Viva Voce
Somewhat Rambly at Times, Though...
Things That Are Making Abortion Debates More Like Merry-Go-Rounds, Part the First 
20th-Mar-2011 09:58 am
elle4life: (starfish)
I have been wondering what to do my next entry on and then what should come along but a Fandom!Secrets thread about abortion.

Okay, first off, why should anyone care? Well, maybe you shouldn't. Fandom is, to be honest, the internet dork sanctuary. All the TV/movie/book/anime geeks and all their fannish glee all hang out and geek out and squee and swap fanfic and...yeah. Bunch of nerds all being nerdy. But fandom also gives insight to the "average abortion defender." The people represented in fandom, most of them, are not pro-abortion activists. This is not the group with all the newest talking points, this is not the group with the direct line to Cecile Richards or Nancy Keenan. These are average people doing average things.

Second, what is Fandom!Secrets? It is, essentially PostSecret for fandom. People create images to do with various fandom things and attach to them secrets and submit them anonymously to this LiveJournal community. Some of them are frivolous. One of yesterday's was someone saying they think most Transformers fans are morons or trolls. Some of them are serious. Also one of yesterday's was someone saying that they were raped the week before The Dark Knight came out and that that film had helped them recover. There's a spectrum.

So this thread (WARNING: Very, very image heavy.) came along and I thought I would see what could be learned for it, and I will be blogging on the conclusions I've drawn for a few entries, since even this one turned out to be longer than I expected.

1. The average abortion supporter either does not understand basic biology or does not understand its significance to the abortion debate.

And I'm not talking about what-develops-when prenatally kind of biology. That gets complicated and even weird in some cases. Nope, I'm talking about elementary middle school science class biology incomprehension. Failure to understand the difference, or the significance of the difference, between an organ and an organism. Or failure to understand the difference, or the significance of the difference, between cancer and an organism! And to be frank, if you can't figure out that second one, then you're an idiot. Failure to understand the difference between one organism and another. Failure to understand what it means to say an organism's life begins at conception. Failure to understand the difference, or the significance of the difference between miscarriage and elective abortion.

Don't believe me? Check these quotes out (all bolding mine).

"...last time I checked, a living, breathing person > a potential person, especially if that potential person can't live without being a parasite on the other person's body." - grazie

"A woman miscarries, gives birth early, or any other number of problems that have nothing to do with abortion, but that shows how her body/lifestyle can kill a fetus just by having it come out before it's viable. It must live off of her like a parasite, as I said earlier, and not in the social sense." - grazie again

"You want to make laws that affect MY right to do what I want with MY body because of something YOU believe, not me." - ikabod11

"How about a movie where there are two pregnant characters? One is pro-life, the other is pro-choice, and they both still get along, love and respect each other, because what they do with their bodies is their choice?" - ljscrawls

"...the question of whether a two-day old embryo is a real, living individual is very much still up for debate..." - anon

"They're alive, they're human, and they can't survive (up until a certain point) without a direct connection to the host's body. Just like every other cell in my body, including cancers. You're making an argument against surgery." - ariseishirou

"Well fetuses are indisputably alive, they just aren't sentient. I'll go ahead and point out that eggs/semen are also alive. As are cancerous tumor." - anon

These statements are...inexcusable, really. This is out-and-out anti-science drivel in most cases, and I am forced to wonder how can people not understand the difference between these things?!? How can anyone, in 2011, fail to understand that the unborn child is not part of anyone else's body, is not a tumor (a shocking misrepresentation of the facts), has whole systems of organs working in concert, and is--in every scientific and objectively biological measurable way--an individual human being!

What's worse, these statements about the unborn are not new. We have known them for years. Abort73.com has a whole page dedicated to doing nothing but moving the debate beyond the ridiculous "part of the woman's body" talking point.

The non-average abortion defenders with the shiny new talking points don't even use it anymore.

"The fetus is more visible than ever before, and the abortion-rights movement needs to accept its existence and its value. It may not have a right to life, and its value may not be equal to that of the pregnant woman, but ending the life of a fetus is not a morally insignificant event."

~ Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for Choice


"That a fetus is known to be disabled is widely accepted as a ground for abortion. Yet in discussing abortion, we saw that birth does not mark a morally significant dividing line. I cannot see how one could defend the view that fetuses may be 'replaced' before birth, but newborn infants may not be. Nor is there any other point, such as viability, that does a better job of dividing the fetus from the infant."

~ Peter Singer, bioethicist and professor at Princeton (and no, you didn't read that wrong, he is defending infanticide)


"Clinging to a rhetoric about abortion in which there is no life and no death, we entangle our beliefs in a series of self-delusions, fibs and evasions. And we risk becoming precisely what our critics charge us with being: callous, selfish and casually destructive men and women who share a cheapened view of human life."

~ Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth


Simply put, this idea that the unborn are an insignificant class of humans is so indefensible that the forward thinking-abortion defenders do not even attempt it. Anyone claiming the unborn are not people/are not human/are not alive in a significant sense, and not making the same claims about newborns and infants, either isn't thinking things through, or is being deliberately obtuse. And if they do make the same claims about newborns or infants, then they are being logically consistent, but are also getting into territory about which people it is okay to kill whether they agree to it or not. Which is no longer pro-choice, the preferred appellation of the abortion supporters.

Yet, this exact position, despite its utter wrongness, is one so uniformly adopted by the average pro-abortion person that (in my experience) it is cheerfully assumed, implied, baldly asserted, and otherwise presented over and over again in varying ways without once being questioned. The unfortunate result is that the defenders of abortion, because they do not question this premise, end up reacting with shock when confronted with actual scientific evidence that it is wrong. This is usually followed by subject-changing, or alteration of the debate to a less concrete framework (the unborn as people philosophically, or spiritually, or even religiously--though usually not in a Christian context in this case).

But the failure to recognize the presence of science in a debate about what a human being is in the factual reality of our lives is one that dismantles any ability to communicate between the sides at the outset. How do you get someone to recognize the humanity of the unborn when they don't even grasp the salient point of recognizing humanity?

Second point to follow.
Comments 
24th-Mar-2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
kribban: (Default)
Oh, cool! I followed this thread too and I find it interesting to hear what you have to say about it.

I don't quite know what to say about the cancer thing. I thought of replying that cancer doesn't have its own DNA like a ZBEF but I soon realised I would never be able to carry on a scientific debate and so I opted out of it. (I have no scientific education beyond high school.)

Anyone claiming the unborn are not people/are not human/are not alive in a significant sense, and not making the same claims about newborns and infants, either isn't thinking things through, or is being deliberately obtuse.


There is one argument for late term abortion that I find it very hard to argue against, and it's the argument that the brain is activated by the baby's first breath. What do you think about that? Does it hold up scientifically?

I so badly wish more people, especially fandom people, would read your blog. Keep up the good work!
24th-Mar-2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
elle4life: (frangipani)
I have honestly never heard that argument, but it sounds more speculative than scientific. An unborn child is breathing before they're born, although they aren't breathing air. Amniotic fluid is breathed into the lungs, which aids in their development. So if the argument is the action "activates the brain" (whatever that means) then that action occurs before birth. If the argument is that oxygen is the activating agent, that's present prior to birth as well. But even cooler than that, newborn babies actually cry with an accent (!) as early as two days after they're born. It's not conclusive, but that certainly implies that not only brain activation but language learning may both be occurring in the womb. Without seeing this argument in action, I couldn't say for sure, but it doesn't really sound to me like it has a very strong scientific grounding.

I'm glad you're liking the blog, and I appreciate the feedback. It's good to know there are people reading. :)
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