Category: Abortion

gay foetus

Answering five common pro-choice arguments

After I wrote this article a few weeks back, I hadn’t intended on writing about abortion again for a while. It’s too depressing and grizzly and wicked. But, alas, abortion is back in the news again in Northern Ireland (is it ever out of it?) – and with that comes all the usual arguments and rhetoric in its defence.

Let me start by saying that there are no good arguments in favour of elective abortion. Not one. But abortion arguments are often delivered with such force and emotion that it can be easy for the pro-lifer to be steamrollered into submission by them.

Thankfully, forceful and emotional arguments do not necessarily make good arguments. In fact, many pro-choice arguments are so bad, and so absurd, that it makes me wonder if those saying them are even being serious. 

So, from ‘gay’ fetuses, to cleansing the world of poor people, here are some answers to five common pro-choice arguments doing the rounds today. 

1 – “Don’t like abortion, don’t have one!”

This argument tries to be clever by shifting the emphasis from abortion being an act that is objectively wrong, to an act that is merely about personal taste – like so: “Don’t like pineapples, don’t eat pineapples”. This, of course, is ethical tomfoolery; there are no moral questions to be asked in the eating of a pineapple (unless you stole it). Abortion, conversely, is a moral minefield. That’s why it’s strictly regulated with timeframes and medical consent. Even Marie Stopes knows this.

So let’s take the logic of this argument out for a test drive: “Don’t like slavery? Don’t own a slave.” “Don’t like wife-beating? Don’t beat your wife.” “Don’t like child abuse? Don’t abuse children”. When you reduce something that is objectively wrong to something that is a matter of personal taste, you completely miss the point as to why people disagree with those things in the first place.

You're completely missing the point here, lads.

Completely missing the point here, lads.

Abortion – like wife-beating, slavery, and child abuse – has nothing to do with personal taste. When a person says “abortion is wrong”, they are making an objective moral claim, not a subjective one. Abortion is wrong because it takes the life of an intrinsically valuable human being. Whether someone likes abortion or not is irrelevant.

2 – Abortion reduces crime rates.

This argument reminds me of the Steven Spielberg film, Minority Report.  Set in the not-too-distant future, Minority Report tells the story of a guy on the run from “PreCrime”, a specialised police department that can arrest future criminals based on foreknowledge provided by special psychics.

And that’s pretty much exactly how this argument works, too. The unborn will commit crimes in the future, therefore they must be apprehended. The only differences being; the crimes committed by the unborn are based on mere conjecture, and instead of being jailed, the unborn get the death penalty. 

Ironically, the people making this argument are often the same ones who oppose the death penalty. Yet here they are calling for it before a crime has even been committed. Spare the convicted rapist-killer, execute the might-be-convicted-in-20-years-time unborn girl. Yup. Welcome to our new rational and ethical future, people.

3 – May the fetus you save be gay!

The idea here is to call out religious people who oppose abortion and (possibly) homosexuality on religious grounds. The reasoning goes like this: “Hey, wouldn’t it serve those religious pro-life crazies right if a fetus they saved grew up to be gay? That’ll teach ’em! Bet they wish she’d been aborted now! LOLZ!”

This argument has several critical flaws. Firstly, it’s a genetic fallacy – that is, it attacks a perceived flaw in the origin of a person’s claim, then uses it to discredit the claim itself. For example: “Most pro-lifers are religious. I think religion is wrong. Therefore, pro-lifers are wrong about abortion”. A person’s religion has no more to do with whether or not abortion is wrong, any more than when that person speaks out against torturing pensioners for fun. 

There's a market for abortion merchandise. Who knew?

There’s a market for abortion merchandise. Who knew?

Secondly, this argument completely ignores the growing amount of secular pro-life movements. Like this one, this one, and this one. In fact, David Silverman, American Atheists president, conceded that secular arguments against abortion exist and aren’t going away. Even revered atheist Christopher Hitchens leaned pro-life.

Worst of all, though, is its rancid hypocrisy. Each year abortion kills hundreds of thousands of developing human beings that would have grown up to be gay. It seems the pro-choice movement has no problem killing the LGBT community so long as it’s before they’re born. It is the pro-life position, however, that argues from philosophy and science that all human life should be respected, regardless of age, gender, race, social standing, and sexual orientation.

4 – “Abortion is compassionate. You can’t condemn a child to a life of poverty!”

For several long, torturous years I lived on a street full of hard-partying students. Words can’t describe their awfulness. If only I had thought of this argument to justify getting rid of them. Here’s how the chat would go between me and my community police officer:

Me: “Yunno, those insufferable students are a real inconvenience. They pee in the entry and leave half-eaten curry chips on my window ledge. I’m going to kill them all.”

Police Officer: “You can’t do that! They’re whole and distinct human beings! Science confirms it!”

Me: “Well, that’s debatable. But think about it; I’m actually doing them a favour.  They’re only going to spend their days living in poverty and squalor anyway. A diet of Cornflakes and Tennents Lager is no way to live.”

Police officer: “Hmm. I hadn’t thought of that. Here, use my gun.”

This argument is terrible and scary because it assumes that certain human beings are somehow less worthy of life than other human beings simply because of their circumstances. This is full-on eugenics. Hardly surprising, though, given that the abortion industry was built upon such ideology. Just ask Margaret Sanger.

5 – My body, my choice!

