It is pretty easy to stand on a street corner with a huge sandwich-board covered in pictures of fetuses and just yell “abortion equals murder”. No need for discussion. No attempt at consensus. You aren’t converting anyone or influencing anything, rather you have chosen to just scream your view. Very effective.
Not long ago I had a discussion with a friend who asked me why being pro-life isn’t forcing my opinion on others. It is a good question and it is one I know a lot of true conservative leaning people consider because true conservatives refrain from forcing opinions on others. I told her that since life begins at conception, abortion is ending a life, and that is not OK. We have laws against ending the life of a human being already. She said she understood that, but why isn’t my belief that life begins at conception and that abortion is murder forcing my opinion on others.
Well, that is the argument in a nut shell, isn’t it?
Let’s start by talking about some terms. Murder is not a neutral term. It means to end life and implies malice. In most cases, abortion is not murder…it is homicide. Homicide is simply one human ending the life of another and does not imply any motive. It could be due to passion, hate, greed, an accident or a perfectly legal motive like self-defense. Certainly someone who defends their life by shooting someone is not a murderer, right? In the same way, people who have an abortion are not committing murder because they are not doing it with any malice. In the opinion of most they are simply having a medical procedure done to remove a cluster of cells.
Now to the meat of the argument. At what point does life become a life? What characteristic is acquired or plateau reached where there is no doubt that a life has been created? In human development the point of conception is that point. Sperm can never go back to being sperm and egg will never be an egg again. Conversely, no matter what, without bringing together both sperm and egg, there will never be life from only sperm or only an egg. Like baking a cake. You have some eggs, flour, and milk, but until you mix them, they will never be a cake. Once they are mixed, there is never a way to get the eggs, flour, or milk back out and from that point on it’s a cake. There is no other point in human development that is anywhere near as similar as conception. Once the baby is conceived, from that point on it is a life.
I’ve asked many pro-choice people the question….when does a life begin? Some of the answers:
1) At birth. I asked if it was OK with that person to abort a pregnancy in the 9th month. Not surprisingly, no answer back. I believe that he had some more thinking to do.
2) After the first trimester because that is when it takes the shape of a human. Well, this is along the lines of the current law, but I do not accept aesthetics as the definition of life. It is also a broad time frame, and not a single moment in time like conception. A lot of things can take the form of a human, but not be a life.
3) When the baby can feel. Nerves are developed pretty early, but again, this is too broad a time frame for my comfort. How can you possibly check this and get it right every single time? And what if the baby never develops the ability to feel because of some rare condition? Can we abort at age 40? Extreme, but I think the point is clear.
4) It is between the patient and doctor. No way. This is not an answer. One thing I learned growing up with a father who is a doctor and a mother who is a nurse is that the medical field is all over the map. I remember as a kid hearing about what quacks chiropractors were and how none of it was based on science, according to my parents. As an adult when I had back problems, my parents both suggested I look into finding a good chiropractor. Times change. I appreciate the medical field’s contributions to society, but in no way am I ready to leave this type of decision ambiguous and open to the opinions of every individual doctor practicing medicine today.
5) When there is a heartbeat. This is as close to an acceptable answer as I have heard. This one made me think. I still believe that the point of conception is a much stronger argument, but this answer at least showed the person thought it through.
The political party most concerned with making sure abortion is legal is, of course, the Democratic Party. According to their website they want to make sure abortions are “less necessary” and “more rare”. Abortions are not necessary at all or ever. While the Democratic Party looks up to see what the definition of “is” is, perhaps they can flip the pages a little and find the definition of “necessary”. As far as becoming “more rare”, if an abortion is simply a procedure a woman chooses to have, then why the need for them to become “more rare”? Why can’t women use it as a form of birth control if there is nothing wrong with it? Because there is something wrong with abortions. Most reasonable pro-choice people know this and most conservatives are not shocked to see the Democratic Party adopt hypocrisy as policy.
What about if the life of the mother is in danger? Rep Ron Paul was asked this question by the hard hitting new hounds on The View. He answer was that he was a medical doctor and his specialty was OBGYN. He delivered over 5,000 babies and he never saw a situation where the life of the mother was in danger unless she had an abortion. I believe him. This reminds me of the saying “hard cases make bad law”.
This brings us to Roe vs. Wade. You cannot have an abortion discussion without bringing up Roe vs. Wade. This is the Supreme Court decision that allows abortions to be legal based on the “penumbras of privacy” throughout the Constitution. That’s right. Penumbras. The shadows cast by planets on to other planets. There isn’t much else to say about this decision when it comes to abortion. What is not said enough about this decision is that Roe vs. Wade was horrible. Not just because of what it did for abortion, but because of the consequences (intended or unintended) that came along with it. This decision gave the Supreme Court power it was not meant to have. Roe vs. Wade was the most blatant example of legislating from the bench ever. No matter where you stand on abortion, even if you are happy that this decision made abortions legal, no good comes from the Supreme Court’s ability to twist the Constitution and rule based on “penumbras”.
I do not to take my opinion and scream it in the face of someone who disagrees with every nuance of my opinion when it comes to abortion or any other subject because it will only make the other person dig their heels in. People who are militantly pro-choice will never change their mind. They have become too emotionally invested. If you are pro-life, stop looking at abortion as murder and treating pro-choice people as murders. Start influencing people to come to your conclusions based on logic and discussion rather than emotion and shouting. The majority of people who are pro-choice are on the fence and uncomfortable. They haven’t given the subject much serious thought. If you are one of those fence-sitters, give the subject more thought. Consider some of the more serious questions about abortion. Ask yourself, “When do I believe a life begins”.