A Pro-Life Case On A Day That Celebrates Life

922904_900385983393529_2355375706974354167_nI was born a few years after Roe v. Wade, and my mother—a very petite woman who is prone to headaches, nausea, and chronic pain—was pressured by her doctor to abort me for her own good. She refused, and I was born with a deaf and deformed ear. But I was born—that’s the important thing. And because I was born, my seven children could also be born.

I’m pretty grateful to my mom. Aren’t you grateful to yours?

I recently came across the pro-abortion Tumblr meme pictured here, and as today is Easter—a day celebrating the restoration of physical and spiritual life—I thought I’d address its mistaken claims.

1. The bodily autonomy argument. Most of the meme is devoted to this, in the form of a story about society not being able to force someone to save a sibling’s life through a blood transfusion.

The first flaw is that the inaction of not donating blood is not equal to the action of aborting a baby. In the meme’s sibling-saving scenario, the natural course of doing nothing would be the death of the sibling. In the case of a pregnancy, the natural course of doing nothing would be the birth of a baby. To make the parallel work, doing nothing for your sibling has to be compared to violently dissecting an unborn baby. Hardly the same.

The second flaw is that, even though the law does not force us to save the life of a sibling, it does force us to maintain the life of our offspring. That’s what laws against parental neglect are for. Again, the analogy fails.

If a woman has no responsibility to the life developing inside her, then why are smoking and drinking during pregnancy frowned on and often regulated?

2. “To tell people that they MUST sacrifice their bodily autonomy for 9 months against their will…” Pregnancy is not random. It happens as a result of a consensual act, and regardless of whatever precautions anyone takes, everyone goes into sex knowing that pregnancy might result. The pregnancy wasn’t “against their will,” their will was just to be able to have sex without responsibility for it.

If abortion advocates are right, why not phrase their intent this honestly? A person’s right to life is universally acknowledged; where is there a documented and defended argument establishing a right to sex without results?

3. “…in an incredibly invasive, expensive, and difficult process…” This is not an accurate description of pregnancy, nor is it relevant to this issue, even if it were accurate. Using rhetoric this loaded to disparage something that literally billions of women have done without invasion, expense, or difficulty reveals how weak the case made in this meme is.

4. “…to save what YOU view as another human life…” Capitalizing the word “you” like that is meant to make this seem like merely an opinion, and an unsound one at that.

But is it just an unsound opinion? Isn’t there plenty of objective evidence to support seeing the unborn as human and alive? They have distinct DNA at conception, they develop sensitive nervous systems capable of feeling pain quite early, and we can now even perform surgery on them before birth and then finish the rest of the pregnancy normally.

The fact that so many discoveries of the last 40 years have further enlightened us about the living, human nature of unborn babies, and dispelled so many ignorant assumptions about them from the Roe era, should really make us pause and think more, shouldn’t it?

After all, if there is any doubt about the status of the unborn, if there’s any debate to be had at all, shouldn’t we be more cautious and err on the side of life?

If an unborn baby isn’t alive, then why can murdering a pregnant woman be prosecuted as a double homicide?

5. “…the early stages of pregnancy when the vast majority of abortions are performed…” This sounds like a tacit admission that late-term and partial-birth abortions are wrong, which is progress. In that case, at exactly what point in a pregnancy are you comfortable saying, “Today the fetus is not alive and we can abort it, but tomorrow it’s a living person and that would be wrong?” Doesn’t that sound ridiculously dangerous?

6. “You can’t even ask people to sacrifice bodily autonomy to give up organs they aren’t using any more after they have died.” Actually, you can. Next of kin do this all the time.

A person can document their refusal to donate organs after they’ve died, though, but if you want to make a “dead body / pregnant woman” analogy work, where unborn babies are like kidneys or livers, you run into the same problems discussed in #1 above.

7. In addition to the other questions I’ve raised here, I’d like to add one more: presumably, if someone shared or liked the meme I’m analyzing, they probably consider themselves a feminist. In that case, how do you feel about the conscious use of abortion internationally as a tool to prevent the birth of females and reduce the population of women? Is bodily autonomy still sacred when it’s being used to wage a global war on girls?

