From My Abortion, at 23 Weeks:
I BELIEVE that parenthood starts before conception, at the moment you decide you want a child, and are ready and able to create a safe and loving home for her or him.
Because, apparently, other people don’t exist until you want them to. They aren’t really alive (and aren’t really your son or daughter) until you choose. It is the choice that makes you a parent – not a biological fact.
I believe that people of good faith can disagree on whether it’s morally justifiable to kill a first-trimester fetus, but defenders of late term abortion creep me out.
I do oppose first-trimester abortion, because I do believe we’re talking about a person. If you’re alive and you’re made up entirely of human DNA, and nothing else, how can you not be a person? The dominant belief is that it somehow doesn’t matter, but it does. It is the very small justification that violates the moral line, replacing that line with an arbitrary one. We only have one point that we know of where a not-human could possibly turn into a human. We are founded on the belief that all people are created equal. That’s either true or it’s not.
Cause and effect can be hard to see in complex systems. We make a small choice and don’t see the result of that action until later. But by tracing backwards, following the actual cause of a thing back to its origins, one can see how it is only at the moment of choice – not the action that eventually follows from the choice – where one has the ability to prevent unwanted outcomes.
Arbitrary boundaries by their very nature are not real boundaries; they are temporary stopping points. Real boundaries are based on more than mere opinion. Such boundaries derive their power from being true – either it is true that we are all of us equal, or it is true that a baby’s pain does not exist because the mother’s pain is more important (emphasis mine, and, yes, I bleeped out a curse word):
There’s no evidence that nonviable fetal pain is a thing, but there’s TONS of evidence that full-grown women (so, not innocent unborn angels) who are denied abortions are majorly f^!%#d; they’re three times as likely to end up below the federal poverty line two years later, to cite just one negative consequence. These women literally can’t afford new restrictions — they already have a hard enough time accessing reproductive care.
Anti-abortion advocates clearly don’t care about facts (or adult women). They care about establishing the concept that a fetus can feel pain and therefore deserves more rights than the mother. Antis co-opted the misleading term “pro-life,” and they’re trying to do the same with “pain.” But why should we privilege the life of a nonviable fetus over the pain of a fully-formed person?
The problem with this reasoning (apart from the narcissism, the dubious cause-effect relationship, and the flaws in reasoning) is that where one draws the line – that is, at what point a woman loses the right to “choose” whether her child is or is not a person – is simply a matter of opinion and “might makes right”: if being “human” is a matter of possessing certain traits rather than possessing a certain type of DNA, then who gets to decide which traits qualify?
In The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan proposes a thought experiment:
Tell me yourself, I challenge you — answer. Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last, but that it was essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature — that baby beating its breast with its fist, for instance — and to found that edifice on its unavenged tears, would you consent to be the architect on those conditions? Tell me, and tell the truth.
I was reminded of that passage this afternoon when I read the entire Grand Jury report on the Kermit Gosnell case….
I BELIEVE that parenthood starts before conception, at the moment you decide you want a child, and are ready and able to create a safe and loving home for her or him….
The New York Times article was written to coincide with the debate over the so-called “pain capable” abortion bill – the question of when abortion should be banned. (Polls show most Americans support some sort of restriction on late-term abortions.)
The bill was introduced in reaction to the case of Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of manslaughter. Gosnell apparently passed inspection without problem – despite having filthy facilities – but was investigated for illegal drug-prescribing activities.
One of the witnesses, Dr. Anthony Levatino, an obstetrician who performed more than 1,200 abortions before a moral awakening led him to stop performing them, testified about the inherent brutality of the late-term abortion procedure he used to perform.
Whereas Dr. Gosnell killed newborns by cutting into their necks to sever their spinal cords, Dr. Levatino testified that a standard late-term abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation” involves the dismemberment of a very developed child in utero.
from Restoring Liberty
Abortion in America relies on cognitive dissonance. We are told that a fetus is ‘only a blob of tissue’. The imagery of a “fetus” living on its own, outside of the womb, struggling not to drown in a toilet – this really defies everything we’re told to think about what abortion is. That’s why an article like My Abortion, At 23 Weeks is so crucial: it has to counter the impression that late abortion involves large numbers of women going through Gosnell-like abortion mills. It has to paint a picture of late-term abortion as desperate (to confuse those who do not realize that any abortion bill is required by the Supreme Court to include a medical emergency exception). The idea is to get the narrative back onto the right kind of stories – stories about the suffering of the mother, and away from images of babies being decapitated or dismembered. If we must see the baby, we should see a deformed baby threatening the life of its twin. One blogger claims that this is being used as a serious argument in favor of retaining legal late-term abortion:
Pro-choice groups argued that the 20-week ban, in addition to being unconstitutional, would affect women just at the point of learning of a fetal anomaly…
But the problem is the misrepresentation:
Surely there has to be a more compelling reason to kill a child who is viable, or mere days from being so, than a difficult pregnancy? I hate to break it to the president, but most pregnancies are difficult to some extent. Is morning sickness a difficulty strong enough to justify an abortion? Is financial hardship? Is a baby with a disability like Down syndrome a future difficulty to be aborted? He’s never said.
from Human Events
Even the medical exemption itself has been abused to the point where simply having bad feelings about one’s pregnancy can be classed as a psychological issue, which is then treated as being urgent in the same way that a genuinely life-threatening emergency is urgent. We have been manipulated too far, to the point where it becomes impossible to trust. Without trust, we can’t have a discussion. Instead, everyone throws rhetoric around, and snarking at how ridiculous the rhetoric is. I took one article entitled Sally Kohn: GOP using late-term abortion to make all abortion look bad for a pro-choice site until I recognized what sounded initially like a rather typical-sounding pro-choice headline as being, in reality, snark.
The trial of Kermit Gosnell, who was found guilty of murdering three babies (or, as the New York Times put it, three fetuses that had been removed from their mothers)…
…The shadow of Gosnell looms large over the abortion debate, inspiring the “far-reaching” Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which passed the House today but has no chance in the Senate. The bill restricts most abortions past 20 weeks after conception, which accounts for fewer than 2 percent of all abortions performed. But, as Rep. Nancy Pelosi has said, the protection of late-term abortion is “sacred ground.” …
The “sacred ground” comment refers to something Nancy Pelosi said that pro-life bloggers simply can’t believe she said:
She also framed the protection of late-term abortion as a matter of faith.
“As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this,” she said. “I don’t think it should have anything to do with politics.”
As soon as Gosnell (belatedly) started making major headlines in the news, bloggers predicted that we would start seeing articles promoting the idea that the Gosnell version of abortion is some sort of outlier:
We undoubtedly will now hear from other abortionists like Planned Parenthood how Gosnell is the exception and that he is not an accurate representative of the abortion industry