I see someone has obviously sent out a ‘make more public statements’ memo at ALRANZ headquarters, because this week two staunch pro-abortion advocates wrote op-ed pieces that were published in two different NZ newspapers.
One was written by Alison McCulloch, the senior Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ (ALRANZ) member and public spokesperson, and the other was by Deborah Russell, a taxation lecturer at Massey University (yeah, I know, tax has got nothing to do with abortion).
They didn’t contain anything new, just the same old pro-abortion lobbying, and an attempt at selling the general public the myth that NZ desperately needs liberal abortion laws – definitely nothing that actually resembles a coherent logical argument for why aborting an unborn human being should be considered an ethically acceptable thing to endorse or carry out.
Some of the content did attract my attention however, so here are the various bits from the two op-ed pieces that I think are worthy of highlighting here…
“Instead it recommended use of the morning after pill, or an IUD. Yes, having an intra-uterine device inserted into her body is just what a woman who has been raped really wants.”
Hold on, so if a woman wouldn’t want an IUD in this situation, then why would she want an abortion?
“Late last month, New Zealand got its seventh periodic report from the United Nations committee on CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), and was found wanting on several fronts, including abortion.”
This is the very same highly reliable report which states that the current NZ abortion law “leads women to seek illegal abortions, which are often unsafe”. Last time I checked NZ does NOT have a thriving backstreet abortion practice, and there have definitely been no abortion deaths in NZ since the current law was introduced, so I’m not sure where that little gem came from (or why we should pay much attention to a report which has quite clearly not even undergone any basic fact-checking).
“New Zealand has experienced a great liberalisation in the last few decades, in both our formal laws, and our informal ways of living. From the laws surrounding homosexuality, to acceptance of wearing pyjamas in supermarkets… There’s one major area where the pieties of the past still constrain us. Our laws with respect to abortion were written last century, and it shows.”
That’s right, she just started her opinion piece by comparing abortion to the act of wearing pyjamas in the supermarket.
“The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has described them as convoluted, and having the effect of nullifying women’s autonomy”
Yep, this is the very same highly reliable report which Alison McCulloch referred to in her opinion piece – the one which wrongly suggests that NZ has a thriving dangerous backstreet abortion practice.
“Rules about abortion sit with rules dealing with activities such as slavery, theft, and murder. That’s unpleasant company to be keeping. The implication is that abortion is something that is obviously wrong, like slavery and theft and murder”
Funny you should mention slavery and murder Deborah, because the former act denies a human person fundamental human rights by refusing to acknowledge their personhood, while the later violates their right to life. From the pro-life perspective, these are the same fundamental ethical flaws with abortion.
“The management of abortion is handled through the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977. The act sets up a series of hurdles for a woman to leap through before she can get an abortion. First she must see a doctor…”
I’d hardly call having to see a doctor in this situation a ‘hurdle’, or does she imagine women visiting Mitre 10 or McDonald’s as a better first step in this process?
“Even after each case has been discussed with at least two doctors, the decisions made by certifying consultants are reviewed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee. In turn, the workings of the committee are subject to parliamentary scrutiny. It is an extraordinary degree of oversight for a simple medical procedure”
This is a completely misleading statement – the Abortion Supervisory Committee does NOT review and approve every single abortion case as this statement implies, and there is definitely no direct parliamentary involvement in an individual abortion request as this statement implies.
Her statement about this committee being “subject to parliamentary scrutiny” sounds dangerously like she is advocating a totally unregulated cowboy abortion industry in NZ – one with absolutely no government oversight. How else is one to interpret the inclusion of such a statement in her list of ‘hurdles’ that obstruct the practice of abortion in NZ?
“So why the level of surveillance?”
So now it’s all about big brother?
“Abortion has been treated as a matter of morality, but instead of allowing the people concerned to make moral decisions, we have insisted that they get opinions from other people first. Bizarrely, we have decided that if a person needs to get a moral signoff for a decision, then the people who are capable of giving it are medical doctors. “
Um, no, the doctors involved in this process don’t provide moral approval for abortion, they are there to provide medical and legal oversight.
Also, it’s very odd to claim that abortion has been treated as “a matter of morality’, when the glaring ethical problems with abortion are completely overlooked by the law, health sector policy and the general cultural attitudes about it. If people were genuinely treating abortion as a matter of morality, it’s doubtful that the pro-choice position would enjoy much support at all.
“That might have been appropriate in the 1970s when doctors were often the most highly educated people in a community. But our levels of education have increased dramatically, and more people have the training to think through difficult decisions for themselves, and to help other people make decisions”
Not sure what part of NZ Deborah is living in, but last time I checked your average lay person still does not have anywhere near the same level of medical expertise as highly trained medical professionals do – Dr. Google might be great at providing the latest information about Tom and Katie’s divorce proceedings, but he is definitely no substitute for a real live trained professional when it comes to medical decisions that have serious risks and ramifications associated with them.
“Make no mistake about it – abortion is a big moral issue.”
You’re not wrong there Deborah, but somehow I doubt you see the irony in making such a statement in defense of ending the lives of unborn human beings.
“When we deny women the right to make decisions about abortion for themselves, then we deny women’s autonomy. We say that women are not capable of making moral judgments, and that they are not autonomous adults.”
So I guess we should let women have the choice about whether they drink and drive as well? Or the freedom to decide whether corporate theft is something they’d like to do?
After all, these are also laws which prohibit women from doing whatever they’d like to do – which must mean that these are also laws which deny women the right to make decisions for themselves, and which say that women are not capable of making moral judgments, and that they are not autonomous adults.
“That’s why we need to rewrite our abortion laws. But it seems that no political party has the courage to do so. When former MP Steve Chadwick proposed an Abortion Law Reform Bill, it didn’t even get through the Labour caucus. She was told that the time was not right.”
Um, actually Deborah, I think if you do a bit of fact-checking of your own you’ll discover that Steve Chadwick’s proposed bill was roundly rejected by feminists and staunch pro-choice Labour supporters alike (or do you not remember Chris Trotter’s scathing article rejecting Chadwick’s bill?). The reason that Chadwick’s bill was rejected by society and politicians alike was because it promoted an extreme law that no one, not even pro-choice people, wanted to have anything to do with.
“But we are liberalising all our other laws, and perhaps it’s time to start treating women as though they are capable of making their own moral choices.”
I’m sorry, I must have missed something, when exactly are ALL OF OUR OTHER LAWS going to be liberalized?
Cross posted from Lawrence at LifeChoice.
The crowd was silent in the bright fluorescent studio at ABC studios before the first words were uttered by Peter Singer, the renowned Bioethicist and public figure who holds the view (among others) that it is morally permissible, nay even dutiful to murder a human being if they do not fulfil Singer’s synthetic definition of a “person”.
I shook my head as his comments fell on nodding heads and nonchalant expressions from the audience and the majority of the programs panel. Did they really hear what he just said? Did it occur to them the practical and logical extension of his arguments? I felt like leaving my seat, walking up and down the aisles clapping in people’s ears.
Did you hear that?
Peter Singer’s first comment regarding Euthanasia: “I think the most appropriate approach is to do what is in the best Interests of your Patient and what your patient wants you to do….as long as your patients of course is a competent adult making their own decisions”
A competent adult? Since when did Philosophers determine the competency of adults and therefore their moral-worth? It seems no less arbitrary and factually false than the once popular practice of phrenology. I immediately attempt to rouse within myself a patient and reflective attitude in the face of these deplorable propositions. I hope briefly that the rest of the panel has adopted a similar professional attitude. Not attacking the person but rather his arguments. I expect one of the following comments to be a polite commentary on the arbitrariness or downright bad consequences of Peter Singer’s views gaining a foothold in society. I am disappointed sadly as almost all the panel bar one simply consents to Singers line of thought. Pru Goward when pushed only goes as far as to say that “the doctor can has a right to say no” – that is of performing Euthanasia. I suppose she expects applause for her large-minded (a-hem) acceptance of other people’s views. Never once is the term murder used. Never once is it made clear that never before has a western society legislated for the right for someone to give permission for another to murder them until 2002 in the Netherlands. Is it questioned why in the history of Western Civilisation there is no attempt to make legal or normalize such behaviour?