If there’s one thing the pro-abortion lobby has succeeded at, it’s in hijacking the word “choice”. Let’s dispel the myth now: pro-lifers are not “anti-choice”. They respect the right to choose. They believe, without exception, that a person should be free to choose their own partner, who to vote for, their own job, their own religion (or none), etc., etc.

However, choice has limitations. You cannot choose to skin dogs for personal pleasure, abuse children or shoot students. The very nature of those choices is abhorrent. You have no right to choose them. Nobody – bar tyrants and the criminally insane – believes they can choose to take the life of another human being with impunity.

my body my choice

Moody black and white doesn’t make it true.

To “choose” abortion, then, begs the question and assumes something about the nature of the unborn. Are the unborn somehow different, less valuable, and off our moral radar? Can we just kill and dispose of them because their geographical location is different? Or because they’re smaller and less developed? Scientifically and philosophically, the answer to all of those is ‘no’.

And there are two bodies involved, not one. We know this because of embryology and ultrasound technology. Each human being has a unique set of DNA. Embryos have a unique set of DNA. Therefore, two human beings. Then, further along in development, the unborn can develop body parts and substances that a pregnant woman doesn’t have – like a penis or a different blood type. How is this possible if only one body is involved?

Progressive discrimination

It’s funny that pro-lifers are continuously charged with discrimination. They “discriminate” against women. They “discriminate” against doctors. They “discriminate” against a tolerant society. But actually, to be truly pro-choice – to support complete bodily autonomy – involves embracing pretty much every kind of discrimination. Abortion because it’s a girl? Sexist. Abortion because it has Down’s? Disability discrimination. Abortion at 22 weeks but not at 25 weeks? Ageist. Abortion because a mixed-race child wouldn’t be acceptable? Racist. Abortion because the gay gene has been discovered and some parents don’t want a gay fetus? Homophobic.

If this is what liberals mean by “progressive,” God help us all.

abortion

Abortion takes a human life – why does having to travel for one matter?

You can’t go for more than a week here in Northern Ireland without something about abortion being on the news. From Judge Horner declaring that NI abortion laws are incompatible with human rights to the outcry over a woman facing jail for buying abortion pills, to a pro-life campaigner being convicted, then acquitted, of harassing a Marie Stopes clinic director. The main reason for this: abortion is heavily restricted in NI, so any woman seeking an abortion must travel to England to get one.

Cue the heated debates on Facebook, the protests outside City Hall, and the X-Factor-style appeals to emotion across the Stephen Nolan Network. One thing you’ll notice, though, is that rarely does anyone stop to ask: “what is the unborn?” No. Pro-choicers simply assume that the unborn are not fully human, and assert that abortion is a good thing, deserving of not just tolerance but praise and respect.

But it’s not. It’s really not.

Picture for a second that you have a young child playing out in the garden. The child comes in, hands cupped as if covering something up, and says: “Mummy, can I kill this?” Now, any right-minded parent would instinctively and concernedly say, “kill what?” (And then probably, “No, don’t be so cruel, put it back in the crisp packet where you found it!”). So when a woman says: “I want to kill this living thing inside me,” it is reasonable and natural to ask, “what is the thing you want to kill?”

But this basic human instinct seems to be missing from the abortion-choice camp. You rarely ever hear those supporting abortion elaborating on the technical details of an abortion, the tools and techniques used, or explaining what happens to the resulting debris. Even more rarely do you hear abortion-choice advocates discuss what they are in favour of aborting, except maybe to dismiss it as a “clump of cells”. (Which, as it turns out, we all are).

You will, however, hear a lot of rhetoric about “dinosaur” politicians holding our wee secular utopia back, or about how the ovary-clamping religious nutjobs want to impose their morality on everyone else (by the way, this argument works both ways. Everyone has a moral standard. If pro-lifers impose their morals on the mother, then abortion advocates impose their morals on the unborn. It’s not a matter of if morals will be imposed, but which).

You’ll also hear them talk about how men shouldn’t have a say in the matter (except Judge Horner, of course), or about how the repression of choice (one very peculiar choice, it has to be said, that isn’t like all the other choices in life, like choosing a partner, who to vote for, or what to watch on Netflix).

You’ll almost certainly never hear them talk about what precisely this  “choice” entails.

Why not? Because the unborn are human beings. This is a scientific fact – and they know it (scarily, some don’t care). To admit otherwise would be to make themselves complicit in the breaking of bones and the stilling of beating hearts. So, instead of trying to prove their position with facts and arguments, they ignore the science and start speaking Latin in a bid to confuse and dehumanise. But some of us understand Latin. I may even have a GCSE in it somewhere. We know what “foetus” means. It means “little one” (not that giving it a more clinical name changes anything. You could call unborn children ‘Pop Tarts’ and they would still be human beings in every sense).

The fact is, abortion is the intentional destruction of a human life. Pro-lifers (not always graciously or articulately, admittedly) have been saying this for years, but it’s taken until now, with the advances in ultrasound technology and our understanding of fetal development, plus the countless exposés on the abortion industry (it’s another boy!), to prove conclusively one simple fact: the unborn are human beings.

Shocker, eh? How this is even a discussion anymore is beyond me.

So, what we have here in NI is a certain category of human being, the unborn – scientifically confirmed to be whole and distinct members of the species homo sapien – that find themselves in the rather absurd and disturbing situation of upsetting a whole bunch of people because you can’t snuff out their lives closer to home. Well, if abortion takes a human life – and it absolutely, empirically, does – then the fact that it could be done here doesn’t seem to me to be something worth celebrating.