So recently I came across this post on Facebook posted by an organization called “Let Them Live.” I thought it gave a perspective not often discussed but gives you some insight into the impact that abortion has not just on women but on families. I also found an interesting and common pro-choice response in the comments section. Afterwards I do a breakdown of the pro-choice response and the logical and compassionate flaws that I found in this person’s argument. So here is the post:
Let Them Live:
“Everyone, meet Kelly.
She was born and died March 31st 1995.
Her life was taken due to a test that said she would have Down Syndrome.
My mother was injected with a solution, that put her into labor.
Kelly was born, and as you can see, was born blood red.
She lived for 45 minutes while the solution slowly burned her insides.
The hands you see in the photo are my fathers. He held her until she finally passed away.
He had no say in this decision, he wanted his daughter, regardless of some test.
She would have been loved unconditionally, by a father and her sisters.
Now, I’ve spent 20 years asking why, why was she taken from me?
I’ll never forget sitting on the couch being told my sister was never coming home from the hospital.
Wondering in my little mind what went wrong, how did this happen, why would God kill an innocent human being?
It wasn’t until I caught my dad a few years later, in the middle of the night, working on a website about her, that I found out what the truth was and what an abortion was.
All I could think of was why would anyone want to hurt my sister in such a devastating way.
It took years before I spoke to my mother again.
It’s taken years to talk about it.
No one ever thinks of the effect abortion has on a family.
It was a final straw that led to my parents divorce.
It led to me not talking to my mother for over 15 years.
We still don’t talk about it, to this day.
Kelly will be 24 in March.
I’ll never get to hold her.
I’ll never get to see her.
I’ll never get to call her.
I’ll never be a big sister.
All of that experience was taken from me, by one very selfish decision.
Now, I dare one of you to tell me, she didn’t deserve to live.
I dare you to tell me, she deserved to die a slow and agonizing death.
I dare you, to tell me, that abortion doesn’t take a life.” – Shelly
Response from the “compassionate and logical” pro-choice crowd. I chose it because it highlights many common arguments from pro-choicers:
Oh, don’t try this emotional manipulation crap, it’s all to conform people to your views. There are medically and financially necessary situations for an abortion, and forcing people to give birth to babies with shit like anencephaly, or put them in a situation where the family/parent can’t even promise a good life for the kid. You preach sympathy, let legitimately lack it. You have to think of the long run, and the fact that not every kid will turn out to be some miraculous “I beat abortion” story. What’s the point in having them persist in life when they run the risk of dying or killing themselves, anyways? And what about the mother? I don’t give a shit about the rarity of those situations, they DO happen, and they deserve individual treatment. Loss of life is devastating, and I’d treat abortion as a last resort, but I’d rather end something before it began, than risk having that beautiful beginning become tarnished by the circumstances of life and illness. I can jerk at emotions, too. Don’t play this game and look at it more objectively and logically. Not everything will turn out “just fine” and that’s the hard fact of life. I’m really glad that some of you have stories of abortion refusal, and I’m glad that you/your loved one has persisted so long and are living fulfilling lives. Really. They are obviously better off where they’re at. That just isn’t always the case. I would have rather been ended before I began, than have grown up to be some schizo with physical ailments that’ll land me on SSI. I’d rather be healthy but unhappy than disabled, due to my own mind and body going against me.
That’s just my take and I expect an equally emotion fueled response. Considering that, take this and go because appealing to emotion is already a logical fallacy on its own, but even I don’t always listen to logic, let alone someone actually passionate about the subject.
Tl;dr, you’re a fully autonomous human being with a parasitic kidlet in you that isn’t even self-aware. If that’s life to you, eat a rock for ethical reasons.
So here are the problems with this woman’s arguments:
1. The lady who posted this seems to miss some of the logical conclusions and information she could have both “logically and compassionately” gleaned from this post. First, that there is a reason why the current pro-life movement is growing and increasingly younger. Because abortion doesn’t only affect the mother but the whole family. And it is a tragedy for siblings and father’s to lose a sibling/child and they should have the right to grieve without being made to feel like selfish monsters. I believe it is also particularly disturbing for the child who may think, what was to stop that from being me? Am I of so little worth?
2. While I can definitely feel compassion for being in financial straits due to a health condition of a child, I do not think, when it comes to abortion, that is a moral reason for taking a life in or out of the womb. Why? Because the unborn child is ALREADY ALIVE. She is already a patient not a decision to be made. What I do personally believe is that NO parent should be in dire financial straits because of the life and death health condition of a child. But this does not justify killing the child. What we need is proper and compassionate legislation that will help parents financially in these difficult situations. Since when is money a consideration in whether you allow another human being to live or die? It should never be. In fact I am a bit surprised with our willingness to completely fund other non-life and death surgeries, that we leave poor parents who desperately want to care for both their current family and their sick child (both born and unborn) out in the cold. But it still is never a reason to justify the seriousness of taking a life.