The answer is no. Not until the sobering common-sense comments by British Phillip Blond are spoken (to my immense relief) are we to even assume that there is a massive contingency (or even a train of thought) of Australians who fundamentally disagree with Euthanasia. I believe this is common and passé nowadays: to present a view in such a delicate and false way as to make it appear intellectually palatable. It is the art of misrepresentation.
Perhaps a line from Alfred Tennyson is applicable here: “A lie that is half-truth is the darkest of all lies.”.
I think this highly applicable of the lie that is legalized Euthanasia. By inserting a slither of truth the immoral acting of killing is justified. And what is that truth? Human Suffering.
All throughout life humans suffer. From health problems, relationships, mental health, marriage difficulties, natural death. It goes on and on. But the perspective that Euthanasia advocates put forward is to argue that suffering is to always view it as a negative. A marriage to be abandoned. A girlfriend/boyfriend is dumped after a bad fight. A son leaves his family’s home after a heavy disagreement with his father. In the case of Euthanasia it is a suffering human life to be destroyed. No metaphor here. Never mind the rich history of thought which engages with Suffering as a means to ad richness and new dimension to life. No, Euthanasia advocates would have us believe by painting horrifying two-dimensional scenarios of pure misery and self-pity of which the only proper “loving” response is to end their life- that suffering is something which is to be removed and has no human or redeeming quality whatsoever. The famous Marcel Proust put it bluntly: We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full. The famous sci-fi novel “Brave New World” by Aldous huxley warned of an age where suffering- with all its dimensions and ties to happiness and its humanness is removed with Soma ( a drug which induces an artificial ecstasy)- but all that was good and beautiful about humanity is outside in the “savage” reservations.
Are we at the stage of partitioning aspects of the human experience yet? I don’t think so, but its pondering where anti-suffering might lead. This is not to de-legitimise many suffering people who reach the stage of desperation or even “peaceful acceptance” and choose Euthanasia as the solution- the suffering is very real and needs much care and genuine sympathy. What is not the answer is to eliminate the problem- in this case the centre of all experience- the human person.
Sadly many are convinced by this sly approach. Often emotions do trump reason. It is up to us to combat it with reason, patience and compassion.
So how do Singer-like views of human arbitrariness gain foothold?
I think it is through distracting the issue of human life and converting into an issue of “choice”.
This “choice” smoke-screen is used by the vast majority of pro-Ethanasia advocates (and also abortion advocates) in order to make the solidly illogical, ethically inconsistent positions seem acceptable at a personal level. The term choice is the buzz word for such positions. “But where is the persons “choice” ? they will taunt. “Why can’t they “choose” to die with dignity?” they will ask, charged with emotion. One may stop to ask; since when has choice or autonomy been prima facie a solid groundwork for any moral theory? A person may choose to act in one way or another. These actions can have moral content based on a system of principles or propositions. But mere choice being the supreme guiding ethical consideration of all moral decisions? One can admit that autonomy and intention plays a significant role in determining ethical culpability or guilt. But surely it is painfully obvious that when someone commits an ethically bad action with “autonomy” or “free-choice” this doesn’t change its inherent ethical character? A man may make a decision to kill himself because he is depressed or intensely alone, but does this make his decision to do so more acceptable because it was his decision? The answer is surely no. One may feel pity and sorrow for the man AND also admit his decision was a morally bad one. Empathy does not require or does it preclude moral law. One such moral law has been that human life is not to be destroyed.
I would suggest that when participating either personally or from afar in a discussion on Euthanasia watch out for a couple of fallacies/poor argumentation which will serve to warn you of the validity of the argument in question:
The first is Appeal to emotion – where an argument is made due to the manipulation of emotions, rather than the use of valid reasoning. Within this the most likely emotion to be manipulated is pity- for the person suffering particularly. Once they induce enough pity for the hypothetical (or real) person then ethanasia will appear like a genuinely compassionate response when it is not.
The second is Cherry picking (suppressed evidence, incomplete evidence) –the act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position. This is also tied up with the other fallacy of False analogy – where a particular case in point is used as a rule or to justify a common approach. This can be used with using obscure diseases as a fact in point that a human being can be unable to express or sometimes even have self-consciousness. This may be used to justify a singer-like argument which bases Ethics on ideas of person-hood relating to consciousness or rationality. Another favourite but thoroughly misleading is the idea of pain. Comparing animal pain to human pain for example is a cornerstone fallacy used by Singer to advocate an ethics which places Human beings and animals on an equal moral footing.
One final (and this list is by no means exhaustive) fallacy is the excluded middle – that is assuming there are only two alternatives when in fact there are more. Either this person will live in complete pain and misery and die an undignified death or he can be Euthanized is an example. Palliative care, love, greater funding for hospitals, options of home treatment are all valid alternatives to the aforementioned which do not involve murder.
Some final suggestions.
Without falling for the trap of emotive dialogue consider first whether the ethical standpoint in question isn’t formed using the adoption of simplistic thought experiments or highly particular and often incomplete scenarios. Also pay attention to the style of argumentation used by the person: in the case of Singer his use of the terms “consent”, “mature”, or phrases like “I respect your right to not do this/that” tend to be used as masks or distraction from his real argument of extreme Utilitarianism.
After reminiscing on Q and A I wonder how many severely ill people in the Netherlands are wondering if today is the day they will blink their last. Will the doctor decide they are in too much pain or suffering to live a noble life? A decision which was once always inconceivable by anyone is now open to a simple sign with a ballpoint pen and an injection.
As English Journalist and media personality Malcolm Muggeridge put it:
This life in us; however low it flickers or fiercely burns, is still a divine flame which no man dare presume to put out, be his motives never so humane and enlightened; To suppose otherwise is to countenance a death-wish; Either life is always and in all circumstances sacred, or intrinsically of no account; it is inconceivable that it should be in some cases the one, and in some the other.
IN 1971, two years before Roe v. Wade, the philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson used an arresting thought experiment to make the case for legalized abortion.
Imagine, wrote Thomson, that you awoke to find yourself lashed to a famous violinist. The violinist suffers from a lethal kidney disease, and because only your blood type can save his life, his admirers have kidnapped you and looped your circulatory systems together. If you consent to remain thus entangled for nine months, he will make a full recovery. Disentangle yourself, however, and he dies.
Thomson suggested that a woman facing an unintended pregnancy is in a similar position. Her body is effectively being held hostage, and while carrying the unborn life to term might be a heroic act, it cannot be required of her, any more than you could be required to meekly accept your fate as a prisoner of the violinist.
Provocative as it is, there are obvious problems with this analogy. It implies that there’s no difference between declining to provide medical treatment and taking a life directly, and no difference between the moral obligations owed a stranger and the obligations owed one’s own child.
The biggest difficulty, though, is that most women considering an abortion were not kidnapped and impregnated against their will. They freely chose the act that brought the fetus into being, and analogizing their situation to a kidnap victim implies a peculiar, almost infantilizing attitude toward female moral agency.
There is, however, one case where Thomson’s famous thought experiment has a real and gripping power: pregnancies that result from rape. Then the woman’s body has in a sense been kidnapped by her assailant, and the life inside her is the consequence of a violation rather than a choice.
From a rigorous anti-abortion perspective, that life has the same inalienable rights as any other innocent. But even the most rigorous abortion foe recognizes the unique agony — and perhaps, the political impossibility — involved in asking a woman to bear her rapist’s child.
It’s the desire to escape from this dilemma, no doubt, that explains the Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin’s instantly infamous claim that there’s actually no problem at all, because “legitimate” rape victims don’t get pregnant in the first place.
