The Netflix series Squid Game took the world by storm. It was the #1 trending show on the streaming site for weeks and is reportedly on track to be the most watched show to date.
For those who have yet to see the show, it tells the story of a debt-ridden man who finds himself playing a series of childhood games alongside others in financial ruin, hoping to be the last person standing, and ultimately becoming 45 billion Won richer (almost 2 billion in our currency).
The catch? Each unsuccessful participant is killed– shot in cold blood.
While certainly fiction – a flight of the imagination– the show and its wild success could provide a snapshot of society’s attitude toward human life’s value today.
Squid Game conveys a grim message that the lives of those who failed, those who made mistakes, and those unwanted, are disposable and may be placed at the hands of another.
In this twisted view, one’s life, dignity, and worth are made to depend on convenience, productivity, and ability to lead a life that meets societal standards.
Squid Game portrayed this each time someone is killed without qualms for reasons as trivial as losing a tug of war or a game of marbles, and when the characters, forced by money woes, practically signed a death warrant by joining the contest.
It is unfortunate that in our country, life is slowly imitating art, as the value given to human life seems to be on a quick and steady decline.
This holds true, particularly, in abortion’s growing acceptance today.
In fact, a quick search on Facebook would reveal dozens of pages for “safe” abortion clinics and services in the Philippines, all of which appear to be real and in operation. Alarmingly, despite numerous attempts at reporting these pages, these continue to exist and remain active.
More harrowing than these brazen advertisements for an illegal act are posts in these pages featuring messages of gratitude from satisfied clients who successfully availed of abortion. One person even had the audacity to share a photo of an actual aborted fetus!
Abortion’s acceptance in social media is complemented by emboldened public advocacy groups openly pushing for its decriminalization under the guise of its need to be “accessible” and “safe”.
This is erroneous, of course, as a criminal and an immoral act should not be made “accessible”, and a procedure that aims at the destruction of human life and the dismemberment of a human body can never be considered “safe”.
Another argument used by abortion advocates is the oft expressed battle cry “my body, my choice”. This position, however, overlooks the biological fact that a fetus is not “their body”, but is merely “in their body” – with a separate and distinct set of organs and faculties, and thus, considered a person with dignity and rights.
Despite these obvious and insurmountable flaws, pro-abortion groups remain active in their campaign, hosting webinars and online discussions particularly targeting the youth. These efforts, coupled with the prevalence of media that trivialize human life, have helped develop a creeping nonchalant and accepting disposition toward abortion.
If this welcoming attitude for such a blatant disregard of the dignity of human life continues, we might end up becoming a society that accepts and finds amusement in ending the life of a person – an unborn, a criminal, a disabled – simply for being unwanted, inconvenient, and unproductive, much like the syndicate behind the masked army in Squid Game.
If this happens, we would be a far cry from the Philippine society envisioned by our Constitution – one that guarantees, protects, and puts a premium on the right to life from its incipience, and one that values the dignity of every human person.
These ideals are real and must be earnestly sought and consistently upheld, lest we become a nation that allows the killing of its own defenseless and innocent unborn – a situation worse and stranger than fiction.
Atty. Jesus Joel Mari Delos Reyes Arzaga, J.D., is a lawyer engaged in private practice, a professor of law, Vice-President for Legislative Affairs of the Alliance for the Family Foundation, Inc. (ALFI), Secretary of the UA&P Institute of Law, and Senior Associate of Universitas Foundation, Inc.