I have actually dumped quite a bit of time and energy into this post. I have been shaping it since the epic discussion we had on MLK day. There were a few things that came up in the abortion discussion that I couldn’t, in good conscience, allow to pass unchallenged. (A few other things came up that were as challengeable logically, but that I am letting pass, for now, in the interest of sticking to the point).
In the course of putting this together, I had two epiphanies that I want to share.
Victory is a mathematical certainty. The lifers are going to win. The only question is how long it will take and what the final cost in lives (and souls) will be.
Its hard to explain exactly how I know this, except to say that Pre-Civil war many knew that slavery would have to end some day. A culture cannot be built on injustice forever. The culture either changes or is destroyed.
The structure and substance of many (if not all) the choicers arguments in favor of legal abortion are not designed to win the debate. They are only designed to prolong the debate- to put off defeat for their side as long as possible. It is almost as if there was a mastermind inventing the choicers talking points who knows that he/she/it has no hope of ever winning the debate and is only playing for time.*
I want to examine two of these talking points that came up in the MLK day discussion, noting particularly how they do not attempt to address the question of the morality of abortion, but instead, seek to draw attention away from it.
The Rape Exception
The amount of time/space/energy/matter expended on this exception made me do a quick Google on the topic to find out just how frequent the rape/abortion combo is. The first set of stats I found are as follows:
About 0.3% of all abortions are to end a rape/ incest pregnancy. (0.3% NOT 3%.)**
Cases of risk to maternal health or life, 1%.
Over 98% of abortions are elective. http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html
I’m thinking we should do something to save the 98% first- then we can sit down and have the rape exception debate and take our time over it.
In CS Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, he discusses an technique that the devil uses to keep the world as screwed up as possible: get people running around with fire extinguishers during a flood. I believe the discusson of these very rare exceptions are exactly the sort of distraction Lewis is trying to warn about.
Another thing CS Lewis discusses in Screwtape is how the devil, when he finds that he can’t destroy someone’s compassion or charity, he instead tries to make that persons charity and compassion as useless as possible by directing it where it will do the least good and require the least action/change in one‘s day-to-day life. In this case, I think many basically kind people on the choice side of the fence have allowed their natural compassion to become directed exclusively to a very small percent (0.3%) the population, thus effectively destroying, or at least neutralizing, their compassionate instincts for the unborn.
I’d like to consider the rape exception as a closed topic for now-please no more discussion on this point- when Roe v. Wade is overturned, I’m good with a rape exception.***
Another thing that I noted in our discussion about abortion was how often simple semantics and imagery came up:
“I'm trying really hard to be respectful of feelings here, but I find the term "pro-choice" really offensive,…”
“…Also consider that in the first trimester, the fetus isn't even a fetus yet - it's a grouping of cells with no heartbeat, and no brain activity. Call it killing a baby if you want…”
My take is - come on kids- its just words. We all know what the other side is talking about. I’m personally good with being called anti-choice (or anti-death for that matter). I mean, I am anti-choice, in this case. (yada yada with the rape exception and the danger-to-the-life-of-the-mother exception, obviously)
I could (and have in earlier drafts of this) gone on and on about the thin attempts to soften the emotional impact by using terms like “Cell mass” instead of “baby” (the term “abortion” itself is deliberately bland)- and about the historical precedents for verbally dehumanizing the enemy****…
But really, ultimately, what is the point?
What difference does it make what you call it? None.
The semantics are intended to keep people from thinking about the real question.
-Which is (you sub in your preferred terms below):
“Should it be legal to do A to B?”
A: Abort, kill, terminate, remove, slaughter, end, murder
B: Baby, cell mass, organism, fetus, child
An unborn child dies every 25 seconds. Time is precious.
Thanks for reading-
*Many cultures believe in such a mastermind- they name him Coyote, Loki, Satan.
**Rape-pregnancy abortion and Partial-Birth abortion appear to be more or less equally uncommon.
***Moreover, it appears that the majority of women who become pregnant as a result of rape elect to carry the child to term.
****It’s a constantly repeated theme in the history of war- the idea being its easier, emotionally, to kill something if you don’t have to think it as human. Nazi propaganda dehumanized the Jews, American propaganda dehumanized the Germans and the Japanese and of course (see original post http://johnseverfanclub.blogspot.com/2008/01/my-thoughts.html ) its how we justified slavery. In at least one sense, “Cell mass” is the modern equivalent of words like Jap, Krout, Gook, and nigger. But using such dehumanizing terms does not change the humanity of the person described, it only dehumanizes the person doing the describing.