Blending superstition, sexism and stupidity, his comments have been a boon to the Democratic Party not only in Missouri but nationally as well. In an election season where the Democratic incumbent has been transparently eager to change the subject from the economy to social issues, Akin handed the president and his party a great and unexpected gift.
But great gifts are also great temptations. Having Akin front and center is clearly helpful to the Democrats. Having liberal politicians harping incessantly on the issue — accusing Mitt Romney (falsely) of favoring banning abortion in cases of rape, headlining abortion rights at the Democratic Convention, and so on — is a riskier maneuver.
As the Republican Party has discovered in the past, when voters want to talk about the economy and you can’t stop talking about the culture war, it’s easy to seem out of touch even when the public agrees with what you’re saying.
On the abortion issue, too, Democrats have a tendency to forget that the public doesn’t necessarily agree with them. Only 22 percent of Americans would ban abortion in cases of rape or incest, according to Gallup. But that’s an exceptional number for exceptional circumstances. The broader polling shows a country persistently divided, with women roughly as likely to take the anti-abortion view as men. (Indeed, the small minority that opposes abortion in cases of rape includes more women than men.)
The polling also shows plenty of cases where public opinion cuts strongly against the pro-choice side. Large majorities support bans on second- and third-trimester abortion, on sex-selective abortion and on the controversial “partial birth” procedure.
These are issues where many Democratic politicians have something in common with Akin: They have abortion positions well outside the American mainstream.
Because the press is reliably sympathetic to the cause of abortion rights, and because pro-choice extremism tends to be the province of sophisticates and tastemakers, this reality does not always get the attention it deserves. But it’s crucial to understanding the risk that the Democrats are taking if they set out to make this election a referendum on abortion.
That’s because in Barack Obama, they have a nominee who occupies the far leftward pole of the abortion debate, with a long and reliable record of voting against even modest regulations on the practice — including a vote he cast as an Illinois lawmaker against regulations intended to protect infants born accidentally as a result of a botched abortion. President Obama rarely bothers with Bill Clinton’s “safe, legal and rare” formulation: he’s pro-choice with almost no limitations or exceptions.
Hence the dangerous (for liberals) question lurking beneath the surface of the Akin controversy. If the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri is an extremist on abortion, what does that make the president of the United States?
Today’s post may contain triggers for survivors of rape and sexual assault
In light of US Senator Todd Akin’s poorly considered comments on rape and pregnancy (which, depending on which side of this debate you believe, were either: just a simple grammatical mistake in the heat of the moment, or: the expression of some very bizarre and troubling ideas about rape) US talk show host Piers Morgan decided to host a debate about abortion and rape between pro-choice activist Gloria Allred and pro-lifer Rebecca Kiessling, who was conceived after a rape (watch the full interview at the bottom of this post).
For me this short interview exposes some of the major holes in the pro-choice rhetoric – let me quote various segments of this interview and then respond to each of them to show you exactly what I mean.
“This is clearly a hugely emotive issue. It’s also an issue that, I believe, fundamentally should be debated the loudest by women.”
These sorts of sentiments are common amongst those who hold to a pro-choice ideology, however they don’t actually make a lot of sense when you stop and really think about them.
Why is the viewpoint of women more valid than the viewpoint of males when it comes to this issue?
Yep, there’s no doubting that women are the only gender who can actually get pregnant, and so they have a special and very personal connection to this issue, but that doesn’t make their views on it any more true and right, or likely to be accurate – your gender does not protect you against error on this issue.
What about the male children conceived by rape, or the husbands, boyfriends, fathers or brothers of rape victims?
Surely they also have a special connection to this issue and shouldn’t be written off with such a sweeping generalization as this?
The flaw in this line of reasoning is that it implies that a person must be able to actually experience something – pregnancy or an abortion – for their opinion to actually have some importance, or certainly more validity, in this debate.
Such reasoning would have created massive problems for William Wilberforce, a white Englishman who spent much of his life fighting against the practice of enslaving black Africans (which he obviously never was, or could be).
“No one should have that choice [of aborting a baby] except for me”
Hold on, so it’s NOT okay for the law to deny you the choice to abort a baby, but it IS okay for the law to deny the unborn human being any choice about not being killed?
Surely even pro-choicer’s can see the huge contradiction in such reasoning?
If we’re talking about a human being here, which is the position held by pro-lifers, then surely they are no less human than the rest of us, and therefore entitled to the same right to life as the rest of us even if they’ve been conceived as a result of a rape?
“…and no person, as strongly as they may believe in their religious beliefs should make that choice for me…”
Once again, I am forced to ask: ‘what about the views and opinions of the unborn human being that can be killed by abortion, where is their freedom in all of this?’
More importantly, I think it’s worth pointing out that this isn’t actually a religious issue, it’s about legislation and ethics and pro-lifers argue their position based on scientific evidence and facts, as well as sound logic and human reason. They don’t say ‘abortion after rape is wrong because -INSERT DEITY HERE- said so’.
“I can’t think of anything worse for a woman, who is raped, than being compelled by the law of the country to bear and to bring up a child by a rapist that you despise”
Three really important points here:
a) Surely it is the rapist who is to be despised, not the innocent child, who is actually just as much the offspring of its mother as it is the offspring of the rapist. Why do all pro-choicers default to the position of treating the unborn child conceived through rape as if it is actually an extension of the rape, or belonging ONLY to the rapist?
If we are dealing with a human being here (the fetus), then it is also a victim in this scenario. It never sought to be brought into existence under such heinous circumstances, it never did any harm to its mother (the rapist did all the harm) and it has certainly done NOTHING to warrant being killed.
b) This reasoning would also justify infanticide, or the killing of older children conceived in rape.
Just think about this for a second – imagine a scenario where a female rape victim chooses to carry her pregnancy to term, and then months, or years after the child is born she changes her mind and realizes that she doesn’t actually want a living reminder of the rape to exist in this world. Why is she not allowed to kill her rape conceived child?
Simple answer: because it’s a human being, and killing innocent human beings is always a gravely unethical thing to do.
At this point most pro-choicers would probably try and offer some argument that the difference is that an unborn child hasn’t been born yet, but this fact has no bearing on whether it is ethical to kill human beings conceived by rape, as this is only a point of accidental difference (being in the womb versus being out of the womb and older, etc.).
But surely the whole point of the ‘abortion after rape’ justification is that it intends to argue that people conceived via rape are not entitled to the same right to life as human beings conceived in other ways are – why else use rape as a specific justification for abortion unless you believe that rape actually changes the nature of any child conceived that way?
If the issue of rape is not actually the real issue in question here, then why wouldn’t pro-choicers simply ignore the nature of the conception and instead use other arguments about the moral status of the unborn child (like arguments about consciousness, or arguments about ability to feel pain, etc.)?
c) If a woman felt that it would be too much trauma to raise the child conceived in rape, then wouldn’t adoption actually resolve the issue (which Morgan specifically mentions) of being forced to raise a child conceived of rape, without requiring the death of the child?
“What she’s advocating is… compulsory pregnancy”
No Gloria, what she, and other pro-lifers are actually advocating in this situation is that unborn human beings shouldn’t be killed just because their conception occurred as the result of a rape, because, no matter what the manner of their conception, a tiny human being is still fully a human being, and therefore entitled to the same fundamental right to life as the rest of us bigger and older human beings are.
“It’s only the death penalty if you think that an embryo should have more rights than an adult woman, and that you consider an embryo a human life… or, I mean, a fertilized egg.”
Okay, three things to note here.
a) pro-lifers DO NOT believe that an embryo has, or should have MORE rights than an adult woman.
What we actually believe is that all human beings have the same fundamental right to life, and that no matter your size or age, no one has the right to take that away from you by killing you.
Just think about how ludicrous Allred’s actual proposition is here – how exactly could an embryo even have more rights than an adult women?!
b) notice how Allred completely misleads about the gestational age at which most abortions take place?
The vast majority of abortions occur in the fetal stage of human development, NOT the much earlier embryonic stage.
c) lastly, see how she tried to change her terminology, after she had used the correct term of ‘embryo’, to try and diminish the actual humanness of the unborn child?
