The Invisible AbortionAbortion — By Robin Dembroff on February 9, 2009 at 12:12 pm
For years, I’ve been involved in pro-life activities and organizations. The debate flies fast and furiously, and never ends. I’ve been considering this problem recently, especially in light of the vast amount of new dialogue FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) has ignited, and had a few thoughts I’d like to put out for critique/consideration.
The arguments commonly used in the abortion debate, especially “in the field,” so to speak, are perhaps not the most useful. Not that they are “wrong,” but they jump mid-way into a much larger argument that requires fundamental assumptions.
From my experience in the pro-life field, here are a few arguments I commonly heard and used myself:
o “At the moment of conception, an embryo meets the scientific criteria for ‘life.'”
o “At 18 days after conception, heartbeat begins, and at 6 weeks, brainwaves.”
o “A baby has it’s own DNA, and therefore, is not ‘part of the woman’s body.'”
o “Roe v Wade is bad constitutional law.”
o “PAS (Post-Abortion Syndrome) ruins women’s lives.”
o “Quality of life is not an acceptable criteria for deeming a person’s right to live.”
o Etc. etc. etc.
These arguments are wonderful and should be universally known. However, the problem is that they aren’t really ‘arguments’–they’re facts. Thereby, they give pro-life supporters strict limitations in
1) Applicableness: the time when the human life as a human being exists is not answered by these facts.
“Heartbeat? Brainwaves? Certainly not conception…right? Because that would require a religious argument, and I’m not a Christian and I don’t want to hear your Christian arguments.”
2) Persuasion: dry facts are just that, dry facts.
Does anyone believe the “warning–may cause cancer” stickers on cigarettes make people who want to smoke reconsider? No, if people do not smoke for that reason, it’s almost always because they have experience with the truth, such as by knowing people who developed cancer by smoking.
We’re out there fighting a fact-war and all of us (pro-life and ‘pro-choice’) are simply dancing around the vital issues that all the facts are pointing towards.
A few of these issues are:
o Do human beings have a unique soul? (If they say ‘no,’ then that need to be your focus–the pro-life debate is meaningless.)
o If so, is this soul intrinsically valuable? That is, does a soul give the being (body/soul) invaluable worth that results in it being morally wrong to kill a being that has a human soul? (This question requires an admission of morality.)
o When does human life receive a soul? This is the question everything boils down to. Are there physical prerequisites for the existence of a soul in a body? Are there mental prerequisites?
I am still working myself on these questions, but I recognize now that they are the ones that need to be asked. Without them, the facts are meaningless.
We can waltz and tango all we’d like around the scientific definitions and psychological implications of abortion, but is it efficient for the pro-life cause?
Who builds a house from the roof down?