More Equal Than Others

Among Christianity’s many influences on Western civilization is the concept that “all men are created equal.” The idea that human beings are equally valuable simply by virtue of being human is common even among those who otherwise reject religious teachings. What was once solely a religious principle has become almost universally accepted as a humanist principle. Two people might differ in their race, gender, intellectual abilities, age, or level of wealth, but both are equally deserving of respect, fair treatment, and equality under the law.

Call this “Belief A”.

Most people who support abortion argue that the fetus gradually acquires human rights as his/her nervous system develops in utero. According to polling done by Gallup, 61% of Americans believe that abortion should be legal during the first trimester of pregnancy. That figure drops to 27% during the second trimester, and to 14% during the third trimester. Since human life biologically begins at conception, this means that roughly half of Americans believe that some human organisms (third trimester fetuses) should have a legal right to life, while other human organisms (first trimester fetuses) may be legally dismembered with metal clamps and vacuum hoses.

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In other words, these individuals believe that human worth is not derived “simply by virtue of being human,” but rather by possessing certain physical qualities. Thus, all humans are equal, but some humans are more equal than others. Call this “Belief B”.

A person cannot rationally hold both Belief A and Belief B. If “social justice” extends to some groups of humans – but not to others – then it isn’t really social justice.

President Obama Attacks a Woman’s Right to Choose…to Stay Home with Her Kids

You know a society has its priorities backwards when it celebrates what is unnatural (a mother’s choice to dismember her unborn children) and criticizes what is natural (a mother’s choice to raise her children).

This week, the president of the United States took another swipe at mothers who choose to stay home with their children.

“…and sometimes someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”

In recent years, the Democratic Party has built its platform on women’s issues. In theory, the emphasis on “choice” would imply equal respect for the working mom and the stay-at-home mom. Yet in practice, liberal attitudes and policies are profoundly anti-family. (And why wouldn’t they be? Broken families = more Democrat votes. Single women are far more likely to vote Democrat than married women.)

Imagine the public outcry if a conservative politician had suggested that mothers entering the workforce is “not a choice we want Americans to make”.

Progressives claim to value tolerance and diversity, yet in practice they have little tolerance for opinions different than their own. What progressives do care about is collectivism, and collectivism requires conformity, and conformity requires indoctrinating children. Hence the attacks on stay-at-home moms, and the attacks on homeschooling, and the push for enrolling children in public daycare programs and preschools. Melissa Harris-Perry explains:

Pro-Life Quotes from Famous Women

“The rights of children as individuals begin while yet they remain the foetus…Whoever has read the ‘Weekly’ knows I hold abortion (except to save the life of the mother) to be just as much murder as the killing of a person after birth is murder.
– Victoria Woodhull (first female candidate for President of the United States)

“The gross perversion and destruction of motherhood by the abortionist filled me with indignation, and awakened active antagonism. That the honorable term ‘female physician’ should be exclusively applied to those women who carried on this shocking trade seemed to me a horror. It was an utter degradation of what might and should become a noble position for women.”
– Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell (first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States)

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell

“Dr. Oaks made the remark that, according to the best estimate he could make, there were four hundred murders annually produced by abortion in that county alone….There must be a remedy for such a crying evil as this.”
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we wish.”
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“I deplore the horrible crime of child-murder…We want prevention, not merely punishment. We must reach the root of the evil, and destroy it.”
– Susan B. Anthony

“Guilty? Yes, no matter what the motive, love of ease, or a desire to save from suffering the unborn innocent, the woman is awfully guilty who commits the deed. It will burden her conscience in life, it will burden her soul in death; but oh! thrice guilty is he who, for selfish gratification, heedless of her prayers, indifferent to her fate, drove her to the desperation which impels her to the crime.”
– Susan B. Anthony

“We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other.”
– Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa

“It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”
– Mother Teresa

“Abortion kills twice. It kills the body of the baby and it kills the conscience of the mother. Abortion is profoundly anti-women. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the babies and all the mothers.”
– Mother Teresa

“Abortion is the ultimate exploitation of women.”
– Alice Paul (author of the 1923 U.S. Equal Rights Amendment)

Alice Paul

Alice Paul

“My case was wrongfully decided, and has caused great harm to the women and children of our nation.”
– Norma McCorvey (former plaintiff in Roe v. Wade)

“Child murderers practice their profession without let or hindrance, and open infant butcheries unquestioned…Is there no remedy for all this ante-natal child murder?”
– Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton (early feminist)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Quotes

“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”

“There are things for which an uncompromising stand is worthwhile.”

“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”

“In the New Testament our enemies are those who harbour hostility against us, not those against whom we cherish hostility, for Jesus refuses to reckon with such a possibility.”

“When all is said and done, the life of faith is nothing if not an unending struggle of the spirit with every available weapon against the flesh.”

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

“As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of marriage above the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love. God makes your marriage indissoluble.”

“It is much easier for me to imagine a praying murderer, a praying prostitute, than a vain person praying. Nothing is so at odds with prayer as vanity.”