She tries to have a do-over by making the comment “I mean a fertilized egg”.
Not only does this shift the gestational age back further still (and even more farcically prior to when the vast majority of abortions actually take place), but the key point is that such terminology implies that a fertilized egg is still just an egg, when in actual fact the moment of fertilization marks the start of a new human existence, and we refer to that new human being as being in their zygotic stage of development.
One last point: notice how, at the 5:20 minutes in the video, Gloria Allred, totally without reason, dismisses a HUGELY IMPORTANT fact about rape pregnancies – that is; that only 15% – 25% of rape pregnancies actually end in abortion, while 50% of unwanted pregnancies which occur as a result of non-rape related scenarios end in abortion.
This is a massively important statistic, because it completely undermines the narrative which suggests that abortion is a vital necessity to have available to women after rape – when 75% to 85% of women who get pregnant after rape do NOT choose abortion, it clearly shows that very few women who become pregnant after rape are actually interested in having an abortion to end a rape conceived pregnancy.
So what was Allred’s response to this vitally important statistic?
She did something that pro-choicers are notorious for; she simply ignored the facts, and then made the ridiculous statement that “these statistics are kind of mind-numbing”!
Are you really telling me that she can’t comprehend such a simple statistical fact as this one?
If she can’t, then perhaps this might explain why she can’t also comprehend the major flaws in her pro-choice reasoning.
I think that the last word in this debate rightly belongs to Rebecca Kiessling, the ONLY rape-conceived person, whose mother initially tried to have aborted, that was featured in this interview…
“My birth mother was forced to carry me [to term] by law, and I owe my life to pro-life advocates and legislators who saw that mine was a life worth saving, and now today my birth mother and I are now thankful.”
“Membership of the species Homo sapiens is not enough to confer a right to life.”
To the ears of us ordinary people, it sounds like the ravings of some fringe group of European neo-fascists or Communists, but the man who made that statement in a Scottish newspaper today is perhaps the most acclaimed and respected ethical philosopher alive, toasted by liberal academic and political elites around the world.
Philosopher and Bioethicist Peter Singer defended abortion in an op-ed in the Scotsman today.
“Opponents will respond that abortion is, by its very nature, unsafe – for the fetus,” he wrote. “They point out that abortion kills a unique, living human individual. That claim is difficult to deny, at least if by ‘human’ we mean ‘member of the species Homo sapiens.”
Singer is among the cadre of leading thinkers who maintain that being a human being isn’t enough to confer any legal rights. To be a “person,” one must fulfill a particular set of criteria.
“It is also true that we cannot simply invoke a woman’s ‘right to choose’ in order to avoid the ethical issue of the moral status of the fetus,” Singer continued. “If the fetus really did have the moral status of any other human being, it would be difficult to argue that a pregnant woman’s right to choose includes the right to bring about the death of the fetus, except perhaps when the woman’s life is at stake.
“The fallacy in the anti-abortion argument lies in the shift from the scientifically accurate claim that the fetus is a living individual of the species Homo sapiens to the ethical claim that the fetus therefore has the same right to life as any other human being.”
Contrary to how he sounds, Peter Singer is not some obscure crank, writing for a tiny audience of like-minded nutters. Probably most famous for being the “father” of the modern animal rights movement, he is also widely regarded as the most influential bioethicist in the world. And his positions as the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University, and a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne, are as good an indicator as any to start to appreciate just how far into the Upsidedownland Matrix academia and the world of bioethics has gone.
Even as one of the most famous professional philosophers in the world, Singer’s ideas continue to shock pro-life people with his forthright defense of infanticide, the wholesale killing of people with dementia, the sexual use of animals, (whom he maintains are capable of “consent”), and the use of the cognitively disabled for medical experiments.
As a bioethicist, Singer swats aside outdated concepts like “mercy killing” to end the suffering of the patient, arguing instead that it is the suffering of the patient’s family, friends, and of society as a whole that is more important. Suffering patients cost society money to keep alive and comfortable; they demand extra care and time that diminishes the freedom and autonomy of their caregivers.
Singer is renowned for carrying the logic of classical Utilitarianism to its furthest extreme. Utilitarianism, the philosophy developed in England in the 18th century by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, proposes that all human action must be ordered to producing “happiness” and reducing suffering. That might sound fine on the surface, but in practice it means that the moral worth of any action is determined only by its resulting outcome, not by whether it is good or evil in itself. This means that killing would not be evil in itself, but only when it brings “unhappiness” into the world.
Singer’s extreme form of “preference utilitarianism” proposes that human life has no inherent value. Therefore, killing a patient out of mercy is a purely mathematical consideration, one that prioritizes the reduction of the overall quantity of suffering in the world, tipping the global scales towards “happiness.” He and those who follow his theories, posit a kind of invisible cloud of suffering, like a layer of pollution, covering the world that must be reduced. And the most convenient way to do that is simply to remove those who suffer.
To justify this, Singer has developed the idea that only those with a certain level of cognitive function can be considered “persons,” which idea he expanded to propose that any creature with higher presumptive cognitive functions than the bare minimum were also persons, including great apes, dogs, and dolphins.
“We can plausibly argue,” he wrote in the Scotsman, “that we ought not to kill, against their will, self-aware beings who want to continue to live. We can see this as a violation of their autonomy, or a thwarting of their preferences. But why should a being’s potential to become rationally self-aware make it wrong to end its life before it has the capacity for rationality or self-awareness?”
The one group that does not qualify for personhood in Singer’s world are newborn humans and brain damaged people of any age. These, he says, ought to have “personhood” legally bestowed upon them only after the approval of their parents or caregivers. Parents, he believes, should be given a month or so to decide if they want to keep their child, and only then should it have the protection of the law.
“We have no obligation to allow every being with the potential to become a rational being to realize that potential,” he argued in today’s piece.
“If it comes to a clash between the supposed interests of potentially rational but not yet conscious beings and the vital interests of actually rational women, we should give preference to the women every time,” he wrote.
What the Scotsman declines to mention is that Singer is possibly the most read, most listened-to, and most followed thinker of our times. So ubiquitous are his ideas in academia, government, and most prominent medical ethicists throughout the Western world that most people parroting them often have no idea they are following him.
A conversation comes to mind that I had many years ago over the internet with a man running for public office in the eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia. This man, a Unitarian minister, regarded himself as driven by his high ethical ideals. He was telling me in all earnestness that the real political task was to increase the general quantity of human happiness in the world. An unborn infant, he said, was not capable of being truly happy, because it didn’t have the cognitive ability to appreciate its surroundings. Therefore, the rights of the mother to her full measure of happiness must take precedence.
He was somewhat horrified when I countered that as a good disciple of Peter Singer he ought to be taking the argument a step forward and offering to include infanticide on demand in Nova Scotia’s public medical insurance coverage. After I explained who Singer was, he was shocked that such a wicked man could have become so influential.
Many people believe that philosophy is nothing more than a kind of academic playpen for tenured eggheads and unmotivated undergraduates. But philosophy is the foundation of our societies, how we decide what is and is not worth doing as individuals and as a civilization, what is and is not morally acceptable. Over the last few centuries, there has been a slow but massive shift, mostly unknown to us ordinary folks outside the ivy-covered walls, away from traditional ethics.
Philosophy and culture are inextricably connected, but it is usually only when a man like Peter Singer writes his ideas out loud in a daily newspaper that the general public starts to become aware of the origins of our current cultural sickness. But these new ideas have slowly grown their poisoned tendrils into every corner of human endeavor and strangled the basic notions upon which our civilization was built.
A lot of pro-life people got involved because of a single legal change, something that shocked and horrified them, the legalization of abortion or euthanasia. But it is crucial for pro-life people to understand the bigger picture, that the thing we are fighting is bigger than a single incident, or a single issue.
