Apparently protecting embryos is more extreme than severing babies’ spines.

activists mock the most socially unpalatable aspects of the pro-life position.
Broadly speaking, pro-lifers believe human life is morally relevant when the
human organism begins: as a zygote. This means we oppose killing not only fetuses,
but also embryos and zygotes. And so, while we primarily object to surgical
abortion, many of us also object to embryonic stem cell (ESC) research, contraception
that prevents implantation, and aspects of in vitro fertilization (IVF)—all processes
the public tends to be a lot more okay with than abortion.
like to emphasize these objections, implying or outright saying we’re out-of-touch
zealots with whacked priorities. They paint a dystopian picture where women
can’t access the most common forms of contraception, people keep suffering from
ailments ESC could have cured, and infertile couples have nowhere to turn. They
usually go further and suggest we want
people to suffer in various ways, or at least we are indifferent to suffering
as we elevate the welfare of microscopic one-celled “seeds” over everyone else.
I have
plenty of problems with these assertions. It’s obnoxious when people ignore
your stated motivation in favor of the secret more sinister motivation they’re
sure you have. It’s equivocating to try to claim motivation is more about
effect than intent. And the dystopian predictions require a whole host of
assumptions beyond “zygotes are morally relevant” to actually come true.
But what
annoys me most is the hypocrisy.
If zygotes
are morally relevant, pro-lifers have to argue for socially unpopular opinions,
like that certain forms of contraception may be immoral. That’s true. But if
fetal life is morally irrelevant,
pro-choicers have to defend (or, more typically, wholly ignore) socially
unpopular realities, like that healthy
women abort healthy fetuses
4 months into pregnancy and beyond thousands of
times a year
. They abort fetuses developed enough that Planned Parenthood
can harvest
intact organs
. They abort fetuses developed enough to sometimes survive
the abortion by accident
Most Americans
consider contraception morally
; they’d likely be averse to a worldview that takes a moral stand
against certain forms of it. But at the same time, most Americans recoil at the
idea of late-term abortion of healthy fetuses carried by healthy women. I think
many simply don’t realize how extreme the American version of abortion rights
is. (Other first world countries have abortion laws more restrictive
than our own.)
when darkly predicting what pro-lifers want to do about contraception, ESC, and
IVF, pro-choicers are theorizing about what could
happen someday if XYZ factors come to
pass. But the dismemberment of late term fetuses is happening now. It’s
already a reality, and it’s not even a secret.

Remember last year when Carly Fiorina said
regarding the CMP videos?
Fiorina got
a lot of flack for allegedly making things up, but pay attention to the
nature of the objections
. People were quick to point out that the CMP
videos never had a scene exactly as Fiorina described. So the objection was
“There isn’t specific video footage of what she said!” The objection was not “Planned Parenthood never harvested
the brains of fetuses who were developed enough to have a heartbeat or kick
their legs.” You know why? Because Planned Parenthood has done that. They don’t
even deny it.
The entire
CMP controversy is a great example of pro-choicers ignoring the most perverse
aspects of the American pro-choice stance. The rampant accusations of edited
footage and public deception all focus on whether PP profited in their exchange of fetal organs for money, not on whether they
harvest fetal organs from late-term fetuses. They do. But sure, let’s talk more
about what
might happen with the copper IUD
and ignore that we’re ripping babies
(Yes, I said
“babies.” I get objecting to calling a zygote or blastocyst a “baby” because of
the completely different imagery the word brings to people’s minds. But when
I’m talking about fetuses at
this level
Objecting to calling ^that a baby is, to me, just another way of trying really hard to
pretend this isn’t happening.)
The typical
pro-choice defense here is that late-term abortions are due to fatal fetal
abnormalities or threats to the mother’s life. It’s no doubt true that,
proportionally, late-term abortions are more likely to be for those reasons
than earlier term abortions are. But what research we can find indicates most late-term abortions aren’t done for those reasons. Pro-choice activists try to use heartbreaking
stories of planned pregnancies gone horribly wrong to sidestep the more common
scenario of healthy late term fetuses aborted in far less dire situations.
For the most
part Americans seem to take the “abortion is a necessary evil” perspective. On
average, Americans think early term abortion ought to be legal but remain divided
on its morality
and resistant to late-term abortion. And yet we already
have the regular destruction of fetuses who were so developed all but the most
insistent pro-choicers would recognize them as babies.
How much
darker would things get if more of America moved from a pro-choice perspective to a pro-abortion one? We’re not even getting
into what could happen if our society switched from “abortion: the necessary
evil” to “abortion: the responsible, empowering, moral choice.” We’ve already
had glimpses of that world, with issues like renaming
“infanticide” as “after-birth abortion,”
claiming that “killing a newborn baby is
never equivalent to killing a person
,” and resisting requirements to try to save the lives of babies who accidentally survive
And this is
what I mean by hypocrisy – pro-choicers bash us for being concerned about
aspects of IVF, but what does the average American have a bigger problem with?
IVF clinics possibly shutting down someday, or people tearing
babies’ legs off
now? Which
worldview really has the extreme repercussions here?
Note I’m not
saying pro-choice people are all okay with late-term elective abortion. I
think–and polls
back me up–that most of them are pretty uncomfortable with it. But I am saying it’s a fact of the American pro-choice
political platform. And late-term elective abortion isn’t the only extreme
aspect of this platform.
This is the platform
that forgives Planned Parenthood for failing
to report
or, worse, covering
rape and sex
. It’s the platform that has inspired Sanders
to vote multiple times against criminal penalties for harming a fetus during
the commission of a crime. It’s the platform that had Obama voting against
legislation to protect preterm infants who accidentally survive abortion—because
such protections would “undermine Roe v.
Do you
follow that? What does it say about American abortion rights if they’re threatened
by specifying legal protection to born
babies whose parents had wanted to abort? Obama isn’t the only one who sees the
problem. When Gosnell was found guilty of severing
the spinal cords
of born babies, some abortion rights supporters objected
to him being charged with murder
—because what he’d done was so similar to
late-term abortion. You’d think this similarity would suggest a problem with
late-term abortion, but apparently instead it’s a problem with how society
reacts to killing born babies. We are through the looking glass here, guys, and it’s not the pro-life side that pushed us there.
And while
most pro-choicers wouldn’t go so far as to outright defend Gosnell’s
infanticide, plenty did follow the same strategy they typically follow when we
get to the edges of the pro-choice position: “If
we just don’t talk about this
, maybe it will go away. Let’s keep pretending
our defense of abortion has no relation to literal murder.
Maybe we should write a snarky blog about how pro-lifers are suspicious of the

I think the
most relevant abortion debates take an unblinking look at early term abortion
and discuss its many moral, legal, and social factors. But I don’t think every
single abortion debate has to focus on only the most common forms of it. I think it’s fair to look at the trickier, less socially acceptable implications
of a perspective (be it defense of zygotes or lack of defense of newborns). But if pro-choicers are going to scrutinize the edges of our
side, they should have the courage to look as critically at their own. 

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