She's so eloquent, just had to put this all out there :)
"America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father's role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts - a child - as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.
And, in granting this unconscionable power, it has exposed many women to unjust and selfish demands from their husbands or other sexual partners. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human being's entitlements by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not depend, and must not be declared to be contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else, not even a parent or a sovereign."
"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love - that is, to give until it hurst her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion."
"Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted, and to give that child to a married couple who will love the child, and be loved by the child. From our children's home in Calcutta alone, we have saved over 3000 children from abortions. These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents, and have grown up so full of love and joy!"
To the President and First Lady: "What is taking place in America is a war against the child. And if we accept that the mother can kill her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?"
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."
I've always said you don't have to be Christian to believe that abortion is wrong. The fact that I am Christian has absolutely no bearing on the fact that I'm pro-life. And there ARE non-Christians out there who are just as pro-life as I am. Love this article, and so glad its getting some face time on the news. So many people dismiss the pro-life position because it is "Christian" (as if that is a good reason to ever dismiss any position *sighs* but that's beyond the point). Anyway, hope this makes some people think about their stereotypes, on both sides of the debate. :)
So, I've been blogging all summer about my pro-life experiences, and my last post got the attention of some pro-choicers :) ... (and yes, I am happy about that. After all, what's the good of having an opinion if you never talk to people that disagree?) A pro-choice blogger named Beth posted an argument against my argument - well, it's not really my argument, I heard someone else use it and liked the idea and thought I'd take a stab at explaining it. You can find Beth's post here.
So I won't go through all the thought experiments again, you can go and read my previous post for that (or just read Beth's post, she explains everything very well).
Here is Beth's response to the Prankster analogy:
"What Prolife girl fails to acknowledge in this analogy is that the President of the Prankster's Guild isn't at the mercy of his biological design to commit pranks. Women, even when they utilize preventative measures, are susceptible to a condition that places their very existence at risk regardless of their consent. Judith Jarvis Thomson does a great job at demonstrating this point in the example below.
'If the room is stuffy, and I therefore open a window to air it, and a burglar climbs in, it would be absurd to say, "Ah, now he can stay, she's given him a right to the use of her house - for she is partially responsible for his presence there, having voluntarily done what enabled him to get in, in full knowledge that there are such things as burglars, and that burglars burgle."'"
Whew that's a lot of quotations there. Anyway, I believe that this analogy is flawed for three reasons:
1. A house is not meant to be burgled.
2. The burglar knowingly enters a house which is not built for him.
3. Burglaries are events which the victims cannot control.
The house in the burglary analogy is not built so someone can come and steal from it. A uterus is built to house and nourish an unborn child. That's why it exists. The very definition of a uterus makes that perfectly clear (btw Beth acknowledges this later on, I just thought I'd point it out again because it is a flaw in Judith Jarvis Thomson's argument):
noun: The organ in the lower body of a woman or female mammal where offspring are conceived and in which they gestate before birth; the womb.
So in the case of a pregnancy, the "burglar" (i.e.: the baby) is exactly where it belongs - inside the uterus. In addition, the child is placed within the mother. He or she doesn't enter the mother of their own volition, like the burglar, or like some person who, not paying attention to where they are walking, accidentally wanders into a house that doesn't belong to them. The baby has no choice in the matter - they are forced, by nature, to exist once a sexual relation has taken place. And they are quite literally trapped within the mother. These two facts - that the uterus exists, biologically, to nurture an unborn child, and that the child MUST exist within the uterus once it has been created, should have weight. A person who enters someone else's home does not enter a place which exists to nurture him or her. A person who enters someone else's home does so because they are capable of deciding to ... they are NOT dependent on the home for survival, and they were NOT forced into the home.
