A curious attitude among the vast majority of the “pro-choice” crowd is that a woman’s right to choose is typically treated as the only legitimate perspective on the matter. Those opposing the killing of babies are often treated as opposing women’s rights, as if opposing the killing of babies somehow equals opposing all women’s rights.
But that’s what myopia does to people. Having a small, narrow minded view of “rights” in this matter prevents the pro-choice crowd from seeing any possibility that the child in the womb has any rights to violate.
This is precisely the same problem encountered by abolitionists who tried to end slavery in the United States. Abolitionists argued that to demean any person by robbing them of humanity places us all in danger. After all, if the government can play semantic games with personhood with one group it can do the same with another. But the myopic view of slave holders required them to attack abolitionists. Rather than merely disagreeing, slavery supporters accused abolitionists of attacking all property rights, because “property rights” was the excuse championed by slavery’s supporters. Thus, in their mind, claiming it was constitutionally invalid to treat a person as property was tantamount to denying the right to property at all. To defenders of slavery the issue was never about oppression except when their right to enslave other people was at risk.
Such a dishonest tactic was necessary for slavery supporters because it became increasingly difficult to defend slavery as discussion continued, as it should. If discussion was minimized or stopped, slave holders would have no reason to defend the evil they practiced. So the best way to end debate on the matter was to shut up those who wanted to debate it. And the best way to do that was to demonize and marginalize those who opposed slavery. That included accusations of being anti-property rights, anti-self government, and even being on the wrong side of history.
Abraham Lincoln, in his speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, made an argument similar to what the pro-life movement argues today against abortion. In our modern age pro-lifers often argue that to have the “right” to kill your own babies is not freedom, but oppression, among other things. Lincoln argued against slavery in much the same way:
The doctrine of self-government is right—absolutely and eternally right—but it has no just application, as here attempted. Or perhaps I should rather say that whether it has such just application depends upon whether a negro is not or is a man. If he is not a man, why in that case, he who is a man may, as a matter of self-government, do just as he pleases with him. But if the negro is a man, is it not to that extent, a total destruction of self-government, to say that he too shall not govern himself? When the white man governs himself that is self-government; but when he governs himself, and also governs another man, that is more than self-government—that is despotism. If the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that “all men are created equal;” and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man’s making a slave of another.
Not only do abortion activists shoehorn the issue into a “women’s rights” perspective, they also fraudulently force abortion into a scientific perspective, as if science was actually equipped to determine when personhood begins. [UPDATE: Science, Embryonic Autonomy, and the Question of When Life Begins]
It does a disservice to us all to ignore science or to treat opinion and fact as the same thing. In the first couple months the argument that the fetus is merely a blob of cells has some merit; but one still must choose to view it as “not a person” in development. It’s just as viable to believe the fetus at this stage is a person in development. Neither of these opinions are purely scientific – they are opinions. In fact, American law never official declared black people were people; and it shouldn’t have to.
But after the first couple months, for the remainder of the pregnancy, the child in the womb is not merely a blob of cells and cannot honestly be called such. A recent video was released showing abortion professionals attempting to train activists in defending abortion. One abortion professional actually suggested activists cease lying about the nature of the “person” in the womb and admit that after a certain period of time, the fetus is indeed a person, and that abortion is killing a person. The point of the training was to move past these vapid denials and teach activists how to divert the discussion to some other matter.
In a daytime TV talk show, which I find unworthy of being mentioned by name here, the show’s hosts recently ridiculed Dr. Ben Carson for his insistence that killing babies is a bad idea. But to those ridiculing him, they thought he was talking about controlling women. He wasn’t. No one fighting for a child’s right to live is fighting against “women’s rights”.
What’s more, abortion supporters are acting as if women have a right that, in fact, no one has. While arguing for a woman’s right to choose the assumption is that women have the absolute right to control their own body. The problem is there is no such right.
Imagine this scenario: a 14 year old girl driving a car in the United States. This alone violates at least three laws: (1) there is an age requirement for driving the automobile (which she has not attained yet) and therefore she is (2) driving an automobile without a drivers license and (3) without auto insurance. In most places in the US these three laws are in effect, thus the 14 year old girl is violating all of them. But let’s add a few more details to this hypothetical. She is driving the car with an open beer bottle which violates at least two more laws: (4) under age drinking and (5) there is an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. Now imagine she is (6) driving without wearing a seat belt, (7) texting while driving, (8) driving faster than allowed on that particular stretch of road, (9) driving on the wrong side of the road, and (10) driving while nude.
I doubt all these things violate the law in all areas of the US, but in some places this fictional character is violating the law in all ten ways. And here’s the catch: if you’re reading this chances are you approve of at least one law alluded to in the hypothetical scenario. And since you support at least one of those laws, you support restricting what a person can or cannot do with their own body. No one has the absolute right to control their own body, and no one believes in such a thing.
So what’s so wrong with laws like these? It depends. Most people support such laws because of how they affect others. Admittedly, seeing a teenage girl driving naked could very well have a similar effect on other drivers as driving a car while texting or while drunk could have on the girl herself. It’s because of the effect on other people that most of us find ourselves willing to accept laws restricting our freedom. And that’s why abortion opponents oppose killing babies: because it’s KILLING PEOPLE!
Another lie abortion supports offer is that opponents want to force women to be mothers, completely ignoring the fact that pro-lifers frequently argue for adoption. No one arguing against abortion is arguing for the enslavement of women.
To the defenders of abortion the issue has never been about babies. The issue has always been about control of women, because being able to kill one’s own child is somehow deemed as empowerment and liberating, and a right. That’s how abortion supporters see it, and they are welcome to their view. But they are not entitled to define other people’s opinions. Their elitist stance drives them to pretend everyone treats abortion as about whatever abortion supporters say it is about. And they have to, because recognizing personhood for the child threatens the entire abortion economy and power structure, just like recognizing personhood for slaves threatened that of slavery.
Opponents of abortion are not interested in controlling women any more than opponents of slavery were opposed to property rights. To abortion opponents the issue has always been about babies. Those who call abortion opponents “anti-choice” are just as small minded and dishonest about abortion as slave owners were about abolitionists. I’m not asking or demanding abortion supporters agree with opponents, I’m merely asking supporters to stop lying about what opponents actually want and fight for. Purposefully misrepresenting your opposition makes you look like a fraud, and it makes you look incapable of tolerating dissenting points of view. And your reputation for being small minded and dishonest has had such a negative effect on your movement that even an abortion professional is suggesting you simply admit you support killing babies.
No one fighting against abortion is trying roll back women’s rights. If you can’t see that, you are either a blithering idiot or a liar. And possibly both. I’m talking to you, Chauncey DeVega.
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