Thursday, May 4, 2017

"How I Lost Faith in the Pro-Life Movement" Part 1

I came across this article recently through a Facebook post, and reading through the points the author makes, I decided it was a good idea to give a response to the points that she makes throughout her post. While the article itself was written nearly five years ago, it does bring up some objections that I would like to answer here. Many of the points that are listed in the article are common talking points brought up in discussions of abortion, and so it is helpful to understand how to answer them.

Overall, the article fails to refute the pro-life argument (P1: It's wrong to intentionally kill an innocent human being. P2: Elective abortion intentionally kills an innocent human being. C: Therefore, elective abortion is wrong.) and instead turns into a lazy mischaracterization of the pro-life movement as a whole, and pro-lifers who are politically conservative in particular.

The author begins by explaining her history with the pro-life movement:
"The spring of my sophomore year of college I was president of my university’s Students for Life chapter. The fall of my junior year of college I cut my ties with the pro-life movement. Five years later I have lost the last shred of faith I had in that movement. This is my story."
The first question I'd have to ask is whether the summer is a good enough length of time to have actually researched and come to a solid conclusion about the arguments for and against the pro-life view. Given some of the points that are made in the article, that doesn't seem to be the case.

The article talks about how the author, after growing up in an evangelical household where abortion was a major "political" issue, but while she was in college, she began to "question" her pro-life views.

She goes on to explain that it was a result of an article in the New York Times, detailing the issue of abortion's legality and it's rate of occurrence:
I was flabbergasted upon reading this. I followed the link to the summary of the study, printed the entire thing out for reading over lunch, and then headed off to class. As I perused the study over a taco bowl in the student union later that day I wondered why I had never been told any of this. I was shocked to find that the countries with the lowest abortion rates are the ones where abortion is most legal and available, and the countries with the highest abortion rates are generally the ones where the practice is illegal.
There does seem to be a growing skepticism of the ability to limit the right of criminal occurrences through an outright ban. The two most common issues where this skepticism prevails are the issues of drug enforcement and abortion. Of course, one needs to keep in mind that correlation is not causation. Just because abortion may be illegal in a particular country, this does not mean that outlawing abortion is the primary cause of higher abortion rates. A lack of effective law enforcement, cultural attitudes about abortion, and other factors need to be considered before it is simply assumed that banning abortion does no real good in the long run.
I learned that all banning abortion does is make abortion illegal – and unsafe. I found that almost 50,000 women worldwide die each year from unsafe abortions, and that many more experience serious injury or infertility. These deaths happen almost entirely in countries where abortion is illegal – and thus clandestine. In fact, when abortion was made legal in South Africa, the number of abortion related deaths fell by over 90%.
There is an obvious question begging here: Abortion became safer for whom, exactly? Did it become any safer for the unborn? The World Health Organization reports that around 40-50 million abortions occur annually worldwide, nearly 1,000 times the number of deaths worldwide from "unsafe" abortion.  If the unborn are human beings, just like the rest of us, then the author is in the very awkward position of having to argue that it is far better to intentionally sacrifice 1,000 innocent human beings in order to protect just one from an accidental death. That's absurd.

It is certainly a tragedy whenever someone loses their life in an abortion: Either a mother or her child.
Arguing that we need legal abortion to keep it "safe" is the equivalent of arguing that women have an inherent right to be kept safe from harm that may result accidentally, while committing an immoral act intentionally. The only way this would be worth considering is if abortion is no more than an elective surgery to remove an unwanted tissue mass, which is precisely what the abortion choice movement needs to argue is what happens during abortion.

The other "objections" the author brings up end up faring no better, as I will discuss in my next post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated. We reject all comments containing obscenity. We reserve the right to reject any and all comments that are considered inappropriate or off-topic without explanation.