A long time ago the Head Girl posted here, and this is what she said:
We have become a nation of muddled rights.
We speak of individual freedom when allowing a woman to kill her unborn child.
We speak of the collective good while allowing the government to seize an individual’s home.
In the comments, somebody replied:
A genuine question from a ‘pro-choice’ guy seeking to better understand the ‘pro-life’ position:
If aborting a fetus is murder, then what is a miscarriage? What are the ramifications for those who believe that human life begins at conception of the estimate that 50% of all fertilized eggs die spontaneously?
I have added the emphasis. My progeny did not believe in the questioner’s sincerity and said it sounded to them like the first volley in an attempt to change their minds. I said I was sure it was a good-faith and sincere question, and they should answer his question politely.
So The Head Girl replied here.
In one of the comments, I asked this:
… we’ve all shared our point of view on your question, and I hope we’ve been polite. Could you explain to me your thinking behind asking the question? What is the thinking behind the idea that a high rate of miscarriages might have any ramifications for the pro-life position?
And, just out of curiosity, do you support the legislation that makes it a crime to break a bald eagle’s egg? Why, if it’s not an eagle? And if it is an eagle, why isn’t a fertilized human egg a human?
And if it’s a good law because it is a ‘potential’ eagle, than why isn’t what’s good for ‘potential eagles’ also good for ‘potential humans?’
Here is the explanation of this ‘sincere’ attempt to understand:
“My question was motivated by a desire to understand, not to be understood. So I will, if you don’t mind, continue to ask questions to clarify your position…
And then he goes ahead and explains some of his thinking, and you can be the judge of just how honest he was in his original statement of his motives:
1)I brought up miscarriages because I think they demonstrate that, as a society, we traditionally have never considered a foetus a complete person. Spontaneously aborted foetuses don’t generally get names, burials, or death certificates, even if they are mourned by their families. Do you really believe that the death of, say, a 10 day old embryo is equivalent to the death of a 30-year-old, or that aborting such a foetus is equivalent to shooting said 30-year-old in the head? Is there truly ZERO ambiguity about what constitutes a ‘person’? If so, how do you reconcile our society’s traditional handling of miscarriages?
I have never known of a spontaneous miscarriage where the parents did not name their baby if they knew its gender.
There is seldom anything to bury. Often the baby is reabsorbed, sometimes it decays in the womb and surgery in necessary, sometimes it is missed in the bleeding and clotting. When there is a body, I have never known of a family who did not wish to bury their dead child. There is no red tape to speak of- people who miscarry at home can simply bury their dead baby in the back yard, and this is often what happens.
Since no birth certificate has been issued, there is no legal reason for a death certificate, and, as at least one of the girls pointed out, this argument would logically indicate that black slaves were also not human since certificates of death were not routine.
When I miscarried, nobody but I had any real contact with my child, because nobody had seen her (I think it was a girl, but there was no body, since my body handled it badly and I needed surgery a month later). People brought us meals, sent me cards, flowers, and gave me sympathetic hugs when they saw me. In reading journals of older times, I cannot see that miscarriage was treated any differently.
When my 19 year old neighbor died in a car accident, people brought the family flowers, meals, sent them cards, and gave them sympathy cards. 8 years later when another neighbor died in a tragic car accident, people responded the same way. The fact that they got death certificates and funerals does not make them more human than somebody who didn’t. Neither does it indicate that ‘society’ was voicing an opinion on the humanity of a 16 week ‘fetus’ vs a 36 year old mother or an 19 year old college student. It indicates that society understands that one can know a 19 year old better than one can know a child in the womb.
Then there was this strange question:
Suppose, hypothetically, that making abortion illegal could be proven to cause a greater number of deaths and injuries to women. Would that make any difference in your position? If not, how would you reconcile causing, however indirectly, this harm?
