So you may have heard that Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood and noted eugenicist and racist has been enshrined with a bust in the Smithsonian in an exhibit honoring champions of human rights. Aside from the absolute absurdity of a racist being honored beside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, there is a sign beneath the bust of this evil bitch which reads, “During her campaign, Sanger became associated with the eugenics movement – which promoted, among other practices, the forced sterilization of those deemed mentally unfit and for a time was endorsed by many of the era’s prominent thinkers.” Not only do I find her inclusion in such an exhibit absolutely repugnant, I struggle to understand what in the actual fuck championing eugenics, racial genocide and abortion has to do with human rights. We have really entered the Twilight Zone here, folks. Someone actually told me that not including Margaret Sanger in this exhibit was “white washing history.” I literally could not think of a reply for almost 10 minutes. Censoring history?? Putting that bitch in any exhibition as a champion of humanity is what’s white washing history. I could not believe this guy said that, especially considering how high the rate of elective abortions is among minorities, specifically African-Americans. ‘Champion of human rights?’ Sounds like her disgusting legacy is still alive and well (so to speak). Of course, when you mention Margaret Sanger or Planned Parenthood for any reason, it inevitably turns into a debate about abortion.
Now, I’ve been involved in the abortion debate for a number of years. 20, to be exact. In that time, I have heard a great many arguments from the pro-choice side and there is one main argument that never ceases to amaze me: “Abortion does not kill a human being.” This is the basic premise on which nearly all other pro-choice arguments rest, such as “It’s not a human being yet” or “It’s not a baby until it’s born” and other scientifically unsupportable gems. The problem with this basic premise is that, well… it’s not true. At all. It’s not even close to true.
The science is very clear here: life begins at conception. This cannot be argued. The only argument is whether or not that life matters to you, but pro-choice people seem uncomfortable actually confronting that. They argue around it, essentially claiming, “Human life matters to me – but it’s not a human yet.” Then what is it? Is it a fish? Is it a dog? Is it a tomato? It’s a human being and there is never a time during human development in which a human being is not a human being. That argument is not only not scientific, it’s silly. It seems to exist solely to dupe vulnerable women into believing they are not killing living human beings. Perhaps some make that argument because to them, the offspring of the poor and of minorities aren’t really human beings.
This usually leads to (or is accompanied by) the argument that a person is not a person until they reach sentience and/or consciousness. This argument actually hurts the pro-choice side though, because the time in development where this occurs is unknown. There is speculation but that’s all. This leaves the door open for the other side to claim that if the time is unknown, abortion at any time under these guidelines would be wrong. Not that it really matters; attempting to quantify (and qualify) life by the yardstick of sentience and/or consciousness is not how it works. It’s subjective emotional argument at best. Science and medicine both agree that life begins at conception. It is only people seeking to rationalize their behavior and decisions who claim that it doesn’t. If we use sentience in particular as the yardstick, it’s OK to kill many living things, not just unborn human beings. The 18th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham stated in Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation that “The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor… What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?” Since this question cannot be definitively answered regarding prenatal human beings – and even many “post-natal” human beings – it is wiser that the pro-choice side leave it out of the debate. You could use the sentience argument to argue for the “termination” of many people, including the profoundly disabled, some elderly folks, people in comas… the list goes on. This particular argument has been used to justify some very nasty things throughout history, and conversely it is used to protect animals in legislature, including animals such as octopus, squids and lobsters.
It all sounds very intellectual for the ignorant and uneducated to use these arguments but I have often found that sounding intellectual is as far as it goes. Too many of them are just repeating something they read and are completely unable to back up what they’ve said or even explain it. They simply keep repeating it verbatim, a sure sign that they don’t actually understand what they’ve said. This is often where the “blastocyst” argument comes in to play. I have heard this I don’t know how many times: “Aborting a blastocyst is not wrong.” Well, that may be your opinion but since a human being is only a blastocyst for a very short time and this is weeks before the woman even knows she is pregnant, I would venture that not too many blastocysts are aborted.
