I know, I know, another abortion post. And who cares about my opinion on this matter, anyway? I’m sure you all have your own, for or against. After seeing some very poor arguments on the subject, I just have to get some things off my chest.
If you’re pro-choice, you should care about my opinion, because I am here to help you, even though we disagree.
The fact is, a lot of you sound like tools. Stop it, for your sake and mine.
I hear a lot of arguments supporting the right of a woman to choose. Unfortunately, many of them are nonsense. I thought I’d be helpful and make a list.
1. Being a man, who are you to think you have a useful opinion on this?
Well, I thought I was a human being possessed (like most of us) of the capability for rational thought that allows me to observe evidence, consider facts, develop conclusions, and make value judgments about various things like we all do every day. It is both ludicrous and illogical to say that because I have not experienced a thing, I am incapable of making any judgment about that thing.
I have murdered exactly zero people in my life. Yet I am capable of coming to a conclusion about murder. I don’t want to do it. I don’t believe it is acceptable to murder people in cold blood.
Besides, I am able to speak to women who have had children and who have terminated pregnancies. I am able to consider medical procedures and their implications. How do we debate or establish medical ethics for as-yet-untried procedures or technologies if only those who have experienced them already get to weigh in on the matter? We use past evidence, past observations, past precedents, and we make a judgment, then evaluate whether that judgment holds true moving forward. We engage in healthy debate.
So stop stifling it by saying half of humanity has nothing to say on the matter.
2. It’s just a lump of tissue.
I suppose that’s accurate. I mean, so am I, and so are you, if that’s how you want to see things.
You’re also a human being, probably somewhere in the adult phase of development. That thing in the mother’s womb is also a human being. It’s a scientific fact that a zygote or embryo or fetus is a human being at an early stage. Those cells are alive and growing. They are living tissue that makes up a human being. Understand that part of why abortion supporters sound so callous to the opposition is because – to the opposition – you are talking about terminating a developing human being, not just removing an unsightly mole.
The debate becomes about when life begins, and how much do we value life. And we can have a reasonable debate about such things, so long as we still permit discussion of ethics in medicine.
But it’s not as simplistic a subject as some would like, and treating it as such does disservice to your arguments.
3. You just want to control women.
Honestly I don’t give any thought to what women (or men) are doing in the bedroom. Choices have consequences. That’s life. Risk STDs, risk pregnancies, risk emotional pain, live it up, enjoy physical pleasures, experience heights of ecstasy. Whatever.
But you’re still defending terminating a human being. I don’t want to control women (or men). I want to defend the women (and men) who don’t have a voice or the strength to defend themselves. This is why I break ties with some traditional Pro-Lifers who will say that contraception and sex education are bad things. I’d rather someone learn to use a condom than learn to choose a Dilation and Extraction.
4. You pro-Lifers don’t really value life. Look at the death penalty.
You actually make our case for us here, while revealing the flaws in your own. First, we do value life. We value it so dearly that when someone chooses to commit a pattern of crimes endangering or ending the lives of others, we feel that the threat they pose to the life of another is too great to justify the risk of further criminal activity. When actions establish a threat to society, we believe – due to the value we place on the lives of others – that the threat should be eliminated. Choices have consequences.
Almost every pro-choice person I know feels the same way about eliminating threats when life is in danger. One of the key provisions pro-choice advocates demand is that exception to abortion restrictions must be made if the pregnancy is a threat to the life of the mother. In other words, if that fetus is a risk, we have the right to eliminate that risk.
Pro-choice advocates are talking about possibilities and chances of danger based on past evidence. Supporters of the death penalty are operating on the same concern. There’s plenty of room for debate about the effectiveness of the police, legal, and judicial systems, and due caution must be made to ensure only those proven guilty are punished.
But please stop pretending that we don’t value life. We advocate eliminating the threat posed by the guilty, not the innocent
5. You pro-lifers don’t really value life. Look at guns.
Guns are a means of self-defense that we support based again on the value of life. My life and the lives of my family members are valuable to me, and I am eager to eliminate immediate threats to my loved ones. Guns are a tool to serve that purpose. We advocate legal ownership because it’s a Constitutionally-protected right and because it’s a way of protecting those we care about. We resist attempts to make guns illegal or place undue restrictions on ownership because gun control laws are demonstrable failures.