3. Next, using Anencephaly and Down Syndrome as her personal examples when she has no personal experience with the condition seems particularly grievous. I am not sure people who have children with these conditions appreciate people using them as a poster child for reasons for abortion. Perhaps she should talk to my friend who had a child with Spina Bifida (a neural tube defect related to Anencephaly), and she can explain how the doctors tried to pressure her to abort even after she refused and how stressful that was for her. Also this lady seems to attack the notion that not everyone has a miraculous birth (of course not every story is an “I beat abortion story”, because those people are DEAD) the point is: while doctors can give predictions, we don’t know what that baby is going to be like until after they are born, and does not knowing justify the painful and excruciating ending of life of a viable late term child? Ethically not knowing does not justify such a grave and serious action. Also another point of note is the fact that so many people are having their pro-life beliefs reinforced because of the high number of false positives these tests produce. If you read the comments following this and other similar posts, this may be the biggest lesson here. We are literally making life and death decisions on a test that produces high false positives and those people are increasingly speaking out.
To learn more about the high false positive rate of prenatal testing please see: https://www.nbcnews.com/health/womens-health/prenatal-tests-have-high-failure-rate-triggering-abortions-n267301
To read my friend’s first person account about having a child with Spina Bifida please see this post: https://washingtonforlife.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/medical-professionals-in-washington-state-devalue-children-with-disability-one-mothers-story/
4. Ableism: We live in a society that does not value human beings for simply existing but for what they contribute to society and that is a problem. It leads us to devalue anyone who is not able to perform the same functions of 90% of the population. We think that if that person can not think on my level, if they cannot perform these tasks, if they never reach MY level of development then their life is not as valuable as mine. This is a startlingly Eugenics like approach that we seem to have not been able to purge from our thinking. Being able to do or not do something is not the basis for human rights. Human Rights exists not for what you can or cannot do but by virtue of being a member of the human race and like it or not, according to science the unborn are members of the human race from the moment of conception. Therefore, human rights apply and to deny human rights because an unborn child may not be as developed as I am or because they are disabled is unjust and morally wrong.
5. Length of life: “What’s the point in having them persist in life when they run the risk of dying or killing themselves, anyways?” Say what??? If I were to die next week would that justify you killing me now? No, we would still call that murder and some might argue it was all the more tragic because I was denied the little time I had left on this earth. Not to mention the fallibility of human doctors in making predictions about life and death. Start talking to people and you will see how many times a doctor has gotten such things completely wrong. And on that note, I would like to point out that WHEN we get a horrible prognosis and an estimated life expectancy (ie. You have six months left to live) we celebrate when we beat those odds, but in the case of an unborn child, we get ANGRY if a mother isn’t allowed to just decide to take that life early instead of seeing if that baby might beat the life expectancy odds, like a mother would ever do that to her BORN child (Oh wait, she can’t because it’s illegal).
Length of life is not an ethical or moral reason for ending a life early. If length of life makes a life worth living, who is to say what that length is? Is it two weeks? Two years? 10 years? 45? 61? Is a 51 year old of more worth than a 12 year old? Is a 12 year old of more worth than a 2 year old? Is a 40 week newborn of more worth than a viable 37 week unborn child? Should a doctor deny care to a 2 year old if they determine that 2 year old only has 2 weeks left to live? Should a doctor choose to care for the 40 year old over care for the 2 year old with the same prognosis? Length of life is not a justification for preemptively taking life.
What is an acceptable “risk of dying” that allows you to end someone’s life? Why does this double standard apply to unborn children and not to born children as well? WHY IS THE POSSIBILITY OF FUTURE SUICIDE BEING USED AS A REASON TO KILL UNBORN CHILDREN???? IS SHE IMPLYING THAT PEOPLE WITH DOWN SYNDROME AND ANENCEPHALY ARE KILLING THEMSELVES IN HIGHER NUMBERS THAN THE GENERAL POPULATION??? IS SHE SAYING THIS IS DUE TO THEIR DISABILITY??? I’d like to see THAT data.
6. Personal preference: this may be the weakest logically AND compassionately and yet many pro-choicers fall into this fallacy. For someone who is advocating that each case is different, putting in your own point of view does not take into account what people in that actual situation feel. They don’t take into account the pressure and misinformation that the parents may already have or that the doctor or families may instill on them. But most importantly, how dare she speak as if she knows what it is like to have Down Syndrome or Anecephaly or even “schizo” ( can that even be predicted before birth?) or any other condition she has not experienced. She says she would rather be dead but has she actually asked anyone with Down Syndrome or who is “schizo” if they would rather be dead? If you want to know if people with these conditions wish they were aborted we better go to the source and ask them NOT some lady who has no clue what it is like to exist with these conditions and can only make speculations on an uninformed opinion. This is a dangerous devaluation of anyone who is not “normal” aka: not like me.
