Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Chris Pierdomeneco wrote an editorial defending the pro-life stance on abortion. While he is entitled to his beliefs, I would like to point out how wrong he is. Chris starts things off with a claim that is either crass or wrongfully emotional, about how murder is considered wrong by most people, “even among those who would call themselves atheists.” Chris is a self-described fundamentalist christian hinting oh-so-subtly that atheism is generally immoral (“even atheists think murder is wrong!”). He even manages to group atheism along with other faiths (atheism is doubt – that’s the opposite of faith).

If such crassness was not the intent of that paragraph, then he is wrongfully trying to harp on emotions in order to try and make people more sympathetic to his position. Abortion is not an issue about whether or not murder is wrong; it is an issue about whether or not abortion is murder. He does go on to address this, the actual issue, only to then come back to ‘murder is a bad thing’ (because apparently you can murder something that is not considered a person).

Chris then evokes the fallacy on which nearly every pro-life argument rests: the blurry boundary (usually called the slippery slope, but blurry boundary more descriptively shows the problem with the reasoning). Statements such as “while it cannot be proven that life begins at conception” suggest that Chris does realize that the boundary between being a fetus and personhood is blurry. But realizing that the boundary is blurry means acknowledging that there is nonetheless a boundary.

The problem is that Chris then suggests that we take no chances, that we should act as if there isn’t a boundary! Can you even imagine a world in which such flawed logic was the norm? To take an obvious example, we would not acknowledge a difference between children and adults after all, we can’t be certain where exactly the (biological) boundary is between the two. There are profound differences in the rights that they have. So would Chris have us treat all children as adults, because we just can’t take chances on depriving adults of so many important rights?

Furthermore, Chris could not be more wrong in claiming that “if pro-lifers are wrong about when life begins, then nothing has changed.” There is a clear link between abortion and poverty, with nearly 3 out of 4 women citing the inability to afford a baby as a reason for having an abortion. Nearly 4 out of 5 women also say that having a baby would dramatically impact their lives (Guttmacher Institute).

In fairness to Chris, he is at least consistent about his position. Although I find it insane that he would rather not allow women that have been raped to get abortions, the consistency with his belief that a fetus is a person and that an innocent person should not be killed is a rare thing among people who consider themselves pro-life.

But is he really consistent? To make sure, I have a few questions for him (and others who share his beliefs): Are fertility clinics as unacceptable as abortion clinics? By the pro-life definition of personhood, many lives are lost just so that some can mature. Would stem cell research using embryos that would be discarded anyway be acceptable? Is it ever acceptable to discard embryos, or must they all be kept alive for as long as it takes to find each of them a surrogate mother?

Since you believe that abortion is murder, would you actually like to see it treated as murder? That would mean that all abortion doctors and all women who have had an abortion would be jailed (or possibly even executed). Also, all accessories to murder which would include anyone working at a clinic, anyone who knowingly helps a woman get to such a clinic and so forth would get jail time too. If in a burning building there was a young child and a petri dish containing a few fertilized eggs (several “people,” by your definition of the word), and you only had the ability to save one, which would you save?

On your 18th birthday, how old did you consider yourself: 18 years, or 18 years and 9 months? Do you celebrate a birthday or a conception day, and why? (Notice that even those countries that consider you 1 year old when you are born consider you to be 1 year, not 9 months old. That allows people to celebrate their BIRTHdays, which it would seem is universally considered the important day.)

Do you realize that for all purposes (birth certificates, dates on tombstones, etc.), societies use the day of your birth as the start of your life? Do you think that conceptiondays (or thirdtrimesterdays, or whatever) should be used instead? Why do you suppose that BIRTHdays are consistently used in every such relevant aspect, except when it comes to the issue of abortion? And as a self-described fundamentalist Christian, how do you reconcile your belief about personhood with the fact that the Bible does not consider fetuses to have personhood? Jesus said nothing about it and Genesis 38:24, Exodus 21:22, and Numbers 5:11-22 suggest they are not; this is discussed in detail at http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-bibleforbids.htm/.

And finally, just to speculate: why do you suppose that there is vocal opposition to things like abortion in general and embryonic stem cell research but silence when it comes to fertility clinics, embryos being regularly discarded, and abortion because of rape? Do you think that being more consistent on those particular issues would help or hurt the pro-life movement? And why do you think that your God gave women so little control in the first place over when and how easily they can get pregnant?

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