Posts Tagged ‘Abortion’

Who Created You?

A while ago I was in a coffee shop trying to work. Two post-high schoolers were sitting across the table from me talking, (having bought nothing). They both were all about “goin’ home and cutting some beats.” One played a song on his cellphone so we all got to listen to it. It was some sick beats and I mean that in the same sense that Huey Lewis and the News meant “sometimes bad is bad.” “Ah, kids!” I thought to myself. What must I have sounded like to people 35 years older than me when I was their age? Probably similar.

One said he had to wait for his mom to pick him up. The other asked him why and explained that the first kid’s mom should buy him a car. And this is where my response as a 20 year-old would have differed greatly from theirs.

“Who created you?” kid A asked.
“I know. I don’t wanna make her buy me a ride.” answered kid B.
“She created you so she owe you!” opined kid A.

This made my blood run cold. Various lines of post-modern thought collided here:

  • First, it highlights a horrible, unintended consequence of the pro-choice world we live in: post Roe v. Wade children see themselves as disposable.
  • Second, since mothers have a choice to not give birth to them, these children are only there because of mom’s decision and therefore mom is somehow more responsible for them. “If you didn’t want to provide for me, you should have aborted me. Since you didn’t, you gotta provide!”
  • Third, for all the talk about women’s “freedom to chose” and how abortion would liberate them sexually and socially, this places a gigantic burden on mothers; at least in eyes of their chosen children. Add to this the huge number of fathers who walk away since the woman chose not to abort and how is a single mother supposed to live with this kind of responsibility?

Abortion does not liberate women. It damages them and their children, both the victims and the survivors. I understand that sometimes women who become pregnant see a future that feels crushing. Any choice they make will have consequences for them and for their child. This coffeehouse conversation highlighted for me implications I hadn’t seen before.

Lord have mercy on us all.

Informational Chaff

chaff-in-windCarly Fiorina hit a nerve during the CNN GOP debate on September 16th. She cited the Center for Medical Progress sting videos of Planned Parenthood and dared Hillary Clinton and President Obama to watch the them. The deniers and apologists responded, claiming what she described never happened. It did (warning: graphic images in the linked video).

Robert Reich is a liberal who I like and listen to even though I don’t often agree with him. Reich was Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, he is an author, and an economist. He recently claimed that “The Republican assault on Planned Parenthood is filled with lies and distortions.”

In the Planned Parenthood debate, I agree that there are distortions and I won’t argue that Republicans aren’t capable or guilty of them, but in his post, it was Reich who did a fair amount of distorting. He starts by attacking Fiorina’s statement at the debate:

Wrong. In fact, the anti-abortion group that made that shock video added stock footage of a fully-formed fetus in order to make it seem as if that’s what Planned Parenthood intended.

This is a distortion of what was in the video. There was indeed one still picture of a miscarried baby, Walter Fretz, included in the video, but the child shown moving its leg had really survived an abortion and was left to die in a stainless steal pan. Reich linked to Politifact to support his claim that Fiorina was wrong, but Politifact is not an unbiased fact-checking source. And a still of baby Walter was included because he was roughly the same age as the aborted child. To disqualify the entire video because of this single image included for comparison is to miss the forest for a pine needle.

A strong moral case can be made that any society that respects women must respect their right to control their own bodies.

Here Reich begin mixes arguments and confuses issues. The videos are not intended to demonstrate that Planned Parenthood performs abortions, everyone knows they do. The videos document the fact that Planned Parenthood modify how they do these abortions in order to harvest and sell fetal tissue, often for a profit. This is in direct violation of federal laws. The move in Congress to block funding of Planned Parenthood is not because women can get abortions there. Federal funds may not be used for abortions and there is no proof that Planned Parenthood has violated that law. The move to defund Planned Parenthood is over their illegal harvesting and sale of fetal tissue.

This should have been obvious to anyone who has watched the videos or listened to Fiorina’s statement during the GOP debate.

Despite what Republicans claim, Planned Parenthood doesn’t focus on providing abortions.

Again, a man as obviously intelligent and well-read as Reich should not be making this kind of mistake. No one is surprised that Planned Parenthood does abortions. That still isn’t the issue. And all the economic data Reich then cites are nothing more than informational chaff. They are all most likely true and accurate but completely not the issue. What many Republicans have been asking for is to defund Planned Parenthood because of their illegal activities, and many are asking that the funding be sent to numerous community clinics.

Federal money can only be used for abortion in rare circumstances.

You see? Reich knows this and yet he writes as if Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood because federal funds are used for abortions. This one statement on his part renders most of what he’s been arguing moot.

Obviously, the crass economic numbers don’t nearly express the full complexity of the national debate around abortion and family planning.

Here we agree. If we have devolved the discussion to the point where killing unborn children is a good thing because it makes economic sense, we’re in big trouble. If “economic sense” is the criteria for the worth of human life, then a lot of other people who have had the privileged of being born are going to be in the cross hairs. The issue is complex specifically because human life is sacred. God created humans in his image, according to his likeness. This imbues humanity with great dignity and worth, unlike other animal life on earth.

When it comes to abortion we are dealing with two human lives; the mother and the baby. How do we decide which is more important or which gets the priority? Who should our laws protect? Pro-choice voices always default to cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother. Fair enough, let’s start by allowing abortions in those cases. That would eliminate something like 90% of the abortions in our nation. But don’t forget that in cases of rape and incest there are two innocent lives that the abuser is affecting: the woman and her child. That makes it profoundly difficult to reason through. Just because the unborn child cannot argue his or her case should not mean that he or she automatically loses.

It is indeed complex and Reich did nothing to help clarify it.

Please, Just Sit Down.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 2.30.47 PM

This showed up in my Tumblr feed. It amounts to a flippant joke about the serious, life-ending procedure of abortion. The responses to this joke demonstrate a tragically shallow grasp of rhetoric and ignorance of reasons for opposition to abortion. I wish we’d start teaching logic in schools again; clearly this was not an argument in any meaningful way and since it ignores opposing views, it isn’t even an adequate way to describe abortion.

The assumption is that abortion is a personal choice just like having children is a personal choice. But in an abortion, someone dies. Every time. I hope I made that point in my comment at the bottom: “Or stand up comedians. But thankfully, we’re not allowed to kill them.”