Here is an Article summarizing a testimony give by Frank Stephens, a man with Down Syndrome, the article also points out that the abortion rate for Down Syndrome in some countries is above 90%:
“Seriously, I don’t feel I should have to justify my existence, but to those who question the value of people with Down Syndrome, I would make three points.
First, we are a medical gift to society, a blueprint for medical research into cancer, Alzheimers, and immune system diroders. Second, we are an unusually powerful source of happiness: a Harvard-based study has discovered that people with Down Syndrome, as well as their parents and siblings, are happier than society at large. Surely happiness is worth something? Finally, we are the canary in the eugenics coal mine. We are giving the world a chance to think about the ethics of choosing which humans get a chance at life. So we are helping to defeat cancer and Alzheimers and we make the world a happier place. Is there really no place for us in the world?”
Here some activists with Down Syndrome are asking to be put on the endangered species list: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=qIYPwP5Nec4
7. Dehumanization: And now we get to the core of what leads to this Human Rights Violation. In order to justify the taking of innocent life, most people must agree that a developing unborn child is somehow, “not like me” or “lesser” than I am now. First we start out with the term “parasitic” as if the unborn child is nothing more than a “parasite” or “growth” within the mother that is somehow not fully human instead of a unique human being passing through a state of development that we must all pass through in order to reach our so called “autonomous” state. Calling this unborn child a parasite was specifically meant to demean and devalue that unborn child. However this is not a logical nor a scientific argument that can justify the taking of innocent human life but must be done by most of the pro-choice crowd in order to justify why the mother has the power to make such a serious and horrible decision. The problem with this is that even newborns are not in an autonomous state, so does that justify killing a newborn child? In fact I would argue that my two year old is not in a fully autonomous state as she would die without someone caring for her, so does that justify the moral and legal killing of my child? Most of us would recoil in horror at the thought and rightly so.
Here is a Facebook post about a Dr. that witnessed her first abortion procedure while she was in medical school. I post this because rarely is the unborn child humanized but here you can begin to see what an unborn child is subject to in a late term abortion procedure: https://www.facebook.com/jodie.jolley/posts/10205556628231795
8. Being “self-aware”: This argument may be the most insidious because, sure a unborn baby may not be self aware, but neither is a newborn. In fact some would say that until a child can speak, there is little proof that the child is self-aware. Is it ok to kill newborns and toddlers because they are not self-aware? At no time should self-awareness justify the taking of life. If someone were unconscious does that justify the taking of their life? Surely not, it is merely and hopefully a point in time where they lack self-awareness, but we know that time will end as that person comes out of that unconscious state and live a full life. Again an unborn child is merely a human being passing through a necessary stage of development, just like a newborn, or a toddler, or a six year old child. To justify dismemberment or poisoning that child just because they cannot sit and ponder on their own existence yet is morally barbaric and a sign of an insidious belief in a mental Eugenics that devalues anyone, not just the unborn, who is not “mentally fit” enough to be granted personhood.
9. Science: the lady throws out the words “objectivity” “logic” and “compassion” like if she uses these words it will make her objectively morally and logically superior. She is right sometimes not everything will be “fine.” Life is hard and circumstances often beyond our control make them that way and we should always have compassion on those placed in difficult situations and try to cultivate policies that will give people the flexibility they need to deal with those situations in a healthy manner. However what have studies shown IS a healthy manner, objectively speaking? Is it lying to ourselves, self-justification? A lack of compassion for other human beings who aren’t like us? Treating others as non-human and violating their human rights so we can then do what we want and not feel bad about it? Devaluing another human being based on what they can and can’t do? None of this sounds like objectivity, sound logic, or compassion.
Science shows us that life begins at conception and that conception produces a unique human life. That is not convenient because for the first part of that time it requires that an unborn child resides in a woman’s body. Again not convenient but the scientific truth. If we acknowledge that the unborn child inside the mother is a human being, what other justification do we need to grant it human rights? It is a dangerous road to tack on additions to this stipulation because almost every justification that can be made for abortion inside the mother’s womb could be made for those outside the womb. It is time we acknowledge the hard truth: A woman who has conceived a child is ALREADY a mother of a unique human child and that child is in her care. Just because that child cannot be seen, just because that mother cannot yet hold that child in their arms does not change this logical and scientific fact. All considerations as to what should be done after this point, must be done only for the most serious and grave reasons and guarded by law so that the human rights of the most vulnerable humans among us are protected.
- Also, if you believe life begins after the baby passes through the “magical” birth canal or when a doctor says so, go eat an ethical, philosophical, AND scientific rock. (Whatever that means)