? What if they treated that killing as an essential aspect of women’s health utterly disregarding the infant’s humanity? Imagine they implicitly and explicitly made the claim that people who want to make infant killing illegal and harder to achieve are immoral, anti-woman, anti-health, religious bigots who want to force their subjective views on others. What if they claimed that if people don’t like infant killing, then they should not kill their infants; but don’t tell others what they can and cannot do? If someone wants to kill their infant, that is a personal choice.

In this scenario the problem is obvious. The infant’s humanity is considered a non-issue. It’s assumed they are not deserving of rights. Of course the vast majority of abortion advocates do not condone infant killing because it is claimed there are major differences between killing of an infant and the killing a human fetus in the womb. But that’s precisely the question that needs to be discussed. There are many developmental differences between an infant and preborn child, but those differences do not change what the fetus is; his or her nature remains intact throughout time. From the moment the sperm and egg fuse together, we have an individual, unique human being who just needs time to grow and develop.

The weak and dishonest reporting done by many major media outlets on the abortion issue represents a problem. Science clearly tells us that what is in the womb is a human being from conception. To simply assume the unborn fall into a subhuman category serves no interest beyond the direct advocacy for the pro-choice position.

To all the media outlets and all the reporters who slant their stories ignoring the humanity of the unborn and the actual concerns of the pro-life side, stop turning a blind eye to the central issue at the heart of the abortion debate. Those who disagree with abortion are not against healthcare and women’s rights. They are against killing innocent human beings.

The truth matters, and honest dialogue is important. Accurate and truthful reporting from a principled media is necessary for a healthy culture. Lies, half truths, and skewed reporting harm our culture because half of our community is unfairly portrayed as being against women and their health.

The abortion issue is not about choice. It is about who counts as one of us. History is replete with examples where people excluded others by claiming they were somehow lesser, not fully human, and not deserving of the basic right to life and freedom. And when those who were outspoken against the injustice voiced their opinions and concerns, they were ignored, persecuted, and called names. Many in the media are complicit in hiding the reality of abortion by using euphemisms and vague terms to cover up the true reality and the harm it’s causing all while impugning the motives of those who disagree.

The stakes are high. Either one side is meddling in a private health decision that should be left up to individuals, or one side is defending and enabling the dehumanization and death of millions of human beings. These same voices in the media will undoubtedly continue to report as they do. In our own circles of influence, let’s strive for a different kind of conversation about abortion where people actually work to understand both sides recognizing that we are all human and worthy of respect. That is precisely our point.