The crux of Beth's argument, I believe, is this: "Women, even when they utilize preventative measures, are susceptible to a condition that places their very existence at risk regardless of their consent." This is why, from her premise, a burglar analogy seems to work. After all, burglaries are things that people cannot control - if someone decides to burgle you, well, they've decided to, and if they're good at committing burglaries, they'll go through with it whether you try to stop them or not. And obviously that's unfair. But what Beth, and a lot of pro-choicers, fail to acknowledge is that consensual sex is entirely in the control of the two people involved. They are not victims of something that was forced onto them. The chose to have sex, and everybodyknows that, biologically speaking, mammals have sex so that they can have babies.
Let's go back to the Prankster thought experiment. Here, pranking is the choice. It is analogous to deciding to have sex. After all, I could just as easily say that the Prankster, by his very nature, is extremely tempted to prank. And because he enjoys pranking so much, he must prank, because it is in his nature to. Unfortunately, he failed to prevent the victim of his prank from becoming dependant on him. Maybe he tried his best to make sure that it didn't happen. But, as there was always a chance that it could, he is still responsible for the victim's condition. If you were the victim, and you found yourself attached to the prankster after being kidnapped, and he told you, "I'm extremely sorry, but I tried my very best to make sure my prank would not cause you to become dependant on me, but my best efforts failed. This was always a risk, however small. And I love to prank - its my life. You can see why this had to happen. I know you're going to die, but I just can't let you use my body. I withdraw my consent.", would you decide that the prankster has no responsibility for your life (and your death)?
Using the example of a home ... a better analogy would be if you invited a person within your home, locked them within a room that could only open nine months later, and then decided that they were not welcome - and so killed them.
So, to summarize: babies are trapped, in 98% of abortion cases, because the mother and father did something that they knew was (biologically) meant to create children. They might have tried their best to prevent a child, but there's always a failure rate to any type of contraception (natural, pill, and barrier methods).
I.e.: the child is a natural consequence of their act. It exists in the uterus, and has no choice but to exist, and cannot leave. Like the prankster, deciding that the dependant cannot stay is effectively creating them to die. I think most people, in the case of a born baby (who is still dependant on the mother's body for well-being and survival through nursing) would not advocate for the child to be born and then killed. Infanticide is recognized as being horribly cruel - even in eras long past where the dependancy of a newborn child on their mother's body was much stronger (especially if no other pregnant mothers existed for miles around - which I'm sure happened to some people at some point). Formula did not exist in Roman times, when infanticide was widely practiced, and yet we still condemn the practice.
Anyway, I disagree that the home analogies demonstrate that "a woman is capable of participating in consensual sex without consenting to the use of her body afterwards", as it is she and the father who created the trapped child in the first place. People entering your home uninvited are not created by you. People-seeds drifting through the air like pollen are not created by you. A child, resulting from your consensual act, is created by you. You put the child in a situation of dependancy, and that child exists exactly where it is supposed to be. I fail to see how this could not result in the mother having a responsibility towards her child. A responsibility which includes not killing her child. This is not "punishing" women for their biological design - this is recognizing that a woman HAS a biological design, and that knowing her biological design, she should use it wisely. It's a similar to the idea that a person with STD's has a duty to inform his or her sexual partners of his or her disease, since he or she could unwittingly infect them, even when using precautions.
Equal rights to life DO exist for both the women and fetus, but the person providing the housing does not ultimately have the right to decide whether or not to share her body if she is the one who put the other in that situation. A single human being is obligated to share their body (or home) with another if they are the one who created that dependancy (i.e.: trapped the person within the home). Of course Cillian Murphy isn't morally obligated to kiss a dying Beth - he is not Beth's father, he did not cause Beth to become sick, and his lips are not meant to kiss Beth's lips. A father and a mother both create their child, and so have a responsibility to that child. In the case of born children, this is recognized through child support and anti-child abuse laws. In the case of unborn children, it is not. We pro-lifer's are just trying to change that. :)
P.S. Notice I never once said "RABBLE RABBLE Sanctity of Life RABBLE RABBLE. Exit." Ugh.
