The other day I was looking at some of the comments that were posted in response to the Prolife NZ Tour/Jill Stenek story that the Otago Daily Times (ODT) ran on their website and print edition following a tour we ran a couple of years ago.
Today I want to post a reply to one of the typical comments to so everyone here can benefit from the experience.
I thought I would reply to this specific comment because it is a veritable potpourri of pro-abortion rhetoric, and it is fairly typical of the stuff you’ll hear people saying in defense of abortion (unless they’re Judith Jarvis Thompson, and then they try to defend abortion with amusing science-fiction analogies).
Here’s what the commenter in the ODT said…
“With regards to civil rights, removing women’s right to do as they wish to her own body seems to be closely aligned to slavery. Until humans have complete control of their fertility there will be unwanted pregnancies and sadly, abortions. The question is whether the state makes abortion safe for the mother, or makes it illegal and so creates the conditions for dangerous and inhumane abortions. Of course, the wealthy will always be able to travel to access abortions, so making abortion illegal disproportionately effects the poor. The outcome for the unborn child is sad either way, as it is in countless natural terminations. We can legislate and preach but ultimately the rights of the mother trump those of her own foetus every time.
And the media’s swallowing of the terms ‘pro-life’ and ‘unborn child’ (=foetus – yes, right up to birth) could come in for a bit of criticism in this piece. I don’t know anyone who is ‘anti-life’, even amongst my most ‘liberal’ friends! The terms are sentimentalising and emotionally manipulative, and they don’t encourage the kind of clear thinking that is needed for these difficult issues.”
And here are my point by point responses to this rhetoric…
“With regards to civil rights, removing women’s right to do as they wish to her own body seems to be closely aligned to slavery.”
Not at all, unless of course you have confused what authentic bodily autonomy actually is.
It isn’t the power to do whatever you want with your body.
You can’t use your body to kill another person, or to steal a car or to assault a stranger in the street.
The law prevents you from doing any of these things with your body, but if we follow the logic regarding bodily autonomy that you are proclaiming here then laws prohibiting these things must also be acts of slavery too.
And if, as you claim, it is slavery to tell a woman that she shouldn’t abort her unborn child, then what it is called when you deny an unborn female her right to do as she wishes with her body by ending her very life?
“Until humans have complete control of their fertility there will be unwanted pregnancies and sadly, abortions.”
Short of sterilization human beings will never have complete control of their fertility, but that’s actually an aside, because the root cause of pregnancy is not a lack of fertility control but rather it is the decision to have sexual relations with another human being – and as anyone can tell you, that’s still the most effective way to make a baby.
So why should a baby have to lose its freedom of choice because you freely chose to engage in the most effective act for making babies, and then made a baby?
Doesn’t it seem even a little unfair to you that the child must now pay with her life for being brought into existence as a result of your freewill decision to engage in the act most likely to make said baby?
I think your comment here is also quite telling, because it is an admission that abortion is being used as a back-up contraception.
I really find it hard to get my head around the attitude that proclaims: ‘on well, we couldn’t stop a baby, so now that we have one we should end its life’.
“The question is whether the state makes abortion safe for the mother, or makes it illegal and so creates the conditions for dangerous and inhumane abortions.”
Interesting question. Emotionally loaded, but interesting none the less.
Firstly, I wonder how any abortion can be humane when EVERY successful abortion kills a living human being?
Secondly, I don’t recall it ever being the role of the state to make lawbreaking a safe activity for those who choose to violate the law – and having the state making illegal acts safe for those who want to indulge in them certainly isn’t a human right either, so I wonder why people keep claiming that the state must provide safe ways of breaking the law?
Actually, come to think of it, I don’t even think I’ve ever heard someone say that we need to have legal drink-driving to save drink-drivers from dangerous backstreet drink-driving that might cost them their lives.
And I can’t recall anyone ever asking for safe and legal armed robbery, or safe and legal rape.
So why is it that people think that safe and legal abortion must be provided by the state?
The only reason I can think of for this logic is because either:
The person doing the asking doesn’t actually realize or believe that abortion kills an innocent human being
The person doing the asking thinks that abortion is the one time where you should be able to break the law and do something bad to another human being (in the name of ‘freedom’ and ‘choice’ of course) and be provided a safe and easy way to do so by the state.
The simple fact is that no matter what law you are talking about, there will always be a group of people who break that law, and some of them will be hurt in the process of their illegal actions. But this doesn’t mean that we should scrap the law, or make an act legal purely because some people choose to violate the law, or get hurt in the process of doing so.
The dumbest way to make laws is to set the standard for what is legal, or what is not, based on the actions of those who actually break the law.
