A recent commenter made so many common pro-abortion claims that I thought I’d post my reply as a “blogment” (a comment turned into a blog post). Sadly, these are common arguments, but they are easy to respond to if you do some preparation.
He had claimed elsewhere, among other things, that genocide, the Holocaust and starvation were bad but that abortion was not, and he wondered how I could equate them. I replied:
Genocide = dead human beings
Holocaust = dead human beings
Starvation = dead human beings
Abortion = dead human beings.
They seem similar to me.
The quotes are from the commenter:
Then I suppose you’re equating an aborted fetus with a conscious, adult human? Something doesn’t seem quite right there; unless, you are actually thinking of the adult human beings the unborn will grow into when you say abortion kills the same kind of human beings genocide and the other transgressions do.
What kind of fetus are you speaking of? If it is a human fetus then she is a human being at a particular stage of development deserving of having her life protected. She isn’t an adult, but neither are toddlers. Your rationale could plug in human toddler instead of human fetus and claim that the “toddler will grow into” being an adult, but it would still involve killing an innocent human being.
This is kind of what I was getting at earlier when I mentioned something about equating an unborn human being with one outside the womb. If you’re saying the fertilized egg is a human being are you saying there’s no difference between us and that egg?
Of course there are differences: Size, level of development, environment and dependency. My claim is that none of those differences gives rise to the right to destroy those human beings.
Does this sound reasonable to you? I’m pretty sure I have a lot more in common with a fish than a few cells. I’m pretty sure a newborn infant has a lot more in common with a fish than a dozen cells.
Fish aren’t human beings.
Personally, I would say that the fertilized egg has the potential to be a human being,
Then you would be in direct conflict with science. We aren’t talking about birth control here, which is what “potential” arguments relate to. The fertilized egg is a human being.
and I would add that I would love nothing more than to see that fertilized egg grow to be a wonderful individual who lives a fulfilling life,
but I would also say that in general the welfare and livelihood of those of us in the here and now takes precedence over those who have not yet entered the world.
I was afraid the last line was too good to be true 😉 . First, you haven’t demonstrated that the rest of us benefit when innocent human beings are slaughtered.
Second, even if it was true your claim proves way too much. It could be used to rationalize the destruction of the homeless, welfare recipients, etc. I am pretty sure you don’t mean to advance that argument.
They don’t call it “coming into the world” for nothing.
I don’t see why euphemisms would trump science. We also say women are “with child,” but I doubt that gives you pause on your pro-abortion views. Just because you can’t see the unborn without an ultrasound doesn’t mean they don’t exist on this planet.
“If you mother had paid someone to crush and dismember you in womb would it have had a “negligible impact” on where you are today? When your skull would have been crushed, would that have been a “potential you” and a “potential” skull or a real you and a real skull?”
I feel like these sorts of hypothetical questions are frivolous. If I had been aborted, there would have been no impact on where I am today because I would have never existed.
There would be nothing to have an impact on. Since that fetus would not be the same organism you are talking to, I think it is perfectly correct to say that fetus was the “potential me.” I think it’s pretty clear that that fetus is not me and that I am not that fetus, but that fetus would eventually become me. As for the skull question, it would have been the skull of the fetus that eventually became who you are talking to now, and nothing else.
That’s odd, because the unique DNA of that hypothetically dead human fetus would have matched yours exactly. And if the skull had been crushed you wouldn’t be here.
I suppose it depends on how you define “me,” or “I,” or “you.” I’m pretty sure when we say those things, we are talking about the present us. If you really want to get philosophical, the “me” you will respond to after I post this will technically not be the same “me” as the one who wrote this because some time has elapsed and we are all in a constant state of change/growth.
Try committing a crime then sharing that philosophy with the judge. I’ll come visit you when I’m doing prison ministry 😉 .
I’ll spell it out for you: There is a 1:1 correlation between the human fetus and the subsequent human being. If you arm had been ripped off in utero, you’d only have one arm now. That was you in your mother’s womb, not a potential you. It was you at that particular stage of development.
Because for all practical purposes they haven’t joined the rest of society until after birth.
They are unique human beings. Your made-up definition of who gets to be considered part of society has all sorts of ramifications.
Once that developing human leaves the birth canal, however, the responsibility for its development shifts from that of the mother’s body to society and however we consciously decide to treat it.
That’s a fine argument if you are trying to advance infanticide as well.
Keep in mind the reasons abortions take place at all. Abortions do not occur out of some malicious intent toward a potential human being (as the word murder most often implies). Abortions occur out of practical purposes directly related to the individual(s) involved.
You really lost me there. Abortions tell the unborn one or more of the following:
– You are going to cost me too much money, so I’m going to kill you.
– You are going to get in the way of my love life, so I’m going to kill you.
– You are going to hamper my career or education, so I’m going to kill you.
– You are going to be a burden to society, so I’m going to kill you.
– You have (or may have) a disability , so I’m going to kill you.
– You are the wrong gender, so I’m going to kill you.
How very practical.
This brings up the other big issue I have. We as the whole of humanity illustrate daily that we are not taking adequate care of the children we already have.
Then do something about it or persuade others to. That’s what I do with my own time and money. In the mean time, I don’t use that as a rationale to kill those in the womb.