But I just had to comment on her last paragraph, because I absolutely love it ... actually no, I don't. Unlike the rest of her post, which I thought was well-written and very civil, it made me really angry. I'm hoping that the following paragraph doesn't mean what is says, and instead it is simply a poor expression of how life is not fun or easy or even very beautiful sometimes (and if that's the case, I absolutely agree). But anyway, I felt I had to respond to this just in case.
"For anyone who still suffers from the fanatical delusion that life is sacred, I cordially invite you to visit Sudan, Congo, or Somalia. A quick vacation in one of these spots should cure you of any fantasies that persuade you to believe that life is in any way, shape or form, sacred."
If read at face value, I think this is perhaps one of the meanest things that I've ever read. So because these people are suffering, because they are trapped in a world where they are offered very little relief from their suffering, their lives, and consequently our lives, are not sacred? The very reason such suffering is so horrible and tragic is because their lives ARE sacred. If they aren't, as Beth has claimed, then can we go and bomb the living daylights out of these people so that their suffering can end? I don't think so. Killing the poor is obviously not an acceptable solution for poverty. Why? Because life is sacred (or valuable, or precious ... pick your adjective). I have a friend from Iraq, another country that has gone through some terrible suffering. Luckily, his immediate family managed to escape when he was quite young. The rest of his family only recently managed to leave the Middle East and come to America. They went through a lot. They witnessed a lot of unnecessary suffering. They lived through a lot of unnecessary suffering. Their lives, and the lives of their countrymen, are still sacred. They are still precious, they are still valuable, and they are some of the most joy-filled people that I know. They would challenge anyone who claimed their suffering makes it otherwise.
P.P.S. I thought I'll also include a simple mathematical statement that pro-lifers use a lot. To have a right to bodily autonomy, you must be alive. Therefore, Right to Life > Bodily Autonomy. In fact, Right to Life > All Other Rights, because you cannot have rights if you were never alive / never existed. Ergo, the Baby's Right to Life > the Mother's Right to Bodily Autonomy. Combine that with the mother's (and father's) responsibility to the child that they created, and I cannot understand how 98% of abortions, performed for reasons other than rape (which is not addressed here), can possibly be acceptable.
Oh! And one more thing ... a pro-choice society could never exist in Narnia. C. S. Lewis was a Christian apologist, and thus pretty much pro-life. :) [if you followed the Twitter conversation, you'll understand]
From my experience, this is the opinion most often used to support a pro-choice viewpoint, and the reason that most people are themselves pro-choice. Even people who are personally pro-life can be publicly pro-choice, because they also believe that it is unfair to force a pregnant woman to carry her unwanted baby. People who don't ever pause to think closely about abortion, also decide that they are pro-choice for this very reason.
That's why I think this is Pro-choice Opinion we need to focus on the most. It ignores the intrinsic nature of the unwanted child completely (so personhood arguments largely fail), and focuses solely on the emotional and physical state of the woman. She is, after all, more visible, and much easier to relate to. Most people have no problem imagining what it would be like to suddenly become pregnant - I myself realize that if I were to become pregnant today, it would be extremely tempting to try to erase the whole incident.
However, from a pro-lifer's point of view, it is perfectly fair to "force"a woman to carry her unwanted child to term. For a pro-choicer, it is not. I believe that the strongest pro-choice argument in support of this opinion is the Violinist thought experiment, first proposed by Judith Jarvis Thomson in 1971 (see the wikipedia article here). The thought experiment is pretty simple:
You've been kidnapped by the Society of Music Lovers, and wake up hooked up to a famous, unconscious violinist who is dying of a rare disease. According to your medical records, only you can save him. You must remain hooked up to the violinist for nine months, thus keeping him alive. If you decide to unhook yourself, he will die. Since the violinist is in a coma and is unaware of what has been done to you, he is an innocent person. And like all people, he has a right to life. The Society of Music Lovers therefore claims that you are morally obligated to remain hooked up to the violinist.