You don’t even believe in gun control, so stop acting like you do. If you believed in gun control, then you wouldn’t bring out the old saw about coat-hanger back-alley abortions. “If you make it illegal, it’s still going to happen, it’ll just be worse than before.” Sorry, are you shooting down your gun control argument or are you defending legal abortion? I forget, because there’s an obvious logical contradiction.
Certainly there’s a place in our society for reasoned debate. Nobody needs a rocket launcher or .50 caliber machine gun mounted on their minivan. Maybe handguns aren’t 100% evil too. Let’s talk and find a middle ground.
6. Like euthanasia, the individual mother’s choice deserves respect. No one else should choose for another.
We Pro-Lifers go nuts about cases like Terri Schiavo because we value life. Pro-Choice advocates reasonably argue that, when facing terminal illness or the ravages of old age, if an individual wants to die, why should we deny them that right? And they think us mad when we disagree, because that individual had the opportunity to choose, and choice is inviolate. Who are we to choose for them?
Again, the Pro-Choice position is inconsistent. The mother gets to choose for the fetus all the time, and we treat that decision as sacred. If the individual’s choice is so important then why doesn’t the developing human get a choice in the matter? Hey, maybe we should wait and get his or her take on whether they want to be prematurely euthanized.
7. What about cases of rape and incest?
Before I make a point on this, let me refer you to #1. Even though I’m not a woman, I get to talk about this because like you, I have a brain and the ability to process information and make judgments.
Rape is horrific and unacceptable. Incest is terrible. I do not condone these things or defend them in any way. No one should be subjected to such abuse.
Still, based on that debate about what constitutes life and what life is worth protecting, some Pro-Lifers are going to advocate for abortion to be illegal even in these cases. Is that ballsy? Is that hateful? Is that “rare chutzpah,” as a friend put it? Do the math. If I think that a living human being is about to be terminated solely for the crime of existing, then I’m going to oppose that. If I think that we’re talking about killing innocent human beings, I will believe we are compounding a tragedy. It would be rare chutzpah for me to stand by and say nothing.
There are some arguably good ways and many obviously wrong ways to make these cases. These subjects are tremendously sensitive and merit every ounce of compassion one can muster. I want to smack Pro-Lifers who get aggressive in the face of a victim of rape or incest. Their tactics can be vile and hateful, doing far more harm than any supposed good.
Still, meaningful discussions can and should take place, based on the assumptions we all bring to the table about the beginning and the value of life.
8. Abortion should be legal – if not up to birth then at least up until the fetus is viable on its own. It’s just a parasite until then.
Yes, I know (thank you, science) that the developing human being receives resources from the mother during gestation, and can’t survive outside the womb on its own until… well, what is it, a 50% chance of survival at 24 weeks now? We keep getting better at saving the lives of babies born prematurely. Yay technology!
But I’ll tell you what. Just because a newborn comes out of the womb, that doesn’t mean it’s “viable on its own.” Try leaving an infant on the table right after birth (I mean, if that’s not already common practice at the local clinic). Is that baby going to survive? My eight year old is still a parasite on my resources and his mother’s sanity. My soon-to-be 15 year old is even worse, if that’s possible. The same folks talking about when a fetus is or isn’t naturally viable on its own are the ones telling me all about how it takes a village to raise a child.
So long as it’s a fetus up to a point, it can be terminated and that’s fine, I’m told. Actually, left alone in the womb, the fetus is generally going to be naturally viable. Let nature run its course, and in nine months, most likely, you’ll have a baby. It’s such a natural process that we see news stories of new mothers who had no idea they were pregnant.
It’s not some invader stealing from the mother. It’s a developing human doing exactly what nature intends it to do, in the only place it could possibly be at that stage, the part of a mother’s body that is designed or evolved expressly for the purpose of protecting and sheltering the unborn human being until birth.
9. Keep your religion out of my body.
Well I kept religion out of this whole series of arguments, so we have a deal. How about you likewise keep your dogmatic views about your personal freedom out of that developing human individual’s body?