It is not about overturning Roe v. Wade or the Abortion Act 1967. It is about defeating an entire new philosophical culture, a system of thought governing all human action. This new set of ideas has created the abortionist regime we are fighting in the pro-life movement. The sexual revolution did not spring out of nothing in 1965.
Cross posted from LifeSiteNews.com with additional reporting from ProLife NZ.
There has been a bit of discussion going on around the place about screening for Down Syndrome having a therapeutic benefit. So what is the situation here in New Zealand? This post cross posted from the new Saving Downs website provides some excellent points and is well worth a read.
Firstly, Saving Downs position is outlined in our Mission Statement:
To ensure that antenatal screening exists only to provide unborn children with Down Syndrome and their parents with life-affirming, unbiased care through education, support and understanding.
This is because we are advocates for people with Down Syndrome. Our view is that antenatal health care should be just that – supporting those wanted pregnancies through health care. We don’t recognise a role for screening to be used to prevent the births of children with the extra love chromosome, that is selection and eugenics.
Earlier this year Saving Downs made a submission to the National Screening Unit on the draft guidelines for health practitioners for antenatal screening for Down syndrome and other conditions. We made our position clear:
Saving Downs acknowledges that people with Down syndrome have an inalienable right to life from the moment of their conception until natural death, a right to be free from discrimination, and a right to be treated on an equal basis with all.
Saving Downs supports the use of screening only to promote safe birth outcomes for those who wish to have access to screening for this purpose.
Saving Downs opposes any form of antenatal screening and diagnostic testing that targets, and prevents, the birth of unborn children with Down syndrome, or causes harm to any unborn child.
So, where does therapeutic benefit fit in to all of this? From our submission:
In medical considerations, a proposed theoretical scenario of benefit or ‘beneficence’ would need to be statistically more likely to provide therapeutic gain than the stipulated Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RANZCOG) foetal mortality rate. The benefit or gain it proposes would also need to be proportional to the significance of the hazard imposed on the tested individual, i.e. death. If these criteria are not fulfilled, then the test is non-therapeutic.
Invasive prenatal diagnosis carries a RANZCOG stipulated additional foetal mortality rate of up to 3% for CVS and up to 1% for amniocentesis (both in addition to the normal miscarriage rate), and with increased foetal mortality rates in trainee hands. This risk to the foetus is considered disproportional to the comfort of foreknowledge, and disproportional to the known facts that conditions whose managed survival outcome is deemed dependent on invasive testing are rarer than the testing death rate.
The difference between therapeutic and non-therapeutic testing is an important explanation to give to parents. We submit that pregnant women and their partners must be advised that the screening pathway is non-therapeutic and that must be made very clear in the outset for facilitating informed consent.
We submit that pregnant women and their partners must be advised that participation in the screening pathway imposes more harm than benefit to their unborn child, through miscarriage and morbidity due to diagnostic testing.
That’s all a bit technical. It simple terms it means that if one enters the diagnostic (invasive test) part of the screening pathway, then on balance the unborn child will exposed to more harm than good. So, we believe that parents who want the information to be prepared need to understand this risk before they enter the screening pathway.
There are other risks to, miscarriage rates have been assessed as being 6 to 8 times higher than average in trainee hands. And what about other harm to the unborn child other than miscarriage from the diagnostic test, that we never hear about? Again, from our submission:
Apart from foetal testing mortality rates there are foetal morbidity rates which the mother needs to consider before consenting to the screening pathway. Limb deformities, lung problems, infection and other consequences of slow ongoing amniotic fluid leaks have been well documented. This morbidity and other complications are not mentioned anywhere in the draft health practitioners document.
We submit that pregnant women and their partners must be advised of the mortality and morbidity rates associated with each test and the additional risks associated with trainee practitioners.
Wrapping all that up in our submission to the National Screening Unit we said:
The difference between therapeutic testing and non-therapeutic testing is one which will need to be made very clear in the outset, again for reasons of informed consent.
Screening cannot itself diagnose or identify. It can only point one in twenty mothers, those 5% of the whole New Zealand population who will screen at increased risk, to invasively test or not. Invasive prenatal diagnosis carries a RANZCOG stipulated additional foetal mortality rate of up to 3% for CVS and up to 1% for amniocentesis (both in addition to the normal miscarriage rate) with increased foetal mortality rates in trainee hands. This risk to the foetus will be considered disproportional to the comfort of foreknowledge, and disproportional to the known facts that conditions whose managed survival outcome is deemed dependent on invasive testing are rarer than the testing death rate.
Any scenario postulated of benefit, to be genuine, should be investigated with an invasive test done as late as feasible in the pregnancy, to avoid foetal death, and risk only foetal prematurity.
The difference between therapeutic and non-therapeutic testing is an important explanation to give to parents.
We submit that all misleading assertions overstating what screening can actually achieve be corrected.
We submit that pregnant women and their partners must be advised that the screening pathway is non-therapeutic and that must be made very clear in the outset for facilitating informed consent.
To summarise then, there are real risks associated with the invasive testing stage of the screening pathway. We understand that some parents want this information and we want them to be fully aware of these risks before making that decision.
As an advocacy group for people with Down Syndrome we only support screening for life affirming care and support parents who want to use it for that purpose. However, parents should be aware of the potential harm to their children if they enter the invasive testing stage. In medical terms the level of harm across the population exceeds any medical benefit that relies on a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Essentially it is a programme to screen Down Syndrome out of the New Zealand population.
Okay, so I’ve heard some pretty crazy pro-abortion sentiment in my time, but I think that Lynn Beisner’s opinion piece that has just been published in the UK guardian might just take pro-choice crazy to a whole other level.
Basically she starts her piece by bemoaning the personal stories of people who were conceived into difficult situations, and who say that they are grateful that their mother chose to carry them to term rather than to end their life before birth with an abortion.
She slams such stories as being nothing more than emotional blackmail – and then immediately goes on to tell her own emotionally charged story of hardship, stating that instead of being grateful for being born, she actually wishes her mother had aborted her before she was born.
So while it’s emotional blackmail to use a moving story of family hardship and personal tragedy in order to back up a pro-life position, apparently it’s perfectly acceptable to use a moving story of family hardship and personal tragedy in order to back up a pro-choice position.
Anyway, now that I’ve pointed out this glaring and totally unjustified double standard which hangs over Beisner’s entire opinion piece, let’s look more closely at some of the other logical inconsistencies that it contains.
“If we want to keep our reproductive rights, we must be willing to tell our stories, to be willing and able to say, “I love my life, but I wish my mother had aborted me.”
Um, yeah, I’m gonna need to go ahead and start by saying that I don’t generally believe people when they tell me that they “love” their life, but also wish that they were dead.
Maybe on planet pro-choice those two completely polar opposite sentiments can go together, but not here on earth (damn you commonsense for restricting our human freedom like that!)
“An abortion would have absolutely been better for my mother. An abortion would have made it more likely that she would finish high school and get a college education.”
Yep, OR she could have also carried you to term and then returned to her high school education later on, OR she could have aborted you and then gone back to high school only to drop out of high school subsequently for some other reason.
I’m hearing a lot of false dichotomy and totally unknowable ‘what if’ type scenarios here.
“At college in the late 1960s, it seems likely she would have found feminism or psychology or something that would have helped her overcome her childhood trauma and pick better partners.”
I’m sorry, but you haven’t actually presented any solid evidence as to why there would be any logical reason to assume that she would discover, or then even want to pursue either of these options. Why wouldn’t she have discovered horticulture studies, or a degree in theology?
And how does being a feminist or a student of psychology help one to ‘pick better partners’?
There are plenty of intelligent and well educated people in both of these areas who still have all sorts of horror stories about the partners they have chosen. Suggesting that studying feminism or psychology is a protector against bad relationships is about as valid as suggesting that studying carpentry will protect you from making bad financial investments.
“She would have been better prepared when she had children.”
Once again I am forced to ask ‘upon what exactly are you basing your totally unknowable assumptions here?’
