I’ve seen both sides of this debate.
I grew up in a devotedly pro-life home. I was taught pro-life apologetics and arguments (largely from books by Peter Kreeft [go read The Unaborted Socrates]). In spite of that, my study of the development of life and my debates with pro-choicers led me eventually to cross the line. I concluded that if personhood ends with the cessation of brain activity, surely it must begin with it as well.
All that’s to say I’ve had first hand experience with both sides of the highly contentious issue.
But I’m not here to talk about abortion. I’m hear to shine the spotlight on the supreme nitwits who scream the loudest from both sides of the argument. Let’s break it down here.
The problem with Pro-Lifers is that they just fail to understand that pro-choicers don’t believe the fetus is a human being. They think that pro-choice doctors get up in the morning saying “Boy, today I’m gonna kill me some babies!”
Get it straight- nobody thinks that.
Doctors have a deep commitment to life- almost certainly the deepest of any profession. Imagining that they believe in wantonly destroying human life is ignorant and insulting on a mind-boggling level.
Or it would be, if that were the actual line of thought.
See for many, it’s really not about abortion. The idea that there’s a host of Mengeles out there drooling at a chance to kill infants is just a fantasy. I’ve talked about the obsession Western Christianity has with end-of-times and judgment-day stories. Like those, this is for many (not all, but many) some viciously petty revenge for being snubbed.
Relatively wealthy, comfortable Christians want to feel persecuted (without actually having to deal with real persecution, of course) and invent this story of the big, bad conspiratorial world which is out to turn everyone in Atheist-Muslim commi-nazi homosexuals. And how twisted is that? Waging a high-and-mighty crusade which as as much to do with feeling validated than it does with the touted goals of the battle?
Again, not all pro-lifers are like this. Plenty aren’t. You’re still going to encounter this sentiment, though. Hold people to their word. Make ’em put their money where their mouth is. Are they adopting kids? Are they offering public assistance to single mothers or families with a new mouth to feed?
Guess you know whose priorities are what then.
Alternatively, the pro-choice crowd don’t understand that pro-lifers view the fetus as a human being (or if they do, they don’t actually think about the implications of it). If you assume that pro-lifers aren’t trying to save human beings, what does their argument turn into? Some creepy religious-nationalist demand that women become pregnant and have kids no matter what the circumstances. And this is exactly the same as imagining there’s some evil secularist agenda if you’re in the pro-life camp. There are tons of pro-choicers out there who want to pretend like they’re somehow the underdog. That they’re risking their necks (unless you’re an abortion clinic doctor, you’re almost certainly not) by holding this stance. That they’re the high-and-mighty enlightened line holding back the dark ages.
Again, it’s not about protecting anyone’s rights, it’s about boosting your ego and sense of self-worth without actually having to take any risk or put in any effort.
And it’s not like you’re helping the argument by framing everything with “choice.”
“The Woman’s Choice.”
“The Mother’s Choice.”
“My Body, My Choice.”
You know what that sounds like to the opposition? It sounds to them like you’re saying a woman has the right to kill another person if they happen to inconvenience her. Just as they’re perpetuating an emotionally charged propaganda war by assuming you’re evil, you’re doing the same thing by assuming they’re stupid.
And enough with this moronic “all pro-lifers are a bunch of rich, white old men.” That simply isn’t the case. The overwhelming majority of pro-life activists I’ve met (and having gone to a conservative Christian college, I’ve met more than a few) are young women. Yes, there are rich, white, old male politicians, but they make up a tiny sliver of the pro-life crowd; though that’s not gonna stop me from turning my wrath against them.
Pro-choicers attack pro-lifers as being a collection of withered old male politicians who believe in controlling a woman’s body.
Let me be clear. Politicians don’t believe in anything.
The house and senate has been dominated by Republicans more than a few times over the past three decades. We’ve yet to see any proposal for outlawing abortion- heck, the most you get is some minor hurdle in the process, and even then, only in heavily Conservative states. Right-wing politicians don’t want to repeal abortion. They want that as a carrot on a stick to manipulate their Conservative electorate. They never actually do anything about it- until election season rolls around, and suddenly it becomes a choice between them and baby-killer Liberals.
And the Liberal politicians aren’t any better. The Democrats, at the beginning of Obama’s first term, held a supermajority. They could have passed any legislation they wanted and the Republicans would’ve been powerless to stop them. But of course, they didn’t. If they did, how would they be able to scare their electorate with threats of a theocratic police state if they actually solidified pro-choice victories?
And before we finish up with these weasels, let me just hit on what I think is by far the oiliest and creepiest thing of all.
“I’m pro-life, except in cases of rape or incest.”
Think about it. It means “I believe the fetus is a human being with human rights, but if they came about through rape or incest, you can go ahead and murder ’em.”
We’ve had that sentiment come from more than a few high-ranking Republicans, including 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Seriously, if you’re gonna take that stance, why not cut out the speaking time and just wear a t-shirt with “hypocrite” written on it in big, bold letters?
Not too long ago, I read an editorial by a man describing the day he and his wife went to get an abortion. Their child had been diagnosed with “Sirenomelia” or “Mermaid Syndrome,” an extremely rare deformity in which the unborn child’s legs are fused together. Knowing that there was no chance of survival for their child, the couple chose to terminate the pregnancy, rather than subject the baby to a few hours of hellish and agonizing pain before it died. Outside the clinic, they were called murders by the pious and righteous.
It’s one thing to imagine that the opposition in the abortion debate are happily killing children, it’s another to scream at people who have no other option. How on earth is screaming hellfire and damnation at some terrified teen rape victim even effective, let alone not casting the first stone?
But hey, since these people wanna play fast and loose with scripture, lemme offer my retort.
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
People Who Say “Isn’t It Ironic That the Pro-Lifers Try To Kill Abortion Doctors?”:
It’s not ironic.
That’s a stupid argument, and you know it.
If I go back in time and try to save millions of holocaust victims by killing Hitler, am I hypocrite? Of course not. Using that argument, and whatever smug variations there are of it, just takes away from the single voice of outraged condemnation we should all use to respond to the murder of an abortion doctor.
People Who Ran Steve Taylor Out of Business:
Once upon a time, there lived the only good Christian rocker who ever has or ever will exist. His name was Steve Taylor, and he attacked hypocrisy in the church with biting satire, brilliant lyrics, and a dance style pulled out of one of our nation’s finer mental institutions. He was so good that he was one of the earliest (and indeed, one of the only) Christian rockers to ever get featured on MTV- and all this at a time when many were decrying Christian rock as being a satanic perversion (as opposed to just being generally lousy). In short, he was a brilliant star and had a bright future- until everyone just lost their minds after they misread a clearly satirical song mocking abortion clinic bombers.
It’s a shame, people- it really is.
It seems there are as many people in this fight to make themselves feel good or holy or righteous as there are people who actually care about the outcome- and that’s not counting the politicians, who just leech off of the entire thing and play you like puppets. As for the people who do care, you’re all going to have to put aside your preconceived notions of each other if you actually care about progressing the conversation. Pro-lifers have to consider the possibility that maybe Pro-choicers aren’t homicidal maniacs, and Pro-choicers have to to consider the possibility that maybe Pro-lifers aren’t all rednecks and fascists. Maybe if people started putting the welfare of women and children first, rather than personal stunts, some good might at last come out of all us.
And until such a time…