about the emotional numbness that can come with arguing about any topic frequently
enough. I’ve discussed and debated
abortion so often for so long that nowadays I find I tend to get angrier over egregious
errors in logic than I do over flagrantly pro-choice mentalities. I used to worry that this disconnect between
my personal views and my raw emotions was a signal of a lack of conviction, but
I’ve abandoned that concern. As Sirius
Black said (to geek out for a second):
my conscience. Maybe I’m fortunate,
because it’s a lot less exhausting that way.
connected to the abortion debate that does awaken those raw emotions that had
settled somewhere in the back of my mind.
And, like the last time I blogged about this, the awakening seems
to happen when pro-choice people candidly and fully recognize the humanity
of the fetus, yet are unwavering in their pro-choice convictions. It’s chilling.
people avoid any focus on the fetus whatever; they keep the conversation on the
mother, almost as if there were no other consideration in the debate. I don’t think most pro-choice people do this on
purpose—for many of them there is no
other consideration in the debate, and so they just don’t think about
mentioning it. When the fetus does get
mentioned, the verbiage is usually clinical and impersonal (e.g. “products of
conception,” “the pregnancy”) or, worse, antagonistic (e.g. “tumor,”
“parasite,” “invader”). This makes sense
to me. I can comprehend how someone who
sees the fetus in such terms would be pro-choice.
What catches me off guard are quotes like this:
“[W]hile she is pregnant, her decision to have an abortion
is like any other woman’s. How does this change when the unborn baby is no
longer unborn—no longer inside her body?
I’ve talked with two wise people about this question. One
said to me, ‘when the baby is inside the mother’s body, its death is birth
control; after it is outside the woman’s body, its death is something
else—maybe population control.’ He went on to suggest that we are, as a
society, a lot more comfortable with birth control than with population control
and that we might even consider the latter to be immoral.
The other wise person I spoke with suggested that we think
about it another way. The pregnant woman went to Dr. Gosnell to ensure that she
would not have her baby. She knew the baby would die. He did exactly what she
asked, although not in the way (we presume) that she expected him to do it.”
The author of this quote, “Jeannie,” insists “we should never deny that abortion kills an unborn child.” She says, “Women know this, and they have abortions anyway.”
I’ve seen too many people object to the phrase “unborn child” and stick
to ideas like “potential person.” I’ve
seen too many people recoil at the suggestion that abortion is akin to
infanticide. Women know that abortion terminates a pregnancy, and may acknowledge
that abortion will destroy a fetus,
but do women “know” that abortion “kills an unborn child”? Do abortion-minded women see the fetus as a child, and abortion as killing?
pro-choice because they’ve convinced themselves of a significant moral
distinction between a fetus and a baby, than that they are pro-choice because
killing “the unborn baby that is no longer unborn” need only be placed “in
broader contexts of our social mores and expectations.” If people are pro-choice because they think of the fetus as a “clump of cells,” then we still have more information
to give them, a chance to change their perspective. But if people are pro-choice because “an unborn child dies in each abortion” and “having
a part in these deaths is an important—and ethical—thing for us to do,” what
hope have we?
much, but writings like Jeannie’s leave me uncertain.