Planned Parenthood: “Nothing Unhealthy” about Promiscuity

Planned Parenthood recently posted an eye-opening Q&A on Tumblr in response to the question, “Is promiscuity a bad thing?”

“Unfortunately some ‘promiscuous’ women are judged in a negative way by society. But ‘promiscuous’ men are more accepted in society, which is totally unfair.”

I sympathize with the gender disparity. I really do. I personally try to be as judgmental as possible toward promiscuous men.

“So ‘promiscuity’ is a word that can refer to a whole variety of different sexual behaviors. But in general, it’s a word that’s used to judge or shame people. And, again, it’s a term that’s most often directed at women.”

Most often directed at women. Got it.

“Since the number of sexual partners you’ve had doesn’t say anything about your character, your morals, or your personality – or about anything at all really– there’s nothing bad or unhealthy about having a big number of sexual partners.”

The first half of that sentence is downright perplexing (apparently the choices you make – and the actions you take – don’t say anything at all about you). The second half is a non sequitur. Even if it were true that promiscuity is morally neutral, that doesn’t tell us anything at all about the health effects of promiscuity. Swimming with piranhas doesn’t make you a “bad person,” per se, but it can still leave you with a few missing appendages.

As far as most progressives are concerned, there’s only one reason why someone might oppose promiscuity. In order to avoid the grave sin of “slut-shaming,” they happily turn a blind eye to…well…

neil-degrasse-tyson

Sorry to rain on everyone’s parade, but it turns out that having a large number of sexual partners does lead to unhealthy side effects. Just read this study. And this one. And this one. And this one.

Having multiple sexual partners before marriage has also been linked to higher rates of infidelity and divorce.

And also, “super gonorrhea” sounds scary.

“…if you feel satisfied with and confident about your sexual decisions, you have nothing to worry about –”

Oh, word?

“– even if someone calls you or your behavior ‘promiscuous.’ And that’s also a good reason to hold off on judging or gossiping about other people’s sexual history, too.”

The “hold off on gossiping” part is okay, I guess.

It just seems strange to be getting a lecture on manners and civility from an organization that once produced a cartoon depicting an abstinence educator being drowned in a trashcan and a pro-life activist being decapitated by a giant condom:

From a business perspective, this Q&A article makes financial sense. More promiscuity = more unintended pregnancies = increased demand for abortion. And as it turns out, Planned Parenthood relies on abortions for the lion’s share of their clinical revenue.

How the Pro-Choice Mentality Exploits the Weak

Two recent articles illustrate the stark dichotomy between pro-choice and pro-life attitudes toward human life.

The first is a horrifying piece that appeared last week in The Telegraph:

“The unnamed girl was brought to the UK from Somalia with the intention of removing her organs and selling them on to those desperate for a transplant. According to the World Health Organisation as many as 7,000 kidneys are illegally obtained by traffickers each year around the world…

While there is a black market for organs such as hearts, lungs and livers, kidneys are the most sought after organs because one can be removed from a patient without any ill effects.

The process involves a number of people including the recruiter who identifies the victim, the person who arranges their transport, the medical professionals who perform the operation and the salesman who trades the organ.”

What does this have to do with abortion? Wintery Knight explains:

“Right now, we have a situation where a large number of people believe that it is OK to murder innocent unborn children so that their happiness in this world is not impacted by the needs of others. I believe that this pro-abortion position can easily be extrapolated to child-trafficking and organ-harvesting. After all, once you say that innocent unborn children can be murdered for your happiness, then what’s to prevent you from harvesting organs for less-innocent born children for your happiness? The logic of the pro-abortion view is “a grown person has more rights than an unborn person, because the grown person is bigger and stronger”. Well, a grown person is also bigger and stronger than a small born person. This is the pro-abortion view: bigger = “has more rights than”. It’s about exploiting weaker people who get in the way of your happiness.”

The second article is a great deal more hopeful. It tells the story of a woman who regretted her medically-induced abortion, and how her mother, boyfriend, priest, and doctor mobilized to reverse what was thought to be an irreversible decision.

“Nineteen years old and pregnant, Cynthia Galvan had an abortion pill in her mouth and turmoil in her soul. She was unmarried and felt unprepared for motherhood.

A medical abortion was the solution. The day before Galvan had ingested the first drug in the RU-486 regimen, mifepristone, intended to detach the embryo from the uterus. Now she was taking a misoprostol pill, which would cause her body to expel the baby.

Yet she doubted. Her mother was in tears over her decision, and a local pro-life doctor told Galvan over the phone he might be able to reverse the effects of the prior day’s pill.

A call to Planned Parenthood’s staff suggested the opposite: The baby was already dead, they assured her—or if not, it would be born with major birth defects. They warned that unless she took the second drug to expel the pregnancy now, she could experience severe pain.

Galvan spit the pill out, unsure who to believe.”

It goes on to describe how Dr. George Delgado successfully reversed the effects of RU-486 by administering intramuscular progesterone.