If the stories of women who have actually experienced post-abortion grief are to be believed, then having an abortion could have just as easily created serious difficulties in regards to any future children that Beisner’s mother had gone on to have.
“If nothing else, getting an abortion would have saved her from plunging into poverty. She likely would have stayed in the same socioeconomic strata as her parents and grandparents who were professors.”
Once again, yet more totally unsubstantiated and completely unprovable assumptions – assumptions which obviously suit Beisner’s pro-abortion narrative, but are still totally unknowable and therefore really quite irrelevant.
If I am to accept these assumptions, I must first accept the totally illogical notion that carrying a child to term was the only possible way that her mother could have ever found herself in financial hardship or loss. Whose to say that Beisner’s mother wouldn’t have had an abortion, got an education and a career, and then gone on to make a totally imprudent financial investment that cost her all of her financial wealth and social standing?
“I wish she had aborted me because I love her and want what is best for her.”
Let’s put this another way to show you just how illogical and inhuman this sentiment actually is: ‘I wish she had strangled me as an infant because I love her and want what is best for her’, or: ‘I wish she had killed me when I was a more emotionally demanding and financially draining teenager, because I love her and want what is best for her’.
What Beisner is trying to suggest here is that:
a) a dead child is better for a mother because a live one incurs financial and other costs
b) wishing yourself dead is an act of love
The first proposition is quite clearly full of all sorts of flaws. Firstly, it strips human existence of its intrinsic value and instead reduces it to little more than a cost/benefit analysis where human worth can be negotiated away based on someone else’s wants, needs and desires.
Secondly, it assumes something that can never actually be known – that a mother would be better off if her child was terminated before birth. How could such an assumption ever be tested for accuracy, let alone even be remotely known for certain?
The second proposition is far more troubling, and it suggests an extremely unhealthy psychological state, and a worrying lack of healthy self-image on the part of Beisner. Basically she has weighed her life against the life of her mother and then deemed that her life has no value in relation to her mother’s existence, and that it would be okay for her to be killed if this would bring some benefit to her mother.
“Abortion would have been a better option for me.”
Once again I am forced to ask ‘how could anyone ever possibly know such a thing?’
And if abortion would have been a better option for you, then doesn’t it also logically follow that any form of killing you that would have resulted in benefit to your mother would have also been a better option for you? So if your mother would have benefited from killing you as an infant, a pre-schooler, or a teenager, then wouldn’t this have also been a far better option for you?
“If you believe what reproductive scientists tell us, that I was nothing more than a conglomeration of cells, then there was nothing lost.”
Ah yes, now this is the point where Beisner starts to move into proffering typical pro-choice slogans that aren’t actually supported by evidence or sound logic.
Exactly which reproductive scientists tell us that a fetus is nothing more than a conglomeration of cells, or that it is nothing? Embryology text books certainly don’t refer to human beginnings in terms such as this, and later fetal development – the point at which the majority of abortions actually take place – is definitely not spoken of in this way either.
So, exactly which scientists is Beisner referring to here?
And while we’re at it, if a fetus is ‘nothing more than a conglomeration of cells’, then so is an infant, a teenager, or an adult – in fact, we’re all just a conglomeration of cells when it comes down to it. All Beisner is describing here is the material make-up of the fetus (it’s a group of cells), but this doesn’t tell us anything about the nature of what the fetus actually is or whether it is a moral subject with the inalienable right to life.
A fully matured potato is also a collection of cells, as is an adult chicken, but that fact doesn’t tell us anything about whether or not they are moral subjects with rights.
So calling a living entity a ‘conglomeration of cells’ doesn’t actually provide any moral or ethical justification for Beisner’s pro-abortion ideology.
“I could have experienced no consciousness or pain.”
And neither does a sleeping person, or someone in a coma, or someone who is sedated, but that doesn’t mean it would be ethically right to kill them.
Once again, while this might be convenient slogan rhetoric for the pro-choice movement, it provides no ethical justification whatsoever for the act of killing unborn human beings.
Beisner does realize that killing someone who isn’t aware that they are being killed, or that killing someone who can’t feel the pain of their death can still be an unethical act of homicide right?
“But even if you discount science and believe I had consciousness and could experience pain at six gestational weeks, I would chose the brief pain or fear of an abortion over the decades of suffering I endured.”
Okay, so what ‘science’ was that again? Beisner still hasn’t actually stated which ‘science’ she is referring to with her suggestion that a fetus is nothing more than a ‘conglomeration of cells’ and that ‘nothing is lost’.
Also, why has she chosen ‘six gestational weeks’ as the magic point of reference here? Most abortions in this country don’t take place until around the 10 – 12 week mark.
Once again, her sentiment of ‘I would choose the brief pain or fear of an abortion over the decades of suffering’ should be something that gives us pause to worry about her current emotional and psychological well being – what she is effectively saying here is that she believes her life has no intrinsic worth, and that human value is found only in an ability to experience more pleasure than pain in life, and that it our worth, or lack of, is decided by others.
It is also quite clear that she is no longer in the state of hardship that she was earlier in her life (she goes on to state this very fact later in the piece), yet here she still states that she believes that she would be better offer dead than presently alive.
These are the sentiments of someone caught in some sort of tragic fatalism that is without hope, or belief in positive future possibilities or positive current realities – this is totally contrary to the kind of beliefs that normal human beings would actually comprehend about life, even in spite of past sufferings.
“An abortion would have been best for me because there is no way that my love-starved, trauma-addled mother could have ever put me up for adoption. It was either abortion or raising me herself, and she was in no position to raise a child. She had suffered a traumatic brain injury, witnessed and experienced severe domestic violence, and while she was in grade school she was raped by a stranger and her mother committed suicide. She was severely depressed and suicidal, had an extremely poor support system, was experiencing an unplanned pregnancy that resulted from coercive sex, and she was so young that her brain was still undeveloped.
With that constellation of factors, there was a very high statistical probability that my mother would be an abusive parent, that we would spend the rest of our lives in crushing poverty, and that we would both be highly vulnerable to predatory organisations and men. And that is exactly what happened. She abused me, beating me viciously and often. We lived in bone-crushing poverty, and our little family became a magnet for predatory men and organisations. My mother found minimal support in a small church, and became involved with the pastor who was undeniably schizophrenic, narcissistic and sadistic. The abuse I endured was compounded by deprivation. Before the age of 14, I had never been to a sleepover, been allowed to talk to a friend on the phone, eaten in a restaurant, watched a television show, listened to the radio, read a non-Christian book, or even worn a pair of jeans.”
Once again, not only could all of these things also be used to justify the killing of a child at ANY stage of their life (i.e. as an infant, as a teenager, etc), but they can also be resolved without any need for an abortion – by way of authentic expressions of care from familial, community and social support agencies.
Saying that abortion is the only way out of such a scenario is not only completely disconnected from reality, but it also shows, once again, a totally fatalistic view of the human experience – one where we are nothing but solitary creatures doomed to a life of meaninglessness and suffering if any hardship should ever befall us.
All I can say is thank God that William Booth, Peter Benenson or Augusto and Michaela Odone never embraced such a frightening and hopeless ideology about human existence.
“If this were an anti-choice story, this is the part where I would tell you how I overcame great odds and my life now has special meaning. I would ask you to affirm that, of course, you are happy I was born, and that the world would be a darker, poorer place without me.
It is true that in the past 12 years, I have been able to rise above the circumstances of my birth and build a life that I truly love.”
Hold on, so with one breath you imply that you are about to tell us that your life has NO “special meaning” or happiness, and that you haven’t overcome great odds, etc, but in the very next sentence you state that you have risen “above the circumstances” of your birth and you now have a life that you “truly love”!
Does Beisner not see how totally illogical and contradictory these two statements actually are?
And does she not see how the fact that she has managed to overcome the difficult hardships of her early life, and subsequently flourished into a life of meaning and happiness actually completely and utterly undermines her primary thesis that abortion is the only possible solution to a life of suffering and unhappiness?!
