As the series of shocking videos released by the Center for Medical Progress continues to land body blows on Planned Parenthood, fewer and fewer abortion advocates can be found to defend them. They are even slowly disappearing from the typically safe comments sections of traditionally left-leaning sources like Slate and my state’s resident MSM outlet, the Des Moines Register. Articles from pro-choice folks condemning the abortion giant seem to have knocked the legs out from some of the most vulnerable arguments lately, like the thinly-veiled falsehood that abortions only comprise 3% of Planned Parenthood’s services, or the notion that being pro-choice isn’t the same as being pro-abortion.
Still, a few liberal drones still venture out to the comments section each day to regurgitate equally meaningless drivel, along with a pinch of deflection and a hefty dose of ad hominem.
Some of the arguments presented by the left are at least intellectually honest enough to deserve a thoughtful response, but a few are so absurd, ill-informed, and misapplied as to be laughable. These facepalm-worthy arguments have become wearisome to the culture at large, and really aren’t worth the breath required to dismiss them. So to save the entire pro-life effort a lot of wasted time, let’s blow down these houses of straw so we can get back to the work at hand – exposing the horrific actions of the financially wealthy but morally bankrupt con artists at Planned Parenthood.
1) “If you don’t support welfare and other entitlements, you aren’t really pro-life!”
As far as one has to dig for anything resembling logic in this argument, I think the underlying assumption goes a little like this: if you really cared about people, you would want to help/support/pay for them at all stages of life, not just before they’re born. An admirable supposition, even if it had to be decoded like that one guy in Hot Fuzz.
At its core, this statement is a reflection of the left’s aversion to personal responsibility – an attempt to confuse the morality of an action with the motive for that action. The conclusion they’re trying to press is that allowing an unwanted child to endure any form of hardship – like poverty, health problems, or hunger – is equal to actively ripping that child in pieces. In fact, many extrapolate that ripping them in pieces or sucking their brains out is actually merciful, to keep them from having to grow up in the lower income brackets of the richest country in the world.
Do you see why this one made the stupid list?
Let’s frame a similarly ridiculous argument, and see how it holds up.
Let’s say I am a compassionate and tolerant liberal living in Chicago. I decide that there are too many underprivileged homeless people living on the streets of Chicago. In order to save them from their difficult and destitute lives, I draft a resolution and present it to the city of Chicago for adoption:
“Whereas many homeless people suffer from hunger, heat, cold, and poor health in Chicago, and whereas the city of Chicago is a compassionate and generous city that wishes to prevent any further suffering, be it resolved that the city of Chicago hereby authorizes city police to shoot any homeless person within the city limits and sell their organs.”
“But that’s crazy!” you say. “Homeless people are fully capable human beings!” Sure, some are – but not all of them. Some are weak, some are sickly, some are perpetual deadbeats, some have criminal backgrounds. Some will probably die soon anyway. And besides, nobody said that the police had to shoot them, just that they may shoot them. It is the right of the officer to choose. Aren’t you pro-choice?
Refusing to share my bank account with you does not in any way equate to me cutting out your kidney, no matter how many times such equivalence may be fluttered in the HuffPost comments. Pro-lifers fight to protect the inalienable right of the unborn child – the right to live. We do not demand that a woman keep and raise her child – in fact pro-lifers are the strongest proponents of adoption. If you don’t want to care for your child, give others the opportunity to. No child is ever worthless or unwanted.
The idea that it is somehow merciful to dismember babies in conscious agony rather than allow them to face the possibility of being born to poor parents is patently absurd. It is equally absurd to imply that if one is unwilling to take full financial responsibility for the life of a stranger, then one morally assents to the killing and organ harvesting of said stranger.
This argument is a waste of time and brain cells. Just stop.
2) “If you support war (or capital punishment), you can’t be pro-life!”
Okay for starters, how many people do you know that are actually pro-war? How many people (well, outside of those directly profiting from it – and maybe this guy) just like war for the sake of being at war? While obviously countries go to war for a number of reasons, seldom since Hannibal crossed the Alps has a nation sent its sons to die out of sheer boredom.
When we throw around terms like “pro-war”, what we really mean is that an individual has come to the conclusion that war is necessary – not that they just think it’s fun to kill people, burn cities, and see their friends and neighbors come back in bodybags.
In mathematical terms, saying one supports war means that they have weighed the cost of action and judged it to be more tolerable than the cost of inaction.
