It seems the more controversial an issue is, the more sloppy the thinking and the more immoral the evaluation. Abortion is a good case in point. It is an issue immersed in convoluted and confused reasoning, and cloudy and questionable morality.
The bottom line is this: when people seek to defend the indefensible, their reasoning goes out the door while their morality plummets. Seeking to justify the killing of babies entails a hardening of the heart and the dulling of the mind.
Examples abound. Let me provide two recent illustrations of this. One is from a pro-abortion individual; one is from a pro-abortion government. Both seek to claim that women need the right to kill their own babies, and that somehow this is good for women. Both are dead wrong.
Today a letter writer to the Sunday Herald Sun denounced a pro-lifer by arguing that her body was “more important than tissue cells”. She also argued that “a large percentage of abortions are performed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy when the ‘body’ is a clump of tissue the size of a kidney bean”.
Of course she conveniently ignores the fact that she was once “tissue cells”. And what does size have to do with this anyway? Is she implying that the bigger something is, the more right it should have to life? In which case, if it is a choice between an elephant or her, I guess she loses out.
And the theory of the big bang posits that the beginning of the universe took place when something a whole lot smaller than a kidney bean burst into action. Big things can have small beginnings. Indeed, the human embryo from the moment of conception contains all the genetic code needed for this new member of the human race to grow and develop, complete with all the information needed to determine eye colour, height, sex, and a zillion other specific factors of this unique human being.
She also raises the old canard about this pro-lifer being a male and thus unable to carry a baby, making him unqualified to speak to women about their “reproductive rights”. But given that around half of all abortion victims are males, one would think that they should have something to say about all this.
It would make about as much sense to say a woman should shut up about rape, since she does not know what it is like to be a rapist. Moreover, this argument assumes the position that people cannot assess a moral issue unless they have first experienced it themselves. But that is like saying we cannot condemn slavery unless we have first been slaves, or we cannot condemn arson unless we have first become one of its victims. Does the fact that I am not Jewish mean I cannot speak out on the Holocaust? Whether an issue is right or wrong does not depend on one’s experience of it.
She concludes her circus of words by saying the male pro-lifer is probably against “stem-cell research that saves lives”. She seems oblivious to the fact that there are several sources of stem cells. The only ones saving lives at the moment are from non-embryonic stem cells, which are ethically unproblematic. The unethical embryonic stem cells – which she probably has in mind – have no runs on the board at all so far in terms of human therapies or cures.
So in typical pro-abortion fashion, this letter writer has managed to mangle logic and basic morality, all in the name of her pro-death ideology.
But governments can also be guilty of such madness. Consider a move to overturn the Howard government ban on overseas aid which involves abortion services to developing countries. The Rudd government is yet to declare where it stands on such a move, but the pro-abortion camp is in full voice, throwing around the empty rhetoric of how women need abortion services, otherwise they are in extreme danger.
This is another example of Orwellian doublespeak, and moral myopia. Angela Shanahan had a good column on this recently. She begins by disclosing the fact that she nearly died from one of her pregnancies. She sets the stage with these words: “Most maternal deaths are directly attributable to four causes: haemorrhage, which is the biggest danger (25 per cent of deaths), infection (15 per cent), hypertension (12 per cent) and obstructed labour (8 per cent). Where women work hard through their pregnancies on poor nutrition, as in Africa, they have the highest rate of miscarriage in the world. In such a climate, abortion is a desperate last resort.”
She argues that the pro-abortion lobby groups really do not have the well-being of women in mind, as they seek to convince the Rudd government to change its policy: “The pro-abortion mentality of these advocacy groups targets pregnancy as a dangerous condition, to be treated by ‘safe abortion’ rather than targeting the disturbing lack of prenatal care, vaccines, trained midwives, centres equipped for obstetric complications and transportation to those centres. In the obsession to expand abortion services for the poorest women, the groups ignore the fundamentals of prenatal and postnatal care.”
What women need in developing countries is not more contraceptives and abortion services, but basic health care. “From their sanitised Western heights, the logic of this self-appointed group simply equates to fewer children and fewer pregnancies, with better outcomes for everybody. But is that really so? The problem with this thinking is that it regards having children as the central problem of these women’s lives, but it isn’t. Instead, there is the painful fact so many of the children they bear don’t grow up, which we in the West are not faced with and don’t comprehend: poverty and disease kills their children. With a complete lack of health care, women must also risk their lives to have more children.”
Indeed, these anti-natalist Westerners completely misunderstand the needs of third world women who are extremely pro-natalist. “Children are not the problem for these women; children are the answer. The difference between my experience and that of a woman in Africa is good health care. Poverty and a lack of health care is not cured by family planning, especially not by the kind of ruthless, reductionist approach of the modern population planners, who are not interested in only maternal and child health. What place does abortion have in good health care for women who want children but have no adequate health care? For the poor and the powerless, abortion is obviously the last resort. To portray it as a right and a coldly rational decision – of the Western feminists and population planners – is perverse in the extreme.”
She concludes: the call “for 10 per cent of Australia’s aid budget to be assigned to ‘sexual reproductive health’ is not just plain silly but obscenely irresponsible”. Indeed. And this will be a real test for Kevin Rudd, who did his best before the election to convince us of his Christian credentials.
Killing babies is not in the interests of women or of men. Illogic and immorality are both required as pro-abortionists seek to defend the indefensible. Surely this is one of the major human rights issues of our day. It is hoped that logic and morality prevail, for the sake of not only the unborn, but for Western civilisation.