Literally two seconds of research would have kept these people from making such an absurdly ignorant argument, but they don’t do it. The consensus here seems to be, “I don’t know what it means but it sounds science-y and probably no one else will know, either.” Wrong. And I am always happy to point it out. The “chicken egg” argument fits into this area, as well. You know the one I am talking about… it compares an unborn human being to the chicken eggs people eat. There is a meme floating around that has been shared thousands of times which makes this exact comparison and it always makes me laugh. The chicken eggs people eat are unfertilized. They will never grow into a chicken, no matter what happens. Chicken eggs are equivalent to the unfertilized eggs in a woman’s ovaries, not a developing human being in the uterus. They are not comparable in any sense. Do you even science, bro?
There are many like that in this particular debate. They argue in circles and they cannot concede any points in the debate because they don’t actually know enough to know if the other person is right or wrong. These are, coincidentally (or not), the same people who argue that abortion does not kill a human being. People like this are the weak link in the pro choice’s side. They try the religious angle. They try the sentience angle. They try the “it’s not a human being yet” angle. They try every emotional argument they can think of in order to “shame” others into agreeing that they are correct. It doesn’t work with me, and it’s not going to work. You cannot trump science and the science here is very basic and very clear. Abortion is killing a human being, and you will not find even one doctor, scientist or educated individual who tries to claim that it isn’t. Even the president of Planned Parenthood said in an interview with Ms. Magazine that abortion is killing, and that anyone who believes otherwise is essentially deluding themselves because they don’t want to admit it.
- Naomi Wolf (noted feminist author and proponent of abortion) stated in Our Bodies, Our Souls that, “Clinging to a rhetoric about abortion in which there is no life and no death, we entangle our beliefs in a series of self-delusions, fibs and evasions. …we need to contextualize the fight to defend abortion rights within a moral framework that admits that the death of a fetus is a real death.”
- Ann Furedi, CEO of the largest independent abortion provider in the UK, stated flatly during a debate that “the point is not when does human life begin, but when does it really begin to matter?”
- Bernard Nathanson, co-founder of NARAL Pro-Choice America stated, “There is simply no doubt that even the early embryo is a human being. All its genetic coding and all its features are indisputably human. As to being, there is no doubt that it exists, is alive, is self-directed, and is not the the same being as the mother–and is therefore a unified whole.” (Dr. Nathanson later recanted his support for the pro-choice movement.)
So keep on arguing that abortion does not kill a human being, my ignorant friends. Science does not agree with you. Medicine does not agree with you. The educated people on your own side do not agree with you. In fact, you embarrass them. And why? Because they are educated. They know they cannot refute this simple fact – and they don’t try. This ridiculous argument is only used by people who are ignorant. If you are OK with this kind of killing, then just say so. Stop pretending that it’s something else. If you have to do that, maybe you are not as OK with it as you claim to be. These people cannot accept the facts, and instead try to advance opinions as facts. That cannot be done. If you want to argue an opinion, then you have to accept facts. The fact – according to sweeping consensus medically and scientifically – is that abortion kills a human being. Either accept that as a fact and be OK with it or don’t, but don’t keep trying to advance your opinion as a fact. You can argue your opinion, such as why you think killing a human being in this instance is OK, but you cannot argue that the facts are not facts. It’s irrational and it makes you look foolish.
The simple truth is that these particular people refuse to just flat out say the life of an unborn human being does not matter to them. They argue around it, and in that direction but they will never just admit it. They try to use science to avoid having to say it, or to justify their feelings. They use emotional argument to try to shame people into agreeing that unborn human beings are less important than the rest of us – ironically while they are blasting the pro-life side for using emotional argument and being too blinded by emotion to use logic. Like I said, do you even science, bro? It is the pro-choice side using emotional argument, flawed logic and pseudo-intellectualism to advance their agenda. Anyone who does not agree, they attempt to insult, browbeat and shame with absurdities:
- “You want women to be forced to have babies!!!” No, I want women to use contraception like responsible adults. I don’t subscribe to your insulting, ridiculous theory that humans are not above rutting dogs in the street that can’t control themselves. This argument sickens me.
- “Yeah, well… accidents happen!!!” They do, which is what the morning after pill was invented for. It does not terminate a pregnancy. It prevents conception. Huge difference.