The DHM: It can’t be proven, because it simply is not so. To argue this point of view is to argue a pro-choice propaganda point and myth. Abortion is almost _always_ an elective procedure (only about 2% of abortions are for the ‘hard case’ reasons), and surgery is riskier than childbirth. Your argument is akin to saying that making heroin illegal forces people to use dirty needles, and that therefore, those who wish to keep heroin illegal are causing the deaths and injuries of those who use heroin.
I do not need to reconcile a harm I did not cause. People make choices, some choices have more risks than others- that is not my fault.
You bear the burden of proof- before you kill a being that I say is human and you say isn’t, you must first prove that the unborn child is not a human, and you must explain when he becomes a human.
This tired accusation was next:
3) Tangentially: the ‘pro-life’ position is often defending by people who also support the use of the death penalty. Whether or not you agree with the death penalty, how does one reconcile a position that forbids the killing of foetuses but allows the killing of adults?
First of all, this is irrelevant- if it was true, at best you would only succeed in proving that human beings are inconsistent, and isn’t that a shocker. It wouldn’t matter to the only real question- is this as yet unborn unique creature with its own DNA, the reproductive result of two human beings, a human being, or not? Does it become a non human because somebody is in favor of the death penalty for murderers but not for babies? This is ridiculous.
Secondly, this is a question that can only be asked by somebody who is really not interested insincerely trying to understand another point of view, because it really only takes a few minutes of carefully thinking about it from another point of view to see that this line of thinking isn’t really thinking at all. It’s just some assumptions wrapped up in sloganeering and tied prettily with a fallacy or two.
Is it really that hard to understand the difference between the two positions- one being opposed to killing innocent people without benefit of appeal and two, thinking it’s a good idea to punish convicted murderers with the death penalty? How confusing is it to discern the difference between a hardened criminal and an unborn child?
As far as the death penalty goes, although this is a completely separate issue from being opposed to abortion, the idea is that human life is so sacred that the only adequate compensation for taking a life is to give up your own, and that killing a murderer at least stops that murderer from killing others.
The focused and deliberate Killing of innocents, vs killing those guilty of erasing a fellow human being, cutting off his existence- how are those two things at all the same?
That said, I am personally ambivalent about the death penalty. I approve of it in theory, but have many concerns about how it is carried out. In theory, only those who have been tried in a fair court of law by a jury of their peers, given due representation and advocacy and sentenced by a Judge, those who have been found guilty of heinous crimes, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt are those I would like to see executed. I am not sure our trials are fair, our juries are truly a jury of peers, or our lawyers and judges as judicious as they should be, so I am ambivalent enough that if asked, I would not vote for the death penalty. But the difference between the two situations should be obvious to anybody who is sincere about understanding a different point of view.
To further point out the absurdity of this issue, the pro-life position is just as often defended by people who oppose the death penalty, and there are plenty of pro-choice people who oppose the death penalty.
The only reason for being pro-life, he said next, was because of religion. I don’t think that’s a bad reason, but as a point of fact, that is not how I arrived there.
In the tenth grade I went to the library to answer this question for myself. Because of critical remarks I had heard my father make about a pro-life letter to the editor, I believed that my father was pro-choice, although I am now almost certain that this was not true. I think he objected to the emotional reasoning behind the letter rather than the position itself.
Planned Parenthood was invited to speak in my school, to ‘indoctrinate’ us, and let me point out that at no point in my experience at two high schools was anybody with a pro-life point of view invited to speak to us. The PP rep at our school lied to us and insisted that the content of the pregnant womb was merely a blob of tissue. She also claimed that there were not enough adults seeking to adopt so that adoption wasn’t a viable option. I found that lie absolutely breathtakingly brazen.
I also had a compelling personal reason for wanting to decide the issue for myself, by myself.
I took myself to the public library (actually, in looking back, my best friend drove me to the library and picked me up later to hear what I decided)- and pulled out all the medical books I could find and studied up on the development of the fetus. That is when I became pro-life. Later, years later, I developed some religious reasons, but they were not my first or strongest reasons. Among other things that day in the library I learned that before most women even know they are pregnant the baby is demonstrating all the symptoms of dreaming when it sleeps. I learned the baby had its own blood type, DNA, circulatory system, and that its little heart was beating before most women even know they are pregnant.