The Global Genocide of Baby Girls

All abortions are not created equal.  The numbers are chilling: around the world, babies prenatally identified as female are far, far more likely to be aborted than male babies.  This has resulted in many major societies now having a huge imbalance in genders: there are way too many young men and not nearly enough young women.

This summary of the situation in The New Atlantis adds up the birth dearth: “The unnatural ‘girl deficit’ for females 0-19 years of age as of 2010 would have totaled roughly 32-33 million by both UNPD and IPC figures.”  That’s more than 30 million young men around the world who have absolutely no chance of ever starting a family of their own and, oh yeah, more than 30 million women who never even got to be born.

These abortions have nothing to do with “choice,” “rights,” “lifestyle,” or any of the other usual Western tropes.  These 30 million babies were aborted simply because they were girls.  If they had been male, most if not all of them would have been carried to term and delivered.  Ironically, making abortion one of the vanguards of American feminism has resulted in a global trend that has purposely decimated the Earth’s female population.

My wife and I are expecting another baby in May.  I couldn’t be happier.  It’s a girl.

Temples, Abortion, and Becoming Saviors

I just watched a video that was posted on Facebook about abortion survivor Gianna Jensen.  As I watched her story, this occured to me:

What she’s doing for the unborn is like what we do with temple work.  As a Wikipedia entry explains: “When Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of the world, He did for people everywhere what they could not do for themselves….Because of Christ’s Atonement and Resurrection, and through the power and authority of the Priesthood, Mormons can do for the dead, what the dead cannot do for themselves.”

Or, as President Gordon B. Hinckley put it: “I think that vicarious work for the dead more nearly approaches the vicarious sacrifice of the Savior Himself than any other work of which I know. It is given with love, without hope of compensation, or repayment or anything of the kind. What a glorious principle.”

So, if temple work is the closest we come to following Christ because we’re doing for others what they cannot possibly do for themselves, then the work of advocating for the unborn is just as holy.  Truly, they are in need of saving and are completely helpless to do anything about it themselves.  Just as the dead need us to perform ordinances, and the entire human family needs Jesus Christ to save us from death and sin, millions of unborn babies need us to try to save them. 

I Survived Roe Vs. Wade

Yesterday was the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s inglorious Roe vs. Wade decision.  It put me in mind of something that I’ve seen on a few t-shirts these last few years: I survived Roe vs. Wade.

I was born only a few years after that ruling.  My mother had a very difficult pregnancy with me, so difficult, in fact, that her doctor suggested that she have an abortion.  She refused and carried me to term. 

I’m not too clear as to what all of the complications were–though I do remember being told that during the delivery I was “stuck” for quite a while.  Despite this, my mother has lived just fine and in mostly good health; in fact, she had another baby a couple of years later, this one coming much more easily.  For my part, I was born with a deformed left ear, which was fixed by plastic surgery when I was very little.  Still, that ear’s been stone deaf since the day I was born. 

I think that’s a pretty small price to pay for being alive, though, and I’m certainly glad to have come to a mother who understands that.

An Experience With Abortion

I don’t think about abortion much, and hadn’t planned on writing about it here, but what with the national discussion lately over Sarah Palin’s baby with Down syndrome and her daughter’s unwed pregnancy, it keeps coming up. 

I remember that I used to hear people say, defending abortion, that nobody would be so callous as to use it as birth control, but I haven’t heard that argument in a long time.  I think proponents must have realized that abortion, if it deserves to be legal, might as well be touted as birth control, with no stigma attached at all.  If it’s not wrong, then it’s right, which makes such positions as Hillary Clinton’s–that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare“–baffling. 

But I digress.  Without making this partisan, I’d like to relate a story that, sadly, I think sheds a lot of light on the state of abortion today.

Several years ago, during my free period at work, when teachers do their grading and planning, a senior girl popped her head in the door and asked if she could make a quick call on her cell phone.  Not wanting to be distracted from the work I was doing at my computer, I just said, “Sure,” and continued typing. 

However, my attention was yanked away from the screen when I heard her ask the other end of the line, in that very mature tone we all use when asking for information from professionals, how much an abortion would cost there.  Continue reading