Why would you want to protect the lives of so many unborn, unwanted children who would simply join the ranks of those who are denied the life they deserve?
I find better slaughtered than poor to be a profoundly bad argument. I won’t even go into how you justify the “life they deserve” bit.
I don’t have the personal experience, but I would imagine there is not a whole lot worse than being an unwanted child, a derelict and burden to society.
Then why aren’t you advancing the cause of destroying orphans and foster children? Think of the money we’d save while putting them out of their misery!
I would rather see all our children live equally fulfilling lives than a few who have been deprived in various respects. Do you think orphanages are more appealing than a properly functioning family environment?
Those are multiple false dichotomies: Kill the unborn or others will be unhappy.
If we allow our mothers to consciously choose if or when they have children, we go a long way to eliminating unwanted children, and consequently providing all our children with the lives they deserve.
That is an argument for birth control, not murder.
Why is what I’m saying not cruel? Well, for one, who is this being cruel to? I would wager that a human fetus doesn’t have the nervous capabilities to experience pain as we perceive it.
Neither would orphans if you just gas them in their sleep. Murder without pain is still murder. I find your argument to be very uncompelling both scientifically and philosophically.
It certainly does not possess consciousness as we know it. Certainly a fertilized egg doesn’t have any of these capabilities.
What I’m suggesting isn’t cruel because the subject doesn’t have the ability to experience cruelty, and as I’ve already said, there is usually little to no impact felt on anyone or anything by the existence of a new human being until the birthing process and afterward.
Again, very bad argument. Pain-free murder is still murder.
The unborn human being hasn’t actually experienced any life, so what life are we taking away?
Uh, the whole life? Using that logic it is only 10% murder to kill an old guy. That sentence makes the crime stronger, not lesser.
Why subject anyone to some form of unpleasantness or suffering when we can prevent it altogether?
Using your logic we should put over 90% of the world out of their misery.
I noticed something interesting about calling abortion “murdering an innocent human being.” What do you really mean when you say that?
I mean it is an indisputable scientific fact.
I realized something when I thought about all the other organic life that a fetus is most similar to. I mean just think about it for a second. If you were just holding a picture of a fetus and looked at its level of complexity, what other organisms is it most similar to?
What someone looks like at a stage of development doesn’t change what she is: A human being. And even with your “logic” most abortions are performed on human beings that are quite recognizable.
Cognitively speaking, there are thousands upon thousands of animals that possess a level of cognitive awareness closer to us than that fetus, but you say it’s still murdering an innocent human being, so I realized what you really mean when you say something like that is that we’re murdering the human being that fetus may or may not become.
That is scientifically false. She won’t become a human being, she is a human being.
When you say we’re murdering innocent human beings you’re really just mentally picturing the people those developing humans will become and saying it’s immoral to murder those fully developed human beings. You’re thinking in terms of potential.
No, I’m speaking in terms of facts and science.
Realistically speaking, however, we’re not murdering innocent human beings, because those innocent human beings haven’t even become a part of the world yet.
Really? What planet are they on? If they don’t exist on this planet then why have the abortion on this planet?
How many people does a bad economy affect? Would maintaining a healthy economy protect more human lives than abortion stops from coming into existence?
Your economic arguments are perhaps the most bizarre of all. Not only do they beg the question but they would rationalize the murder of those outside the womb.
Simply using the phrase “human being” seems to me a bit misleading.
Only if you are anti-science.
I am a human being; you are a human being; how can you logically equate the unborn with us?
Of course. They are human beings and so are we. Could I logically equate you with a newborn? Not in terms of size or age, but in inherent worth.
The only way I can possibly see you doing that is by thinking of the unborn not simply for what it is but for what it will become, in which case you’re thinking in terms of potential. If we’re thinking in terms of potential, we can’t literally be killing a physical human being like me or you; we’re instead killing the idea, the thought of that human being. Is it immoral to kill the idea of a human being?
That is gobbledygook. Seriously, if you think that view is accurate then women could just “imagine” that they are having an abortion.
Honestly, Neil, I think abortion is a sad state of affairs for any society; that circumstances permit individuals to find themselves in the process of bringing about human life they did not intend to is sad.
That is a bad argument. These people had sex. Pregnancy is a potential outcome of sex. They didn’t wake up one day and realize they’d had an accidental in vitro fertilization.
Do you find it sad that actions have consequences? Boo-hoo. But don’t kill an innocent human being over actions you regret.
If I had it my way, no one would ever have to get abortions.
Why not? You are fully convinced that they do not kill an innocent human being and you “know” they are safe, right? So they must be cost effective methods of birth control.
As it stands now, I’m more concerned with providing the kids we already have with the kind of life they deserve, and I think that if we can avoid consciously placing children in situations in which they are not reaping all life’s benefits I have no objection to doing so.
I don’t care how much you help the kids who are alive — though I wonder how much you are really doing — but I still find your “better dead than potentially poor” argument to be ghoulish and a horrible thing to say about most of the planet.
Major kudos for Stand to Reason, the ministry where I learned many of the arguments above, including the “trot out the toddler” technique and the SLED reasoning (how the Size, Level of development, Environment and Dependency don’t determine the worth of an individual).