Saying that you believe the rationale for going to war is sufficiently convincing to send troops to fight is not a reasonable comparison to cutting up a defenseless – and offenseless – baby in the womb. This reveals an important truth about the pro-life movement that liberals seem unable to comprehend: we are pro-INNOCENT life.
Few rational people deny the inherent right of self-defense – that if someone is attacking you, you have a right to defend yourself with whatever force is necessary. This simple fact acknowledges that sometimes killing is not only morally permissible, but necessary. Pro-lifers acknowledge this.
The reality of the world is such that lives and liberties come in conflict with each other. When someone infringes upon the rights of others, they forfeit their own rights. When you steal from someone, you forfeit your own possessions and owe restitution. When you deprive another of liberty, your liberties are forfeit as well. When you take the life of another, whether criminally or by way of soldiers and machines, expect to lose your own.
Acknowledging action and consequence isn’t pro-death. It’s pro-justice. Our legal system does not employ capital punishment against random strangers picked up off the street for the amusement of the masses. We employ it against people who have committed horrible crimes against others and have already enjoyed every possible legal defense in order to allow them to prove their innocence.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think if you rape and kill a child, you deserve to die. Not because I hate you or don’t believe in forgiveness, but because one of the only legitimate purposes of government is to restrain injustice.
Likewise, if you bomb American buildings, shoot at American soldiers, or behead American civilians, you should be aware that, in the words of Ron White, “We will kill you back”.
Unless you can show that an unborn child who has not yet had the privilege of his or her first breath has mortally and maliciously harmed another and that their painful death and dismemberment somehow serves the purpose of justice, then there is absolutely no basis for this comparison.
Trying to liken the killing of Jihadists, murderers, and foreign combatants to the killing and dismemberment of human babies for the sake of convenience is desperate and misguided, and really doesn’t have a place in reasonable and intelligent discourse.
It’s a stupid argument, and it lowers the conversation.
3) “Birth control prevents more abortions, so you should support Planned Parenthood!”
The jaw-dropping backwardness of this statement is rivaled only by its popularity among Planned Parenthood’s dedicated army of internet orcs. Again, just to make sense of this, let’s try to add some sort of logical form.
- Pro-lifers oppose abortion
- Only pregnant people get abortions
- Therefore, Pro-lifers should support efforts to stop people from getting pregnant.
I could spend pages facepalming my way through a comprehensive response to this fiesta of false choice, but in the interest of that whole brevity thing, I’ll limit myself to a couple mind-numbingly obvious points.
First, this argument assumes that birth control is only accessible – and can only be accessible – through continued taxpayer subsidizing of Planned Parenthood. With forms of birth control easily available at Wal-Marts and gas station bathrooms, it’s easy for anyone with a nominal sense of responsibility to avoid getting pregnant if they so choose.
Planned Parenthood does not provide any health care options that are not easily available from thousands of other non-abortive clinics all over the country. Including, obviously, birth control.
Next, this logically comatose argument presents a false dilemma: the assumption that one must either prevent pregnancy or terminate it. That’s it. People can’t be held responsible for their choices or asked to forego their immediate preference, so that’s the only choice.
It is the modern equivalent of someone in the 1800s arguing to keep blacks from having babies, or those babies would be enslaved. Bad logic aside, if you find this argument compelling in any way, you should probably seek psychiatric help.
That’s crazy. It’s evil. It’s absurd.
Abortion is not the inevitable outcome of unplanned pregnancy any more than drive-by shootings are the inevitable outcome of road rage. There’s another option: life.
Lastly, this argument assumes that the only way to prevent abortion is to stop people from becoming pregnant at all. Clearly, this is not the only way to stop abortion. In fact, the method most pro-lifers advocate is the prosecution and conviction of the perpetrators – you know, the same way we stop other murders.
Arguing that pro-lifers should support the nation’s largest abortion provider in order to prevent more abortions would be absurd enough in its own right, but making that case while Planned Parenthood is in mortal danger of being defunded and prosecuted as video evidence of criminal misconduct emerges, is way beyond dumb.
It’s a worthless and backward argument, undeserving of even the mental energy required to properly ridicule it.
There are ways to have a meaningful discourse on abortion. There are important questions you need to be asking, like “When does life begin?” or “What does science say about fetal development?” or even “What are the philosophical and ethical implications of allowing the valuation of life to be based on consciousness, viability, or potential?” These are all conversations worth having.
But we will never get to those kinds of questions unless we can dispense with the denials, deflections, and downright bad logic presented in the kinds of arguments presented here.
Please, for the sake of truth, decency, and general sanity, let these terrible arguments die.