Most people, when presented with this thought experiment, recognize that, while it would be very generous of you to keep the violinist alive, you are not obligated to remain hooked up to the violinist since you were forced to become so in the first place. As an individual, you have a right to bodily autonomy. This is why people cannot be forced to give blood, or donate organs.
What is so powerful about this argument is that it acknowledges the fetus's (i.e.: violinist's) right to life, but in this thought experiment, it does not follow that the fetus/violinist has a right to what is necessary to sustain his life.
Another thought experiment can be proposed to refute the first:
This time imagine that you, a perfectly healthy individual, are kidnapped by the President of the Prankster's Guild, who decides to play a cruel trick on you. You are knocked unconscious, and wake up in the hospital hooked up to him. He is currently asleep, you are horrified, and immediately unhook yourself and run for the door. But as you are running, you notice yourself becoming weaker, dizzy, and nauseous. A nurse runs in. "Stop!" she cries. "You'll die if you unhook yourself! You must remain there for nine months, only then can you stay alive without the President of the Prankster's Guild". You quickly run back and hook yourself back up to the Prankster. Several hours later he wakes up. He looks at you, then calls for the nurse. "Nurse," he says. "I have a right to bodily autonomy. I do not want this person using my body to stay alive. I did not fully realize the repercussions of this prank. Unhook me."
In this case, it is obvious that the President of the Prankster's Guild has a moral obligation to keep you alive, since he is the one who caused your dependence in the first place. This scenario is much more analogous to pregnancy and abortion, where the mother and father (i.e.: the prankster) both engage in an act which creates a new person (you), and causes the person to become dependent on the mother/prankster. As in the thought experiment above, the mother then has an obligation to sustain the child's life, since she (and the father with her), caused the child's dependancy in the first place.
So this is why it is perfectly fair to expect a woman to carry her baby to term. Notice that the above thought experiment does not address pregnancies which result from rape. However, it is important to realize that most abortions are not done in the case of a pregnancy due to rape. According a Guttmacher Institutefact sheet on abortions in the United States, out of all women who have had an abortion:
- 3/4 obtain an abortion because they are have a concern or responsibility towards other individuals
- 3/4 say they can't afford the child
- 3/4 say the baby would interfere with work, school, or their ability to care for other dependents
- 1/2 say they do not want to be a single parent, or are having problems with the father
Therefore the majority of abortions are preformed for reasons other thanrape.
To take this a little further, according to this paper, used as a reference on the Guttmacher fact sheet, less than one percent of women who have an abortion are doing so because they became pregnant due to rape (see this table for a break-down of all reasons US women have abortions). This means that if the above argument is true, and a woman is obligated to support throughout pregnancy the child that she herself created, 99% of abortions in the United States are morally wrong (if you don't like the use of the word "morally" you can just use "wrong" or "unfair", or "violate the obligation of the 'prankster'", or what have you).
Disclaimer: I am against abortions in the cases of rape an incest as well, I just chose to stick with the specific arguments of the Violinist thought experiment for this post. Incidentally the pro-choice Violinist thought experiment is limited to addressing cases of rape, for the exact reasons I went though. I'll address the rape argument another time, though it has been done beautifully elsewhere.
Update: for a great (and far more detailed) discussion of the Violinist, you can view this pro-life podcast from Life Report.
There's been a lot of articles on multiples-reduction and sex-selection abortions lately. And it's gotten me thinking. Pro-lifers must always defend the extreme examples in the abortion debate. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - after all, the hard cases are difficult to discuss for good reason, and all good pro-lifers should have their opinions and defence of them sorted out in their mind. These cases include:
1. Abortion for the life/health of the mother (I deal with this question here)
2. Abortion in the case of rape/incest
3. Abortion in the case of fetus abnormality
Abortion in these cases are often used by pro-choicers as a defence for abortion-on-demand (i.e.: abortion for any and all reasons, at any time during pregnancy). While the pro-life hard cases should be discussed, doesn't it strike you as odd that pro-choicers can use (and have used) extreme examples to support ALL abortions. Try using this logic against them - use the pro-choice hard cases to show that abortion isn't perhaps the great and amazing feminist accomplishment it is made out to be.