Heck, if we followed this logic we wouldn’t have any laws, not even laws against murder, because every year in NZ people break the anti-murder law in NZ, and some of them even die in the process of breaking it.
“Of course, the wealthy will always be able to travel to access abortions, so making abortion illegal disproportionately effects the poor.”
So, let me get this right, what you seem to be saying is: if the wealthy can kill their unborn children then why shouldn’t the poor also be provided the means to kill their unborn children too?
The wealthy can also travel to countries in Asia to engage in the molestation of children who are being pimped as child prostitutes.
So I guess you must think that’s a little bit unfair too?
After all, what about all those poorer people stuck back in NZ who want to molest children, but can’t afford the plane tickets to get to those Asian countrie, doesn’t making child prostitution and child sexual abuse an illegal act in NZ also disproportionately and unfairly effect them too?
What you have proposed here isn’t actually a moral justification for abortion as it doesn’t actually provide any sound reason why abortion is morally right/neutral, instead all you are doing here is suggesting that if one group of people can do something illegal because of their financial status, then why shouldn’t other groups who are less financially endowed also be allowed to do the same thing too via the means of legalization.
This argument also strays into the region of false dichotomy because it is structured around the notion that there are only two possibilities (be rich and get away with abortion, or legalize abortion for everybody to get away with), when in actual fact the third way could be to have laws in place to prosecute wealthy people who try and flout the law by going overseas to secure the abortion of an unborn human being.
“The outcome for the unborn child is sad either way…”
I’m sorry, but living a difficult life is still far better than being killed – and once again, you are proposing that someone else should make the determination of whether a smaller human being should live or die, and whether their life has value and meaning or not.
But neither of these decisions are ours to make for someone else.
“…as it is in countless natural terminations.”
Ah the old ‘natural wastage’ argument – ‘if nature sees fit to miscarry unborn babies then why shouldn’t we join in and kill a few ourselves’ is basically what you’re saying here.
The natural wastage argument is flawed for many reasons, but primarily because it is one thing for nature to take its course, it is another thing altogether for one rational and free human moral agent to kill another innocent human being.
Besides, if you go back 100 years many mothers died during, or just after childbirth, so I guess if its okay for mother nature to kill mothers in childbirth, then why can’t we do some of that sort of killing ourselves? After all, we’d just be doing what nature does sometimes anyway, right?
“We can legislate and preach but ultimately the rights of the mother trump those of her own foetus every time.”
Really, based on what?
You still haven’t given any sound reasoning to justify why you think that an unborn person should have no moral or legal status, and therefore no right to life.
All you’ve said here is that the big person should have the right to end the life of little person if the big person wants to do so.
What about 3 month old infants?
Do the rights of the mother trump the rights of the 3 month old infant?
After all, just like an unborn child, a 3 month old infant isn’t viable outside its mothers womb without the care and attention of its mother (or another adult), and it also makes very extreme demands of the mother’s body, and restricts her bodily autonomy.
So why should a 3 month old infant be allowed to impose its bodily rights on a mother if an unborn baby isn’t allowed to do this?
“And the media’s swallowing of the terms ‘pro-life’…”
Why would you have any problem with someone who is PRO every human being have the right to LIFE being called: ‘PRO-LIFE’?
Unless of course you find such terms too friendly, and you’d rather use derogatory and emotively misleading terms like ‘anti-choice’, etc, in order to create nasty false impressions about those who disagree with you.
“and ‘unborn child’ (=foetus – yes, right up to birth) could come in for a bit of criticism in this piece.”
How can you have any issue with calling a YET TO BE BORN human child an ‘UNBORN CHILD’?!
It’s not a chicken gestating in there, or the face-hugger from Alien, it’s a young human being, which is precisely why the Latin term ‘foetus’, which means ‘little one/little child’ is so very appropriate.
Hold on, I’ve just thought of a reason NOT to call it an ‘unborn child’ – when you call it an ‘unborn child’ that could lead people to realize that abortion kills a child who was going to be born before the abortionist got to her and ended her life, and of course that’s a bit too emotional, so using Latin terms is a way of linguistically distancing oneself from the brutality of the act taking place every time an abortion occurs.
“I don’t know anyone who is ‘anti-life’, even amongst my most ‘liberal’ friends! The terms are sentimentalising and emotionally manipulative, and they don’t encourage the kind of clear thinking that is needed for these difficult issues.”
I’m not sure what else you call it when someone is so opposed to an unborn baby being born that they are prepared to end its life – that seems like a pretty strong case for the use of the term ‘anti-life’, even if that term is used only to describe being anti the life of that one baby.