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"When we consider that women are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." Elizabeth Cady Stanton



Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Back to the Question: Why Aren't More Pro-Lifers Violent?

A long while ago I wrote a response to a post by Ben From Canada, who claimed that if we pro-lifers really think the unborn are human, then we would do more to protect them. Essentially, his point was that we would resort to violence to save lives - by killing abortion clinic workers / bombing abortion clinics / (fill in whatever violent act you can think of).

Violence is totally the way, yo! Oh wait ...

I made the very obvious point that we are pro-LIFE - as in pro-[all human life]. Apparently he didn't quite understand that, because he wrote a response to the Anti-Abortion Gang's answer to his claims. I've been meaning to answer his blog post for ages now, just because I really do believe that a lot of people have opinions that are similar to his, but then I got really busy with school and forgot about it. Lo and behold, I'm procrastinating studying for an exam, and I find a link to his post as I am sorting through old bookmarks. So I suppose I will procrastinate even longer by finally responding to his claims. Hopefully others who share his point of view can get something out of my response.

So, before I get into the nitty gritty, let me just state once and for all: the pro-life community at large condemns violence and seeks to change our culture of death into a culture of life through peaceful protest, and practical aid to pregnant women and young parents.

Now lets deal with Ben From Canada:

"I’m not a “clump of cells” and neither are you. I’m a complex organism. This is not."

This is also not what is killed in an abortion. Ignoring the fact that even humans at their earliest stages of life are still humans, women typically find out that they are pregnant about two weeks after implantation (so ~four weeks into the pregnancy from my understanding) - at which point, the baby is already an embryo and looks like this. Its actually quite a complex organism at this point - it is already developing the neural tube, lungs, intestines, urinary system, placenta and umbilical cord. Not quite a "clump of cells", even according to Ben From Canada's point of view. Most abortions occur at less than 9 weeks. Hardly a clump of cells at that point either.

"pro-life doesn’t care about life. You a very large percentage of you guys support war and the death penalty. I would have linked a source to both of these, but one only needs to look at the Roman Catholic Church and every prominent conservative politician anywhere (especially in the USA) to see this."

First off, pro-lifers do care about life. I don't know anyone who thinks that war is a good thing, but I do know plenty of people who believe that there are things worth fighting for - in the proper context (a classic example would be fighting in WWII against Nazi Germany). Secondly, pro-life opinions on the death penalty are varied. I am against the death penalty, but many pro-lifers make the case that there is a huge difference between executing a rapist and murderer like, for example, Paul Bernardo, vs. killing an unborn baby who is literally innocent of any crime. Furthermore, support for the death penalty doesn't automatically mean you're against abortion.  Nor is it the case that conservatives are always against abortion. As for what the Catholic Church teaches, I will simply refer the readers to the Catechism (emphasis my own):

2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

So that means, in developed countries where we have a system that is able to imprison criminals for life, the death penalty is morally wrong.

Moving on.

"[T]he Trolley Problem. There are many variations, but all are essentially the same: You’re presented with a choice to doom one person or 5 (it’s always 1 and 5, it seems) [...] Yes, you’d be killing a person, but you’d be saving many lives, although it wouldn’t be even close to 1/5…it would be 1/several hundred [...] But doing something that won’t do anything is the exact same as not acting, and as I said before, abortion won’t be illegalized in anywhere that it is currently legal, at least not in our lifetimes. Peaceful protests will not make a difference."

Well, this argument assumes that killing abortionists and bombing clinics will make a difference, while peaceful protests will not. The author conveniently ignores the fact that pro-lifers have made a lot of strides in the past year, all through peaceful means. I claim that violence will not further our cause, in fact, it will hinder it. You can read my previous response as to why this is. Or you can just trot over to any pro-abortion blog and look for posts about violent pro-lifers, and see for yourself how little good violence does. Furthermore, in a simple Google search, Poland popped up as a country that had legalized abortion, and then made illegal again except in cases of rape, serious fetal abnormality, or to save the life of the mother. Additionally, Poland is becoming increasingly pro-life, with 75% of young people in favor of a total ban. So there is definitely a chance that abortion will be made illegal "somewhere that it is currently legal" in our lifetimes - all without a violent uprising.

"So, the only real way to save “babies” that will work is, essentially, terrorism."

Or pro-lifers could provide help to pregnant women. Or pro-lifers could pray at abortion clinics. Or pro-lifers could lobby governments for stronger abortion restrictions. Or pro-lifers could lobby for better treatment of pregnant women in the workplace and at school. Finding statistics on how well these things reduce abortions is hard to do because of the rhetoric on each side of the debate, but here's one estimate that ultrasound laws on their own reduce the abortion rate by ~10%. Never mind that giving women other options besides abortion is simply good practice, and is a great way to give women who don't want abortions a way out when they feel trapped. Planned Parenthood is notably lacking in this regard, so there is a lot of room for pro-lifers to improve and balance out crisis pregnancy care.

"Perhaps individual pro-lifers are OK with recreational sex and legitimately think they’re not opposing women’s rights by supporting the pro-life lobby. However, the vast majority are sexually repressive and at least somewhat misogynistic (note that the most outspoken pro-life organization, worldwide, is the Catholic church, which as an organization is more misogynistic and prudish than anyone outside of al-Qaeda) ..."

Nice anti-Catholic rant. How about learning about what Catholic women think about their faith before claiming we are just a shade less misogynistic and prudish than anyone outside of al-Qaeda? Also, "vast majority" is a really strong word. Its interesting how this blog post started with the thesis that pro-lifers should do more to save babies lives, and turned into a rant against what he feels are our beliefs.

"And even worse than this are the various personhood laws that have been proposed that outlaw birth control pills and miscarriage."

I'm curious, how exactly does one outlaw miscarriage? Miscarriages are people dying naturally. One might as well try to outlaw death from old age or disease. The "personhood amendments outlaw birth control pills" position is a somewhat more understandable position considering pro-life leaders just can't agree on that one.

And in the end, we finally get back to the point:

"Note that I’m not trying to advocate terrorism. I’m glad you guys don’t really think that embryos and zygotes and whatnot are people. I just wish you’d be more honest about what you really think."

So I guess what readers are supposed to get out of this blog post is that, unless we're willing to protect unborn babies by any means possible, we don't truly believe that they are people. So, according to Ben from Canada, the White Rose resistance to Nazism did not really believe that Jews were people, since their goal was to instigate a non-violent, intellectual movement against Hilter's regime. And Ben From Canada must also believe that other non-violent civil rights leaders, such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr., did not believe in the personhood of the people they were supporting since they also advocated for non-violent activism.

But instead of giving up and declaring the pro-life movement secretly pro-choice at heart, I'll simply let history speak for itself. So dear readers, do non-violent protests really constitute a denial of personhood?

1 comment:

  1. Funny how pro-lifers are hypocrites because they support bombings, and then they're hypocrites for not supporting bombings.