Here are some pro-choice hard cases:
1. Sex selection abortion
2. Twin/multiples reduction abortion (a post by Les Femmes discusses this)
3. Abortion for minor and fixable abnormalities such as cleft-lip
4. Abortion of viable fetuses (see this post from Shouting It Loud)
5. Partial-birth abortions
6. Forced abortion (e.g.: one-child policy)
Next time someone turns the discussion to hard cases, ask if they support abortion-on-demand (most vocal pro-choicers I know do), and then bring up these pro-choice hard cases. It will give you a much better idea of where they stand, and also hopefully force them to think hard about their opinion.
Well ... looks like I'm never buying anything by Kenneth Cole -_-' They currently have a pro-choice campaign (other issues are also included, such as gay rights and war - navigate around to view them too) which compares the right to choose an abortion with the right to choose a handbag ... because a woman "carries" both (see the Live Action article here).
Seriously, who compares abortion to shopping anyways? This an insult to women who choose life, and an insult to women who choose abortion. Even if you're pro-choice, I think most people are reasonable enough to realize that choosing abortion is an extremely difficult decision, and a harrowing experience. Abortion is nothing like shopping. For one thing, the act of shopping itself is basically morally neutral. And it is rarely emotionally difficult to do.
Their current question regarding abortion is "Should the government have the right to choose?"
I'm not even sure how to answer that question. By banning abortion a government is not "choosing" anything - at least not in the ordinary sense of the word. A government would simply be making a law which limits what actions we can or can't do ... something that is pretty much normal for a government to do. For example, we're not allowed to drink and drive here in Ontario. I guess that's a "choice" that the government has made for us. But it is a reasonable choice to enforce, because it protects people. Banning abortion would protect people as well - it would protect children from having their lives brutally and unfairly terminated, and it would protect women from killing someone without realizing it (well, here I'm assuming that a lot of women who have an abortion rationalize away the implications of ending a life - I think overall that's a safe assumption to make. After all, few people want to kill their children once they are born - once they obviously human and alive). And besides, by banning something the government is not deciding who will do the action and who won't, they are simply stating that anyone who chooses such an action would be violating the laws of the land, and will be prosecuted under the law.
One comment on the Live Action article makes an interesting point regarding the government question:
"The governments right to choose? Don't they do that in China?" - Cassie Wonderalke
Anyway, now I'm really pissed off. And I wonder ... will we ever see a major company come out in support of life? I haven't heard of any, and I'm not holding my breath.
If you haven't read this story from LifeSiteNews yet, you can read it here.
Basically, Crossroads Canada (they're walking across Canada to end abortion) reached Montreal and went to the historic Notre Dame Basilica to pray. Because they were wearing their Pro-life t-shirts, they were told that they weren't allowed to enter the basilica because the message on their clothing was "too political".
They ended up being allowed into the adoration chapel, where they wouldn't be seen by most of the public.
Awesome. And a little ridiculous, considering they've never been refused entrance anywhere before - not even in public places like restaurants.
Update: Here's what happened, according to the Crossroads Canada blog.
Sorry for the long absence, I recently became obsessed with Castle and I spent the last several days watching all three seasons. Absolutely amazing! I LOVE Castle!
This is just a quick check in, to post a beautiful piece of art that I found on deviantART (if you're into art - join, its overall a really great community). The piece is call A Voice for the Voiceless, and you can find it here. Read through some of the comments as well, the artist does a wonderful job defending her pro-life views. I just wish there were more people like her out there!