These brief couple of sentences completely change the entire nature of her argument, because what she is now suggesting is that even if a person is able to overcome hardships early in life, and then build a life of happiness and meaning for themselves, they would still be better off dead.
This isn’t just farcical, it’s perversely insane.
“But no one should have to make such a Herculean struggle for simple normalcy. Even given the happiness and success I now enjoy, if I could go back in time and make the choice for my mother, it would be abortion.”
So exactly who is it that says that no one should have to overcome adversity in life in order to achieve basic human happiness?
This statement is not at all consistent with normal human experience, where we all instinctively understand that enduring suffering and hardship and then overcoming it is actually something profoundly life-altering and enriching – she seems to be suggesting here that only an easy life is a life that can have meaning, yet instinctively we understand the exact opposite to be true in life.
And yet again Beisner states that she would rather be dead than actually be participating in the life of meaning and happiness that she now enjoys.
No folks, these are not the thought processes of a person with a normal healthy psychology – they are the sentiments of someone who has a very warped perspective on life, and who clearly sees no ultimate good in their own existence.
“The world would not be a darker or poorer place without me. Actually, in terms of contributions to the world, I am a net loss. Everything that I have done – including parenting, teaching, researching, and being a loving partner – could have been done as well, if not better by other people. Any positive contributions that I have made are completely offset by what it has cost society to help me overcome the disadvantages and injuries of my childhood to become a functional and contributing member of society.”
Once again, what we have here is even more unbalanced and inhuman sentiments about how she views her life, and her worth as a human being.
This kind of utilitarian calculation of your own existence is more like something that a cold and machine-like entity, something that is totally incapable of empathy and compassion, would state about the life of a human being. In fact, this sort of inhuman sentiment is more like the stuff you would expect to read in an Orwellian novel, rather than from a supposedly happy and well balanced individual describing their own life.
I think it’s also worth pointing out once again that Beisner can never actually know that the world would not be a poorer or darker place without her in it – this is actually totally illogical if you consider the fact that we would have been robbed of all of her positive and loving contributions and interactions with other members of the human community as a result of her being killed before birth.
She also seems to have completely missed the paradoxical fact that because of her former sufferings she is now in a unique place to be able to bring hope to others who are currently suffering through similar trials, yet the world would be robbed of this unique gift without her currently being present.
“It is not easy to say, “I wish my mother had aborted me.” The right would have us see abortion as women acting out of cowardice, selfishness, or convenience. But for many women, like my mother, abortion would be an inconvenient act of courage and selflessness.”
These final few sentences would have to be some of the most illogical in Beisner’s entire opinion piece.
Firstly, wouldn’t an abortion actually have been far more convenient for Beisner’s mother? Beisner actually devotes an earlier section of her column to giving us reasons why she thinks that abortion would have been more convenient for her mother, yet here she is claiming that it would have been an inconvenience.
And how could abortion be selfless if, as Beisner states earlier, putting her own interests first and having an abortion would have actually been beneficial for her mother?
And wouldn’t it also be correct to state that choosing to endure hardship in order to bring a child into this world is actually a far more courageous action then choosing to terminate the child in favor of an easier and more personally beneficial life (something that Beisner earlier suggested an abortion would have achieved for her mother).
See how utterly illogical and contradictory this section of Beisner’s opinion piece actually is?
“I am sad for both of us that she could not find the courage and selflessness.”
Beisner is sad that her mother couldn’t find it within herself to kill her while she was still very young?! Does anyone else not see how alarmingly disconnected from reality and human self-worth such a statement truly is?
“But my attitude is that as long as I am already here, I might as well do all I can to make the world a better place, to ease the suffering of others, and to experience love and life to its fullest.”
Hold on, so Beisner is trying to make the world a better place by advocating that other people just like her should be killed before they are born, and that this will make the world a better place?
No offense Ms Beisner, but I seriously doubt that too many people who have endured hardships (many of them far worse than yours too), which they have gone on to overcome in order to live a full and meaningful life, are going to be lining up to embrace your seriously twisted ideology which proclaims that they would be better off if they had been killed before birth.
I am sure that pro-choice advocates all over the globe will be fawning all over your opinion piece in the coming days and weeks, and many will be practically falling over themselves in the rush to elevate you to poster-girl status, but at the end of the day, such actions will prove just how deluded, disconnected from reality, and desperate the pro-choice camp have become in their pro-abortion mania.
You see, this piece is logically incoherent, contradictory and extremely dangerous in what it proclaims; that human beings have no intrinsic worth, and that only those people who will experience a good start in life have any value as human beings – while everyone who happens to experience suffering earlier in life, even if they have subsequently gone on to overcome that suffering, would be better off if they had been killed early in life.
Like I said folks, this isn’t the sentiment of a normal healthy human psychology, and if the pro-choice movement willingly embraces this schlock it will prove just how demented their ideology has truly become.
A new review of studies examining various types of prenatal loss and the effects on subsequent parenting has concluded that abortion may be “particularly damaging to the parenting process.”
The article, published in Current Women’s Health Reviews, looked at already published studies on miscarriage, induced abortion and adoption. The author, Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University, focused on psychological reactions to these various types of loss and discussed how they might affect a mother’s relationship with children born after the pregnancy loss. (1)
It is now known that women usually begin feeling maternal attachment in the early stages of pregnancy. The paper notes that despite the increased responsibilities and stress involved in raising children, “numerous studies have documented positive psychological characteristics associated with motherhood including increases in life satisfaction, self-esteem, empathy, restraint, flexibility and resourcefulness in coping, and assertiveness.” Losing a child before or at birth, for any reason, however, “can be a profound source of suffering.”
While all forms of pregnancy loss can cause emotional distress that can impact future parenting, the available research indicates that emotional responses after induced abortion are more likely to go unresolved and to persist for a longer time period.
While “society understands that women who miscarry or relinquish a child through adoption may experience sadness and grief; however, grief after socially sanctioned because abortion is not acknowledged by our culture as a human death experience,” and help to deal with the experience is usually not offered.
“In many cases, women may suppress thoughts and emotions related to an abortion, because they have not been able to process and or/openly express negative emotions,” Coleman wrote, adding that the lack of acknowledgement and support after abortion gives the “covert message that others would rather not hear what we have to say, and this makes it difficult to even identify our reactions to our losses.”
Finding help and support after abortion is further hampered by the belief that, unlike other forms of pregnancy loss, abortion is optional and therefore women experience less distress afterwards. However, having an abortion is “sometimes quite inconsistent with the woman’s true desires” (one survey found that 64 percent of American women who had abortions reported feeling pressured to abort), and many women, especially those who feel conflicted or didn’t want the abortion, do feel emotional distress afterwards.
“The best evidence regarding negative effects of abortion indicates that 20-30 percent will experience serious psychological problems,” Coleman wrote. “With 1.3 million U.S. abortions performed annually, a minimum of 130,000 new cases of abortion-related mental health problems appear each year.”
And while abortion advocates frequently argue that abortion is better than carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term, the evidence suggests otherwise.
Studies of women with unplanned pregnancies found that women who aborted had higher risks of depression, substance abuse and anxiety, and teens who aborted an unintended pregnancy were more likely to experience negative mental health outcomes than their peers who carried to term. Further, a recent New Zealand study led by a pro-choice researcher found no evidence that abortion provided any mental health benefits to women even in cases of unplanned pregnancy.
How abortion can impact parenting
The paper described a number of ways that a previous abortion can effect a woman’s relationship with her living children:
Increased depression and anxiety. Abortion has been linked to higher rates of maternal depression and anxiety before and after birth, which may effect the woman’s relationship with her children. In addition, depression is a common predictor for child abuse.
Sleep disorders and disturbances. Women who have had an abortion are more likely to experience sleep disorders compared to women who carry to term, and one survey found that many women attributed the sleep disorders to a past abortion. These sleep disturbances “could render the high energy demands of parenting more complicated.”