- “You want rape victims to have their attackers’ babies!!” Again, the morning after pill. The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology did a study that concluded pregnancy results from about 5% of rapes. But since pregnancies resulting from rape and incest account for less than 0.03% of abortions, save your strawman arguments and talk about a real problem – such as the staggering amount (over a million) of elective abortions performed in this country every year that terminate pregnancies created by irresponsible consensual sex. To put it into context: according to RAINN, there are an average of 293,000 sexual assaults (a phrase which encompasses a variety of despicable things, not just forcible rape with vaginal penetration) every year. Even if every single one of these sexual assaults was a rape that resulted in a pregnancy, and even taking under-reporting of rape into account, that still means that over one million children are aborted in this country every year as a result of consensual sex. As an aside, abortion after rape actually occurs at a lower instance than abortion in the general population because abortion inflicts another trauma on the woman – and worse, it is one that puts her in the position of aggressor.
- “You want women to have back alley abortions that aren’t safe!!!” It was generally doctors performing abortions when they were illegal, just like it is generally doctors performing them now. That is not a genuine concern. What should be of concern is that women are neither counseled about nor made aware of the health risks of abortion, both mentally and physically.
- “You want to control women’s bodies!!!” No, I want women to control their own bodies and stop getting pregnant with babies they don’t want and/or can’t take care of. It’s pretty simple and it’s really not that difficult to fucking do.
- “You’re not pro-life! You’re pro-birth!!!” My husband and I have 3 children and helped raise 5 – yes, 5 – children that are not ours, including having 4 of them live with us for years, bringing the total in our home to 7. We are parents to them in every way, even to this day. Their children will be looked upon as grandchildren by us. They were not foster children and we received absolutely no financial help with their care whatsoever from their parents or the government. My interest and concern for human beings does not end with the birth canal. Come at me.
- “You don’t care about women’s rights!!!” Yes, I do. Women are human beings and I care about human rights. Unborn human beings belong in that category. If we are making emotional arguments here, allow me to counter yours with my own: Why do you think people should have the right to kill their own children just because they want to? If it’s OK to kill them in the womb, why is it not OK to kill them later? Are newborns human beings? Are they sentient? Are they conscious in the way adults are? I read a paper in the Journal of Medical Ethics a few years ago entitled, “After-birth Abortion: Why Should The Baby Live?” that endorsed the killing of born babies using the same arguments made to justify abortion. The authors stated that “killing a newborn should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.” The paper claimed that babies are “morally irrelevant” and that it is “not possible to damage a newborn by preventing her from developing the potentiality to become a person in the morally relevant sense.” The crux of the argument is that a fetus and an infant are “morally equivalent.” These arguments have been made many times, by the way; in some cases regarding children up to a year old – or older. This particular paper endorsed “no threshold.” If you are a person who agrees with the justifications for abortion, you are left with absolutely no argument for what these people are saying, other than “Because it’s just wrong after the baby is born.” That isn’t much of an argument and it begs the question: if one is OK and not the other, what does this mean? It means you either have to agree that killing babies after they are born is morally acceptable or you have to agree that abortion is not morally acceptable. It can’t be both ways. The larger question is: This is all OK because of women’s rights? I once had a lady say to me, “If you take politics out of it, it’s really a women’s rights issue.” I said, “Ma’am, women’s rights is politics. You take that out of it and all we are talking about here is dead babies.”
Often, the people making these emotionally-overwrought accusations try to construct their pro-choice arguments within the sketchy framework that “abortion is the compassionate option for unwanted children” but they are too afraid to just come out and say that because they realize what it sounds like. It sounds like “These people are better off dead.” And they’re right; it sounds every bit as bad as they think it does. If I may be permitted to indulge in an emotional argument myself here, where does anyone get off claiming they know what is best for another person? Isn’t that the whole point of the pro-choice movement? “You don’t know what’s best for me and you can’t make my decisions for me!” But they think they should have that power? They believe that a person will not have a “good life” once they are born and they think they should be able to make the decision that the person is better off dead? Where does this self-righteous, narcissistic mindset stop?
It’s ironic and amazing that those who claim to be championing freedom and choice think they should be able to hold the ultimate power over others.