But, again, before arguing that a creature is not human and does not deserve to live, you must prove your assertion, not the other way around. You don’t kill first and ‘prove’ your point afterward.
Back to the original discussion- next our ‘sincere’ questioner asked:
[ ]Assuming that heartbeat and brainwaves are, for you, a late point in achievement of personhood, what is the first point? Conception? Why? Is this not as arbitrary as any other point? [ ]
Well, because before conception, there’s only an egg. Leave it alone, and all that will happen is that the egg will be washed out when ovulation occurs. At conception, the tiny being has _all_ the DNA of a complete human being- all you have to do is leave it alone, and in nine months we’ll all get to see what he or she looks like. But this has already been determined at the moment the sperm and egg combined to make a living, growing, organism. The egg is not growing. It is not capable of change and growth on its own. IT will never be anything but an egg. Likewise for the sperm. It is the fertilized egg that is a unique individual- this is science, not myth or wishful thinking.
How do you reconcile stories like this with the idea that these are not human beings who are being slaughtered?
::Under these circumstances, do you think it’s fair for those in the pro-life camp to present themselves using the term pro-life, instead of ‘pro-innocent-life’, and to accuse their opponents of representing a ‘culture of death’? ::
Absolutely it is ‘fair,’ and this argument is simply silly. For one thing, pro-lifers are not all about the single issue of abortion. Pro-lifers are equally opposed to euthanasia, to killing off the old or infirm or disabled.
One way to check the even handed sincerity of any given question is to flip it over- so Are ‘pro-choice’ people really talking about ALL choices, or only one? Are they lying and being unfair when they don’t call themselves ‘pro-abortion-choice?’ Two seconds of reflection reveals that this is imply not an intellectually honest objection.
But that’s not surprising. The pro-abortion movement has a long history of dishonesty, and they have done an effective job of brainwashing.
Here’s the account of one of the founders of NARAL, the abortion-rights league:
“We persuaded the media that the cause of permissive abortion was a liberal, enlightened, sophisticated one… Knowing that if a true poll were taken, we would be soundly defeated, we simply fabricated the results of fictional polls. We announced to the media that we had taken polls and that 60% of Americans were in favor of permissive abortion. This is the tactic of the self-fulfilling lie. Few people care to be in the minority. We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000, but the figure we gave to our friends in the media repeatedly was 1 million.
“Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200 to 250 annually. The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.”
Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion industries sell abortions. They profit from them financially (and politically). They don’t sell keeping the baby. They don’t sell adoption. They don’t make money from you if you keep your baby (that’s a summary of a point made by Carol Everett, who used to run abortion clinics and abortion referral agencies). So how is it that any information they give the public on abortion not a conflict of interest?
Abortion clinics bring in public relations firms to help their ‘counselors’ learn how to effectively market their clinics service- abortion. They are trained to be your warm and friendly friend who is there to help you solve your problems, and that training puts money in the coffers of the abortion clinic.
We got here through deceit, through a dishonest marketing campaign, through extremely unethical behavior (the Supreme Court judge who issued the ruling on Roe V. Wade brought that case home and talked about it with his family- including his daughter who had gotten pregnant out of wedlock and married the father, but felt this ruined her life or at least badly side-tracked it for a decade)- but getting undeceived is harder. Nobody likes to admit they’ve been made a fool of, believed lies, and listened to propaganda.
It’s true that some of the staunchest pro-lifers are former abortion providers, but they had to perform thousands of murders and usually hit some significant event which sort of bottomed out in emotional trauma and pain before they could admit, even to themselves, what they had been doing.
It’s a shame when the bottom line is- or should be- are unborn babies human beings or not? Prove it. Nothing else really matters.