Substance abuse. Studies have found that women who had an abortion were more likely to engage in substance abuse, and also more likely to smoke or use drugs or alcohol while pregnant. Mothers who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to “engage in authoritarian and punitive parenting practices,” and parental substance abuse increases the risk that the children will suffer abuse or neglect.
Child abuse. Abortion has been associated with lower emotional support for one’s children and with a higher risk of child abuse and neglect.
Abortion has also been linked to higher rates of suicide and to a wide range of mental health disorders. Coleman was also the lead author of a study published in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, which found that the children of women who had abortions have less supportive home environments and more behavioral problems than children of women without a history of abortion. (2)
While the review noted that not every woman may experience psychological problems after abortion that will carry over into their personal relationships, “some women will have carryover effects into the parenting realm.” The paper pointed to a need for better screening and awareness of possible psychological problems after miscarriage, adoption and abortion, and for more research to examine the effects of abortion.
For more information on the impact of abortion, download and share the Elliot Institute’s free “Recent Research” fact sheet.
Cross posted from Amy Sobie, editor of The Post-Abortion Review, a quarterly publication of the Elliot Institute. The organization is a widely respected leader in research and analysis of medical, mental health and other complications resulting from abortions.
1. PK Coleman, “The Psychological Pain of Perinatal Loss and Subsequent Parenting Risks: Could Induced Abortion Be More Problematic Than Other Forms of Loss,” Current Women’s Health Issues 5: 88-99, 2009.
2. PK Coleman, DC Reardon, JR Cougle, “Substance use among pregnant women in the context of previous reproductive loss and desire for current pregnancy,” British Journal of Health Psychology 10: 255-268, 2005.
Media release from Right to Life New Zealand.
Right to Life welcomes the judgment of the Supreme Court. The judgment declined the appeal of Right to Life by three to two, it however:
- Affirms the duty of the Abortion Supervisory to enquire from certifying consultants how they were approaching their decision making in general.
- The Court noted that the Committee had the power to revoke the appointment of certifying consultants where inquiries the Committee makes, lead it to believe that consultants are holding views incompatible with the tenor of the Act. The Committee may refer to the Health and Disability Commissioner or the medical disciplinary authorities, the case of a consultant authorising abortions inconsistent with the abortion law.
Right to Life, is however, disappointed that the Supreme Court dismissed the first grounds of our appeal of the judgment of the Court of Appeal. This ground sought recognition that the Committee had the power to review or scrutinise the decisions of certifying consultants and form its own view about the lawfulness of their decisions to the extent necessary to perform its functions.
Right to Life notes that 98 per cent of abortions are authorised on the grounds of mental health. Right to Life also notes that a previous chairperson of the Abortion Supervisory Committee, stated in a national newspaper in 2000 that she did not believe that all these women were suffering from mental ill health and that consultants were using mental health grounds to provide abortion on demand.
This is an unprecedented judgment. It now places certifying consultants on notice that the Committee has power to make generalized inquiries into the way they are carrying out their functions. The judgment also informs the Committee that they were mistaken in believing that they had no statutory duty or power to make these enquires.
Right to Life expects that with the implementation of this judgment that:
- It should place restraints on the abortion on demand regime that prevails in New Zealand.
- It advances the human rights of unborn children in receiving the full protection of the law.
- It advances protection for the health and welfare of women from the violence of abortion.
Unborn children are the weakest and most defenceless members of the human family. Right to Life is confident that the government will ensure that women and their unborn will receive the full protection of the law afforded by this judgment.
This judgment is a positive step towards Right to Life’s objective of the legal recognition, that from the moment of conception every human being is endowed with human rights, the foundation right being the right to life. These rights are inalienable and universal. From conception, the new human being should be accorded the respect and protection due to the person.
Abortion is violence against women and their unborn, it is an unspeakable crime and a violation of the human rights of the mother and her unborn child. This is the justice issue of our era.
I was going to write today about how population is very important when it comes to measuring success in the Olympics. It should not be a straight “who has the most gold medals?” analysis. Instead, we can only meaningfully measure success by weighting the medal tally of each country by the population of each country. After all, larger countries have a larger pool of potentially good runners, shooters, throwers, cyclists, swimmers etc and this should be taken into account. However, after Jamaica’s success at the blue riband sprinting events this morning, I’ve suddenly decided that this isn’t so important… Oh well, at least New Zealand is still beating our traditional sporting rivals – Slovenia and Hungary…
So instead I’ve decided to look at an issue that we’ve covered before on this blog: China. Particularly, China’s human-rights abusive One Child Policy. With more women coming forward with their stories of forced abortions – in this terrible story the child was less than a month away from the delivery date – surely it is time that the Chinese government changed its policy? Well, it probably won’t merely because I (or anyone else from outside of the country) say so.
(As an aside, it is interesting thinking about the treatment of forced abortions in the West in the media. We allow abortions in restricted circumstances – although quite frankly the law is ignored in NZ so that we have abortion on demand – so we can’t attack the Chinese government for forced abortions on the grounds of killing a child and remain consistent. So, presumably, all we can get shocked about is the “forced” part. That is, the woman did not choose to have an abortion. Viewing a forced abortion in this sense only, what difference is there between forced abortions and common assault? Not to belittle assault, but it is practised very frequently by governments all around the world including China. So why does one case of assault make the international headlines? What makes forced abortions different? Is it because we recognise that something else is at play here? Deep down do we realise that a child (a member of the most innocent class in society) has been killed? Even if we do not want to acknowledge the implications of such a realisation? Aside ended.)
Instead, the Chinese government will have to decide that the benefits of the policy no longer justify its imposition. But as Yanzhong Huang argues in the Atlantic, despite coherent arguments against the policy on the grounds of China’s national interest, it won’t be changing anytime soon. First, there are enormous economic and social costs that result from the policy:
“…the policy is undermining China’s international competitiveness. According to a leading demographer on China, by 2013, with the growth rate of net consumers exceeding the growth rate of net producers, China’s demographic dividend growth rate will turn negative. A rapidly aging population (thirteen percent of the population is over 60, the retirement age for men in China) makes elderly care a major concern in a country where the social security system is still underdeveloped…In addition, the persistent male preference under the one child policy has led to infanticide, selective abortion, and female abandonment, which result in an extremely high sex ratio at birth (SRB). The current ratio in China is about 120, or 120 boys to 100 girls. Eight years from now, there may be 40 million more men of marriageable age than there are women in China. Already, the large number of young migrant male workers has contributed to a booming commercial sex industry in China.”
We’ve blogged about both of those issues before. The trouble is that even if these costs are acknowledged, there are other factors keeping the policy in place:
“The policy has created vested interests resistant to any significant change. Its largest beneficiary is the family planning bureaucracy, represented by the National Population and Family Planning Commission and its local branches. There is also the problem of institutional “stickiness”: the policy has become law and, as a “fundamental state policy,” enshrined in the Constitution.
But the largest hurdle is the mentality. Thanks to the three decades of persuasion and propaganda, many Chinese have come to accept, internalize, and reproduce the hegemonic view of the state about the necessity of sustaining one-child policy. Talk with ten people in China, at least six may tell you how population control is important for China’s development and how a shift to a laissez-faire approach will be disastrous for the country.”
If this is correct, then it seems to be much easier to impose a law of social engineering than it is to remove it. Perhaps other countries might want to keep that in mind…Finally, even if the policy is reversed, Huang does not see that it will make much difference to China’s low birthrate:
“…abandoning the population policy is unlikely to lead to a population surge that the Chinese leaders have long feared. The high living expenses will dampen the incentives for couples to have more kids. Ask any young couple in a major Chinese city whether they would like to have a second child if they are allowed to do so, you will get almost the same answer: No.”
So removing the policy will be good in that human rights abuses will no longer occur under it, but whether it will help with China’s dearth of girls or future workers is another matter. At least with a declining birthrate, China can look forward to dominating the population weighted Olympic medal tally, as well as the traditional one.