“Delgado’s theory was that by flooding Galvan’s body with progesterone, he could reverse any damage that might have occurred to her placenta…

The abortion drug Galvan had ingested, mifepristone, works by blocking natural progesterone. “When you don’t have the progesterone effect, the placenta and the embryo dies, and you have a medical abortion,” Delgado explains. In essence, mifepristone starves the baby of nutrition and oxygen.”

Delgado’s clinic has since set up a website and hotline. A report detailing 6 cases (4 of which were successful in reversing abortion) can be found in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

This also sets up the interesting question of whether or not organizations like Planned Parenthood will ever embrace this therapy as a legitimate choice for women who regret their medical abortions.

Twelve Questions to Ask Your Pro-Choice Friends

These questions are meant to provoke reflection and conversation. Some are intended to gauge the pro-choice individual’s commitments and presuppositions. Others are designed to poke holes in the philosophical justification for “abortion rights”. Responses are welcome, and encouraged.

1. In terms of biology, the human life cycle begins at conception and ends at death. At what point in this life cycle do you believe human life becomes “valuable”? Is the value of a human life an “all-or-nothing” attribute, or are some human lives more valuable than others?

2. At what point in this life cycle do you believe humans should acquire legal rights? Why?

3. Pro-choice philosophers typically define the value of a human life in terms of utility (development of brainwaves, consciousness, etc.). If this is true, then why is it morally acceptable to sacrifice pigs and dogs for the purpose of medical/scientific research, but not human infants? Neurologically speaking, it’s not at all controversial to say that pigs and dogs are in many ways “more advanced” than human infants. Yet society only accepts sacrificing the former for experimental purposes. Do you? If so, why?

4. Do you support paternal child support laws? (Consider this quote from Dr. Michael Pakaluk: “[Suppose] that the reason the woman has sole right to decide to have an abortion is that the status of the fetus somehow depends upon how she chooses to regard it: thus, the fetus is not a child until the mother decides that it is, say, at some point later in pregnancy. But then a consequence of this is that the man, through having intercourse with the woman, does not conceive a child. Rather, he conceives only a fetus, and the fetus at some later point becomes a child, only because of the woman’s deciding that it is. But then the man’s role in intercourse is not a cause of a child. He brought into existence only a fetus, and it was the woman’s decision to ‘continue the pregnancy through term’ that made it a child. But if so, it is not clear why the man should have any responsibility for the child. How could the woman bring a claim for paternity support against him? After all, he could rightly reply: ‘You decided to regard the fetus as a child; so the child is your responsibility.'”)

5. Numerous state and federal laws allow for criminals to be prosecuted if an assault on a pregnant women results in injury or death to the fetus. Do you support fetal homicide laws? Why or why not?

6. Perhaps the strongest argument in favor of “abortion rights” is the pregnant woman’s right to autonomy (read more here). This is especially relevant to abortion cases involving rape. Consider the following thought experiment: Suppose that a woman lives alone in a remote location. One day a man breaks into her home, assaults her, robs her, and before leaving, deposits his infant son on the woman’s kitchen table. Clearly it will require the sacrifice of both autonomy and valuable resources to care for the child until help arrives. Furthermore, it’s likely that the very sight of the infant brings back traumatic memories for the woman. Considering these challenges, is she morally justified in killing the infant, or allowing him to die of exposure? Does she have any legal (or moral) obligation to attend to the survival needs of the child?

7. What is your position on “two-minus-one” abortions? Are they ethical? Should they be legal?

8. Many of those who identify as “pro-choice” are particularly concerned with issues of inequality and discrimination. Are discriminatory abortions (such as sex-selective abortions) legally or morally defensible? Suppose that scientists developed a prenatal test to determine whether or not one’s child will be homosexual. Would you support a woman’s legal right to abort her fetus solely because of his homosexuality?

9. In the United States, many pro-choice activists believe that it violates women’s rights to ban abortions after 20 weeks (even when these restrictions include exceptions for maternal health). Suppose that two women get pregnant at the same time. At 23 weeks, the first woman decides to legally obtain an abortion. On the same day, the second woman delivers a premature infant. Several hours after the delivery, she decides she doesn’t want to “keep” the infant and smothers him to death. Should the second woman be held legally accountable for her action? Why or why not?

10. It is often claimed that a fetus cannot have legal rights if she isn’t “viable” (that is to say, capable of living independently outside of the womb). Interestingly, this fetus is capable of living and thriving within one environment (the womb) but not another (Earth’s atmosphere). You and I are capable of living and thriving in Earth’s atmosphere, but not underwater or on Jupiter. Does an individual’s ability to survive within a specific environment have any bearing on his or her moral worth?

11. Suppose you have a friend, daughter, or sister who excitedly begins informing people that she’s pregnant. Do you believe that it’s ethically consistent to simultaneously celebrate the new life growing within her, and deny the personhood and legal status of that new life? How would you respond if, after giving birth, she was reluctant to let pro-choice individuals near her child (knowing that they had, only recently, denied her child human rights and legal equality)?

12. What argument (or arguments) convinced you to identify as pro-choice? What did you find persuasive about these arguments? What objections to these arguments would you anticipate from pro-lifers, and how would you address these objections?